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Another country bans flights as mob attacks Ebola clinic

August 19, 2014 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Kenya has become the latest nation to ban flights from West African countries infected with the deadly disease Ebola.

Kenya, in East Africa, was recently described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as at high risk from Ebola because of the number of flights between it and West Africa.

Although WHO has urged governments not to impose blanket bans on trade and travel on Ebola-affected countries, fear of the lethal disease is so high that several airlines have cut air links, the Guardian reports. The disease has already killed at least 1145 people across West Africa this year and nearly 2000 people have caught it.

British Airways, Emirates and African regional carriers Arik Air, ASKY Airlines and Kenya Airways have suspended flights. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for exit screenings on all travellers from affected countries.

It wants checks at airports, sea ports and major land crossings.

Initial assurances that air travel was unlikely to spread the disease have been disproved. Air travel is how the disease reached Nigeria, when an infected passenger flew from Liberia to Lagos, Africa’s most populous city, and infected others there before dying.

In the terminal stages of the disease, Ebola is so infectious you can catch it by touching a sufferer or any of their bodily fluids. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days and the current epidemic is killing about 60% of those who catch it. No cure or vaccine is currently available.

News from Liberia, meanwhile, is that a howling mob of club-wielding youths have attacked an Ebola isolation clinic, sending nurses and patients, some likely to be infectious, fleeing into hiding.

Of the 29 patients originally at the clinic, 17 fled after the attack, nine died beforehand and three others were taken by force by their relatives from the clinic, a doctor said.

The mob of youths was allegedly screaming: “There’s no Ebola!” Many apparently believe the outbreak is a western invention. Others think nurses and doctors are spreading it, or that witch doctors can cure it.

Liberia, incidentally, was established by citizens of the United States as a colony for former African American slaves and their free black descendants. The capital, Monrovia, was named after US President James Monroe in 1822.

WHO now admits that the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and elsewhere in West Africa has been vastly underestimated and will require “extraordinary measures, on a massive scale” if it is to be contained.

Ebola outbreaks so far have been confined to Africa – but that may not always be the case.

A graphic, interactive Ebola virus timeline, developed by Australia’s ABC to show the steady spread of the latest outbreak, the deadliest ever recorded, can be viewed here.

Written by : Peter Needham

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