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Ebola crisis widens: WHO classifies Kenya as high risk

August 15, 2014 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified Kenya as a “high-risk” country for the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, largely because it is a major transport hub, with many flights from West Africa.

The BBC called it the most serious warning to date by WHO that Ebola could spread to East Africa.

The number of people killed by Ebola in West Africa has risen to 1069, WHO said in its latest update. Fifty-six deaths and 128 new cases were reported in the region in the two days to 11 August 2014, it added.

While experts initially said Ebola was unlikely to spread via air travel, recent experience has shown that it can do just that.

The American Patrick Sawyer was seen to be acting strangely even before he boarded the plane in Monrovia, Liberia’s capital. Once airborne, he was sick several times. By the time he disembarked at Lagos airport – one of Africa’s busiest – he was no longer able to stand unaided, diplomats and a witness told the Guardian.

Those who rushed forward to help did not know Patrick Sawyer was in the final stages of an Ebola-induced breakdown, when the deadly disease is at its most contagious, the Guardian reported.

Since then, a week or so ago, a colleague travelling alongside Sawyer and a nurse who treated him have both succumbed to Ebola. At least eight others have caught the disease in Lagos, and some 200 are under surveillance.

The disease can kill up to 90% of those who catch it but the current outbreak is killing about 50% to 60% of victims.

Canada is donating up to 1000 doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine to help fight the outbreak.

In Sierra Leone, a doctor who treated patients infected with Ebola has died, the BBC’s Umaru Fofana reports from the capital, Freetown. Dr Modupeh Cole is the second Sierra Leonean doctor to die of the disease.

In other developments reported by the BBC:

  • Germany has ordered all its citizens, except health workers, to leave Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three states where the outbreak has been the deadliest.
  • Guinea-Bissau has decided to shut its border with Guinea, Reuters news agency reports.
  • Ghana has delayed the opening of universities and colleges by at least two weeks to put in place measures to screen students arriving from Ebola-hit countries.

Countries a flight away from the Ebola affected region of Africa include USA, South Africa, Angola, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, France, Spain, Germany, Britain, Netherlands, Belgium and United Arab Emirates, according to a recent survey. Countries two flights away include virtually the whole world.

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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