News / Africa

Ebola Toll Tops 900; Liberia Declares Emergency

A Nigerian port health official speaks to a passenger arriving at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.
A Nigerian port health official speaks to a passenger arriving at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.
VOA News

The deadly Ebola outbreak on Wednesday showed new signs of spreading, as Nigeria confirmed a second death plus five new cases.

The new cases in Nigeria raise concerns that the virus will spread further in Africa's most populous nation, with its 174 million residents.

Meanwhile, Liberia has declared a state of emergency over the outbreak with its president saying the scale of the epidemic represented a threat to state security.

So far, the smaller and less populous countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been the epicenters of the outbreak, which has claimed 932 deaths among more than 1,700 cases, the World Health Organization reported Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia reported it was investigating the suspicious death of a man who traveled through West Africa.

Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 6, 2014Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 6, 2014
x
Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 6, 2014
Ebola outbreaks, deaths in east Africa, as of August 6, 2014

The World Health Organization will convene an ethics panel next week to discuss whether the experimental drug ZMapp should be given to some Ebola patients across West Africa.

Two American medical missionaries who contracted the Ebola virus in Liberia appear to be showing signs of improvement after doses of the experimental serum in recent days.

The drug has not been approved for, or tested on humans, and according to its manufacturer, there is only a very limited supply of the experimental drug.

If its use is recommended, the panel then will consider who should get the drug.

President Barack Obama said late Wednesday it was too early at this point to consider sending the drug to West Africa.

Nigerian officials said a nurse who treated the country's first Ebola patient two weeks ago died Tuesday of the disease. She was the first known Nigerian to have died from Ebola. The other victim was Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American who flew into Nigeria from Liberia with the disease. He was hospitalized in Lagos and died July 25.

A Nigerian port health official wears protective gear at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.A Nigerian port health official wears protective gear at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.
x
A Nigerian port health official wears protective gear at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.
A Nigerian port health official wears protective gear at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Aug. 6, 2014.

The five other Nigerian patients are now in isolation at a Lagos hospital. All are health workers who treated Sawyer.

Nigeria is bracing for the possibility of more infections. Health Minister  Onyebuchi Chukwu said the government is establishing a 24-hour-a-day Ebola command center and is trying to prepare hospitals around the country in case the disease spreads further.

“We need to work with each state government to establish isolation wards in readiness for any eventuality,” Chukwu said, noting the one in Lagos State would be strengthened and expanded.

Ebola suspected in Saudi death

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's official news agency reported that a suspected Ebola patient died in Jeddah on Wednesday despite two days of intensive hospital treatment. The man came down with symptoms of Ebola after a business trip to Sierra Leone. 

Saudi health officials have sent tissue samples to laboratories abroad to confirm whether the deceased patient had been infected by Ebola.

Liberia prays for relief

 

In Liberia, where WHO has reported at least 282 deaths from the virus, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s message to the nation Tuesday night boiled down to this: God help us.

“Relying on his divine guidance for our survival as a nation,” she said, “I call on all Liberians to observe three days of national fast and prayer to see God’s face, to have mercy on us and forgive our sins and heal our land.”

Beginning Wednesday, Liberians are to fast and pray from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sirleaf’s pronouncement has gotten mixed reactions in the capital, Monrovia. Some say it shows just how desperate the situation has become while others tell VOA it is an important step to keep people calm and unified.

Some had already heeded the president's call as of daylight Wednesday.

About 700 people, some dressed in white, gathered here at the Abundant Life Church Church on the outskirts of Monrovia.

“…The nation will survive.  Hallelujah.  Our country will emerge victorious over this incurable disease,” Pastor Varney Yarwo preached from the pulpit.

‘The Dark Week’

The Liberian health ministry said 94 people died of Ebola over seven days beginning July 27, in what its latest report calls "The Dark Week."

Daily life has ground to halt in much of Liberia. Police are protecting health workers and facilities as fear and frustration continue to breed hostility. The president has put nonessential government workers on mandatory leave, closed schools and told citizens to avoid large public gatherings.

That's all in the hope of reducing transmission of the disease, spread through bodily fluids, while health workers scramble to contain existing cases.

In neighboring Sierra Leone, considered the most dangerous zone of this regional outbreak, soldiers have deployed to the east to quarantine the most affected areas.

The government’s actions come amid reports that people there are not cooperating with efforts to isolate the sick and those who may have been exposed to the disease.

This week, the World Bank pledged up to $200 million in emergency funding to help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone contain the outbreak, improve public health systems and help communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis.

American patients improving

Two American missionaries who contracted Ebola in Liberia are said to be improving after receiving an experimental treatment. Nancy Writebol and Kent Brantly are in a hospital isolation unit in the U.S. city of Atlanta. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is still too early to know whether the experimental drug, Zmapp, can save their lives.  

The manufacturer of the drug, California-based Mapp Biopharmaceutical, said in a statement that very little of the drug is available but that the company is working with government agencies to increase production as quickly as possible.

VOA contributors to this report include Anne Look from Dakar, Senegal, Heather Murdock from Abuja, Nigeria, and Prince Collins.

 

 

You May Like

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Tolorunloju Oke from: Nigeria
August 11, 2014 6:57 PM
It is sincere prayer that God by his mercy and power will put an end to ebola virus that spread like inferno. May there be outstretch hand of God to stop the deadly disease

by: Justin B. Karhou from: Liberia
August 08, 2014 7:50 AM
May WHO Advise A Clinical Test Of TKM-Ebola Drug.There Is A Need Of An Approval Of ZMAPP By WHO In Order Save The Dying Population In W/Africa.

by: Randy Horton
August 07, 2014 10:53 PM
Shouldn't the CDC have been aware of this outbreak earlier? How about approving experimental drugs? Why does the Federal government own patents on drugs?

by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
August 07, 2014 12:46 PM
save the smail communities of Liberia

by: delisile from: soweto
August 07, 2014 8:03 AM
what about us in south afria are we in danger

by: Maj Variola
August 06, 2014 10:10 PM
The West will begin mining the harbors and cratering the airports so
nothing can leave. They will landmine the jungle. Anything that
leaves is sunk or shot. Snipers sans Frontieres. Quarantine with
extreme prejudice.

Civilization is a choice. Make it. Soon.

Or don't, and the population goes back to the under-billion level
before the West started feeding everyone...



And you can't have the Mapp antibodies if you don't believe in genetically modified organisms.

Can I have fries with that bushmeat?

by: Mark from: Oregon
August 06, 2014 9:59 PM
This is actually a really good natural process that has been happening for thousands of years. Sickness and disease have not played nearly as important of a role as it/they should have in the recent past to control over population in the human species.

by: Richard Mc from: North Carolina
August 06, 2014 2:20 PM
I expect that the death count significantly lags the actual death toll.

by: Mrs. Kelly Grossfart from: USA
August 06, 2014 1:24 PM
In the United States, draconian-sounding preparations are being made, too, and many have been in place for years. In an amendment to “Executive Order” 13295 signed last week, Obama, expanding on a previous order, has already purported to grant his administration vast powers to detain Americans suspected of harboring a “respiratory illness.” At the state level, a “model” law created by the feds and the WHO on “Emergency Health Powers,” which provides officials with purported powers blasted as “draconian” by critics, has been adopted in whole or in part by some four in five state governments.

While the Ebola outbreak has been largely centered in the West African nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, fears are growing about a potential global epidemic as the virus spreads. With illegal immigrants flooding across the U.S. border, it is hardly far-fetched to suppose that the disease will eventually reach American shores, too. Already, dozens of illegal immigrants from the three African countries suffering the most severe Ebola outbreaks have been apprehended crossing the U.S. border with Mexico. So what would — or could — American authorities do? The answers have more than a few analysts warning of potential government abuse.
In Response

by: Greg from: Maryland
August 06, 2014 11:29 PM
What are you talking about? I'm sorry but what you have stated towards the end is false. The disease isn't in Mexico and west Africans haven't been caught crossing the U.S. Border. And you're way off about the "Executive Order".
In Response

by: Bradb99 from: USA
August 06, 2014 3:08 PM
Shame on you for bringing your own tea party world-view on a medical crisis happening in Africa. Not a single person crossing our southern border has ever had Ebola. Funny how you folks never worry about our northern border with Canada, where actual terrorists planning an attack on LAX airport were caught a number of years ago. Hmmm, I wonder what could be the difference between the people sneaking in from the Canadian border and the Mexican border are??? By the way, as to your whole "this is a secret plot for Obama to seize control" post, your tinfoil hat has slipped ... a lot.

by: Anne Kool from: US
August 06, 2014 1:11 PM
With Ebola deaths now being reported in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, the virus has spread to five different countries. World Health Organization officials are currently meeting in Geneva to decide whether to announce a global health emergency. Scientists in Canada and Canada’s Public Health Agency have both acknowledged that the virus has likely gone airborne at least to a limited degree, while the CDC has urged airline staff to take steps to prevent the airborne spread of the virus, including giving suspected Ebola victims surgical masks as well as directing staff to “not use compressed air, which might spread infectious material through the air.”

Leaked Customs and Border Protection documents revealed earlier this week show that thousands of immigrants from Ebola-hit nations have attempted to sneak across the U.S. border this year, leading to concerns that the many more who are not apprehended pose a health risk. Concern is growing that U.S. hospitals could be insufficiently prepared to deal with a wider outbreak of the virus. “Many hospitals are poorly prepared to contain any pathogen,” writes Betsy McCaughey. “That’s why at least 75,000 people a year die from hospital infections. If hospitals can’t stop common infections such as MRSA, C. diff and VRE, they can’t handle Ebola.”

As we reported last week, President Barack Obama signed an amendment to an executive order which allows health authorities to detain Americans who merely show signs of respiratory illness. The CDC has also outlined measures for dealing with an outbreak of a communicable disease which allow for the quarantine of “well persons” who “do not show symptoms” of the disease. What VOA won't tell you.............
In Response

by: Shannon from: NY
August 06, 2014 10:56 PM
@Bradb99 Canada has no people with Ebola either. Also no one from Canada is jumping the border lol. I don't think Canadians are that interested in going to the US anyway. Shutting down North American borders to Mexico and Canada is not needed. BTW Canada is not after you and if someone stupid got off an air-plain in Canada (as if it couldn't have happened in the US) and went to the US through some random border, then blew some place up. It's homeland securities problem. Not Canada. Brad, i think that you should think about what you type before you it.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More