News / Africa

West Africa Ebola Outbreaks Spur Rising International SOS Inquiries

FILE - UNICEF health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, March 31, 2014..
FILE - UNICEF health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, March 31, 2014..
James Butty

The medical and travel security group known as International SOS says the number of requests it received for advice on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was up by 400 percent in the month of June.

The World Health Organization announced Tuesday that the number of Ebola cases rose to 964, including 603 deaths.

Doctor Robert Quigley, vice president for medical assistance at the International SOS says 56 percent of the requests were generated in guinea while 17 percent came from Liberia and 16 percent from Sierra Leone.

He said his organization gives advice to over 100 client organizations with physicians working in areas where Ebola cases have been confirmed and to business travelers and expatriates.

“Since the initial outbreak which was sometimes in March of this year in several countries in Africa, we’ve had a 400 percent increase predominantly just in the last two months,” he said.

Doctor Quigley said most of the calls are from business travelers, organizations, and individuals, people who have a vested interest in Ebola and the epidemiology associated with it.

He also said media reports on the wave of Ebola outbreaks in West Africa also played a significant role in heightening interest.

“Every time there’s a new wave, there’s a new amount of information available in the social media and in the news, and consequently there’s more and more exposure to these business travelers who are having concern. And any of these travelers that happen to subscribe to our business will call us and get information from subject matter experts,” Quigley said.

Doctor Quigley said a significant number of inquiries have also come from the United Kingdom, which he attributes to the UK being what he called a kind of a hub for international business travel.

Doctor Quigley said International SOS has developed a toolkit to educate medical staff and local populations on how to recognize Ebola and prevent its transmission to other individuals.

He said the risk to business travelers is low, if they follow the proper procedures. Quigley said business travelers and expatriates who need medical assistance should be aware that going to a local hospital that might be treating people with Ebola is risky.

Asked whether he has found some misconceptions about the causes of Ebola, especially the consumption of “bush meat”, Quigley said there’s no doubt that bush meat can serve as a source of the Ebola virus.

“As you know, bush meat is ubiquitous in certain parts of Africa and considered even a staple in many of the diets particularly of the local folks. And unfortunately the harsh reality is that this disease can be transmitted through bush meat,” he said.

He said the International SOS follows the guidelines of both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control in advising business travelers not to consume bush meat.

Butty interview with Doctor Quigley
Butty interview with Doctor Quigleyi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

 

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs