Ebola Outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria ContainedSeptember 24, 2014 in Africa, Ebola, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, West Africa
While the deadliest Ebola epidemic ever has now killed 2,793 people in West Africa, World Health Organisation (WHO) officials disclosed Monday that outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria have been basically contained. A statement released by the UN health agency also published the results of the latest meeting of its Ebola emergency committee.
According to new figures released by the WHO, as of 18 September a total of 5,762 people have been infected with the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in five Western countries. Guinea, where the outbreak initially began at the art of this year, along with neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone currently account for the most cases and continue to see their numbers rise. Liberia has especially been the hardest hit, with 3,022 cases and 1,578 deaths.
The WHO did note however “the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are pretty much contained.” According to officials, Senegal has not reported any new cases of the deadly virus since it registered its first and only case on August 29 – a Guinean student who has since recovered. Meanwhile Nigeria, where twenty-one people have been infected, eight of whom have died, has not reported any new cases since September 8. While no reports of new cases in Senegal and Nigeria does signify that both countries are slowly recovering, the WHO has not yet deemed them transmission free as the incubation period for Ebola is 21 days and double this time must pass without any new cases arising before a country can be deemed transmission free.
In a statement released Monday, the WHO also indicated that during a meeting of its Ebola emergency committee last week, officials had determined that the outbreak remains to be a “public health emergency of international concern.” The WHO has disclosed that the committee reiterated its opposition to general bans on international travel or trade, noting that people infected with Ebola, or those who had come into contact with Ebola patients, should not be permitted to travel. The committee also warned that blocking flights to or from affected areas and other travel restrictions only served to “isolate affected countries, resulting in detrimental economic consequences, and hinder relief and response efforts risking further international spread.” The emergency committee did stress that in cases where measures like quarantines are deemed necessary, countries must ensure that “they are proportionate and evidence-based, and that accurate information, essential services and commodities, including food and water are provided to the affected populations,” insisting that “adequate security measures” should be put in place in order to ensure the safety and protection of heath workers, who face high infection rates and sometimes violence from frustrated and frightened populations. Last week, eight members of an Ebola education team, said to include local health officials and journalists, were found dead after they were attacked by angry locals in southern. This is the first such incident where health workers combatting EVD were killed.