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AFRICAN NEWS & INFORMATION
Zimbabweans Move To Nigeria For Spiritual Help Tags: News Zimbabwe Nigeria Spiritual

Zimbabweans battered by economic problems have flocked to Nigeria to visit faith healers and collect lucky charms, but their government is urging them to stay away because of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the AP has reported.

According to AP, Zimbabwe's state-controlled Chronicle newspaper, on Friday quoted Health Minister David Parirenyatwa as saying citizens of the southern African country should instead pray for good fortune at home.

The minister says a group of 50 Zimbabweans returned from Nigeria last week, and such a large group can jeopardize efforts to keep Ebola out of the country.

The AP reported that Nigerian preacher, T.B. Joshua is particularly popular among some Zimbabweans.

The current Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria has killed more than 1,300 people, including five in Nigeria. No cases have been reported in southern Africa.

Source: tribune

Sierra Leone's Ebola Health Workers Go On Strike Tags: Sierra Leone News Ebola West Africa

Health workers have gone on strike at a major state-run Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone, hospital staff told Reuters on Saturday, a further blow to efforts to contain the deadly virus.

Faced with the worst Ebola outbreak in history, West African governments have struggled to find an effective response. More than 1,550 people have died from the hemorrhagic fever since it was first detected in the forests of Guinea in March.

Transmitted through the blood, sweat and vomit of the sick, Ebola has spread quickly among health care workers who often lack the equipment to protect themselves from the virus.

Ishmael Mehemoh, chief supervisor at the Kenema clinic in eastern Sierra Leone, said the facility has only one stretcher. He said the stretcher, which is broken, is used to carry both patients and corpses, raising the risk of infection.

In a further sign of strained resources, nurses and members of the burial team at Kenema said the government had stopped paying their wages of $50 a week.

There is only one other Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone in Kailahun, and the World Health Organization shut the laboratory there this week and withdrew staff after one of its health workers caught the virus there.

So far more than 120 healthworkers have died from the virus across the region. In Kenema alone, 26 staff members have already died from Ebola following the death of physician Dr. Sahr Rogers.

"It is with a deep sense of sadness that we have lost one of our finest physicians in the line of duty at a time like when we need a lot of them to help in out fight against Ebola," said Sierra Leone's new health minister Abubakarr Fofana on Saturday.

His predecessor Miatta Kargbo was sacked the previous day over her handling of the Ebola outbreak.

Source:Reuters

South African Man Dead After Orange Pelting Tags: News South Africa Crime Local

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa South African police say two men are suspected of killing a farm worker by pelting him with oranges.

Citing witness accounts, police Lieutenant Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said Thursday that the suspects allegedly argued with the man, then collected oranges and began hurling them at him.

Ngoepe says the man was declared dead at the scene and that he had no "visible injury," suggesting he may have suffered blunt trauma. Police and prosecutors are awaiting the results of an autopsy.

The suspects were detained Tuesday and later released pending formal charges, which could include murder.

The assault happened near Tzaneen, a town in Limpopo province in northern South Africa.

Source: AP

Liberia: Doctor Given Experimental Ebola Drug Dies Tags: Liberia News Ebola West Africa

MONROVIA, Liberia A Liberian doctor who received one of the last known doses of an experimental Ebola drug has died, officials said Monday. Separately, Canada said it has yet to send out an untested vaccine that the government is donating.

Ebola has left more than 1,400 people dead across West Africa, underscoring the urgency for developing potential ways to stop and treat the disease. However, health experts warn these drugs and vaccines have not undergone the rigorous testing that usually takes place before they are used.

The experimental vaccines are at still at a Canadian laboratory, said Patrick Gaebel, spokesman for the Public Health Agency of Canada, who declined to speculate how many weeks it could be before those are given to volunteers.

"We are now working with the (World Health Organization) to address complex regulatory, logistical and ethical issues so that the vaccine can be safely and ethically deployed as rapidly as possible," Gaebel said.

Earlier this month, Canada said it would donate 800 to 1,000 doses of an Ebola vaccine that it developed. Likely candidates include health care workers treating Ebola patients.

The experimental drug known as ZMapp has been tried in only six people. Health experts caution that since ZMapp was never tested in humans, it is unclear whether it works. The small supply is now said to be exhausted and it is expected to be months before more can be produced.

Dr. Abraham Borbor, the deputy chief medical doctor at Liberia's largest hospital, had received ZMapp, along with two other Liberians. He "was showing signs of improvement but yesterday he took a turn for the worse," and died Sunday, Information Minister Lewis Brown told The Associated Press.

There was no update provided Monday on the other two Liberians who received the drug.

Earlier, it had been given to two Americans aid workers and a Spanish missionary priest, who died after he left Liberia. After receiving rigorous medical care in the U.S., the Americans survived the virus that has killed about half of its victims.

Ebola can cause a grisly death with bleeding from the eyes, mouth and ears. The virus can only be transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of the sick or from touching victims' bodies, leaving doctors and other health care workers most vulnerable to contracting it.

International relief efforts have included shipments of gloves, gowns, face masks and other protective equipment, although it's not clear how many have reached health workers struggling to contain the epidemic in West Africa, where even such basics as sterile fluids can be in short supply.

But just getting enough gear isn't the whole story: Health workers can infect themselves while taking off contaminated equipment if they don't do it properly, a trio of infectious disease experts wrote Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine.

"The physical exhaustion and emotional fatigue that come with caring for patients infected with Ebola may further increase the chance of an inadvertent exposure to bodily fluids on the outside of the" personal protective equipment, wrote Dr. William A. Fisher II of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, along with Drs. Trish Perl and Noreen Hynes of Johns Hopkins University.

"In addition, the impulse to wipe away sweat in the ever-present hot, humid environment" after taking off some gear, and before washing up, could be enough, they added.

Meanwhile, the family of 29-year-old William Pooley, the first British citizen confirmed to be infected with Ebola, said he is receiving excellent care at an isolation ward in London's Royal Free Hospital after being evacuated from the capital of Sierra Leone.

"We could not ask for him to be in a better place," they said in a statement.

Pooley, a volunteer nurse, was flown back to Britain from Sierra Leone where he was working at an Ebola treatment center.

The WHO is also in the process of trying to evacuate a Senegalese doctor who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, said WHO Assistant Director General, Dr. Keiji Fukada on Monday.
The U.N. on Monday also spoke out against the limitations placed on flights into and out of the affected countries, saying they are slowing aid organizations' work in sending personnel and equipment and contributing to the countries' "economic and diplomatic isolation."

"We shouldn't do anything that stokes fear and stigmatization," Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, told reporters.

On Monday, Japan also said it is ready to provide a newly developed anti-influenza drug as a possible treatment Ebola. The drug, with the brand name Avigan, was developed by Fujifilm subsidiary Toyama Chemical Co. to treat new and re-emerging influenza viruses, and has not been proven to be effective against Ebola.

Ebola Hits Fifth West African State -Senegal Confirms First Case Tags: West African Ebola Senegal Health

The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal.

The case marks the first time a new country has been hit by the outbreak since July and comes a day after the World Health Organization warned the number of infections was increasing rapidly.

Scientists meanwhile said the first human trials of a potential vaccine would start next week using a product made by pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline and the US government.

On Friday, scientists writing in the journal Nature said 18 lab monkeys given high doses of the Ebola virus fully recovered after being given the prototype drug ZMapp, which reversed bleeding in the animals.

ZMapp has been given to a handful of frontline health workers who have contracted Ebola, two of whom have recovered, and two of whom have died. Three others are still receiving the treatment.

Senegal's health ministry said the country's first Ebola patient was a young Guinean man who was immediately quarantined at a Dakar hospital, where he was in a "satisfactory condition".

The man is believed to have been infected in Guinea's capital Conakry, and may have travelled to Senegal before Dakar closed its land border with Guinea on August 21.

Authorities are now scrabbling to piece together where he went and who he encountered, in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

New figures released by the WHO on Thursday revealed the massive scale of the crisis, which it said indicated a "rapid increase still in the intensity of transmission" that could cost at least $490 million (370 million euros) to tackle.

In a sign that affected countries are struggling to stop its spread, the UN agency said the number of cases could exceed 20,000 before the epidemic is brought under control.

Under surveillance

Never before has there been an Ebola outbreak so large, nor has the virus -- which was first detected in 1976 -- ever infected people in West Africa until now.

As of August 26, 1,552 people had been confirmed dead from Ebola in four countries -- Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

Liberia was the worst affected with 694 deaths; 422 people have died in Sierra Leone; and 430 in Guinea, where the virus emerged at the start of the year. Nigeria has now recorded six deaths.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has also confirmed two cases of Ebola, but officials there insist it is unconnected to the current outbreak in West Africa.

Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma on Friday sacked health minister Miatta Kargbo.

A presidential statement read on state television said the decision was made "in order to create a conducive environment for more efficient and effective handling of the Ebola outbreak."

Nigeria's latest death -- in the southeastern oil city of Port Harcourt -- was the first outside its biggest city, Lagos, and dashed hopes that the country had successfully contained the virus.

The victim, a doctor named Ikyke Samuel Enuemo, is believed to have caught the virus from a patient he treated who travelled to the city after coming into contact with an infected Liberian-American man.

Some 160 people are now under surveillance in Port Harcourt following the doctor's death, the local government said on Friday.

Meanwhile a curfew was imposed in N'Zerekore, Guinea's second-largest city, a day after 20 people were injured during a protest by market stall holders against a team of health workers sent, without notice, to spray their market with disinfectant.

A shield around the region

In a bid to stop the spread of the virus, many African governments have sought to ringfence Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

But member states of the West African regional bloc ECOWAS complained Thursday that some of the security measures taken by other countries, including travel bans, had unfairly hit the region.

A number of airlines, including Air France and British Airways, have suspended their services to Freetown and Monrovia, the capitals of Sierra Leone and Liberia respectively.

Bruce Aylward, the WHO's head of emergency programmes, said it was "absolutely vital" that airlines resume flights because bans were hindering the emergency response.

The outbreak has also caused sporting chaos, with Sierra Leone having to field all players for the qualifying games for the African Cup of Nations from outside the country over a growing quarantine.

Morocco, which will host the tournament next year, said on Friday it was launching a national commission tasked with drawing up a health plan to deal with the risk from Ebola.

Source: AFP

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