Ebola Breakout: US Forewarns that Ebola May infect 1.4 million people
Ebola Breakout: Our Government Asks CDC for $30 Million for Ebola
UPDATE on Sept. 28, 2014:
U.S. health officials Tuesday laid out worst-case and best-case scenarios for the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, warning that the number of infected people could explode to at least 1.4 million by mid-January – or peak well below that, if efforts to control the outbreak are ramped up.
The widely varying projections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were based on conditions in late August and do not take into account a recent international surge in medical aid for the stricken region. That burst has given health authorities reason for some optimism.
“I’m confident the most dire projections are not going to come to pass,” CDC chief Dr. Tom Frieden said in releasing the report.
About 5,800 illnesses and over 2,800 deaths have been counted since the first cases were reported six months ago. But international health authorities have warned that the crisis is probably far worse in reality, with many corpses and infected people hidden or unreported.
The CDC, for example, estimated that the real number of cases, reported and unreported, could reach 21,000 by Sept. 30 in just two of the hardest-hit countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In its worst-case scenario, the CDC said the number of illnesses in those nations could hit 1.4 million by Jan. 20.
But the CDC also said that the epidemic in both countries could be almost ended by Jan. 20, by aggressively isolating the sick, either in hospitals or at home, and by taking steps to reduce the spread of the disease during burials.
“A surge now can break the back of the epidemic,” Frieden said.
UPDATE on Sept. 7, 2014:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House on Friday sent Congress a request for $30 million to pay for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s efforts to help contain the Ebola outbreak in western Africa.
The administration wants the money added to a spending bill to keep government agencies running until mid-December and comes on top of $58 million it requested above current levels to speed the production of promising drugs to fight the deadly disease.
The White House is also seeking additional flexibility for the Homeland Security Department to cope with the thousands of unaccompanied Central American children still arriving at the southern border.
Meanwhile, it’s also telling lawmakers that it wants to include extending the charter of the Export-Import Bank in a must-do temporary spending bill that’s required to prevent a government shutdown at the end of the month. The bank helps foreign buyers purchase U.S. exports.
UPDATE on Sept. 6, 2014:
International medical agency Medecins sans Frontieres said the world was “losing the battle” to contain Ebola as the United Nations warned of severe food shortages in the hardest-hit countries.
MSF told a UN briefing in New York that world leaders were failing to address the epidemic and called for an urgent global biological disaster response to get aid and personnel to west Africa.
“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it. Leaders are failing to come to grips with this transnational threat,” said MSF international president Joanne Liu.
“The (World Health Organization) announcement on August 8 that the epidemic constituted a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ has not led to decisive action, and states have essentially
joined a global coalition of inaction.”
Her comments came as a third American health worker tested positive for the deadly virus while working with patients in Liberia, the worst-hit country.
“My heart was deeply saddened, but my faith was not shaken, when I learned another of our missionary doctors contracted Ebola,” said Bruce Johnson, president of the SIM Christian missionary group for whom the unnamed American worked.
Two fellow US health workers who worked at the same ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia were previously flown home and successfully treated for the virus.
Unlike the others, the latest US victim had not been working directly with Ebola patients, and it is not yet clear how he caught the disease, which is usually fatal.
UPDATE on Sept. 3, 2014:
Japan said Monday it is ready to provide a Japanese-developed anti-influenza drug as a possible treatment for the rapidly expanding Ebola outbreak.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters that Japan can offer favipiravir, developed by a subsidiary of Fujifilm Holdings Corp., at any time at the request of the World Health Organization.
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.
Favipiravir was approved by Japan’s health ministry in March for use against influenza. Fujifilm is in talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, through a U.S. partner, Medivector, to prepare for clinical testing of the drug in treating Ebola, company spokesman Takao Aoki said.
He said Ebola and influenza viruses are the same general type, and a similar response can theoretically be expected from Ebola.
Favipiravir inhibits viral gene replication within infected cells to prevent propagation, while other anti-viral drugs often are designed to inhibit the release of new viral particles to prevent the spread of infection, the company said.
The company has enough stock of favipiravir for more than 20,000 patients, Aoki said.
Suga, the Cabinet spokesman, said Japan is watching for a decision by WHO that would provide more details on the use of untested drugs against Ebola. In case of an emergency, Japan may respond to individual requests before any further decision by WHO, he said.
Source Associated Press
UPDATE on August 19, 2014:
Africans seeking a drug to help contain the Ebola virus will have to wait months before a potentially life-saving experimental treatment used on two infected Americans is produced even in small amounts, officials said.
And there are no guarantees that the medication known as ZMapp would help curb the spread of the dreaded disease, which starts with a fever and body aches and sometimes progresses to serious bleeding. Supplies of the drug are limited. It has never been tested for safety or effectiveness in humans.
Some people in other affected countries questioned why the medicine has not been offered to infected Africans.
Anthony Kamara, a 27-year-old man riding a bicycle in Freetown, Sierra Leone, said “Americans are very selfish. They only care about the lives of themselves and no one else.”
He referred to ZMapp as “the miracle serum” that the U.S. has “refused to share with us to save African lives.”
The lack of wider availability “shows simply that white patients and black patients do not have the same value in the eyes of world medicine,” said Nouridine Sow, a sociology professor at the Universal Institute of Guinea.
But testing an unproven drug on a large population carries risks. Earlier this week, the CDC director emphasized that it’s impossible to know whether ZMapp helped the sick American aid workers.
“Until we do a study, we don’t know if it helps, if it hurts or if it doesn’t make any difference,” Tom Frieden told a health symposium in Kentucky.
Newest Ebola Breakout Victim, Nigerian Nurse Dead and 5 Others Infected
This Ebola breakout is truly becoming an epidemic. There’s a Nigerian nurse has become the second person to die of the Ebola virus in Africa’s most populous nation, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said.
News reports stated:
The nurse had helped treat Liberian government worker Patrick Sawyer, who fell ill from the virus after arriving on a flight to the commercial capital, Lagos. He was taken to a hospital in the city and died five days later on July 25.
Nigeria has five other confirmed cases of Ebola in Lagos, Chukwu said in a statement handed to reporters today in Abuja, the capital of Africa’s biggest economy.
“We are making arrangements to procure isolation tents to quicken the pace of providing isolation wards in all the states of the federation,” Chukwu said. Nigeria is also planning to recruit more health workers in its efforts to control the spread of the hemorrhagic fever in Lagos, he said.
Nigeria may try to consider obtaining some experimental Ebola therapies given to two Americans who contracted the disease in Liberia, Jide Idris, Lagos’s health commissioner, said yesterday.
The most recent incidents of Ebola virus breakouts have killed 887 people, according to the World Health Organization. Most of the cases are in neighboring Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, on West Africa’s Atlantic coast. Nigeria, a $500 billion economy and Africa’s top oil producer, doesn’t share a border with any of those countries.