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Hiding Ebola patients now a crime in Sierra Leone

Anyone convicted of hiding Ebola victims in Sierra Leone will go to jail for two years, after parliament passed legislation making the act a crime. The government says it's trying to prevent the virus from spreading. Sierra Leonean lawmakers said the law, which passed parliament on Friday, was required because some families had resisted seeking medical treatment for their relatives. The law is an update to Sierra Leone's 1960 Public Health Act, and includes prison terms of two years for violators. "The amendment is needed at this time taking into account that when the 1960 ordinance was drafted and passed into law, a disease such as Ebola did not exist," said Justice Minister Frank Kargbo. The amendment now must be signed into law by President Ernest Bai Koroma. Hard hit Sierra Leone has been hit hard by the Ebola outbreak, the deadliest ever, infecting at least 910 people and killing at least 392 since March. A total of 2,615 infections and 1,427 deaths have been recorded across West Africa, including in Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria. Liberia has seen the most deaths, at more than 600, with the disease confirmed in all regions of the country. The UN health agency said on Friday that the overall death toll has been underestimated because some families are uncooperative with authorities and hide patients, fearing the stigma that comes with a positive diagnosis. Ivorian border closures, Philippines repatriates UN troops The Ivory Coast announced it had closed its borders with Guinea and Liberia to protect its citizens. It follows similar moves earlier in the week by Senegal, which shut down its border with Guinea. South Africa announced it would screen screen travelers returning from the countries hit by the virus. Ivory Coast Prime Minister Daniel Kaban Duncan said the closure was implemented on Friday "to protect all people, including foreigners, living on Ivorian territory." On Saturday, the Philippines announced it would repatriate over 100 Filipino UN troops serving in Liberia because of the increasing health risk. Officials from the World Health Organization estimate it will be six to nine months before the epidemic is brought to a halt.

Anyone convicted of hiding Ebola victims in Sierra Leone will go to jail for two years, after parliament passed legislation making the act a crime. The government says it’s trying to prevent the virus from spreading. Sierra Leonean lawmakers said the law, which passed parliament on Friday, was required because some families had resisted seeking medical treatment for their relatives. ... Read More »

Berlin doctor accused of queue-jumping in heart transplants

A cardiologist at the Berlin Heart Center has been accused of giving preference to some heart transplant patients. Some were given extra doses of drugs to change their status on the transplantation list. A senior surgeon at the German Heart Center in Berlin allegedly increased the doses of a cardiac drug for 28 patients from 2010 to 2012 so that they could meet the criteria for an earlier transplant. The medicine contained a substance called catecholamine which boosts heart function and could induce symptoms of severe heart problems. As a result, the patients’ health was made to be much worse than it really was in order to make it easier for them to jump the queue. Martin Steltner, prosecutor in the case said that police were trying to find out whether another patient’s life had been put at risk because of queue-jumping. This could lead to the Berlin Heart Center’s doctor being tried for attempted manslaughter. No other cardiologists have been identified as suspects. The Berlin Heart Center conducts nearly 100 heart transplants every year and patients have to wait in line to receive a new organ. The German government operates a nationwide list for organ transplants which has around 10,700 patients currently waiting for an organ donation. A scoring system determines which patient is next in line and helps prevent richer people from getting transplants before poor patients do. Most liver, kidney and heart transplantations in Germany are dependent on donors since the government does not allow sale or purchase of transplanted organs. However, A similar scandal took place in 2012 when health specialists were accused of jumping queues for liver transplants. Doctors blame such events for a decline in healthy donors’ willingness to donate.

A cardiologist at the Berlin Heart Center has been accused of giving preference to some heart transplant patients. Some were given extra doses of drugs to change their status on the transplantation list. A senior surgeon at the German Heart Center in Berlin allegedly increased the doses of a cardiac drug for 28 patients from 2010 to 2012 so that ... Read More »

Two American aid workers treated for Ebola released from hospital

ایبولا وائرس کے شکار ایک امریکی ڈاکٹر کو صحت یابی کے بعد ہسپتال سے فارغ کر دیا گیا ہے۔ انہوں نے اسے ایک ’معجزاتی دِن‘ قرار دیتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ خود کو زندہ پا کر وہ انتہائی پرجوش ہیں۔ تینتیس سالہ امریکی ڈاکٹر کینٹ برینٹلی کو ایبولا وائرس میں مبتلا ہونے پر تین ہفتے قبل لائبیریا سے امریکا منتقل کیا گیا تھا۔ جمعرات 21 اگست کو انہیں مکمل صحت یاب قرار دے کر اٹلانٹا کے ایک ہسپتال سے فارغ کر دیا گیا۔ ان کی ہسپتال سے چھٹی کے موقع پر جشن کا سا سماں تھا۔ خبر رساں ادارے اے پی کے مطابق اس موقع پر ڈاکٹر برینٹلی نے گرمجوشی سے ڈاکٹروں اور نرسوں کو گلے لگایا اور دُنیا کو یہ دکھا دیا کہ وائرس کا شکار بننے کے ایک ماہ بعد اب وہ کسی کے لیے کوئی خطرہ نہیں ہیں۔ ڈاکٹر برینٹلی کی ایک ساتھی 59 سالہ طبی مشنری نینسی رِٹبول کو دو روز قبل خاموشی سے ڈسچارج کر دیا گیا تھا۔ ان کا علاج کرنے والی ٹیم کے رکن ڈاکٹر بروس رِبنیر کا کہنا ہے کہ دونوں کمزور ہو گئے ہیں لیکن وہ مکمل طور پر توانا ہو جائیں گے۔ انہوں نے کہا کہ کسی کو ان دونوں سے خوف کھانے کی ضرورت نہیں ہے۔ ڈاکٹر رِبنیر اٹلانٹا میں ایموری یونیورسٹی ہسپتال میں وبائی امراض کا ایک یونٹ چلاتے ہیں۔ صحت یابی کے بعد ڈاکٹر برینٹلی نے ایک نیوز کانفرنس میں ایک تحریری بیان پڑھتے ہوئے کہا: ’’میں خود کو زندہ اور تندرست پا کر اور واپس اپنے خاندان میں آکر بہت ہی پرجوش ہوں۔‘‘ اس موقع پر ان کی آواز جذبات سے بھرپور تھی اور ایسا محسوس ہو رہا تھا جیسے وہ بول نہ پا رہے ہوں۔ ڈاکٹر برینٹلی اور رِٹبول لائبیریا میں اپنی فلاحی تنظیم سماریٹن پرس اینڈ سِم کے لیے کام کر رہے تھے۔ ان دونوں کو ایبولا کی تجرباتی دوادی گئی تھی۔ اس دوا کی دنیا بھر میں پانچ ہی خوراکیں دستیاب تھیں۔ لائبیریا سے امریکا منتقلی سے قبل انہیں ایک ہی خوراک آدھی آدھی دی گئی تھی۔ دیگر چار خوراکیں بعد ازاں اسپین کے ایک مسیحی رہنما اور افریقہ میں تین ڈاکٹروں کو دی گئیں۔ ہسپانوی شہری کا بعد میں انتقال ہو گیا تھا جبکہ افریقی ڈاکٹروں کی حالت بہتر ہو رہی ہے۔ جمعرات کی نیوز کانفرنس میں برینٹلی نے صحافیوں کو سوالات کرنے کی دعوت نہیں دی۔ تاہم انہوں نے ایبولا میں مبتلا ہونے کے بعد زندگی کے تجربے پر بات کرتے ہوئے کہا: ’’لائبیریا میں نو دِن بستر پر رہا، ہر دِن بیمار پڑتا جا رہا تھا، کمزور ہوتا جا رہا۔ اس حالت میں میں نے خدا سے دُعا کی وہ میری مدد کرے تاکہ اس بیماری میں بھی اس کا وفادار رہوں۔‘‘ خیال رہے کہ مغربی افریقی ملکوں میں ایبولا کی وبا پھیلی ہوئی جس کے نتیجے رواں برس مارچ سے اب تک 1350سے زائد افراد ہلاک ہو چکے ہیں۔

Two American aid workers have been sent home to their families after being successfully treated for the Ebola virus. The UN warns the ongoing epidemic could pose a threat to stability in West Africa. A second American aid worker has been released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia after being treated for Ebola. Fifty-nine-year-old Nancy Writebol was discharged Thursday ... Read More »

Monrovia district protests Liberia Ebola quarantine

Protests have broken out in Monrovia after the government quarantined neighborhoods to curb Ebola. On Tuesday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced a nighttime curfew as well as the district quarantines. Residents clashed with police officers who had cordoned off Monrovia's West Point district and its estimated 75,000 people on Wednesday. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had ordered the area quarantined after several Ebola patients who had fled an isolation ward returned. West Point residents had broken into the center Saturday and freed the patients under supervision for signs of the virus. "It has become necessary to impose additional sanctions to curb the spread overall and particularly in those areas of intensity," Johnson Sirleaf said on Tuesday. The lockdown of the neighborhoods also follows reports of dead bodies being dumped on the streets of the capital. In addition, many Liberians continued to doubt the existence of Ebola and disregarded prevention measures, Johnson Sirleaf said. "We have been unable to control the spread due to continued denials, cultural burying practices, disregard for the advice of health workers and disrespect for the warnings by the government," Sirleaf said. Liberia's Ebola death toll stands at 466. It has risen the fastest of the four nations most affected. Nigeria's Ebola death toll has hit five, local newspaper Vanguard reported. Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh is the latest victim, having contracted the virus while treating Liberian government consultant Patrick Sawyer, the first person to die of Ebola in Nigeria. Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu called Adadevoh "one of the primary contacts ... the most senior doctor who participated in the management" of Sawyer. Transmitted through contact with blood and other body fluids, the most lethal strain of Ebola has caused the current outbreak. According to the World Health Organization, 1,229 people have died of Ebola in Libera, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria since it began in March. The WHO says 2,240 people has thus far been diagnosed with the disease.

Protests have broken out in Monrovia after the government quarantined neighborhoods to curb Ebola. On Tuesday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced a nighttime curfew as well as the district quarantines. Residents clashed with police officers who had cordoned off Monrovia’s West Point district and its estimated 75,000 people on Wednesday. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had ordered the area quarantined ... Read More »

Suspected Ebola patients return to Liberia hospital

Seventeen Liberian patients who fled in a raid on the health center where they were being screened for Ebola have returned. The WHO meanwhile raised the toll from the deadly disease past 1,200. The 17 patients turned themselves into a hospital in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, Information Minister Lewis Brown said on Tuesday. The patients, who were being screened for Ebola at a holding center in Monrovia, fled when the facility was ransacked on Saturday night. Their flight raised fears that they might spread the deadly virus further if they were indeed infected. The looters also made off with bloody sheets and mattresses that could possibly spread infection. Their whereabouts remain unknown. None of the patients had been confirmed to have the disease, but were undergoing screening procedures because they were at risk. The gunmen did not believe Ebola was real and objected to people's being kept in the center. Brown said a task force would be formed to explain the risks of the illness to people in the West Point neighborhood surrounding the holding center. World's worst outbreak News of the patients' return comes as the World Health Organization announced that the current outbreak of the disease in western Africa has killed more than 1,200 people since it erupted in December 2013. More than 2,200 had contracted the illness over the past six months, according to latest WHO figures. Liberia is the worst-hit of the four states affected by the current outbreak, recording 53 new deaths between August 14 and 16. Sierra Leone has had 17 fatalities and Guinea 14 in the same time period. Nigeria has four deaths, with 15 new cases of the disease reported by authorities. The outbreak is caused by the most lethal strain of Ebola. The virus causes massive hemorrhages, vomiting, fever and diarrhea. Transmission occurs through contact with blood and other bodily fluids. Suspected case in Germany German news agencies are meanwhile reporting that a 30-year-old woman from Africa has been taken to hospital after exhibiting possible symptoms of Ebola while at a job center in the capital, Berlin. She is being examined at a special quarantine unit at the Charité hospital in Berlin (picture above). So far, no suspected cases of the disease in Germany have been confirmed.

Seventeen Liberian patients who fled in a raid on the health center where they were being screened for Ebola have returned. The WHO meanwhile raised the toll from the deadly disease past 1,200. The 17 patients turned themselves into a hospital in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, Information Minister Lewis Brown said on Tuesday. The patients, who were being screened for ... Read More »

Ebola patients still missing in Liberia

Authorities in Liberia are searching for 17 people who fled an Ebola quarantine center over the weekend. The WHO, meanwhile, has called on Ebola-affected countries to screen travelers. Health officials on Monday combed Monrovia's West Point slum looking for the 17 people who left the medical center set up in a local high school after it was attacked by club-wielding youths on Saturday. There was no word on the whereabouts of any of the victims on the run Monday, but some reports suggested that at least some of them had left the slum entirely. Some of those who raided the facility were reported to have shouted "there is no Ebola," reflecting rumors that the disease is not real and was a piece of fiction made up by the West. Information Minister Lewis Brown said the raid on the center was a severe setback in the battle to get to grips with Ebola and not just because of the 17 missing patients. "All those hooligans who looted the center are now probable carriers of the disease... They took mattresses and bedding that were soaked with fluids from the patients. To quarantine the area could be one of the solutions," Brown told the AFP news agency. Ebola is spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people. Call for exit screening Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has called on the Ebola-affected countries of West Africa to begin screening all passengers leaving through international airports, sea ports or major ground crossings. "There should be no international travel of Ebola contacts or cases, unless the travel is part of an appropriate medical evacuation," a statement released by the United Nations agency said. The current epidemic of the disease in West Africa is the worst since the virus first appeared in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976, having claimed a total of at least 1,145 lives. According to WHO figures released last week, at 413, Liberia's death toll is the highest, followed by Guinea, with 380 deaths and 348 in Sierra Leone.

Authorities in Liberia are searching for 17 people who fled an Ebola quarantine center over the weekend. The WHO, meanwhile, has called on Ebola-affected countries to screen travelers. Health officials on Monday combed Monrovia’s West Point slum looking for the 17 people who left the medical center set up in a local high school after it was attacked by club-wielding ... Read More »

Patients missing after raid on Liberia Ebola clinic

Authorities in Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia, have warned of the spread of Ebola after a local clinic was ransacked. The patients quarantined there left the site and their whereabouts remain unknown. Police in Liberia's capital city had restored order by Sunday afternoon following a raid on a local Ebola clinic. However, they warned that local residents now faced a higher risk of exposure to the deadly virus, as the perpetrators had not only stolen infected items, but had also prompted patients to flee. "They broke down the door and looted the place. The patients have all gone," Rebecca Wesseh, a witness to the incident, told the news agency AFP. A police official speaking to the Associated Press news agency also described the incident, which took place on Saturday evening, as a "looting spree." The circumstances surrounding the break in in the district of West Point remained unclear on Sunday. Witness accounts reported by news agencies suggested that a group of armed young men had attacked the quarantine center, claiming that Ebola was a fiction. According to the Associated Press, the group stole a number of items that had visible signs of contamination, such as blood stains and excrement. AFP reported that 17 patients had fled the scene after the raid on Saturday night. The current outbreak of Ebola has become an international health emergency. In the six months since the first diagnosis of the current outbreak, about 1,145 people have died across Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Officials in Kenya have announced a travel ban on incoming passengers from the West Africa countries hit by the epidemic.

Authorities in Liberia’s capital city, Monrovia, have warned of the spread of Ebola after a local clinic was ransacked. The patients quarantined there left the site and their whereabouts remain unknown. Police in Liberia’s capital city had restored order by Sunday afternoon following a raid on a local Ebola clinic. However, they warned that local residents now faced a higher ... Read More »

Ebola threatens to leave 1 million without food

Ebola threatens to leave 1 million in need of food in west African countries hit by the deadly virus. New fears have arisen after MSF warned the outbreak could last another six months. Ebola, which has claimed the lives of 1,145 people, now threatens to leave 1 million without food, according to the UN World Food Program. Road and port blocks imposed to help quarantine the deadly disease are also leading to soaring prices. As more regional airlines suspend flights to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the current situation is set to rapidly decline. Fruit and vegetables have ceased to arrive in Guinea's capital of Conarky and in neighboring Sierra Leone and Libera, several markets have been closed. As prices for staples such as rice increase by reports of 25 percent, many products from the southeastern Guinea remain unsold as no one wants to buy goods from the infected area. Soaring prices have also hit Liberia after it closed down markets on its borders with neighboring infected countries. Bushmeat hunters are also struggling after losing their livelihoods in the face of the worst ever Ebola outbreak. Some farmers have been forced to cut off their fields as bushmeat can carry the Ebola virus, leaving them unable to pay their rent. On Thursday Ivory Coast also blocked all access of ships from the four Ebola-afflicted countries to its port in Abidjan. Like in 'wartime' The UN World Food Program (WFP), which has already been providing aid to thousands of people, is planning food conveys to send to the impoverished Ebola-stricken countries, as part of a regional emergency operation. "It's a health crisis, but it has impacted food security," said WFP spokeswoman Fabienne Pompey. In Geneva on Friday the medical charity, Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) warned that the widespread outbreak could last another six months. The head of MSF, Joanne Liu said that more experts were needed in the hard-hit region. "It is deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to," Liu told reporters. "Like in a war time, we have a total collapse of infrastructure." Liu said the world community needed to get the "upper hand" over the next six months. At Ebola treatment centers, beds are continuing to fill up with patients faster than health workers can cope with, as scientists around the world race to provide a vaccine.

Ebola threatens to leave 1 million in need of food in west African countries hit by the deadly virus. New fears have arisen after MSF warned the outbreak could last another six months. Ebola, which has claimed the lives of 1,145 people, now threatens to leave 1 million without food, according to the UN World Food Program. Road and port ... Read More »

Nigeria reports new case of Ebola, fears of spread beyond Lagos ease

Nigeria has reported one new case of Ebola, with the disease so far confined to Lagos after concerns were eased slightly that it might have spread. A report of a case in Singapore was said to be a false alarm. The number of new cases of Ebola in Nigeria had risen by one to a total of 11, Nigerian Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said on Thursday, representing an apparent slowing of transmission. The figure includes three deaths, with the eight surviving patients being treated at a specialist isolation hospital in Lagos. "Eight are still alive, more than half of them are doing very well and actually showing signs of recovery... under treatment," Chukwu said. Within the megacity of more than 20 million people, 169 people remain under observation for possible infection - down from 177. The several cases reported in Nigeria were associated with an infected traveler - who later died - arriving there from Liberia. Concerns that a nurse might have transmitted the disease from Lagos to the eastern city of Enugu were eased somewhat. Six people remain under screening for the disease, but so far none has proved positive. The World Health Organization has called the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which has killed more than 1,000 people, an international emergency. Airline stops Africa-bound flights South Korean national carrier Korean Air said it would halt flights to the Kenyan city of Nairobi, in what it said was a precautionary measure to prevent Ebola's spread. Although there have been no cases of Ebola so far in Kenya, the city is Korean Air's only destination in Africa. The airline has a record of taking precautionary measures ahead of other carriers. In Singapore, the Straits Times reported that a woman from Nigeria had been taken into isolation after flying to the country and reporting to a local hospital suffered from a fever. The woman, in her fifties, was discharged after investigations showed she did not have the disease. The disease has so far been reported on a significant scale in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with Germany having urged its citizens not to travel to any of the three countries.

Nigeria has reported one new case of Ebola, with the disease so far confined to Lagos after concerns were eased slightly that it might have spread. A report of a case in Singapore was said to be a false alarm. The number of new cases of Ebola in Nigeria had risen by one to a total of 11, Nigerian Health ... Read More »

Germany urges citizens to leave Ebola-hit nations

The German government has urged nationals to leave three countries in west Africa affected by the Ebola virus. The outbreak has now killed more than 1000 people, including a second prominent physician in Sierra Leone. Following a meeting of a crisis unit working to stem the ongoing Ebola outbreak, Germany on Wednesday updated its travel warnings for the hardest-hit regions. "It was decided that all German nationals who are in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia are called upon to leave due to the still-critical situation," foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer told reporters, adding that German medical personnel needed on the ground were "explicitly exempt." German embassies and consulates in the three countries would remain open, Schäfer also said. This latest outbreak of Ebola, which began in March, is the worst since the deadly and highly contagious virus was discovered in the 1970s. According to figures published Wednesday by the World Health Organization (WHO), 1,069 people have now died. Further deaths Authorities in Sierra Leone announced earlier on Wednesday that a second of its physicians working to stop the spread of the disease had perished. Dr. Modupeh Cole was a senior physician at Connaught Hospital in Freetown. "We are all very, very saddened," the country's chief medical officer Dr. Brima Kargbo said, adding that Cole was a "powerful presence in the country's medical team and has been [...] instrumental in the fight against the Ebola virus." Cole's death follows that of Sierra Leone's leading anti-Ebola expert, Sheik Humarr Khan, who succumbed to the virus a fortnight ago. In Nigeria on Wednesday officials reported the death of government staff member Jatto Asihu Abdulqudira, the third Nigerian to die from Ebola. The 36-year-old, who was working with ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) in Lagos, had been in contact with Nigeria's first Ebola victim, Patrick Sawyer. Nigeria currently has 10 confirmed cases, with more than 100 people under surveillance, and has requested supplies of the experimental drug ZMapp to fight the virus. ZMapp has been used to treat two Americans who are still alive and a Spanish priest who has died. Canadian authorities have also pledged to send an experimental Ebola drug to the WHO, which has approved using experimental drugs against the virus. Travel restrictions Fears over the virus' spread have also led to further travel restrictions, with the Reuters news agency reporting that Guinea-Bissau has closed its border with Guinea.

The German government has urged nationals to leave three countries in west Africa affected by the Ebola virus. The outbreak has now killed more than 1000 people, including a second prominent physician in Sierra Leone. Following a meeting of a crisis unit working to stem the ongoing Ebola outbreak, Germany on Wednesday updated its travel warnings for the hardest-hit regions. ... Read More »

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