US tries to calm fears as Ebola virus spreads

2014-07-29 04:25:11 | Al Muslim News
US tries to calm fears as Ebola virus spreads


US health officials are monitoring the Ebola outbreak in Africa but say the risk of the deadly disease spreading to the US is remote. The Centres for Disease Control on Monday sent a health alert to US doctors about the outbreak. There are no travel restrictions to the West Africa region hit by the disease, The Associated Press reported. But last month, the CDC issued a mid-level travel advisory for health workers. Susan Rice, US national security adviser, said in a televised interview on Monday the outbreak was of "grave concern".We are very much present and active in trying to help the countries of the region and the international authorities like the World Health Organisation address and contain this threat. But it is indeed a very worrying epidemic," Rice told MSNBC News. Two American aid workers in Liberia have contracted the Ebola virus and it has killed the Liberian husband of an American woman who said he could have easily brought the disease home to the US. The family of Patrick Sawyer, who died on July 24, recently returned to the US for a visit. The CDC said they were not affected. Officials stressed people are not contagious until they show symptoms, and the Sawyer's family left Liberia days before he fell ill. Sawyer, a consultant for Liberia's Finance Ministry in his 40s, collapsed on arrival at Lagos airport. He was put in isolation at the First Consultants Hospital in Obalende, one of the most crowded parts of a city that is home to 21 million people. Nigeria on alert Lagos shut and quarantined the hospital where he died, the first recorded case of the highly-infectious disease in Nigeria. "The private hospital was demobilised [evacuated] and the primary source of infection eliminated. The decontamination process in all the affected areas has commenced," Jide Idris, Lagos state health commissioner, said. He said the hospital would be closed for a week and staff would be closely monitored. Accoring to the Lagos state Health Ministry, authorities were monitoring 59 people who were in contact with Sawyer, including at the airport - although the ministry said the airline had yet to provide a passenger list for the flights Sawyer used. Derek Gatherer, a virologist at Britain's University of Lancaster, said anyone on the plane near Sawyer could be in "pretty serious danger", but that Nigeria was better placed to tackle the outbreak than its neighbours. "Nigerians have deep pockets and they can do as much as any Western country could do if they have the motivation and organisation to get it done," he said. Nigeria's largest air carrier, Arik Air, has suspended flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the Ebola risk, Ola Adebanji, the airline's spokesman, said in an email on Monday. Ebola has killed 672 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since it was first diagnosed in February. The fatality rate of the current outbreak is around 60 percent although the disease can kill up to 90 percent of those who catch it. Highly contagious, its symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and internal and external bleeding..

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