Sierra Leone declares a 4-day lockdown from the 18th to the 21st of September 2014. This is in a bid to tackle the Ebola outbreak in the country. The aim of the move is to allow health care workers to isolate new cases and prevent the disease from spreading further. Health workers will be given vaccines in November, after safety checks have been completed.
The CDC is now concerned about the risk of Ebola spreading beyond Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Dr. Skinner, an infectious disease specialist from the organization, says that travelers could unknowingly transfer the deadly virus beyond more international borders. Dr. Rob Dretler, CDC:
We know what to do and can completely isolate them but someone coming home who doesn’t know they are sick and is here a few days and gets sick, that’s the risk.
The World Bank pledges $200m in emergency aid to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra-Leone, in a bid to counter further spread of the deadly virus. Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, says that he is ” deeply saddened” by the progress of the epidemic thus far. The funds will be used to undertake numerous relief activities including providing medical supplies, paying staff and driving a campaign that will contain the epidemic.Yong Kim:
I have been monitoring (Ebola’s) deadly impact around the clock and I’m deeply saddened at how it has ravaged health workers, families and communities, disrupted normal life and has led to a breakdown of already weak health systems in the three countries.
Writebol, the second American who contracted Ebola while working with a missionary group in Liberia, is airlifted to Emory hospital in Atlanta for treatment. The aid worker, 59, is the second American to be flown into the US for treatment. David Writebol:
Now we have a real reason to be hopeful.
Nigeria declares a State of Emergency after seven cases of Ebola are confirmed in the country after a man arriving from Liberia fell sick. Two of the confirmed cases die while several people who have come into contact with the man are under surveillance.
Sierra Leone has voted to pass an amendment to its Health Act whereby people caught hiding Ebola patients could face possible jail time of up to two years. The amendment still needs to go for presidential approval. The country has been hit hard by the current outbreak with at least 392 deaths and 910 cases recorded.
Sierra Leone majority leader Ibrahim Bundu:
[Sierra Leone has suffered] abandonment and isolation from those we viewed to be our biggest friends in the region and beyond. These ugly developments are evidenced in the cancellations of flights, closing of borders, reduction of operational hours of banks and further isolation by shutting down businesses at the time of greatest need.
He said lawmakers would soon review the country’s partnerships “so as to form a permanent record of who are true friends are.”
Eight healthcare workers are being sent home due to Ebola exposure from S.D. Cooper Hospital in Monrovia. They will be under heavy observation for 21 days. This number still remains far lower than last year when the West African nation had the worst outbreak in history. To this date, Liberia reports 3,900 Ebola deaths according to the World Health Organization. Assistant Health Minister for the country, Nyenswah states:
You cannot be under observation and then at the same time go to work to expose people. No way.
An experimental antiviral drug, called favipiravir, is still in early stages in West Africa, and too few people have been treated to really know whether the drug helps shows some promise in the fight against Ebola in West Africa. It is only effective, however, if patients get it early. The survival rate of 85% in the ones who have received it is encouraging. European Commission for Research Moedas:
If these results are confirmed by the ongoing clinical trial, it will be the first-ever treatment to be deployed against this deadly disease during the current outbreak.
A 28 page report by a panel led by Dame Stocking says the World Health Organisation unable to handle public health emergencies judging from its performance in the Ebola epidemic. The report suggests fault in WHO’s financial preparedness, reliance on diplomacy, and lack of decisive actions by director general Chan. Furthermore, the report recommends regional and country representatives to play a more active role in pushing their governments to take immediate action to epidemics; this is in response to WHO’s delayed declaration of an Ebola crisis only after the death of 1,000 people.
WHO does not currently possess the capacity or organisational culture to deliver a full emergency public health response.
WHO accepts the report’s criticism and prepares improvements to its workforce and financial reserves. Medecins Sans Frontieres Dr. Liu:
The question is how will this translate into real action on the ground in future outbreaks?
Ebola returns to Liberia with five recent cases of the disease. Sequencing data show the virus is genetically similar to the past Ebola outbreak. WHO conducts further tests to see if people unknowingly had the virus and explores other possibilities such as sexual transmission.
There are a considerable number of survivors. And we also know that it persists in certain bodily fluids, and that it can subsist for at least six months.
Cafferkey returns to hospital for a third time after contracting the virus initially two years ago. She is being treated at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University hospital. NHS spokesperson:
Under routine monitoring by the Infectious Diseases Unit, Pauline Cafferkey has been admitted to hospital for further investigations.