Add Nigeria to Ebola outbreak list

From ABC News:

Nigerian health authorities raced to stop the spread of Ebola on Saturday after a man sick with one of the world’s deadliest diseases brought it by plane to Lagos, Africa’s largest city with 21 million people.

The fact that the traveler from Liberia could board an international flight also raised new fears that other passengers could take the disease beyond Africa due to weak inspection of passengers and the fact Ebola’s symptoms are similar to other diseases.

Officials in the country of Togo, where the sick man’s flight had a stopover, also went on high alert after learning that Ebola could possibly have spread to a fifth country.

Reportedly, the traveler did not show any signs of Ebola infection when he first boarded the flight.  By the time he reached Lagos, he was suffering from diarrhea and vomiting.  I’m not sure how long the flights were, but the close proximity of the countries would suggest that his symptoms progressed quite rapidly.  That, or his symptoms were ignored when he first boarded the flight.  The traveler was identified as Patrick Sawyer, a consultant for the Liberian Ministry of Finance.

I posted about this outbreak before as it’s the largest outbreak ever.  It was initially confined within three countries in a regional outbreak.  Now, there are two additional countries, Nigeria and Togo, that are on alert and looking for cases.  In addition, two US citizens have been infected with the virus while working to help contain and treat the outbreak in Liberia.  Both people work in the medical field, and that field has a significant risk due to the proximity of infected persons.

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3 thoughts on “Add Nigeria to Ebola outbreak list

  1. My understanding is that most strains of Ebola do indeed progress rapidly, and that that has contributed to containing previous outbreaks. In short, if Ebola kills its victims swiftly and outbreaks are generally confined to rural areas with poor transportation links, then the victims will generally die without medical help. Then again, only people in those isolated rural areas are likely to be exposed, which limits the spread of Ebola. That said, people being exposed in a city like Lagos (possibly the most populated city in the whole of Africa) is a complete game-changer.

    I checked on flights, and there’s a Togolese airline (ASKY) that can do Monrovia (Liberia) – Lome (Togo) – Lagos (Nigeria) in about 6.5 hours, or about 7.5 if you’re going to the Nigerian capital of Abuja instead. Lome appears to be the hub (like Atlanta is for Delta) and ASKY looks to be a pretty modern airline, with Boeing and Bombardier aircraft in their fleet. Don’t know if that’s the airline involved here, but from a speed and convenience standpoint, IMO they’d be a good choice. Plus, they offer Business Class seating, so drinkies. 🙂

    http://www.flyasky.com/asky/en/Flights/Network/ASKY-s-Network-56.aspx

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  2. There’s a really scary book called “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston. It deals with an incident in the 1980s in which Ebola got loose in a lab in Ft. Detrick, MD. The virus apparently mutated into an aerosolized form and infected monkeys who hadn’t been in an area where they could be exposed. The lab shut down, destroyed virus samples, killed all the monkeys, quarantined staff, and disinfected everything. Not long afterwards, some animals in Reston, VA — squirrels, I think — we’re found to be infected with a variant of the virus. The incident inspired the movie “Outbreak.”

    This is a horrible virus and there’s always the potential for a worldwide epidemic. Plague killed half the population of some areas of medieval Europe. Ebola could do the same in today’s world.

    In other news, I haven’t been blogging a whole lot this summer. I apologize for not giving your posts the attention they deserve. I decided to retire, and somehow my mind has been on other things than blogs!

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    • I’ve never heard of that book. I’ll have to check it out as I love to read. I didn’t think much about things happening like in the movie “Outbreak”. However, I see things a bit differently now because of where I work.

      I’ve been watching this kinda closely, and I see people from the CDC on the regular. They’re probably used to me asking them about the latest news. The Nigeria case worries me a bit because we have a daily direct flight from Lagos to Atlanta. We used to have one from Liberia, but they cut it a while back.

      I hope they can keep it contained and get a handle on it pretty soon. There was one case where a family snatched a lady from one of the hospitals and was missing for a while. The authorities in Sierra Leone found her, but she’s since died. There’s no way of knowing who’s getting infected when they can’t be quarantined

      Congrats on the retirement, and I’m not offended at all that you’re spending time on other things. I may eventually become scarce at the AJC, but I’ll be here for a while. My posting got sporadic for a while here because things were getting busy for me..

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