COUNTDOWN TO GLOBAL INFECTION: Hunt is on for 30,000 Ebola carriers worldwide
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/31/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
With the death of 40-year-old Patrick Sawyer, an American who contracted Ebola while caring for his sister with the virus, the hunt is on for people who may have been in contact. Officials hope to head of the deadly virus off at the pass - before it is too late.
The father of three, Patrick Sawyer became the first American to die from the Ebola virus.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Health officials wanted to trace only a few hundred passengers on two planes which had carried Sawyer.
Cabinet ministers held an emergency Cobra meeting in London and the search has now widened to find up to 30,000 people who could be hosting the organism which kills 90 percent of its victims.
The list includes anyone at one of four airports visited Sawyer, and those in contact with him in Nigeria's capital of Lagos -- home to 17 million, where he died five days ago.
"This is the worst Ebola outbreak the world has ever seen," Mike Noyes, of Action Aid, said. "The most worrying thing is not just the numbers of people dying, but how long it is going on for.
"Most outbreaks last six weeks to two months. This one began in February and is speeding up.
"If anyone could answer the question 'Why?' we might be able to stop it. Instead, the reach of the spider web of infection is growing."
The task at hand is daunting, if not impossible. "We're actually looking at contacting over 30,000 people," Nigeria's Special Advisor on Public Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina says.
A total of 672 have so far been killed in the outbreak which has spread across four borders in Western Africa. A team of public health experts plus millions of dollars in emergency aid has been sent.
Several airlines have now stopped flying to Liberia and Sierra Leone over concerns about the spread of the disease from Guinea.
Global medical charity Doctors Without Borders has warned the crisis is "unprecedented, absolutely out of control."
Bart Janssens, the charity's director of operations, warned there was no overarching vision of how to tackle Ebola. "This epidemic can only get worse, because it is still spreading in some key hotspots," he said.
"We are extremely worried by the turn of events, particularly where there is a lack of visibility of the epidemic. If the situation does not improve quickly, there is a risk of new countries being affected.
"It is difficult to predict, because we have never known such an epidemic."
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