'Ebola outbreaks in Nigeria, Senegal, appear contained'

2014-10-01 10:17
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Chicago - Efforts to contain the Ebola outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal appear to have succeeded, even as the virus continues to spread in the hardest-hit West African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, US and African health officials said on Tuesday.

In Nigeria, no new cases of Ebola have occurred since 31 August, "suggesting that the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria might have been contained", according to one of three reports released on Tuesday by the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Senegal, healthcare workers have contained Ebola after a single case was confirmed on 29 August. The man has since recovered.

The smaller outbreaks in both countries started when infected travellers crossed borders after the Ebola outbreak in West Africa had begun to raise alarms among public health experts.

 At least 3 091 people have died from Ebola since the West African outbreak was first reported in the remote southeast forest region of Guinea in March.

The first case in Nigeria was a traveller exposed to Ebola in Liberia, who flew by commercial airline to Lagos on 20 July, where he was immediately transported to a private hospital with symptoms of fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Face to face visits

When the case was discovered in Africa's largest city, Nigeria declared an Ebola emergency and quickly established a National Ebola Emergency Operations Center that helped streamline and co-ordinate the tracing of contacts of Ebola patients.

As of 24 September, healthcare personnel identified a total of 19 laboratory-confirmed Ebola cases and one probable case, as well as 894 contacts with those patients. In addition, contact tracers conducted 18 500 face-to-face visits checking for signs of Ebola symptoms. No new cases have emerged.

The first confirmed case in Senegal occurred in August in a 21-year-old Guinean man who traveled from his home in Guinea to Dakar to visit family.

Medical personnel learned of the man's possible exposure from Guinean health authorities after his mother and sister had been admitted to an Ebola unit on 26 August and identified the young man as a contact.

 All three were likely exposed when preparing the body of the patient's brother - who died of Ebola in Guinea on 10 August  - for burial.

Senegalese health workers identified a total of 67 contacts of the patient. All were monitored for Ebola for 21 days with no further Ebola cases. The patient recovered and was released on September 19.

The reports were written by experts at the CDC, as well as contributors in Africa and international health partners.

Read more on:    senegal  |  guinea  |  sierra leone  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  health  |  ebola

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