With over 932 dead, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued its highest level alert for an all-hands on deck response to the crisis in West Africa (that is spreading across the world). While President Obama proclaimed we are prepared and itis "not easily transmitted," it appears that is not entirely true. Meanwhile, CDC Director Frieden's "deep concerns" have been confirmed as Nigeria’s health minister has declared a health emergency as the deadly Ebola virus gained a foothold in Africa’s most populous nation, according to news reports. Nigerian authorities moved quickly late Wednesday, gathering isolation tents as five more cases of the Ebola Virus were confirmed in Lagos (the world's 4th most populous city with 21 million people). Most international flights from West Africa are also now screening passengers.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday issued its highest alert for an all-hands on deck response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
"Ops Center moved to Level 1 response to given the extension to Nigeria & potential to affect many lives," CDC chief Tom Frieden said on Twitter.
Level 1 is the highest on a 1-6 scale and signals that increased staff and resources will be devoted to the outbreak.
"Basically this activation allows us to pull resources from throughout the agency to respond to this," said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.
He said it was the first time since 2009 that the Level 1 alert had been issued. Back then it was in response to the outbreak of H1N1 flu.
Nigeria’s health minister has declared a health emergency as the deadly Ebola virus gained a foothold in Africa’s most populous nation, according to news reports.
“This is a national emergency. Everyone in the world today is at risk. The experience of Nigeria opens the eyes of the world,” Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu told the country’s House of Representatives. Nigerian authorities moved quickly late Wednesday, gathering isolation tents as five more cases of the Ebola Virus were confirmed in Lagos, a city bursting with 21 million people.
All five people are believed to be health workers who had direct contact with one man traveling from Ebola-ridden Liberia to Nigeria — making this country the fourth now infiltrated by the deadly disease.
“Yesterday the first known Nigerian to die of Ebola was recorded,” Chukwu told reporters in Abuja on Wednesday. “This was one of the nurses that attended to the Liberian. The other five [newly confirmed] cases are being treated at an isolation ward.”
Idris said this is the time “for everyone to be vigilant, especially with regard to relating to people who are ill.”
Most international airlines flying to West Africa in the grip of the deadly Ebola outbreak are counting on stepped-up passenger screening as they continue serving the region.
Air France fliers in some cities must complete health questionnaires and be checked for symptoms, including an elevated temperature, before boarding cards are issued. Delta Air Lines Inc. said travelers are being checked at the airport in Monrovia, Liberia, one of the countries hit by Ebola.
Only two airlines have suspended flights to West Africa so far, with British Airways opting yesterday to join Gulf carrier Emirates in pulling back.
U.S. carriers “that fly to the affected countries remain in steady contact with government agencies and health officials, and have procedures in place to monitor and quickly respond to potential health concerns,” said Victoria Day, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Airlines for America trade group.
* * *
Barack Obama says that Ebola is "not something that is easily transmitted" and that everything is under control...
According to this comment - supposedly written by someone who works in a hospital laboratory. Michael Snyder shares three quotes that we found particularly sobering...
#1 "Even in the United States, out of all the various hospitals I have worked at, there is no hope of containing anything like this. One of the largest hospitals I worked at only had two reverse flow isolation rooms. TWO, let that sink in for a minute."
#2 "Patients only show up to the hospital when they go symptomatic. So by the time they get there, they've already infected their entire family, their work group, and anyone they got within a few feet of on the way to the hospital. When they get there the ER nurses would treat it either like Flu, or Sepsis. But the whole time the patient is infecting all of them. And all of them, in turn, begin to infect everyone else in the exact same way. If this is as virulent as the WHO thinks it might be, by the time people realize what is going on, there will be more sick people than there would be beds available at every hospital in the US combined."
#3 "So don't expect miracles from front line hospital staff, we don't have the tools, and we certainly do not have the manpower. Ask anyone in the medical field how much overtime they could work if they felt like it, don't even get me started on how thinly stretched people in the industry are. Though I suppose if this does turn into something, that will become apparent very, very fast."
There is no way in the world that our medical professionals are going to be able to handle a full-blown Ebola pandemic.
* * *