Police resort to tear gas after body of Ebola victim left in street for two days
Health officials in the West African country continue to be overwhelmed by the spread of the epidemic which has stretched health care facilities to breaking point.
Footage shot by BBC News shows residents staging irate impromptu protests over the failure to remove an Ebola victim’s corpse, with police resorting to tear gas to restore order.
This is not the first time that the Ebola crisis has sparked unrest. Animal rights activists in Spain staged a “mini-riot” last week after they attempted to prevent the removal of a dog that had to be put down having been in contact with a nurse who contracted Ebola and was quarantined in Madrid.
Last month, seven people were killed during rioting in Guinea after members of a delegation sent to educate residents about the Ebola virus were attacked by an angry crowd.
The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola cases could rise to 10,000 a week by December, ten times the current ratio. Only 4,300 treatment beds will be available by that time.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has warned that the Ebola virus is “winning the race” against efforts to halt its spread.
“Ebola got a head start on us,” Anthony Banbury, head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, told the United Nations Security Council.
“It is far ahead of us, it is running faster than us, and it is winning the race,” he said. “We either stop Ebola now or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan.”
A leading US health official sparked controversy after saying it is “deeply disturbing” that a Dallas nurse became infected with Ebola while caring for a patient, arguing that many US hospitals are ill-prepared to handle the virus.
In America’s first test case in dealing with Ebola outside of Africa, the US medical community has not performed as well as expected. A female nurse who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who arrived in the US last month from Liberia, became the first person to contract the disease inside the United States.
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), blamed a break in protocol as the reason for the transmission.
“The healthcare workers who cared for this individual may have had a breach of the same nature,” Frieden said in a press conference Sunday. “It is certainly very concerning and it tells us there is a need to enhance training and make sure protocols are followed.
“The protocols work… but we know that even a single lapse or breach can result in infection.”
The worst Ebola epidemic in history, which has already killed over 4,000 people, broke out in West Africa in March. Since then, medical officials have been sounding the alarm that the disease may spread like wildfire around the planet.
Meanwhile, despite having had “extensive contact … on multiple occasions” with Duncan, who died on October 8 in an isolation unit, the Dallas nurse was reportedly not among the nearly 50 individuals being monitored for the disease, which has a 21-day incubation period.
“It’s deeply concerning that this infection occurred,” Frieden said. “We can’t let any hospital let its guard down.”
Frieden’s comments sparked controversy among some medical officials, who argue that the transmission occurred due to a systemic failure, in that not all hospitals are prepared to handle such severe cases. Others questioned the timing of the criticism.
“You don’t scapegoat and blame when you have a disease outbreak,” said Bonnie Castillo, a registered nurse and a disaster relief expert at National Nurses United, as quoted by Reuters. “We have a system failure. That is what we have to correct.”
Castillo blamed the problem on a lack of communication between the medical authorities and the thousands of medical facilities across the United States.
In preparation for an emergency, hospitals “post something on a bulletin board referring workers and nurses to the CDC guidelines. That is not how you drill and practice and become expert,” she said.
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said it may consider designating hospitals in each region to handle any Ebola cases.
“We’ve been doing a lot over the past few months, but clearly there is more to do,” he said. “The notion of possibly transporting patients diagnosed with Ebola to these hospitals is not something that is out of the question, and is something we may look into.”
In August, American doctor Kent Brantly recovered from the Ebola virus after contracting the deadly disease in Liberia. He was treated with the blood plasma of an African child who had survived the virus, as well as with the experimental drug, ZMapp. Another US doctor, Rick Sacra, also made a full recovery from the virus last month after receiving blood plasma transfusions from Brantly, in addition to another experimental drug called TKM-Ebola.
READ MORE: Scientists in Russia developing three Ebola vaccines – Health Ministry
Meanwhile, the Spanish nurse infected with Ebola, Teresa Romero Ramos, is in a stable condition and showing signs of improvement, the Spanish government has said.
Health official Fernando Simón told reporters that the presence of the virus in Ramos’s blood appears to be decreasing. “We have high hopes that the infection is under control,” he said.
By JENNIFER SMITH FOR MAILONLINE
Stocking up on drinking water and avoiding all human contact are among steps that will have to be taken to avoid an Ebola epidemic, survivalists have warned.
To avoid contracting the deadly virus people will have to barricade themselves in their homes if the infection spreads, they say.
Their advice comes as sales of protective clothing and home infection control kits rise with an increasing number of people fearing the worst.
Around 4,000 people have died after contracting Ebola which broke out in western Africa in March.
While the threat of an epidemic in the UK remains low, experts have warned those who have a good chance of surviving an outbreak must prepare now before it is too late.
One survivalist, known only as Steve, said among the ways to stay safe in the worst possible scenario is to avoid all human contact.
‘If this virus were to really get hold it would expand exponentially and result in a very big mortality rate.
‘That being the case – the number one preventative method is to put as much distance between you and any infected person as possible.
‘To have half a chance of surviving an epidemic you must be prepared for the worse, well before it actually hits us in bigger proportions.
‘So the next precaution in being prepared for this outbreak is to treat everyone else as if they are infected.’
Steve, who runs the country’s most popular survivalist website, UK Prepper Guide, added Brits would have two options if struck with an epidemic – ‘shutting in’ or ‘bugging out’.
Shutting in means staying at home to wither the storm. To be able to do this, families must stock up on long-lasting, dehydrated foods and water.
While Ebola is not a water-based disease, if those involved with water distribution became infected, the national water supply would be at risk, Steve added.
‘Consider stocking up on foods that can be easily cooked – tinned foods, rice, beans, dehydrated foods like pot noodles and similar)
‘Remember, if an epidemic were to occur, you would not want to leave your home and go shopping!
‘As this is not a water or air borne virus, you can still safely drink your tap water, so stocking up there isn’t really a priority.’
‘However, what about the people who run the water plants and the electrical systems? If they were to be infected it could lead to the infrastructure becoming compromised.
So, stocking up on bottled water or water filter systems would be advisable.’
‘Remember the simple things – toilet rolls (essential) for at least a month, sanitising gel and wipes, any medication you require (at least a months supply).
‘One very important thing is communication – you must know whats going on – obviously a radio (with spare batteries).
Bugging out involves fleeing to an uncontaminated area to escape threats of infection. If this is the method chosen, survivalists must have a ‘bug out bag’ prepared at all times and a full tank of petrol to flee at a moment’s notice.
‘Bugging out is really the final straw and, to be honest, not many people would last more than a few days.
‘Your ‘bug out bag’ would contain essential medical supplies, first aid kit, cash, (as this may be your only way to get things), camping and cooking equipment, some dehydrated foods and water.
‘Having prepared for this or any other disaster must be done well before that disaster strikes.
‘You must have a plan for staying and a plan for leaving your home – supplies to last and essentials to go.
‘If your serious about surviving an epidemic and want to give yourself the best odds – then you’d better start prepping now,’ he added.
Marines formed a line on the tarmac and had their temperatures checked by Liberian health workers
MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) — Six U.S. military planes arrived in the Ebola hot zone Thursday with more Marines, as West Africa’s leaders pleaded for the world’s help in dealing with a crisis that one called “a tragedy unforeseen in modern times.”
“Our people are dying,” Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma lamented by videoconference at a World Bank meeting in Washington. He said other countries are not responding fast enough while children are orphaned and infected doctors and nurses are lost to the disease.
Alpha Conde of Guinea said the region’s countries are in “a very fragile situation.”
Ebola is “an international threat and deserves an international response,” he said, speaking through a translator as he sought money, medicine, equipment and training for health care workers.
Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he was reminded of the start of the AIDS epidemic.
“We have to work now so this is not the next AIDS,” Frieden said.
The fleet of planes that landed outside the Liberian capital of Monrovia consisted of four MV-22 Ospreys and two KC-130s. The 100 additional Marines bring to just over 300 the total number of American troops in the country, said Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, the commander leading the U.S. response.
Williams joined the American ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, at the airport to greet the aircraft.
As vehicles unloaded boxes of equipment wrapped in green-and-black cloth, the Marines formed a line on the tarmac and had their temperatures checked by Liberian health workers.
Meanwhile, British authorities said they would introduce “enhanced” screening of travelers for Ebola at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and Eurostar rail terminals.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s office said passengers arriving from West Africa would be questioned about their travels and contacts. Some people could be given a medical assessment and advice on what to do if they develop symptoms.
Also Thursday, Liberian police used batons and rattan whips to disperse 100 protesters outside the National Assembly, where lawmakers were debating granting President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf more powers beyond those contained in a state of emergency declared in August. Her handling of the crisis has been criticized as heavy handed and ineffective.
Liberian state radio announced that Senate elections scheduled for next week would be postponed. No new date was given.
The outbreak has killed more than 3,800 people, according to the latest World Health Organization figures. The vast majority of those deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Elsewhere, University of Maryland researchers announced that the first study of a possible Ebola vaccine in Africa was underway. Scientists say three health care workers in Mali received the experimental shots developed by the U.S. government.
Mali has not had any cases of Ebola, but it borders the outbreak zone. Researchers say early safety tests should be done in Ebola-free countries to avoid complicating factors. If the vaccine appears to be safe, larger trials could be done in the outbreak zone early next year.
The U.S. military is working to build medical centers in Liberia and may send up to 4,000 soldiers to help with the Ebola crisis. Medical workers and beds for Ebola patients are sorely lacking.
British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said his country would provide more than 750 troops to help build treatment centers and an Ebola “training academy” in Sierra Leone. Army medics and helicopters will provide direct support. Britain will also contribute an aviation support ship.
British troops are expected to arrive next week in Sierra Leone, where they will join military engineers and planners who have been there for nearly a month helping to construct medical centers.
The German military, which has already been flying material such as protective clothing from Senegal to the worst-hit countries, planned to start a wider deployment of aid in mid-November. The military is expected to set up a clinic for 50 patients.
Sierra Leone officials finally released a shipping container filled with medical gear and mattresses that had been held up at the port for more than a month.
Ibrahim Bangura, an official who handles medical supplies, said the container’s contents were finally in his possession on Thursday. Bureaucracy and political infighting were blamed for delay in distributing the aid.
In Guinea, where the first Ebola cases were confirmed back in March, Doctors Without Borders warned on Thursday of a “massive” influx of cases in the capital.
The aid group’s center in Conakry received 22 patients on Monday alone, including 18 from the same region 50 kilometers east of the city, the group said, adding that its facilities were reaching their limits.
There was continued concern about Ebola in Spain, where the first person known to have caught the disease outside the outbreak zone in West Africa became sick.
The condition of Spanish nursing assistant Teresa Romero deteriorated on Thursday, said Yolanda Fuentes, deputy director of Madrid’s Carlos III hospital.
Four doctors, four nurses, a hospital orderly and two beauty salon workers who came into contact with Romero have been admitted to the hospital, bringing to 14 the number of people being monitored at the center, health officials said late Thursday.
In Germany, a man infected in Liberia arrived Thursday at a hospital for treatment — the third Ebola patient to be flown to the country. The St. Georg Hospital in Leipzig said the patient works for the United Nations in Liberia.
Clendenning reported from Madrid. Associated Press writers Clarence Roy-Macaulay in Freetown, Sierra Leone; Geir Moulson in Berlin; Maria Cheng in London; Wade Williams in Monrovia, Liberia; Robbie Corey-Boulet in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; and Connie Cass in Washington, D.C., also contributed to this report.
By Juan Leon
Things heated up quickly during a recent interview between reporter Emma Alberici and Wassim Doureihi, a spokesman for the controversial Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.
Mashable covered the tense exchange which took place on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s show Lateline.
After a polite introduction, it wasn’t long before the conversation hit a stumbling block. Doureihi took offense to Alberici’s first question:
So tell me first of all, do you support the murderous campaign being waged by Islamic State fighters in Iraq?
Doureihi repeatedly refused to give Alberici the “yes or no” answer she was looking for, and opted to change the direction of the conversation to focus on how groups like ISIS exist as a “reaction to Western interference in the Islamic lands.” Upon being prompted yet again by Alberici to address her question, Doureihi continued to defer:
I’ll explain to you why the question itself is quite disconcerting, because what we’re talking about is a particular reality where millions have lost their lives. Countries have been destroyed, homes…
From here the conversation pretty much stalled out. Alberici accused Doureihi of obfuscating and the Hizb ut-Tahrir spokesman countered by claiming the question was inherently offensive.
The transcript of the rest of the interview shows how this pattern continued for the entirety of the conversation. Alberici continued to bring up questions related to ISIS’ atrocities and whether or not Doureihi condemned them, while Doureihi repeatedly referenced alleged Western atrocities in lieu of answering the Austrlian reporter’s questions.