The World Health Organization says that Nigeria has officially been declared free of the Ebola virus because no new cases have emerged after six weeks. How?! More than 4,500 people have lose their lives in West Africa to the tragic virus. Most of the deaths have occurred in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. “This is a spectacular success story,” Rui Gama Vaz from the World Health Organization (WHO) told a news conference in the capital Abuja, where officials broke into applause after he announced that Nigeria was free from the disease. Vaz says that Nigeria’s clean bill of health shows that Ebola can be contained, however, they’re still fighting to clear all of West Africa.
Ebola spread through Nigeria after Liberian-American diplomat Patrick Sawyer arrived at the international airport in Lagos earlier this summer and collapsed. Of course the airport staff was unprepared and there wasn’t an isolated hospital set up by the government, so Sawyer was able to infect several people, including health workers who took care of him against his will. It’s being reported that at one point, Sawyer ripped off his intravenous tube and a nurse had to put it back, according to a source close to the hospital staff. The staffer later got infected and died. “We agreed that the thing to do was not to let him out of the hospital,” Benjamin Ohiaeri, a doctor there who survived the disease said, even after Sawyer became aggressive and demanded to be set free.
The hospital contacted the ministries of health in the state of Lagos and the federal ministry in Abuja and authorities quickly set up an isolation unit where they were able to keep the virus under control. It was the surveillance system for contact tracing that tracked down Sawyer’s primary and secondary contacts in record time that helped control the spread of Ebola. “It was effective in identifying all suspected cases and keeping watch on them before they developed symptoms and infect other people. We were able to remove people from communities once they showed symptoms and (before they) infect many others,” he said. All of this has contributed to Nigeria being free from any Ebola diagnoses or symptoms for six months.
Now America needs to follow Nigeria’s lead. It’s being reported that the first round of U.S. Ebola contacts are officially disease-free. According to the BBC, the Spanish nurse who was the first person to contract Ebola outside of West Africa has tested negative for the virus. There will be a second test given to confirm that she’s officially free from it. And we have also reached a very important milestone–the 21-day monitoring period for the 48 people who came in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola in Dallas, TX ended this Monday October 20th. Other than the two nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson who cared for him, there are no new infections in the U.S.
It’s still unclear how Pham and Vinson became infected, and this weekend the U.S. government announced more changes aimed at protecting health-care workers. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the federal National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that hospital workers will now be directed to wear protective gear that covers all parts of their skin. Also, the Pentagon is creating a 30-person medical support team consisting of “20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease and five trainers in infectious disease protocols” that will be deployed to locations in the United States if there are any new cases.
President Obama gave a speech over the weekend, urging Americans not to give into hysteria surrounding Ebola and the threat of it spreading:
“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear-because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need. We have to be guided by the science. We have to remember the basic facts. First, what we’re seeing now is not an ‘outbreak’ or an ‘epidemic’ of Ebola in America. We’re a nation of more than 300 million people. To date, we’ve seen three cases of Ebola diagnosed here-the man who contracted the disease in Liberia, came here and sadly died; the two courageous nurses who were infected while they were treating him. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them, and we’re doing everything we can to give them the best care possible. Now, even one infection is too many. At the same time, we have to keep this in perspective. As our public health experts point out, every year thousands of Americans die from the flu. I am absolutely confident that we can prevent a serious outbreak here in the United States, and we can continue to lead the world in this urgent effort.”
Couldn’t have said it any better ourselves. What do you beauties think about Ebola? Sound off in the comments below.