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Ebola Spreads to Senegal; WHO Braces for Possible 20,000 Infections — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
September 2, 2014

Ebola Spreads to Senegal; WHO Braces for Possible 20,000 Infections

By Kelly Young

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

The West African country of Senegal reported its first case of Ebola in a student who recently traveled from Guinea, making it the sixth African country affected by the outbreak. In other Ebola news:

  • The World Health Organization released a roadmap for coordinating an international response, cautioning that that over 20,000 people could potentially be infected before the outbreak is over. Also troubling, nearly 40% of the cases have been identified in the past 3 weeks.

  • ZMapp, the experimental monoclonal antibody used in a handful of humans with Ebola, showed promise in a Nature study. All 18 rhesus macaque monkeys infected with a lethal Ebola dose who were then given ZMapp survived, even those who received their first dose 5 days after infection.

  • Given that Ebola is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, commentators in the Lancet object to healthcare workers wearing protective clothing more appropriate for airborne illnesses. They write: "The image of workers with spectacular protective clothing might contribute to the panic in some communities."

Reader Comments (2)

Marcia Novaretti,M.D,Ph.D Physician, Health Law/Ethics/Public Policy, Nove de Julho University

A global response to Ebola epidemy should involve more than simple statements. An efficacious global health governance in order to overcome this epidemy must focus on organizing healthcare assistance in African countries, provide the needed infrastructure locally and qualified personnel. The response should involve formal actors (WHO) combined to non-profit organizations as soon as possible to maximize the desirable effects.

J ROSS HESTER Other Healthcare Professional, Psychiatry

Lancet commentators who criticize the use of biohazard garments lest they "increase panic' should themselves be placed in an environment where inadvertently rubbing your eye or nose carried the 50% risk of serious illness or death. I would rather see a serious illness taken seriously than the cavalier attitude I have seen in some physicians about handwashing.

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