The aforementioned news and events surrounding Africa are no accident, but rather a coordinated effort to bring Africa back into the hearts and minds of people worldwide just prior to 2012 global pandemic. Propaganda in way of the movie “Outbreak” and as well as numerous other bio-terror related news concerning Africaforeshadow the bio-terror plot for Africa.Aside from the propaganda linking Africa to bio-terror (see below), the Africa Anthrax attacks occurred roughly one month after the 9/11 Anthrax Attacks in America. The 2001 attacks set-up Africa as a future bio-terror scapegoat and exhibited the earmarks of a false-flag/state sponsored terror operation.
In the aftermath of man-made bio-terror generated pandemic, the government and media will be feeding the public any number of different scapegoats allegedly responsible for the pandemic that will likely kill millions.
While some scapegoats (see below) are indeed plausible, it is much more likely that the live pathogens or agents responsible for the pandemic will likely be dispersed via A) chemtrails by government airplanes or drones, B) by the U.S. Postal Service via Tide detergent samples, C) by the government and medical establishment via tainted vaccines or by D) the portable petri dish commonly known as the Trojan condom.
Bio-Terror Scapegoats: Africa, Agriculture (Food
& Animals), Airports & Air
Travel, Al Qaeda, Bio Labs, Bio-Terrorism Is Easy, Bio-Terrorists
(Bio-Hackers), Black Market, Bugs & Insects, Censorship / Lack
Thereof, Domestic Terrorists, Exotic Animals
(Zoonosis), Government Ineptitude, Mail-Order DNA, Mexico, Missile Shield Failure, Mutation, Natural Disaster, No Clinical Trials
(Vaccines), and The Monkeys.
Date: March 10, 1995
Abstract: Outbreak is a 1995 American disaster film starring Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, and Donald Sutherland. The film was directed by Wolfgang Petersen. In addition, Outbreak features Cuba Gooding, Jr., Kevin Spacey, and Patrick Dempsey.
The film focuses on an outbreak of a fictional Ebola-like virus called Motaba in Zaire and later in a small town in the United States. Its primary settings are government disease control centers USAMRIID and the CDC, and the fictional town of Cedar Creek, California. Outbreak shows how far the military and civilian agencies might go to contain the spread of a deadly contagion.
The film was released on March 10, 1995 and proved a solid box office success. The film was nominated for various awards but failed to garner any major award nominations. It also raised various "what-if" scenarios: media outlets began to question what the government would really do in a similar situation and if the CDC has plans in case an outbreak ever does occur. A real-life outbreak of the Ebola virus occurred in Zaire only a few months after the film was released (Wikipedia, 2012).
Title: Governments Brace for Bioterrorist Attacks
Date: November 9, 2001
Source: High Beam
Abstract: Following the confirmation of one anthrax case and several suspected others in Nairobi last week, the governments of the three East African states are pulling all stops to pre-empt bioterrorist attacks.
Kenya and Tanzania are still smarting from the 1998 bomb attacks on the American embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, which left over 250 people dead and about 5,000 others injured.
action by the three countries follows the suicide hijack attacks in
New York and Washington, in which over 6,000 people, including 25
Africans, are believed to have perished (High Beam, 2001).
Date: December 11, 2001
Source: IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks)
Abstract: The London-based advocacy group European-Sudanese Public Affairs Council on Monday expressed deep concern at what it called "unsustainable and deeply irresponsible" allegations by the US government that Sudan is involved in developing a biological weapons programme.
The United States was particularly worried about existing or planned "offensive biological weapons programmes" or non-compliance with obligations under the Biological Weapons Convention in six named states, including Sudan, the US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, John R Bolton, told an international arms control meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, on 19 November.
"We are concerned about the growing interest of Sudan [a non-party to the Biological Weapons Convention] in developing a biological weapons programme," he stated. See http://www.state.gov/t
ESPAC said in a statement on Monday that Bolton's claim was "unsubstantiated, deeply irresponsible and... very much in keeping with the previous Clinton Administration's failed attempts to isolate Sudan from the international community by making similarly unsubstantiated claims."
The Council, www.espac.org, describes itself as a privately-funded organisation which runs advocacy, education and media projects designed to work towards a better understanding of the complexities of the Sudanese situation, and to encourage peace and reconciliation in the country.
It also challenges what it considers "inaccurate and questionable coverage of Sudan and Sudanese affairs," and has openly criticised leading international media - including the BBC and respected American and British newspapers - for what it has variously described as innacurate, irresponsible or prejudiced reporting.
Bolton's comment on behalf of the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was putting US political policy and expediency before science with regard to Sudan, just as it had in making "inaccurate and misleading claims" which led to the 1998 US attack on the al-Shifa medical factory in Khartoum in 1998 in connection with its alleged manufacture of chemical weapons, according to ESPAC.
Bolton's unsubstantiated claims were not just unreliable little more than propaganda dressed up as "intelligence", it said in Monday's statement.
"For its own credibility on this serious issue, the Bush administration cannot allow its reputation with regard to arms control and non-proliferation to be sullied for the sake of cheap propaganda attacks on Sudan," it added.
At the 19 November meeting, Bolton argued for a stronger international regime for biological weapons control, saying that Sudan, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Libya were among those states which had not been dissuaded from an interest in biological weapons by the existing Biological Weapons Convention.
Prior to 11 September, Bolton said, he would have avoided the approach of naming states in public, but the world had changed since then and so must the "business-as-usual approach" to arms control given "the potential use of biological weapons by terrorist groups, and states that support them."
The US envoy said legislators needed to look beyond traditional arms control measures to deal with the complex and dangerous threats posed by biological weapons. He proposed stricter measures to assure compliance of prohibitions on the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling or retention of biological weapons, and their delivery systems.
Countering those threats would require a full range of measures: tightened export controls, an intensified non-proliferation dialogue, increased domestic preparedness and controls, enhanced biodefense and counter-bioterrorism capabilities, he said.
The measures proposed by the US on 19 November, would, if adopted, contribute significantly to control access to dangerous pathogens [disease-causing agents], deter their misuse, punish those who misuse them, and alert states to their risks, according to Bolton (IRIN, 2001).
Title: Planes to Be Sprayed Before Departure
Date: February 14, 2002
Source: All Africa
Abstract: Deadly insects such as mosquito will no longer fluke flights into or out of Uganda.
All planes passing through Uganda or other tropical countries are to
be sprayed with insecticides, a health ministry official has said (All Africa, 2002).
Title: Death Sought for Animals In Monkeypox Case
Date: July 3, 2003
Source: New York Times
Abstract: Moving to prevent monkeypox from reaching wild animals in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended yesterday that all 850 animals from a contaminated shipment of exotic pets from Africa in April be destroyed, along with all prairie dogs that might have been exposed to them.
The agency warned pet owners not to release any sick or potentially exposed animals into the wild.
Other mammals in homes or pet shops that might have been exposed should be killed or should be quarantined for six weeks and watched for symptoms — fever or cough, cloudy or crusty eyes, swollen lymph nodes or rash, the agency said. Bodies should be burned, not buried or thrown out, and the premises disinfected, it added.
An outbreak of monkeypox tentatively traced to a Gambian giant pouched rat in the shipment has caused 81 confirmed or suspected cases in humans, mostly in the Midwest. Its spread seems to have stopped, and no cases of human-to-human transmission were found. But the disease spreads easily to rodents.
A spokesman for the agency acknowledged that the authorities did not know the whereabouts of many of the estimated 850 animals in an April 9 shipment from Ghana to Texas, nor do they know if any were released.
"That's one of the things we're really worried about," said David Daigle, a spokesman for the agency. "Tracking them all down is darn near impossible."
Nonetheless, a "very aggressive" effort is on now, said Dr. Martin Cetron, the agency's deputy director for quarantine. But many were sold at informal pet swaps, he said, "and then things end without a good paper trail."
Monkeypox — so called because it was first diagnosed in monkeys — is a less virulent cousin of smallpox, and vaccination against smallpox appears to protect against it. There were no deaths in the June outbreak, but in West Africa, up to 10 percent of cases are fatal.
At the beginning of the outbreak, the centers and the Food and Drug Administration banned importing of all African rodents and the sale or distribution of six species from the April shipment: tree squirrels, rope squirrels, dormice, Gambian giant pouched rats, brush-tailed porcupines and striped mice. They also banned the transport, sale or release of prairie dogs.
Yesterday's directive was ambiguous about what constituted contact with an infected animal, and it confused some pet shop owners. Details of the directive are at cdc.gov/ncidod/monkeypox /quarantineremoval.htm.
Eileen Whitmarsh, an owner of Rainbow Pets in Shorewood, Wis., who caught monkeypox from a prairie dog in her store, mistakenly thought the order meant she had to kill the 60 apparently healthy hamsters, rats and gerbils she now has quarantined.
"Our animals are checked by the Health Department daily, and they are having babies," Ms. Whitmarsh said. "Sick animals do not have babies."
David Crawford of Boulder, Colo., acting director of the Prairie Dog Coalition, which defends wild prairie dog habitats and opposes keeping the animals as pets, called the euthanasia suggestion "a classic case of blaming the victim."
"This problem was caused by human beings, and it's easy for us to take the `kill them all' approach," he said. "But if this was a human population, we'd be aghast at an order to kill. This calls for quarantine and testing, not euthanasia."
Two weeks ago, at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the centers, Dr. Gregory A. Poland, a committee member and the chief of vaccine research at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, asked why the agency had not already ordered all possibly exposed animals killed.
An official of the centers replied that people became attached to their pets.
"So what?" Dr. Poland said. "I know what we'd do if this was an outbreak of mad cow disease. We'd kill the whole herd" (New York Times, 2003).Title: U.S. Disease Researchers Begin Ebola Vaccine Trial
Date: November 24, 2003
Source: Scoop News
Abstract: Trial begins as new disease outbreak occurs in Republic of the Congo
A trial of the first experimental vaccine to prevent infection from the deadly Ebola virus began November 18 at the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland.
The vaccine contains no infectious material from the Ebola virus, but was synthesized using modified, inactivated genes from the pathogen. According to a NIAID press release, 27 volunteers will be participating in the one-year trial in which researchers will seek to ascertain the safety of the vaccine.
The vaccine trial begins as the World Health Organization reported the occurrence of 11 cases of Ebola appearing in the Republic of the Congo November 17. Previous outbreaks in Africa have killed up to 90 percent of those infected. Considered one of the most deadly diseases known to medical science, Ebola' symptoms are a sudden onset of fever, weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, limited kidney and liver functions, and both internal and external bleeding.
"An effective Ebola vaccine not only would provide a life-saving advance in countries where the disease occurs naturally, it also would provide a medical tool to discourage the use of Ebola virus as an agent of bioterrorism," said NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.
Following is the text of the NIAID press release:
National Institute of Allergy and
National Institutes of Health
Nov. 18, 2003
NIAID EBOLA VACCINE ENTERS HUMAN TRIAL
The first human trial of a vaccine designed to prevent Ebola infection opened today. Scientists from the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), designed the vaccine, which was administered to a volunteer at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda. The vaccine does not contain any infectious material from the Ebola virus.
Just three years ago, VRC Director Gary Nabel, M.D., Ph.D., together with a team of scientists from the VRC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, described an experimental Ebola vaccine that fully protected monkeys from lethal infection by the virus. One component of that vaccine will now be assessed for safety in human volunteers. The trial vaccine, a type called a DNA vaccine, is similar to other investigational vaccines that hold promise for controlling such diseases as AIDS, influenza, malaria and hepatitis.
"This trial is further evidence of the ability of the VRC to rapidly translate basic research into tangible products," notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Our accelerated effort to understand and combat Ebola infection is part of the NIAID commitment to its biodefense mission. An effective Ebola vaccine not only would provide a life-saving advance in countries where the disease occurs naturally, it also would provide a medical tool to discourage the use of Ebola virus as an agent of bioterrorism."
Outbreaks of Ebola in Africa kill up to 90 percent of those infected. No effective treatment exists for this highly infectious disease, which causes extensive internal bleeding and rapid death. According to experts, vaccination is the best strategy for preventing or containing this deadly infection.
A gap of two decades separated the first Ebola epidemic of 1976 and the next, which arose in 1995. In recent years, for reasons unknown, outbreaks of Ebola are occurring with increasing frequency.
On November 17, 2003, the World Health Organization reported 11 cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever in the Republic of the Congo. Dr. Nabel notes, "The current Ebola outbreak in the Congo provides a stark reminder of the need to rapidly develop vaccines against such perilous infections. A few years ago, we did not imagine that our vaccine would enter human trials so quickly, but the re-emergence of such viruses makes it all the more important to respond quickly. Individuals who volunteer for these vaccine trials can help us understand if our new vaccines ultimately will be effective."
Twenty-seven volunteers between the ages of 18 and 44 will participate in the study. Six people will receive a placebo injection and 21 will receive the investigational vaccine, manufactured by Vical Inc., a San Diego biotechnology company working in collaboration with the VRC. Vical has also secured a nonexclusive license from NIH to proprietary gene sequences used in the DNA Ebola vaccine. In the new trial, volunteers will receive three injections over two months and will be followed for one year. Volunteers will not be exposed to Ebola virus. Individuals interested in enrolling in the trial may visit http://www.clinicaltrials.gov or call the VRC toll-free at 1-866-833-LIFE (5433).
The candidate vaccine is synthesized using modified, inactivated genes from Ebola virus. This gives the immune system information about viral structures so that it can mount a rapid defense should the real virus ever be encountered. There is no infectious material in the vaccine, and the virus was not present during any stage of the manufacturing process, notes Barney Graham, M.D., Ph.D., director of the clinical trials unit of the VRC. "It is impossible for the vaccine to cause infection," he adds, "because it employs new technology known to safely stimulate broad immune responses."
Besides assessing the vaccine's safety, researchers will also examine the volunteers' blood to look for signs of immune system reaction to the vaccine. Ultimately, the scientists envision this vaccine as the first in a two-stage vaccination strategy called prime-boost: after "priming" with the DNA vaccine, the immune system response is "boosted," or augmented, by a second inoculation with modified, non-disease-causing cold viruses that make selected Ebola proteins. The booster essentially sets the immune system on alert against future infection by Ebola virus.
In August, Dr. Nabel and his colleagues reported using the booster shot to quickly and completely protect monkeys against Ebola. A fast-acting vaccine would be of great use during an outbreak of Ebola. The full prime-boost strategy, which uses the DNA vaccine being tested in this study, elicits a stronger immune response and is important to pursue for individuals at high risk, such as health care workers. Dr. Nabel says that expanded human trials of Ebola vaccines using the prime-boost strategy could begin by 2005.
NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), which is an agency of the Department of Health
and Human Services. NIAID supports basic and applied
research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious and
immune-mediated illnesses, including HIV/AIDS and other
sexually transmitted diseases, illness from potential agents
of bioterrorism, tuberculosis, malaria, autoimmune
disorders, asthma and allergies (Scoop News, 2003).
Title: African Nobel Prize Winner Says HIV Created In Lab For Biological
Date: October 12, 2004
Abstract: Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan ecologist and the first African woman to win a Nobel prize, said Saturday that HIV was created deliberately in the laboratory as a biological weapon. “Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys (since) time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that,” she said at a press conference following the announcement of her receipt of the Nobel prize. Maathai received the prize for her environmental work in preventing deforestation in Africa. “It’s true that there are some people who create agents to wipe out other people. If there were no such people, we could have not have invaded Iraq,” Maathai maintained, as reported by the AFP. “We invaded Iraq because we believed that Saddam Hussein had made, or was in the process of creating agents of biological warfare,” she said. “In fact it (the HIV virus) is created by a scientist for biological warfare.”“Why has there been so much secrecy about AIDS? When you ask where did the virus come from, it raises a lot of flags. That makes me suspicious,” she said. “She said (HIV/AIDS) was invented as a bio-weapon in some laboratory in the West,” a U.S. State Department official said in response to Maathai’s claim. “We don’t agree with that.” The U.S. official pointed out that Maathai had claimed HIV was created in the lab for the purposes of population control, in a Kenyan daily Standard newspaper story published in August (LifeSiteNews, 2004).
Date: October 13, 2005
Abstract: The threat posed by biological weapons must be considered in policies relating to the development of science in Africa, according to delegates at an international meeting in Kampala, Uganda this month.
The meeting, which ended on 1 October, focused on the policy implications of using science to eradicate diseases while simultaneously controlling access to disease-causing organisms to prevent 'bioterrorism'.
Delegates called for strict measures to be formulated to guard against the misuse of biology, and warned that failure to address concerns over biological weapons could undermine efforts to develop and instill confidence in science.
"Confidence in modern science is giving way to a period of fear, doubt and uncertainty," said Patrick Mazimhaka, deputy chair of the Ethiopia-based African Union Commission.
In a joint statement released at the meeting, delegates said: "Addressing all of these concerns in harmony is mandatory for human security in Africa and throughout the world."
Scientists, lawyers, government officials and law enforcers attended the meeting, which was organised by the Kampala-based International Law Institute (ILI) and the US-based International Consortium for Law and Strategic Security (ICLSS).
Swithin Munyantwali, ILI's executive director told SciDev.Net that the meeting was intended to kick-start greater cooperation on the threat of bio-weapons throughout East Africa.
The region has experienced a number of terrorist incidents in recent years, including the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1999 and a rocket attack on a hotel in Mombassa, Kenya in 2002.
Munyantwali said Africa is highly vulnerable to bioterrorism as it lacks the institutions, technology and expertise needed to detect potential threats.
"Bio-weapons are an optimal way of causing mass casualties, are safe for the perpetrator to develop and transport across borders, and pose incomparable potential for mass panic," he said. "No other weapon offers similar capabilities to spread itself."
Potential bio-weapons include the anthrax bacterium, which the US Department of Defense calls "the preferred biological warfare agent because it is highly lethal [and] contains 100 million lethal doses per gram (100,000 times deadlier than the deadliest chemical warfare agent)".
Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park recently recovered from an outbreak of anthrax among wildlife there (see Uganda battles deadly anthrax outbreak).
Justin Ecaat, a senior official at Uganda's National Environment
Management Authority, says such outbreaks show that African countries
should be alert and have systems in place to monitor and control the
movement of biological agents (SciDev, 2005).
Title: Biological Terrorism A Lethal Possibility
Date: October 25, 2005
Source: All Africa
Abstract: The East African region has experienced a number of terrorist incidents in recent years, including the bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the rocket attack on Paradise Hotel at Kikambala in 2002.
However, few people or organisations have paused to consider the
possibility and implications of a bio-terrorism attack in the region (All Africa, 2005).
Date: November 21, 2005
Source: Bua News
Abstract: As part of its programme against bioterrorism, Interpol opened its first bioterrorism workshop in Cape Town today, with national police Commissioner Jackie Selebi calling for multi-agency co-operation to combat this threat to global security.
"We as policemen cannot effectively face the problem of bioterrorism or the proliferation of biological weapons without building strong partnerships with scientists, educators and public health practitioners," Mr Selebi told more than 90 delegates from Africa and around the world.
Combating bioterrorism said Commissioner Selebi, who is also president of the international police organisation, "requires communities unaccustomed to working with one another to learn a common language, and a common way of thinking."
The workshop is the first of three regional workshops that Interpol is holding to improve capacity among its members to prevent, prepare for and deal with the possibility of a bioterrorist attack.
Another workshop is planned for the Asia region and will be held in Singapore next year. The third will be held in Chile for the Americas region, also next year.
Interpol's programme to combat bioterrorism was launched at its headquarters in Lyon, France, last year. In March this year it staged the largest-ever gathering of police and security officials when it hosted the Global Congress on preventing Bioterrorism.
This gathering was attended by more than 500 delegates from 155 countries. The current regional workshop being held at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town has drawn delegates from 41 African countries as well as security and health experts from around the world.
"No country can regard itself as immune [from a bioterrorist attack] and all countries need to be prepared," said Interpol chairperson John Abbott.
An announcement of a "train the trainer" project for the National Central Bureaus in Interpol's 184 member countries was made.
Commissioner Selebi said the emphasis at the Africa regional workshop was on "training, training, training".
"What we pick up here we are going to use," the commissioner told journalists.
He added that the African regional workshop aimed to strengthen regional co-operation and enable all agencies to "immediately identify and work closely with the right partners at the right time, to establish a common response against biological weapons, and to resolve the consequences of bio-attacks."
Ronald Noble, Interpol's secretary-general, said: "Defence measures against biological attack are neither well known nor easily implemented, so there is a natural tendency for law enforcement services to put them aside in favour of 'more urgent' problems that they are comfortable dealing with."
"Political support and funding for security programmes tends to be orientated towards the traditional areas of crime which affect citizens on a daily basis," Mr Noble said.
However, he said Interpol strongly believed that the risks of bioterrorism were "so momentous that the police and the public health communities must break down the barriers preventing close collaboration, locally, nationally and internationally" (Bua News, 2005).
Title: Experimental Vaccine Protects Nonhuman Primates When Given After Exposure To Marburg Virus
Date: April 27, 2006
Source: Science Daily
Abstract: A team of U.S. and Canadian scientists has demonstrated the effectiveness of a vaccine in preventing the development of hemorrhagic fever in an animal model after exposure to the deadly Marburg virus. Their findings, published in the April 27 online edition of the British medical journal The Lancet, could have implications for human use.
Marburg virus was first detected in 1967 and was the cause of a large outbreak in Angola in 2004-2005 that resulted in several hundred deaths with case fatality rates of about 90 percent. Like the Ebola virus, Marburg is a filovirus that causes internal bleeding at multiple sites with patients usually dying as a result of multiple organ failure. Both viruses are considered to be potential agents of bioterrorism. Currently, no effective vaccines or drugs against Marburg virus exist, and treatment of the disease is limited to supportive care.
Investigators from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) created the vaccine against Marburg virus by replacing a gene from a harmless virus--known as vesicular stomatitis virus, or VSV--with a gene encoding a Marburg virus surface protein.
The team infected five rhesus monkeys with the Marburg virus and then injected them with the vaccine (known as recombinant VSV, or rVSV) 20 to 30 minutes later.
Another three monkeys infected with Marburg virus acted as controls and received a vaccine without the Marburg protein.
All of the monkeys treated with rVSV following exposure to the Marburg virus survived for at least 80 days, while the controls succumbed to the disease by day 12.
In a study published in June 2005, the research team reported that the rVSV vaccine could prevent Marburg hemorrhagic fever from developing when administered before infection. The new results suggest that the vaccine could also be an effective post-exposure treatment for the disease.
"These results are very encouraging, as this is the first demonstration of complete post-exposure protection of nonhuman primates against a filovirus," said Thomas W. Geisbert, one of the USAMRIID investigators.
Colonel George W. Korch, Jr., commander of the Institute, added, "This outstanding collaboration has been instrumental in producing novel breakthroughs, such as this, for discovery of medical approaches for difficult public health and biodefense problems."
PHAC's National Microbiology Laboratory is Canada's only Containment Level 4 laboratory, where pathogens such as Ebola and Marburg can be worked with safely. The Winnipeg-based laboratory has been at the forefront of research into SARS, West Nile virus, anthrax and other dangerous pathogens.
USAMRIID, located at Fort Detrick, Maryland, is the lead medical
research laboratory for the U.S. Biological Defense Research Program,
and plays a key role in national defense and in infectious disease
research. The Institute's mission is to conduct basic and applied
research on biological threats resulting in medical solutions (such as
vaccines, drugs and diagnostics) to protect the warfighter. USAMRIID is
a subordinate laboratory of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel
Command (Science Daily, 2006).
Date: August 16, 2007
Abstract: The threat of biotechnology misuse has implications for the development of science and technology in Africa, argue Chandre Gould and colleagues.
Recent African Union summits have identified science and technology as key future drivers for development, and increased investment is being welcomed by African leaders — particularly in areas such as biotechnology.
But the growth of the biotechnology industry internationally has raised some important concerns about biological safety issues (see Agri-biotech in Africa: Safety first?).
'Biosecurity' policies are therefore being actively pursued in some countries to mitigate the deliberate destructive use of biological agents, knowledge and techniques.
Today, this sense of biosecurity extends beyond conditions in research laboratories to cover the potential dual use — for good and bad — of applications arising from the new knowledge and techniques emerging from research.
It is crucial to assess the security implications of scientific innovations, but this is not a straightforward matter.
One reason is that Western governments, most notably the United States, are deeply concerned with the bioterror threat. Although there have been only a handful of bioterrorism attacks in recent decades, the capability to inflict them is proliferating.
This focus on bioterrorism in international discussions has arguably come at the expense of tightening constraints on the development of state programmes. There is no guarantee that states, particularly those that are isolated and existentially threatened, may not see biological weapons as a valuable item in their arsenal.
The biological defence programme in the United States has shown that the risk of accidental escape of potential biological warfare agents goes up as the number of facilities working with them increases. Indeed, it could be argued that state biodefence programmes should be subject to a great deal more international supervision.
Biosecurity has gained importance in many countries in Europe, North America and elsewhere, and networks, funders and suppliers from these areas are fundamental to the growth of the African biotechnology industry. African research partners and recipients of funds will therefore have to demonstrate their commitment to biosecurity by implementing measures for the secure handling of biological agents.
But policy responses adopted elsewhere are likely to be inappropriate for many situations in Africa, not least because of the difference in the quality of public infrastructure.
In this mix of concerns, one thing is clear: engagement by scientific communities is a prerequisite for a productive response. For Africans to engage effectively in biosecurity debates at a national and international level, it is important to raise awareness about dual use research and biosecurity among African scientists, ethicists, social scientists, policy makers, the media and the public.
That way, Africa can develop its own biosecurity agenda and policies aligned with its own concerns. The cue should not come from Europe or the United States.
With this in mind, we ran seven biosecurity workshops in Kenya and Uganda in May–June 2007. The two countries are emerging biotech nations that are not yet properly engaged in international biosecurity policy deliberations.
The aim was to inform African stakeholders about the general biosecurity debate and the communication, supervision, review and funding of dual use research findings.
Many participants agreed that scientists should initiate a public dialogue about these issues and that such research should be supervised.
Stronger African Voice
Although some African states, most notably South Africa, have been active contributors to the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC), a stronger and more coherent African position on regulatory issues is needed.
Not only would this provide an African voice on biosecurity issues, but it would strengthen the negotiating position of those states wishing to place sharing of development, knowledge and technology firmly on the agenda.
A critical mass of African stakeholders who can effectively represent the continent at the BTWC and other international forums must be developed, together with policy responses.
Whether or not African states are threatened by bioterrorism (or state biological weapons programmes) is immaterial: cutting out biotech misuse is in the interests of all Africans and is a responsibility of the African scientific community.
The development of biosecurity mechanisms that neither compromise research nor pose an unbearable financial burden on those responsible for their implementation is crucial.
This strategy would reduce the risk of misuse and mitigate the damage to African scientific development that could result if products, technology or knowledge were to be used for destructive purposes (SciDev, 2007).Title: Uganda To Conduct Marburg Vaccine Trials
Date: October 8, 2009
Source: All Africa
Abstract: UGANDA could hold the key to the Ebola and Marburg vaccines as the country has been selected for a high profile second stage safety trial in humans. Dr. Hannah Kibuuka, the director clinical programmes at the Makerere University Walter Reed project, who is conducting the experiments, said the trial comes after a smaller one in the US (All Africa, 2009).
Title: Weak Laws Put Continent At Risk of Bioterrorism, Say Experts
Date: March 22, 2010
Source: All Africa
Abstract: As more African countries adopt biotechnology in a bid to increase agricultural production, weak biosafety laws threaten to erode the gains made in the sector.
Concerns are emerging that unscrupulous scientists could sabotage the initiative in what has come to be known as bioterrorism - by producing harmful weapons that destroy food, cause environmental degradation or even death.
"These weapons could deprive crops of water or nutrients resulting in poor yields and eventually down play efforts aimed at marketing the products globally," said John Opuda-Asibo, the first deputy vice chancellor of Kyambogo University in Uganda.
Biological weapons can infiltrate a country through various means including imports, food aid, medicines or planting materials.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa face the biggest risk due to weak plant and animal epidemiological infrastructure besides the lack of biosafety laws.
"We need to combat the use of biotechnology as a weapon. That calls for bioterrorism preparedness," warned Prof Opuda-Asibo.
According to the New Partnership for Africa's Development, Planning and Co-ordination Agency, 33 per cent of land in sub-saharan Africa is under moderate drought, 25 per cent under severe drought while only 4 per cent is under irrigation.
Climate change could exacerbate the problem.
"We are not getting any extra land yet we need to increase food production by up to 300 per cent by 2050. We can only do this through the use of biotechnology," said Diran Makinde, the director of Nepad Planning and Co-ordination Agency.
Currently the region records a 2.5 per cent annual increase in food production against a 3.4 per cent annual population increase.
He however, warned that African countries need to enact biosafety laws in order to prevent any eventualities.
Only 12 African countries have the national biosafety laws in place, a few have biosafety policies while 30 do not have anything at all.
The East African Community has a biosafety group.
Scientists are now calling on the African Union to come up with a law for the region.
"We should have a legal framework for government to intervene if
bioterrorism occurs. It is important that we close the gaps in
scientific discoveries," Prof Opuda-Asibo (All Africa, 2010).
Title: Animal Health - Beware Of Animal Diseases In Bioterrorism
Date: July 1, 2010
Source: All Africa
Abstract: The suspected outbreak of anthrax in hippos in Western Uganda in the past weeks has yet again reminded us of some of the ignored facts about animal diseases. I overheard someone on the streets of Kampala inform a colleague ignorantly that anthrax was a disease of those who live with or stay near animals in the villages. This totally shocked me and I felt like going over to him and giving a lecture of a lifetime.
I, however, restrained myself and just thought about how they didn't know that the same disease could be brought right at their footsteps in their so-called city. They were possibly unaware of what we call bioterrorism.
It is possible for unscrupulous people to use known lethal animal disease agents as weapons of mass destruction. This is known as bioterrorism. Anthrax is indeed one of the microorganisms that can be used as biological weapons of mass destruction. The other significant animal diseases in that group include; Botulism, Plague, Tularaemia, Ebola and Marburg diseases. These diseases are of great public health importance because:
The host animals or carriers that are sources of infection often show little or no sign of disease at all.
The disease agents have mechanisms of propagation that allow infection to move from one individual to another.
Their effects result in high mortality rates and have the potential for a major impact on the public.
They can cause public panic and social disruption.
They require special action when they occur and also need public health preparedness in order to limit their progress.
Anthrax is clearly documented as one of the diseases whose agents have been used in the past for bioterrorism. This can be alternatively spread through spraying in the air, mailed packages and release in the ventilation systems of public buildings.
In the wake of the September 11th, attacks on the USA, some people were reported to have been exposed to anthrax in powder form that had been sent to them as mail in envelopes. This incident, a classic example of how an animal disease can find you in the comfort of your office, sparked off a major public health awareness campaign on bioterrorism that got many US citizens and others around the world to be alert about such diseases.
As for Ugandans, even though we are far from the USA, and that we probably have far less enemies, we should not ignore the likelihood of such events happening (All Africa, 2011).Title: Swine Flu Vaccines Dumped in Africa
Date: September 15, 2010
Source: Natural News
Abstract: It was recently announced that as much as 43% of the U.S. swine flu vaccine supply would ultimately go unused and be destroyed. Apparently, the stance then taken by the major drug companies and the World Health Organization was to incinerate quantities of the vaccine and/or dump as much of the H1N1 vaccine supply as they possibly could in Africa.
According to Associated Press, in July 2010 about 40 million doses of the total supply produced by the US to cope with the swine flu outbreak had already expired and would be incinerated by public health authorities. This loss represents millions of US dollars. In the face of such losses, selling/dumping the excess to developing countries was apparently a tempting option. After all, the people of Africa don't need to know that the timing is off by a year and, in any case, they should be grateful to get "valuable" swine flu vaccines at a cheaper rate, even if they don't need them.
No Swine Flu Pandemic in Africa
According to the Swine Flu Watch, at the height of the "pandemic" in 2009, very few cases of swine flu was recorded in sub-Saharan African countries. For example, Botswana reported 20 cases; Zimbabwe confirmed 40 cases, Mozambique 55 and Angola 35. Similarly, low figures were reported for swine flu in other African countries, with the exception of South Africa, where 12500 cases were reported over the same period.
Global Swine Flu "Pandemic" Winds Down - Except in Africa
Sometime towards the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, the World Heath Organization realized that there was going to be a problem with getting rid of the "soon to expire" H1N1 vaccines. After all, the "pandemic" was winding down. What to do with all those vaccines? At this point, it is interesting to note that Wellness Blogs links three of the scientists who advised the international health body on swine flu protocol with ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufactured the vaccines.
And so it was that in March 2010 The World Health Organization announced that it would deliver millions of H1N1 vaccine doses to about a dozen countries in Africa in the weeks to come. This was despite their own website reporting very low occurrences of swine flu in Africa. In fact, the WHO regional office for Africa reported only 157 cases of Swine Flu by the end of July 2009, compared to the 87000 cases reported by their American office.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the pandemic ended on 10 August 2010. However, just a few weeks earlier, various African governments started making H1N1 vaccinations available to their citizens. It would seem that while the rest of the world was announcing the end of the swine flu epidemic, Africa started gearing up for mass inoculations of her people. The Botswana government, for example, embarked on their mass vaccination campaign between 21st June 2010 and the end of August 2010 (Natural News, 2010).
Date: November 8, 2010
Source: All Africa
Abstract: Concerned about the threat of biological terrorism, a powerful US senator will lead a team of high-level Pentagon officials on an inspection tour of Kenyan germ laboratories next week.
Richard Lugar, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be accompanied by the director of the US Defence Department's Threat Reduction Agency as well as by the heads of units focused on biological defence and global strategy.
The labs to be inspected are designed for the study of infectious diseases. Work to develop treatments and to help prevent outbreaks also takes place at these facilities.But Pentagon officials warn that the Kenyan labs have not been sufficiently secured against terrorism threats.
"Deadly diseases like Ebola, Marburg and anthrax are prevalent in Africa," Senator Lugar said in a statement announcing a trip that will take him to Uganda and Burundi as well as to Kenya.
"Al-Qa'ida and other terrorist groups are active in Africa, and it is imperative that deadly pathogens stored in labs there are secure.
"These pathogens can be made into horrible weapons aimed at our troops, our friends and allies, and even the American public," the senator added. "This is a threat we cannot ignore."
Mr Lugar said he has been told by Pentagon chief Robert Gates that the inspection tour will help ensure that the governments of Kenya and Uganda work closely with the United States to secure the labs.The US delegation is scheduled to arrive in Kenya on November 16. A list of the sites the Americans will visit has not been released (All Africa, 2010).
Title: Kemri 'Shocked' By U.S. Bioterror Conerns
Date: December 13, 2010
Source: All Africa
Abstract: American claims that biosafety conditions at the Kenya Medical Research Institute were "lacking" have been strongly refuted by Dr Willy Tonui, a principal researcher and biosafety officer at the Institute.
Andrew Weber, the US assistant defence secretary for nuclear, chemical and biological programmes, told of seeing "orange bags with bio-hazardous waste sort of sitting around" at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) in Nairobi.
The wastes had not been destroyed because Kemri's incinerator had "limited capacity," Mr Weber said."While we were there," he continued, "a stray cat went into one of the bags, had lunch and hopped over the wall into one of the largest slums in Africa." Mr Weber's account drew gasps and nervous laughter from his listeners at the University of Pittsburgh's Centre for Biosecurity.
The official also raised concerns regarding waste management capabilities at Kemri, and is quoted to have said that "the wastes had not been destroyed because Kemri's incinerator had limited capacity." He added that "terror in that part of the world is not a hypothetical situation."
Dr Tonui describes these claims as unfounded, shocking, and not based on informed observation."In Kemri, we have the best waste management practices in the country," says Dr Tonui.
"We have two functioning incinerators at this research centre. We regard security of bio-hazardous materials as a serious matter; there are two guards stationed at the incinerators at all times," he added.
Dr Tonui adds that infectious materials are sterilised before incineration, and that the most dangerous materials in laboratory waste are needles, which are sealed in a sturdy plastic container before being incinerated.
He acknowledges that there may be stray cats in Kemri, owing to its proximity to the Kibera slum. Nonetheless, the biohazard bags are sealed, and there is little chance of an animal getting into the bags. "Furthermore," he adds, "biological materials such as blood and tissue are not disposed of directly into the biohazard bags."
The allegation that bio-hazardous materials could be used be by terrorists is described as "shocking" by Dr Tonui. "A bioterrorist is an intelligent person, with a working knowledge of infectious agents and their effective doses," he says. "Infectious agents do not find their way into our waste without being sterilised. To claim that there is a bioterrorism risk is grossly misleading."
Dr Tonui says that Kemri is on the frontline in promoting biosafety practices and prudent waste management practices on the continent. "We have helped the National Environment Management Authority to develop the relevant standards. Many laboratories around the country bring their waste for disposal at Kemri. The major challenge we face toward this end is proper segregation of waste."
Mr Weber accompanied a senior US senator, Richard Lugar, on the visit
earlier this month to laboratories in Uganda and Burundi as well as
Kenya (All Africa, 2010).
Title: A Bug's Life: How Safe Are Health Laboratories In Developing Countries?
Date: January 6, 2011
Source: The Economist
Abstract: Africa is home to the world’s nastiest diseases, such as the Ebola and Marburg viruses, and to laboratories that study them. Could that be a tempting target for terrorists? Late last year Senator Richard Lugar and a team of Pentagon arms-control experts visited Burundi, Uganda and Kenya. What they found prompted alarm, and calls for big spending on lab security.
For example, a Kenyan research lab housing anthrax, Ebola and Marburg backs onto a slum and has low, easily scaled cement walls. African technicians have to use large samples of the dangerous viruses for their research because their equipment is antiquated. Better safety could be part of the long-standing initiative Mr Lugar and his fellow senator Sam Nunn developed in 1991 to secure and destroy former Soviet nuclear, chemical and biological stockpiles.
Scott Dowell of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta agrees that Ugandan and Kenyan labs need more money for security. But so too do many research facilities in other poor countries. Richard Lennane of the Biological Weapons Convention adds that boosting security is not just about fences and guards. Where do workers come from? Who asks questions if a lone colleague starts regularly working late?
Sceptics say Mr Lugar is scaremongering abroad for political gain at home. He may be right, as he complained in Kenya, that pathogens are easier to package than nuclear materials. But “weaponising” them is still difficult. Many organisms mooted as terror agents are tricky to handle and hard to make into weapons. It is unlikely that Somalia’s al-Shabab, the most threatening terrorist group in east Africa, or organised criminals, have the technical ability to do that.
A better reason to spend more on laboratory security may be to stop not wrongdoers but accidents. A British foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2007 probably stemmed from laboratory sloppiness. Moreover, the things that enhance a laboratory’s security will also improve its ability to diagnose and handle outbreaks of natural diseases. Asian scientists played a big role in monitoring outbreaks of SARS and bird flu. Strengthening their African counterparts adds a vital link in the chain.
A planned new outfit, the Global Biological Resource Centre Network,
would calm Mr Lugar’s fears and benefit Africa too. But the rich world
also needs to avoid complacency. Those anthrax attacks in America in
2001 were 100% home-grown (The Economist, 2011).
Title: 'Bio Terror' Threat Man Arrested In South Africa After Threatening To Attack Britain And U.S.
Date: February 13, 2011
Source: Daily Telegraph
Abstract: A businessman was arrested in South Africa on terrorism charges yesterday after allegedly threatening to attack Britain and America with biological weapons.
The arrest came after a six-month
investigation by British, US and South African security services. The
64-year-old man, who is a South African citizen, is said to have
repeatedly sent threatening emails to a Whitehall department in an
attempt to extort £2.5 million.
He is then understood to have sent similar threats to institutions in the US, at which point the FBI was called in.
Yesterday morning several containers were left in a storage facility
near the suspect’s home in South Africa’s North-West Province.
They are thought to have held money and, when the man went to collect it, he was arrested by South African special forces.
South African authorities said they had taken the threat seriously,
though they had found no evidence that the man was capable of launching a
biological attack. The suspect, who has not been named, is due to
appear in a Johannesburg court.
Title: Pentagon Looks To Africa For Next Bio Threat
Date: February 23, 2011
Abstract: No, it’s not a deleted scene from Outbreak. The Pentagon agency charged with protecting the United States from weapons of mass destruction is looking to the insecure storage of pathogens at clinics in Africa as the next flashing red light for a potential biological outbreak.
Kenneth Myers, the director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, joined his old boss, Sen. Richard Lugar, on a trip to Burundi, Kenya and Uganda last fall to check out the security of disease samples at local clinics. What they found disturbed them: strains of deadly viruses like foot-and-mouth disease and anthrax, available at numerous clinics in areas in or near conflict zones, potentially ripe for the terrorist taking.
“It’s important to remember that these countries have no intention of being threats to the United States,” Myers tells Danger Room. Indeed, the clinics have a very good reason for housing the pathogen samples: Their doctors need to be able to match patients with known diseases in the event of an outbreak. But Myers and Lugar left their trip worried about how many clinics possess the pathogens, as 20 years’ worth of lessons from checking the spread of loose nukes raised fears of inadvertent bio-proliferation.
So the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is looking to expand a program that’s grown out of Lugar’s eponymous anti-nuclear proliferation effort into Africa to see if the U.S. can help partner with these countries to minimize the threat. The first goal of the Chemical Biological Engagement Program is to build those relationships, Myers told a group of reporters Wednesday morning, so they can “consolidate the number of facilities with dangerous pathogens.”
That’s not all. Myers wants to collaborate with government officials, all the way down to the clinic level, to make sure the pathogens in residual facilities are stored safely, and offer help on “disease surveillance [and] epidemiological training.”
It’s an early effort — “about to be able to get started,” Myers put it — that’s part of the $1.5 billion worth of “layered” defenses against chemical and biological threats that the Pentagon is asking Congress to fund in the next fiscal year. Myers conceded that developing defenses against those threats is “very, very difficult.” Expensive efforts to create vaccines for consequence management have stalled. But that’s why he believes in “interdicting” WMD threats at their source to stop proliferation, having better surveillance of known and suspected sites, and responding capably if an attack should occur.
Despite years of fears, it’s an open question whether terrorists are actually planning chemical or biological attacks. Last month, the public threat assessment from U.S. intelligence officials warned of “smaller-scale” terrorism, involving homemade bombs like SUVs rigged to detonate or explosives packed in printer cartridges. Those cheap, low-yield terror attempts have been on display for the last several years. U.S. intelligence generally sees chemical, biological or even nuclear attacks as being mostly aspirational for terror groups — something they’d like to pull off, sure, but aren’t so realistic.
Myers declined Danger Room’s efforts to press him on whether the
terrorist chem-bio threat was in fact receding. From his perspective,
the ounce of prevention afforded by trying to lock down facilities where
pathogens reside is more than worth the effort. “Is it not in the U.S.
national security interest to create more barriers between the threat
and [U.S. citizens]? The answer obviously is yes,” Myers says (Wired, 2011).
Title: Kenya Put On High Alert Over Bio-Terrorism Attack
Date: December 22, 2011
Soure: Hiiraan News
Abstract: The Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) has put the country on high alert over the possibility of a bio-terrorism attack.
With the ongoing fight against Al Shabaab, the research institute admitted that bio-terrorism posed the biggest threat to the country.
According to KEMRI director Dr Solomon Mpoke, if not well handled the attack could be used as a weapon of mass destruction.
To this effect, Mpoke said that they had heightened security to make sure that the deadly pathogens in their facility did not land in the wrong hands.
"We have secured our fence and heightened security and in conjunction with our collaborators designed alert systems incase of a mysterious disease outbreak,"
The director at the same time said that they were working on the reduction of TB treatment period from the current six to four months.
Despite facing various challenges the institute according to the director had managed to protect 55 percent of the minors from contracting Malaria.
On his part, KEMRI chairman Dr Edwin Muingia expressed his concern that the body was losing its best scientists to other countries due to low wages.
This he attributed to the funding as out of the Sh9B annual budget, the government contributed a partial 1B with donors chipping in.
"The government is supposed to allocated two percent of its budget to research but that is not the case and this is costing the country dearly,"
And with the coming in of the devolved government, Muingia said that plans were underway to make sure the institute was represented in every County.
Dr Elizabeth Bukusi the deputy director in charge of research and training said that they had made significant strides in the fight against HIV Aids.
Bukusi said that a study conducted on discordant couples indicated that early treatment for HIV Aids reduced chances of spreading the disease to partners by 96 percent.
"We are currently working on the male to male transmission of HIV Aids mainly in the Coast and it's a serious problem due to phobia and stigma attached to the issue" (Hiiraan News, 2011).
Title: Mugabe Calls Typhoid Outbreak “Biological Warfare”
Date: February 8, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has blamed a typhoid fever outbreak that has impacted 1,500 people in the country’s capital Harare on biological warfare.
Claudious Mutero, a spokesperson for Zanu-PF, made the claim in Harare. Meanwhile, Henry Madzorera, the Health and Child Welfare minister, cautioned that the outbreak would spread to other areas due to collapsing sewer and water infrastructure, Africa Review reports.
“The sanctions induced typhoid does not discriminate whether one is MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) or Zanu-PF as it attacks all people irrespective of their sex, ethnic or religious background,” Mutero said, according to Africa Review. “We suspect biological warfare by imperialists who are using nationals worldwide as conduits. Councilors must unite and call for the removal of these sanctions.”
Mugabe blamed the sanctions imposed on his inner circle for Zimbabwe’s economic collapse and said that the West was interested in re-colonizing the continent. Critics of Mugabe said that these claims of renewed imperialism are attempts to mask a failed land grab that ravaged the country’s economy, which is based on agriculture.
“This is not the first time that Zanu-PF has made ridiculous claims against foreign countries,” Madzorera said, according to Africa Review. “A few years ago, the struggling party alleged that the foreign countries were responsible for the abnormal rainfall in the country.”
Madzorera said that the government must put more money into sanitation and water to prevent recurring outbreaks.
Title: Survey: Four In 10 Nigerian Children Have Malaria
Date: February 29, 2012
Abstract: Malaria is a well-known scourge on many areas of the planet with over 200 million cases annually resulting in 655,000 deaths, primarily in African children.
The 2010 Nigeria Malaria Indicator Survey (2010 NMIS) was implemented by the National Population Commission (NPC), National Malaria Control Programme (NMCP), and other Roll Back Malaria partners from October 2010 through December 2010 on a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 households.
The primary objectives of the 2010 NMIS project are to provide information on malaria indicators and malaria prevalence, both at the national level and in each of the country's six geopolitical zones.
The data was the result of a combination of multiple questionnaires for the households and laboratory testing performed on children ages 6-59 months.
Malaria testing was performed by using the rapid, 15 minute test, Paracheck Pf rapid diagnostic test (RDT), which tests for P. falciparum.
In addition to the Paracheck Pf RDT, a thick blood smear and thin blood film were prepared for all children tested. These blood smears were dried, packed carefully in the field, and then transported to the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Lagos, for microscopic reading and determination of malaria parasite presence and speciation. The purpose of the blood slides is to provide a 'gold standard' for the presence of parasites within the child's blood and to ascertain the type of parasite.
Any children testing positive for malaria were treated appropriately.
Some of the key numbers coming from the survey include:
· Using the RDT test, 52% of Nigerian children age 6-59 months tested positive for malaria. Blood smears revealed 42% of the children as positive for malaria.
· Malaria prevalence increased with age regardless of methodology
· Prevalence was higher in rural areas than urban areas
· Malaria was highest in the Southwest of the country
· 44 percent of households nationwide own at least one mosquito net of any type, and 27 percent own more than one.· 31 percent of children under age 5 slept under a mosquito net the night before the survey (Examiner, 2012).
Title: Three Farm Workers Die Of Anthrax In
Date: March 28, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: Three farm workers from Farm Kroonster 448 in Namibia’s Omaheke Region died from an anthrax-related illness in the Gobabis State Hospital last week.
It is believed that five workers from the farm contracted anthrax after eating meat of a cow that passed away on the farm. Two of the five workers are still being treated at the hospital for an anthrax-related disease, Nampa reports.
The two farm workers are still in critical condition and all movements from the ward have been restricted.
“You can confirm this with the hospital matron,” a registered nurse from the hospital speaking on the condition of anonymity, said, according to Nampa. “Even the remains of the deceased three farm workers are still being kept here in our mortuary for further laboratory investigations.”
George Ruhumba, the region’s chief animal health technician, said that the business at Farm Kroonster is under restriction for 21 days after a request from the Ministry of Health and Social Services to enact a ban. He said there is a suspected anthrax case at the commercial farm, which is located 100 kilometers east of Gobabis. While veterinary services has tested all 19 livestock at the farm and all tests came back negative, the restriction orders are still active.
The workers were said
to have complained of stomach pains after eating the meat of a cow that had
died in early March (Bio
Prep Watch, 2012).
Title: Egypt Reports Third Bird Flu Death Of 2012
Date: March 20, 2012
Abstract: A confirmed case of H5N1 avian influenza in Egypt has taken the life of a woman from Dakahlia Governorate according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The WHO said Monday; the Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt notified the global health body about the new case of human infection with bird flu.
According to the WHOs Global Alert and Response, the victim was a 40-year-old female who developed symptoms on 6 March 2012, was hospitalized on 12 March 2012. She was in critical condition and received oseltamivir upon admission. She died on 15 March 2012.
Like so many avian influenza patients, the woman was exposed to sick backyard poultry according to the investigation into the case.
Laboratory confirmation of H5N1 avian influenza was performed by the Central Public Health Laboratories(NIC).
This is the sixth case of human infection with bird flu in Egypt this year, and the third case to be fatal.Since the first cases were reported in 2006, there have been 164 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 58 (35%) have been fatal (Examiner, 2012).
Title: Meningitis Death Toll Climbs In Northern Ugandan Town Of Amuru
Date: March 22, 2012
Abstract: Health authorities in the Amuru district of Northern Uganda report Thursday that the death toll has risen to eleven in the outbreak that started earlier in the month. In addition, it has been reported that at least 30 other patients are presenting meningitis-like symptoms.
Amuru deputy health officer, Mr. Charles Okwera said some the victims did not seek proper medical attention, with others blaming the illness on poisoning.
The district is on high alert with health officials educating people in the communities to seek medical attention if they experience a sudden spike in fever.
Along with the current meningitis outbreak, the Amuru district has also registered nearly 80 cases of the mysterious nodding disease.
Meningococcal meningitis is caused by the bacterium,Neisseria meningitidis, which causes the most severe form of bacterial meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can also be found in the bloodstream. This particular type of meningitis is very severe and can result in death if not treated promptly. Even in cases where treatment has been given, the fatality rate is around 15%.
The symptoms of bacterial meningitis are sudden, with fever, stiff neck, body aches and headaches. As the disease progresses other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, photophobia and seizures. A petechial rash seen on the trunk and lower extremities, bleeding complications, multi-organ failures and shock are usually final signs. This disease has the ability to kill within hours of getting it.
Up to 10-20% of older children and young adults carry this organism in the mouth and nose, though the carriage rate will vary with age and closeness of population. The majority of people that carry this bacterium have no clinical disease. The organism is spread person to person through respiratory secretions from the nose and mouth (coughing, sneezing and kissing). Experts are unsure why some people advance to meningitis disease while many do not.Crowded living conditions facilitate the spread of the organisms and places like military barracks and college dormitories are well documented areas of concern with this disease (Examiner, 2012).
Title: Anthrax Toll Rises To Five In Namibia
Date: March 29, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: Five people have now died in the Omaheke region of Namibia from an illness that is believed to be either anthrax or Congo fever.
Initial test results proved to be inconclusive and new samples have since been sent to South Africa for more extensive analysis, according to Namibian.com.na.
Dr. Jack Vries, the chairperson of the Namibian National Health Emergency Management Committee, said that he expects the results of the second round of testing within a week.
“We don’t know whether it is anthrax or not,” Vries said, Namibian.com.na reports.
Vries said that the victims had intestinal symptoms that included diarrhea and vomiting, which is atypical of anthrax.
Two of the victims worked together at a dairy farm and died after eating beef from the same cow. The owner of the farm, Japie Engelbrecht, said that his farm is doing poorly in the wake of reports about the outbreak. The dairy is currently under quarantine and Engelbrecht is denying reports that he might not have vaccinated his animals against anthrax.
Dr. John Shoopala, the acting chief veterinary officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, said that an investigation showed Engelbrecht had not properly vaccinated his livestock.
Title: Anthrax Outbreak Kills Two In Ghana
Date: April 24, 2012
Source: Bio Prep Watch
Abstract: An anthrax outbreak in the Upper East region of Ghana has led to two deaths after the victims consumed a dead animal that may have been infected with the deadly disease.
The incident occurred in the community of Googo. Thomas Anyarikeya, the regional veterinary officer, said that anthrax particularly affects ruminants and can be transmitted to humans from them. Ruminants are a type of mammal and include goats, sheep and cattle, GBC Ghana reports.
Anthrax is a lethal disease caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacterium. The bacterium forms dormant spores that can come to life when surrounded by the proper conditions. The three types of anthrax are cutaneous, inhalation and gastrointestinal, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.
Humans can be infected by anthrax from handling products made from infected animals, by breathing in anthrax spores from animal products and by eating undercooked meat that comes from infected animals.
In 2001, anthrax was
deliberately used as a weapon when it was spread through the United States
postal service shortly after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks. The
letters were laced with anthrax-containing powder and infected 22 people. Five
people died as a result of the attacks, which targeted government and media
Prep Watch, 2012).
Title: Delta Flight Delayed Over Monkeypox Fears
Date: April 28, 2012
Abstract: For passengers on Delta Flight 3163, it felt like something out of a Hollywood movie: a passenger with an unknown rash, members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) investigating the scene and the use of the word “quarantine” while the plane remained on the tarmac.
This is exactly what happened at Chicago’s Midway Airport Thursday as the flight from Detroit to Chicago was quarantined for nearly three hours because a woman returning from Uganda had a suspicious rash on her body.
Unlike it’s eradicated cousin smallpox, which is strictly a human disease, monkeypox not only spreads from animal to animal but also from animals to humans.
is a relatively rare virus found primarily in central and western Africa. The disease is caused by Monkeypox virus. It is closely related to the smallpox virus (variola), the virus used in the smallpox vaccine (vaccinia), and the cowpox virus.
Infection with monkeypox is not as serious as its cousin, smallpox, however human deaths have been attributed to monkeypox.
According to the CDC, the symptoms of monkeypox are as follows: About 12 days after people are infected with the virus, they will get a fever, headache, muscle aches, and backache; their lymph nodes will swell; and they will feel tired. One to 3 days (or longer) after the fever starts, they will get a rash. This rash develops into raised bumps filled with fluid and often starts on the face and spreads, but it can start on other parts of the body too. The bumps go through several stages before they get crusty, scab over, and fall off. The illness usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.
People at risk for monkeypox are those who are bitten by an infected animal or if you have contact with the animal’s rash, blood or body fluids. It can also be transmitted person to person through respiratory or direct contact and contact with contaminated bedding or clothing.
There is no specific treatment for monkeypox (Examiner, 2012).
Title: U.S. Urges Nigeria To Pass Biosafety Laws
Date: May 1, 2012
Abstract: The U.S. Department of State recently announced that it would not aid the development of a biotechnology sector in Nigeria until the country adopts an appropriate legal framework.
Fatuma Sanneh, a state department economics and commerce officer, said that Nigeria’s failure to enact biosafety laws would restrict aid from the United States, according to AllAfrica.com.
“We have concern about the law, it has to be in place,” Sanneh said, Tribune.com.ng reports.
Sanneh exchanged views with Professor Bamidele Solomon, the director-general of Nigeria’s National Biotechnology Development Agency, while visiting Abuja.
During an earlier welcome address, Solomon said that two major U.S. biotech companies, Monsanto and Syngenta, have shown reservations about engaging in serious dialogue about biotechnology prospects in Nigeria.
Solomon said that he was optimistic that biosafety laws would soon be enacted in Nigeria. He appealed to the U.S. delegation to assist in facilitating collaboration between Nigeria and U.S. biotech companies so that Nigeria could catch up quickly in the evolving global bio-economy.
Clive James, the founder of the International Service for Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, recently said that Nigeria was making significant strides towards mainstreaming biotechnology in national legislation and policy frameworks, according to AfricaScienceNews.org.
Regardless, it has been over five years since Nigeria began efforts to craft significant biosafety legislation, which would provide a framework for the use of genetically modified crops, according to SciDev.net (BioPrepWatch, 2012).
Title: Mysterious ‘Zombie’ Disease Is Afflicting Thousands Of Ugandan Children
Date: May 21, 2012
Source: Business Insider
Abstract: Agnes Apio has to tie up her son Francis before she can leave the house. In his state, he is a danger to himself. Where once he walked and talked like a normal child, now he is only able to drag himself along in the dirt. Francis is suffering from “Nodding Disease,” a brain disorder that, according to CNN, afflicts at least 3,000 children in northern Uganda, leaving them physically stunted and severely mentally disabled.
“I feel dark in my heart,” Apio says as she waves flies away from her son’s face and mops up his urine after a seizure, “This boy has become nothing.”
“Reportedly the children gnaw at their fabric restraints, like rabid animals,” says The Daily Tech. The article calls them “zombie children,” having “no cure” and “no future.”
First the victims become restless and can’t concentrate. They say they have trouble thinking. Then comes the nodding, an uncontrollable dipping of the head that presages the disease’s debilitating epilepsy-like seizures. It is this nodding motion that gives the illness its name.
Nodding Disease first attacks the nervous system, then the brain. As the seizures progress and worsen, the children become less and less like themselves, and more and more distant and blank. Eventually the brain stops developing and the victims’ bodies stop growing. So far, no patients have recovered.
Grace Lagat also has to tie up her children in order to leave the house. Daughter Pauline, 13, and son Thomas are bound hand and foot to keep them from shuffling away and getting lost. Pauline recently disappeared for five days.
Experts are baffled as to what causes the disease, which only occurs in children. Early findings suggest a confluence of the presence of the black fly-borne parasitic worm Onchocerca Volvulus, which causes river blindness, and acute vitamin B6 deficiency.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, onset usually takes place at the age of five or six and progresses rapidly, leaving the victims severely mentally and physically handicapped within a couple of years.
Victims can wander off and disappear. Some 200 “secondary deaths” have occurred due to fires and accidents caused by children with the disease.
Physicians and workers with the Ugandan Red Cross are frustrated by what they see as a lack of urgency in the government’s handling of the disease. After months of lagging, officials have only begun an official tally of cases within the last two weeks.
The situation was already dire when a team from the World Health Organization visited northern Uganda in 2009. CNN quotes one doctor from the team, Dr. Joaquin Saweka, as saying, “It was quite desperate, I can tell you. Imagine being surrounded by 26 children and 12 of them showing signs of this. The attitude was to quickly find a solution to the problem.”
Solutions, however, have been slow in coming.
Doctors have been treating the seizures caused by the disease with epilepsy drugs, but their efficacy is limited. The drugs only slow the progression of the disease, but fail to stop it.
Currently, Ugandan government officials say that they are doing everything they can to fight the epidemic. They say that new epilepsy drugs are being tried and special training has been instituted for local health officials. This, they say, is as much as can be done for a disease whose cause and cure are largely unknown.
Saweka said, “When you know the root cause, you address the cure. Now you are just relieving the symptoms. We don’t expect to cure anybody” (Business Insider, 2012).
Title: Three Die In Ghana Anthrax Outbreak
Date: May 24, 2012
Abstract: Another outbreak of anthrax in the Upper East region of Ghana has led to three deaths in the Balungu electoral area of the Bongo District.
Several animals have also fallen prey to the disease, which has been circulating through the area during the last two weeks. Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture are in the community to vaccinate animals against a further spread of the deadly disease, GBC reports.
Edward Abesiwine, the assemblyman for the area, requested that philanthropists and the government help the people of the region because some cannot afford the fee being charged for vaccination.
A previous outbreak occurred in the Upper East region in April, which led to two deaths after the victims ate the meat of a dead animal that may have contracted the disease. The prior outbreak occurred in the community of Googo. The Upper East Regional Health Service received 3,400 vaccines to give to animals in the area to prevent anthrax from spreading. Vaccinations cost approximately 28 U.S. cents each.
Thomas Anyarikeya, the Upper East regional director of veterinary services, asked local governments to help with a fueling crisis that was impeding the ability of vehicles to move into local communities to administer the vaccines. Anyarikeya requested funding to properly carry out the vaccination process (BioPrepWatch, 2012).
Title: Anthrax Outbreak In Ghana Claims Two More Victims
Date: May 25, 2012
Abstract: Two more people have died in an anthrax outbreak that was thought to be under control in the Upper East region of Ghana.
The deaths follow a vaccination campaign that was believed to have stopped the disease from spreading. Last month, two people and at least 20 cattle died as a result of anthrax infection in the Bawku West district bordering Burkina Faso, according to GhanaWeb.com.
Bawku West District Chief Executive Moro Adam Anabah said that the infected cattle were all buried properly and all others in the area were properly vaccinated to prevent further infection, according to Examiner.com.
Regional Veterinary Officer Dr. Thomas Anyorikiya said that he suspects the latest victims consumed anthrax tainted meat and, as a response, the vaccination campaign has been scheduled to resume.
“The soils are contaminated…if the carcasses were not properly buried, it means they opened the carcasses, prepared the meant and consumed it thereby contaminating their soil,” Dr. Anyorikiya said, GhanaWeb.com reports. “This is the education we have been giving. Once you open the carcass and contaminate the soil, you should expect anthrax to be there for the next 25 years at least.”
Anyorikiya is encouraging district residents to burn animal carcasses instead of burying them (BioPrepWatch, 2012).
Title: African Monkey Meat That Could Be Behind The Next HIV
Date: May 25, 2012
Abstract: Deep in the rainforest of south-east Cameroon, the voices of the men rang through the trees. "Where are the white people?" they shouted. The men, who begin to surround us, are poachers, who make their money from the illegal slaughter of gorillas and chimpanzees. They disperse but make it known that they are not keen for their activities to be reported; the trade they ply could not only wipe out critically endangered species but, scientists are now warning, could also create the next pandemic of a deadly virus in humans.
Eighty per cent of the meat eaten in Cameroon is killed in the wild and is known as "bushmeat". The nation's favoured dishes are gorilla, chimpanzee or monkey because of their succulent and tender flesh. According to one estimate, up to 3,000 gorillas are slaughtered in southern Cameroon every year to supply an illicit but pervasive commercial demand for ape meat .
"Everyone is eating it," said one game warden. "If they have money they will buy gorilla or chimp to eat."
Frankie, a poacher in the southern Dja Wildlife reserve who gave a fake name, said he is involved in the trade because he can earn good money from it, charging around £60 per adult gorilla killed. "I have to make a living," he said. "Women come from the market and order a gorilla or a chimp and I go and kill them."
Cameroon's south-eastern rainforests are also home to the Baka – traditional forest hunters who have the legal right to hunt wild animals, with the exception of great apes.
Felix Biango, a Baka elder, said the group used to hunt gorilla every few weeks to feed his village, Ayene, but has stopped since Cameroon outlawed the practice 10 years ago. However, he says that every week, three or four people come from the cities to ask the group to help them to hunt wild animals, such as gorillas and chimpanzees.
While the Baka no longer hunt primates for themselves, Mr Biango says that they still kill gorillas for the commercial trade and will eat the meat if they find the animals already dead.
Though Cameroonians have eaten primate meat for years, recent health scares have begun to raise fears about the safety of the meat. "In the village of Bakaklion our brothers found a dead gorilla in the forest," Mr Biango said. "They took it back to the village and ate the meat. Almost immediately, everyone died – 25 men, women and children – the only person who didn't was a woman who didn't eat the meat."
Three-quarters of all new human viruses are known to come from animals, and some scientists believe humans are particularly susceptible to those carried by apes. The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is now widely believed to have originated in chimps. Apes are known to host other potentially deadly viruses, such as ebola, anthrax, yellow fever and other potential viruses yet to be discovered.
Babila Tafon, head vet at the primate sanctuary Ape Action Africa (AAA), in Mefou, just outside the capital Yaounde, believes the incident that Biango describes could have been caused by an outbreak of ebola, but cannot be sure because no tests were carried out.
AAA now cares for 22 gorillas and more than one hundred chimps – all orphans of the bushmeat trade.
Mr Tafon tests the blood of all apes arriving at the sanctuary. He says he has recently detected a new virus in the apes – simian foamy virus, which is closely related to HIV. "A recent survey confirmed this is now in humans, especially in some of those who are hunters and cutting up the apes in the south-east of the country," he said.
Viruses are often transferred from ape to human through a bite, scratch or the blood of a dead ape getting into an open wound. There is a lower risk from eating cooked or smoked primates, but it is not completely safe.
Bushmeat is not only a concern for Cameroonians. Each year, an estimated 11,000 tons of bushmeat is illegally smuggled in to the UK, mainly from West Africa, and is known to include some ape meat.
The transfer of viruses from ape to man is a primary concern for the international virology research and referral base run by the Pasteur Centre in Yaounde. Each week, it screens more than 500 blood samples for all manner of viruses, and alerts major international medical research centres if it finds an unfamiliar strain.
Professor Dominique Baudon, the director of the Cameroon centre, says he is concerned that the bushmeat trade is a major gateway for animal viruses to enter humans worldwide, due to the export trade.
He says that the deeper poachers go in to the forest, and the more that primates are consumed, the more exposed people become to new unknown viruses and the more potential there is for the viruses to mutate into potentially aggressive forms. At the Ape Action Africa sanctuary, Rachel Hogan, who came to Cameroon from Birmingham 11 years ago, and her team focus on the last of Cameroon's great apes.
It is not known exactly how many gorillas remain in the wild in Cameroon. Conservationists estimates there may be only a few thousand Western Lowland Gorillas left, which are being gradually forced in to smaller groups by hunting and the destruction of their habitat by logging. In the west of the country, there are only 250 Cross River Gorillas left.
Hunting does not just affect adult apes. One hunter said a baby gorilla had screamed so much for its dead mother, killed for her meat, that he eventually killed it to stop the noise.
Most of the gorillas and chimps Ms Hogan and her team look after are babies who have witnessed the murder of their parents. She says they are often suffering from terrible wounds and even trauma when they arrive at the sanctuary. "They grieve just like humans," she says. "We have had them where they will just sit rocking, grinding their teeth and they don't respond to anything. You have to be able to win back their trust."
Ms Hogan says the apes can even die after the trauma. "They'll stop eating, they won't respond to anything... [They] decide whether they live or die. It's like watching a clock wind down."
The increasing number of rescued apes is putting pressure on the sanctuary. A group of eight gorillas in the wild, protected by one dominant male, needs 16 square kilometres to roam in to live comfortably.
The sanctuary says there is nowhere in the vast tropical rainforest of Cameroon that the apes can safely be returned to the wild. "If this continues there might not be any wild populations of gorillas left," says Ms Hogan.
'Unreported World: The Monkey Business', Channel 4, 7.30pm tonight
Out of Africa: How HIV was Born
Aids, the worst pandemic of modern times which has claimed over 30 million lives, is thought to have begun in the rainforest of west central Africa as a result of the bush meat trade.
For decades, perhaps centuries, wild chimpanzees carrying the Simian Deficiency Virus (SIV) have come into contact with humans who have caught and eaten them. SIV is genetically similar to HIV and, occasionally, when a chimp scratched or bit a hunter, the virus will have been passed on and may have mutated into HIV. In the distant past, when communications were poor, outbreaks of HIV would not have spread beyond the forest. But in the latter part of the last century, as the commercial exploitation of Africa gathered pace, the opportunities for viral spread increased.
Today, the scale of the slaughter is immense. The Washington-based Bush Meat Crisis Task Force estimates that up to five million tons of wild animals are being "harvested" in the Congo Basin every year – the equivalent of 10 million cattle. The trade was initially driven by hunger – it was a cheap source of food – but has burgeoned with increased logging of the forests and growing demand.
Now, it is international, extending the threat beyond the continent's boundaries. Scientists have warned that Britain is at risk from an outbreak caused by the lethal Ebola or Marburg viruses contained in illegal imports of bush meat from Africa.The size of the imports is unknown, but one 2010 study estimated that five tons of the meat per week were being smuggled in personal baggage via Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France. Gorilla and chimpanzee meat is said to be on offer to African communities in Hackney and Brixton at hundreds of pounds per kilogram (Independent, 2012).
Title: Second Anthrax Outbreak In Ghana
Date: May 29, 2012
Abstract: Public health officials in Ghana are fighting an anthrax outbreak that claimed two victims shortly after bringing a previous outbreak was brought under control.
Anthrax surfaced in the Bongo District in the Upper East region of Ghana after several people consumed the meat of a cow that died from the illness, according to AllAfrica.com.
Regional Veterinary Officer Dr. Thomas Anyorikeya confirmed that anthrax was behind the deaths. He said that three people fell ill and were hospitalized after eating the tainted beef. One woman and one man later died from the infection.
According to Anyorikeya, a team of veterinary and health officers returned to the village of Nabiisi and buried the remaining meat.
The veterinary officer said that a total of 2,700 cattle were vaccinated following the outbreak, but acknowledged that the program has since come to a halt. The Bongo District Assemble and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture failed to come to an agreement on a budget for the operation, AllAfrica.com reports.
Anyorikeya said his personnel have had to fight the outbreak using their own resources, including money for fuel. He said he could no longer afford to travel to different locations to vaccinate more cattle and is worried that if the operation ceases more infections could be imminent (BioPrepWatch, 2012).
Title: Pandemic Response Program: A Progress Report
Date: May 30, 2012
Abstract: Militaries in many countries are expected to play a key role in collaboration with other governmental, non-governmental and international organizations; in maintaining security, providing logistical support for food, medicine and other commodities; maintaining communications; and providing augmented medical care. It is with this understanding that U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM), though funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development and in partnership with CDHAM, has developed the Pandemic Response Program (PRP) to assist African partner nation militaries in developing pandemic disaster response plans in support of their larger national plans. PRP elements include planning and preparedness baseline review/assessments, military pandemic response plans, training programs, legal and procedural frameworks and the enhancement of regional response capabilities. Moreover, the PRP has and continues to provide capacity building to African partner nations through training, technical assistance as well as through identifying and/or purchasing limited equipment needed for selected countries.
The PRP program also has a regional focus to help improve regional stability and security in the event of a complex emergency such as a pandemic disaster. Recognizing there are African leaders who have indicated they would like to collaborate more effectively on a regional and pan-African basis for disaster preparedness and management, the PRP continues to explore ways to engage with a number of Africa organizations which have oversight of, or work with, militaries or others in the security sector. PRP activities include engaging the African Union and its eight Regional Economic Communities, the Regional Disaster Management Center of Excellence in Kenya, the International Peace Support Training Center, also in Kenya, and the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Ghana.
With the activities executed to date, CDHAM, with USAFRICOM oversight, is on track toward meeting PRP objectives. The PRP team has so far delivered five military plans in support of national pandemic plans: military, and in some instance civilian plans were delivered to Benin, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda between August 2011 and February 2012.
Moreover, the PRP team plans to deliver five additional plans by July 2012 to the following countries: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. The successful completion of three national exercises in Tanzania, Rwanda, Senegal, Nigeria and Ghana in 2011-2012, and the expected completion of a national exercise in Burkina Faso in May 2012; have further enhanced and solidified U.S. AFRICOM’s relationships with African partner nations throughout 2011 and well into 2012. This further enables the execution of PRP’s future national whole-of-government engagements, exercise events, development of pandemic contingency response plans, and solidifies the path toward capacity building, education and training
U.S. AFRICOM, with support from CDHAM, is currently in the process of
finalizing the development of comprehensive educational curricula leveraging
National Capacity in Disaster Management and pandemic/health emergency crisis
response for both civil and military authorities. CDHAM works with PRP partner
nations that are currently in Phase IV to assess and develop their educational
capacities in disaster planning and preparedness and disaster management (CDHAM, 2012).
Title: African Sleeping Sickness Shrouded In Superstition
Date: June 9, 2012
Abstract: A frail 65-year-old woman sitting under the mango trees in a rural village in Chad suffers from a tropical disease that eats into the brain, and the locals blame on witchcraft.
"I've been suffering for more than two months now. I have headaches, fever, and I just feel very tired," said Lea Sadene, who has just been tested and diagnosed.
She has Human African trypanosomiasis, commonly known as sleeping sickness, which is transmitted by tsetse flies found in 36 sub-Saharan African countries.
Sadene is in the first phase of the often fatal illness. Without treatment in four months to a year, "the parasite penetrates into the brain, causing serious neurological symptoms, until death," said Doctor Benedict Blaynay, head of neglected tropical diseases at French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.
"The symptoms can cause a change in personality, mental deterioration, leading to a long sleep or coma," which gives the illness its name, he said.
Chadian health officials say around 3,300 people were infected between 2001 and 2011 in several areas of the landlocked central African nation, one of the poorest in the world.
"With more than 100 cases per year Chad is considered an endemic country," said Doctor Peka Mallaye, who is in charge of the national programme to fight against sleeping sickness.
In Kobitoi in southern Chad recently, village women lined up with their children, many with swollen bellies, in the scorching sun as temperatures hit 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) to undergo tests for the disease organised with Sanofi.
The team found 14 cases of sleeping sickness out of 120 people examined, Mallaye said.
"This village is located next to a forest where the tsetse flies live. During the rainy season, people pass through the forest to go fishing or hunting," he said.
Fighting the disease, however, takes more than testing and drugs. For the people living in Chad's rural communities, the strange symptoms of sleeping sickness have long been shrouded in superstition about witchcraft and demonic possession.
"Before we didn't know that it was the disease that was killing people. People died like flies, they blamed witches," said Alngar Legode, a village mother trying to comfort her eight-month child still crying after being pricked for the blood test for the disease.
"Witchcraft is seen as a real phenomenon in traditional societies," said sociologist Serferbe Charlot. "They think that a man or a woman suspected of witchcraft is eating away at a person's soul."
In the advanced stages of the disease the infected person experiences severe neurological problems.
"When this disease reaches the brain, the patient loses control of his life, he even becomes violent. That is when the villagers believe that the sick person is possessed by evil spirits," said Charlot.
"It is up to the health specialists to prove" to the population that it is not witchcraft, he said, adding: "The fight against sleeping sickness calls for raising awareness."
But the World Health Organisation says it is not a losing battle.
After continued control efforts, the most recent statistics available show the number of cases in 2009 dropped below 10,000 for the first time in 50 years, and the trend continued in 2010 with 7139 new cases reported, the WHO reported on its website.
WHO estimates the number of actual cases is currently 30,000. The most affected country has been the Democratic Republic of Congo, which declared 500 new cases in 2010.
The WHO has established public-private partnerships with Sanofi and also Bayer Healthcare to create a surveillance team and provide support to endemic countries in their control efforts as well as a free supply of drugs to treat the sick.
Diagnosis should be made as early as possible before the disease reaches the neurological stage, which calls for more complicated and risky treatment.
The chief executive of Sanofi, Christopher Viehbacher, said the main challenge ahead "is to keep up the expertise in diagnosis and treatment in the medical centres, so that the monitoring for sleeping sickness is maintained."
Sleeping sickness figures on the WHO's list of 10 neglected tropical diseases. In January in London, the UN health agency brought together the US, British and United Arab Emirates governments along with 13 pharmaceutical companies and international organisations like the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to make a new push to eliminate these diseases by the end of the decade.
"If we keep doing the right things better, and on a larger scale,
some of these diseases could be eliminated by 2015, and others by 2020,"
WHO Director General Margaret Chan has said (AFP, 2012).
Title: US To Deploy More Than 3,000 Troops To Africa
Date: June 12, 2012
Abstract: All of those troops leaving Afghanistan during the next two years will have to go somewhere, right? The US Army will deploy thousands of soldiers across the continent of Africa during 2013.
The Army Times confirms that the US military gave the go-ahead for the mass deployment last month and that roughly 3,000 soldiers will soon be sent overseas, with more troops expected to be dispatched during the duration of the program. Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, head of US Army Africa, says the initiative is part of a “regionally aligned force concept” that will allow American troops to forge relationships across Africa, where the US has not concentrated its soldiers among civilians to the same degree as other continents.
“As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory,” Hogg tells Army Times.
The program will put thousands of American troops in different African cities from anywhere for a few weeks to a few months, where they will learn about unfamiliar cultures and conduct training for threats and missions.
The US currently has a substantial military presence across the African continent, but nowhere to the degree that is has in other locales. More than 1,200 soldiers are currently stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, and last October US President Barack Obama personally authorized the deployment of 100 troops to Uganda to aid in attempt to oust Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony.
Around the time of that announcement, though, award-winning war correspondent Eric Margolis told RT that if Washington had humanitarian interests in mind while considering deployments to Uganda that it would not be going in alone.
“The US is also concerned about Chinese penetration in the region that they are going to gobble all the economical resources and earn influence on the regional governments. So the US maybe want to stop this Chinese advancement in central Africa,” said Marggolis. “It could be more legitimate, if the US did it in conjunction with disinterested nations – Russia, for example, or South Africa and Turkey. But the fact that they’re doing it on their own means they are doing it for the interests of their own policy.”
Hogg insists this time, though, that Americans won’t be sent overseas with a plan to prepare for war. “We are not trying to reproduce the United States Army in the 54 countries in Africa,” he says. The soldiers will, however, show foreign citizens some of the tactics used by American troops, as well as provide instruction on combating famine and disease.
“I’m not there to win their wars or settle their differences,” says Hogg (RT, 2012).
Title: Biosafety Practices Neglected In Africa
Date: July 6, 2012
Abstract: The implementation of practices related to biosafety in Africa have been held back and neglected as a result of insufficient training and laboratory equipment throughout the continent, according to a top biosafety official.
Paul Okemo, the chief executive officer of the African Biological Safety Association, said that countries in Africa must improve their biosafety practices to reap the benefits and avoid the potential risk of biological agents. Okemo spoke at AfBSA’s third annual conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 26, SciDev.net reports.
Okemo said that biosafety cabinets were rarely checked for efficacy, doctors and nurses use the same gloves when treating multiple patients and that equipment is not up to date.
“(Africa) lacks the political and social environments conducive to encouraging such practices,” Julius Mugwagwa, the program officer at the African Biosafety Network of Expertise, said, according to SciDev.net. “There is a strong desire for biotechnology and its use in socioeconomic development, but a disconnection with implementing the necessary frameworks.”
Mugwagwa said that the government funding simply isn’t there to increase biosafety.
Edith Lem, an AfBSA member, revealed the results of a survey that found that 17 out of 23 laboratories in Cameroon had health standards that were unacceptable. More than two-thirds of staff members stored food and beverages in the same refrigerators as specimens.Lem did offer some encouraging news, saying that measures have been taken to implement biosafety training at laboratories that were found to have substandard practices (BioPrepWatch, 2012).
Title: Nigeria Is The Largest Contributor Of Global Polio Burden:
Date: July 8, 2012
Source: Outbreak News
Abstract: Nigeria remains a stumblingblock in the world’s effort for global polio eradication according to a World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Nigeria.
There are three countries left on the planet that have not succeeded in interrupting polio transmission and are considered endemic: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.
However, their are specific concerns about Nigeria in the global eradication effort according to the WHOCountry Representative in Nigeria, Dr. David Okello.
According to a Channels TV report Sunday, Okello said in Lagos Saturday, “Indeed Nigeria is now the largest contributor of global polio burden -nearly 60 per cent. Nigeria is also the only country in the world to have all three types of polio virus — Type 1, Type 3, and circulating vaccine-derived Type 2 viruses.”
He also noted that 2/3 of the 49 current cases in the country are from the northern states of Borno, Kano, Sokoto and Zamfara.
Polio is caused by the poliovirus types 1, 2 and 3. All three types cause paralysis, with wild poliovirus type 1 being isolated from paralysis cases most often.
This viral infection is primarily spread from person to person through the fecal-oral route. However, in places where sanitation is very good, transmission though throat secretions may be considered more important.
Polio is recognized in about 1 percent of infections by flaccid paralysis, while over 90 percent of infections are unapparent.
Paralysis of poliomyelitis is usually asymmetric and the site of paralysis depends on the location of nerve cell destruction on the spinal cord orbrain stem. Legs are affected more often than the arms.
Paralysis of the respiration can be life threatening.
Most cases of polio are in children under the age of three.Prevention of polio is through immunization, either through the live oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) or the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) (Outbreak News, 2012).
Title: Officials: Ebola Breaks Out In Uganda
Date: July 28, 2012
Source: USA Today
Abstract: The deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in western Uganda this month, Ugandan health officials said on Saturday, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange disease that had many people fleeing their homes.
The officials and a World Health Organization representative told a news conference in Kampala Saturday that there is "an outbreak of Ebola" in Uganda.
"Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute…have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola hemorrhagic fever," the Ugandan government and WHO said in joint statement.
Kibaale is a district in midwestern Uganda, where people in recent weeks have been troubled by a mysterious illness that seemed to have come from nowhere. Ugandan health officials had been stumped as well, and spent weeks conducting laboratory tests that were at first inconclusive.
On Friday, Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, told The Associated Press that investigators were "not so sure" it was Ebola, and a Ugandan health official dismissed the possibility of Ebola as merely a rumor. It appears firm evidence of Ebola was clinched overnight.
Health officials told reporters in Kampala that the 14 dead were among 20 reported with the disease. Two of the infected have been isolated for examination by researchers and health officials. A clinical officer and, days later, her 4-month-old baby died from the disease caused by the Ebola virus, officials said.
Officials urged Ugandans to be calm, saying a national emergency taskforce had been set up to stop the disease from spreading far and wide.
There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola, and in Uganda, where in 2000 the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized, it resurrects terrible memories.
Ebola, which manifests itself as a hemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious and kills quickly. It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognized, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scientists don't know the natural reservoir of the virus, but they suspect the first victim in an Ebola outbreak gets infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a monkey.
The virus can be transmitted in several ways, including through direct contact with the blood of an infected person. During communal funerals, for example, when the bereaved come into contact with an Ebola victim, the virus can be contracted, officials said, warning against unnecessary contact with suspected cases of Ebola.
In Kibaale, some villagers had started abandoning their homes in recent weeks to escape what they thought was an illness that had something to do with bad luck, because people were quickly falling ill and dying, and there was no immediate explanation, officials said.
Officials said now that they've verified Ebola in the area, they can concentrate on controlling the disease. Ebola patients were being treated at the only major hospital in Kibaale, said Stephen Byaruhanga, the district's health secretary.
"Being a strange disease, we were shocked to learn that it was Ebola," Byaruhanga said. "Our only hope is that in the past when Ebola broke out in other parts of Uganda it was controlled."
The challenge, he said, was retaining the services of all the nurses and doctors who are being asked to risk their lives in order to look after the sick.
"Their lives are at stake," he said.
Officials also worry that other villagers suffering from other diseases might be afraid to visit the hospital for fear of catching Ebola, he said (USA Today, 2012).
Title: Uganda Ebola Outbreak: Patients Flee Hospital Amid Contagion Fears
Date: July 29, 2012
Abstract: Terrified patients fled from a hospital in western Uganda as soon as news broke that a mysterious illness that killed at least 14 people in the region was Ebola, one of the world's most virulent diseases.
Ignatius Besisira, an MP for Buyaga East County in the Kibaale district, said people had at first believed the unexplained deaths were related to witchcraft. "Immediately, when there was confirmation that it was Ebola … patients ran out of Kagadi hospital (where some of the victims had died)," he told the Guardian. "Even the medical officers are very, very frightened," he said.
Government officials and a World Health Organisation representative confirmed the Ebola outbreak at a news conference in Kampala on Saturday. "Laboratory investigations done at the Uganda Virus Research Institute ... have confirmed that the strange disease reported in Kibaale is indeed Ebola haemorrhagic fever," they said in a joint statement.
Health officials said at least 20 people had been infected and of those 14 had died.
There is no treatment or vaccine against Ebola, which is transmitted by close personal contact and, depending on the strain, can kill up to 90% of those who contract the virus.
It has a devastating history in Uganda, where in 2000, at least 425 people were infected, of whom more than half died. Ebola was previously reported in the country in May last year, when it killed a 12-year-old girl.
During an outbreak in 2007, which claimed at least 37 lives, President Yoweri Museveni advised people not to shake hands and public gatherings were also discouraged.
One of those who succumbed to the outbreak in Kibaale was a clinical officer, Besisira said. The other fatalities came from a single household in Nyamarunda subdistrict, he added.
Joaquim Saweka, WHO's representative in Uganda, said the suspected infections emerged in the region in early July but the confirmation came only on Friday.
The Ugandan government said a national emergency taskforce had been set up and urged the population to remain calm. The government, WHO and the US Centres for Disease Control have sent experts to Kibaale to tackle the outbreak.
Besisira said officials in Kibaale had released radio broadcasts outlining precautionary measures on Saturday. "We have assured (the people) that we have a very strong team … who are making sure the disease is controlled … I am very confident we can contain it," he added.
Besisira had not heard of people moving out of the region, but the Daily Nation newspaper in neighbouring Kenya said on Sunday that people were leaving the area around Kagadi town, where the disease first appeared.
"We have to move to safer places because we can easily get infected by this disease here," the paper quoted a resident, Omuhereza Kugonza, as saying.
The WHO describes Ebola as "a viral haemorrhagic fever and one of the most virulent diseases known to humankind". It says the disease was identified in 1976 in a western equatorial province of Sudan and a nearby region of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo). It takes its name from a river in the DRC.
Kibaale is near Uganda's border with the DRC.
Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids and tissues of infected persons. It can also be transmitted by handling sick or dead infected wild animals, such as chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and fruit bats.
Symptoms include sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rashes, impaired kidney and liver function and bleeding (Guardian, 2012).
Title: 6 More Ugandans Admitted With Possible Ebola
Date: July 30, 2012
Source: USA Today
Abstract: Six more patients suspected to have Ebola have been admitted to the hospital days after investigators confirmed an outbreak of the highly infectious disease in a remote corner of western Uganda, a health official said on Monday.
Stephen Byaruhanga, health secretary of the affected Kibaale district, said possible cases of Ebola, at first concentrated in a single village, are now being reported in more villages.
"It's no longer just one village. There are many villages affected," Byaruhanga said.
In a national address Monday, Uganda's president advised against unnecessary contact among people, saying suspected cases of Ebola should be reported immediately to health officials.
Officials from Uganda's Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization announced on Saturday that the deadly Ebola virus killed 14 Ugandans this month, ending weeks of speculation about the cause of a strange illness that had some people fleeing their homes in the absence of reliable answers.
If the six new cases are confirmed as Ebola, it would bring to 26 the number of Ugandans infected with Ebola.
This is the fourth occurrence of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized in northern Uganda. At least 42 people were killed in another outbreak in 2007, and there was a lone Ebola case in 2011.
Investigators took nearly a month to confirm Ebola's presence in Uganda this year. In Kibaale, a district with 600,000 residents, some villagers started abandoning their homes to escape what they thought was an illness caused by bad luck. One family lost nine members, and a clinical officer and her 4-month-old baby died from Ebola, Byaruhanga said.
D.K. Lwamafa, of Uganda's Ministry of Health, told reporters on Saturday that one Ebola patient from Kibaale had been referred to the national hospital in the capital but had then died in Kibaale.
The confirmation of Ebola's presence in the area has spread anxiety among sick villagers, who are refusing to go the hospital for fear they don't have Ebola and will contract it there. All suspected Ebola patients have been isolated at one hospital where patients admitted with other illnesses fled after Ebola was announced. Only the hospital's maternity ward still has patients, officials said, highlighting the deadly reputation of Ebola in a country where the authorities do not always respond quickly and effectively to emergencies and disasters.
Barnabas Tinkasimire, a lawmaker from the area, said that some nurses refused to look after Ebola patients after one clinical officer died and another was taken ill.
"They are saying, 'We can't remain here if there is no sufficient allowance,'" Tinkasimire said of medical officers handling Ebola cases.
The lawmaker said the government's response so far has been poor and that it would have been worse without the technical support of organizations such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It took long for the government to respond, and up to now many people don't know how to guard against Ebola. We need sensitization," he said.
Ebola, which manifests itself as a hemorrhagic fever, is highly infectious and kills quickly. It was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognized. A CDC factsheet on Ebola says the disease is "characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients."
Scientists don't know the natural reservoir of the virus, but they suspect the first victim in an Ebola outbreak gets infected through contact with an infected animal.
The virus can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions. During communal funerals, for example, when the bereaved come into contact with an Ebola victim, the virus can be contracted, health officials said (USA Today, 2012).
Title: Panic In Uganda As Outbreak Of Deadly Ebola Virus Spreads
Date: July 30, 2012
Abstract: The Ugandan Government has created an emergency task force to deal with an outbreak of the Ebola virus. Dozens of terrified patients have fled hospitals afraid of contracting the disease, making quarantine near-impossible.
The onset of the virus outbreak – the third in the last 12 years – has caused the deaths of at least 14 people in western Uganda.
Depending on the strain the Ebola fatality rate can be up to 90 per cent.
Health officials said the first cases were registered at the beginning of July, but only now have been confirmed as Ebola. In total, 20 people have been infected over the course of the month. Six more cases have been confirmed on Monday, bringing the total number of registered Ebola infections to 26.
The first cases came from a single village, where at first the sudden deaths were explained as witchcraft. Health officials say this slowed the identification of the virus increasing the number infected.
But as soon as news broke of the onset of one of the deadliest virus known to man, patients at the Kagadi hospital where some of the ill have died, fled in terror of being infected.
Ugandan Health Secretary Stephen Bayaruhanga said many sick people who may have been infected with the virus refused to get tested at hospitals, fearing they may contract the disease there if they don’t already have it. In Kampala, where at least two of the cases have been treated, seven doctors and 13 health workers are under quarantine.
Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) staff attend an Ebola patient inside an isolation ward in Bundibugyo December 12, 2007 in this picture released by MSF on December 20, 2007. (Reuters/Claude Mahoudeau/MSF/Handout)
There’s no treatment or vaccine against Ebola, which is transmitted by close personal contact, through body fluids and tissues of infected persons. It can also be transmitted by handling sick or dead wild animals infected with the virus, such as gorillas, forest antelopes and fruits bats.
The disease was identified in 1976 in Sudan; its symptoms include sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, impaired kidney and live function and bleeding.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged people to avoid physical contact, and not bury possible Ebola victims on their own.
“Instead call health workers because they know how to do it,” he said.
Museveni said an emergency taskforce has been set up to contain the outbreak, aided by the World Health Organization and US Centers for Diseases Control officers.
This is the third outbreak of Ebola in Uganda. It struck first in 2000 infecting more than 400 people, of who nearly half died. It hit again in 2007, claiming 37 lives.
Other major epidemics of Ebola have occurred in the Democratic Republic
of Congo, also in 2007, with more than 180 dead, and in 2002-2003 in the
Republic of Congo, killing 128 people (RT, 2012).
Title: Ebola Outbreak Prompts Ugandans To Stop Kissing
Date: July 30, 2012
Source: ABC News
Abstract: The president of Uganda is calling on people in the East African country to avoid physical contact, including handshaking and kissing, to prevent the spread of the deadly and highly contagious Ebola virus that is believed to have killed 14 people in the last few weeks.
The disease has no known cure or vaccine and some strains can kill up to 90 percent of victims within days. Ugandans are so fearful of the disease that residents in Kibaale province where the outbreak was reported said that people immediately fled the hospital after hearing patients with Ebola were there.
In a nationally televised speech today, President Yoweri Museveni said health officials are working to contain the disease to the rural district where the outbreak was confirmed Saturday, but at least one of the suspected victims was taken to a hospital in the capital city of Kampala. Now, nearly two dozen medical workers at Mulago Hospital are being held in isolation.
“We have asked people in the whole country to be careful and aware of those who present with symptoms. We have informed health facilities of the right way to respond,” said Dr. Anthony Mbonye at Uganda’s Ministry of Health.
Mbonye said no other patients at Mulago Hospital in Kampala are at risk, and he is optimistic the outbreak in the Kibaale district 125 miles west of the capital city can be contained soon.
“I have hope because since Friday we have not had any new suspected cases of Ebola,” he said.
However, another health official from the affected district told the Associated Press up to six more patients suspected to have Ebola have been admitted to a hospital there and said people in other villages are reporting possible Ebola infections.
Mbonye said people are frightened because many illnesses that are common in the region, such as malaria, have the same symptoms as Ebola. He said health officials have to balance the need to inform the public while not wanting to cause unnecessary panic. In Kibaale, schools are closed and social gatherings have been cancelled.
Experts from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in Uganda to advise health officials responding to the outbreak.
People infected with Ebola usually have flu-like symptoms at first. They can then begin bleeding internally and externally as their vital organs shut down.
Ebola was named for the river near where it was first reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976. Scientists believe an Ebola outbreak usually begins when a human contracts the disease from an infected animal.
The CDC operates a laboratory in Uganda where a team of scientists is studying Ebola and other deadly viruses in Africa. In the past couple of years, U.S. defense officials expressed concern that terrorists could try to use Ebola as a biological weapon. The threat posed by Ebola and other little understood viral diseases has been dramatized by best-selling books such as “The Hot Point” and Hollywood movies like “Outbreak” and “Contagion.”
This is the third outbreak of Ebola in Uganda since 2000 when 224 people
were killed. At least 42 people were killed in another outbreak in 2007,
and there was a single confirmed case in 2011 (ABC News, 2012).
Title: Ebola Virus Spreads To Uganda Capital
Date: July 30, 2012
Abstract: Fourteen people have already died and as many as 26 more are feared to be carrying the disease, which kills nine out of ten people who become infected.
Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s President, went on national television to tell people to avoid those who appeared to have Ebola symptoms, which include fever, headaches, diarrhoea and vomiting.
“I therefore appeal to you to be vigilant,” Mr Museveni said.
“When you contact each other physically, then Ebola spreads. Avoid shaking of hands. We discourage the shaking of hands because that can cause a contact through sweat which can cause problems. Do not take on burying somebody who has died from symptoms which look like Ebola.
“Avoid promiscuity because these sicknesses can also go through sex.”
The outbreak began almost a month ago in a village in western Uganda, but medical workers initially failed to diagnose the illness because it did not present typical symptoms.
Stephen Byaruhanga, health secretary of the Kibaale district, first hit by the disease, said cases of Ebola, at first concentrated in a single village, are now being reported across the region.
“It’s no longer just one village. There are many villages affected,” he said.
Barnabas Tinkasimire, a lawmaker from the region, accused Uganda’s central government of being too slow to react to the outbreak.
“It took long for the government to respond, and up to now many people don’t know how to guard against Ebola,” he said.
During the first three weeks of cases, people began fleeing their villages as more and more people died, and those who had come into contact with earlier victims then also caught the virus.
One family lost nine members, and a clinical officer and her 4-month-old baby also died.
Officials from Uganda’s health ministry only confirmed that the disease was Ebola at the weekend, by which point it had reached the capital.
This is the fourth occurrence of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatised in northern Uganda.
At least 42 people were killed in another outbreak in 2007, and there was a lone Ebola case in 2011.
Ebola was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognised.
Ebola is one of the most feared infectious diseases in the world and there is no specific treatment or vaccine. But despite being extremely virulent the disease is containable because it kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones (Telegraph, 2012).
Title: Deadly Ebola Outbreak In Ugandan Capital
Date: July 30, 2012
Source: Yahoo News
Abstract: Uganda's president on Monday warned against shaking hands and other physical contact after the first death from the deadly Ebola virus in the capital Kampala.
"The Ministry of Health are tracing all the people who have had contact with the victims," Yoweri Museveni said in a state broadcast, adding that 14 people had died in total since Ebola broke out in western Uganda three weeks ago.
One person who contracted the virus in western Uganda died in Kampala's Mulago Hospital, Museveni said, calling on people not to shake hands to avoid the spread of the virus.
"Ebola spreads by contact when you contact each other physically... avoid shaking of hands, because that can cause contact through sweat, which can cause problems," Museveni said.
"Do not take on burying somebody who has died from symptoms that look like Ebola -- instead call health workers because they know how to do it... avoid promiscuity because this sickness can also go through sex," he added.
Seven doctors and 13 health workers at Mulago Hospital are in quarantine after "at least one or two cases" were taken there, with one later dying, he said.
The latest outbreak started in Uganda's western Kibale district, around 200 kilometres (125 miles) from Kampala, and around 50 kilometres from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
The fatal case in Kampala was a health worker who "had attended to the dead at Kagadi hospital" in Kibale, Health Minister Christine Ondoa told reporters.
She is believed to have travelled independently to Kampala -- possibly on public transport -- after her three-month old baby died, Ondoa added.
World Health Organisation (WHO) spokesman Tarik Jasarevic confirmed the death in Kampala, but noted that "so far no infections have occurred" there.
"I appeal to you to first of all report all cases which appear to be like Ebola, and these are high fever, vomiting, sometimes diarrhoea, and with bleeding," Museveni added.
"When you handle this case well you can eliminate Ebola quickly."
According to experts, despite being extremely virulent the disease is containable because it kills its victims faster than it can spread to new ones.
It has a fatality ratio of between 23 and 90 percent, according to the WHO.
Seven people suspected of having the virus have been isolated in Kigadi hospital, Ondoa said.
The nearest death to the capital previously had been in May 2011 in Bombo, 35 kilometres (21 miles) from Kampala, a city of some 1.5 million people.
The rare haemorrhagic disease, named after a small river in DR Congo, killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and at least 170 in the north of the country in 2000.
However, Museveni said that the virus had not been immediately identified this time, resulting in a delay.
"The bleeding which normally accompanies Ebola did not take place initially among these patients," he said, adding that health workers at first did not therefore realise what the problem was.
"Because of that delay the sickness spread."
Health officials said that the source of the outbreak had yet to be confirmed but that the villages affected were located close to forests famous for several species of primates.
"The site where most of the cases occurred are close to Kibale forest where there are a lot of monkeys and birdlife," said WHO representative for Uganda, Joaquim Saweka, adding that "so far the WHO does not recommend any restriction of movement."
Local communities had initially also delayed reporting the outbreak because "evil spirits" had been blamed, said Ondoa.
Ebola is characterised by the sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat, often followed by vomiting, diarrhoea and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding, according to the WHO.
It spreads by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of infected persons.
"I wish you good luck, and may God rest the souls of those who died in eternal peace," Museveni added (Yahoo News, 2012).
Title: Ugandan Officials, International Experts Tackle Ebola Outbreak That's
Date: August 1, 2012
Abstract: Teams in Uganda are trying to track down anyone who came into contact with patients infected with the Ebola virus, which has killed at least 14 people there this month, authorities said Monday.
"This is very, very important, to trace every contact and to watch them for an incubation period of 21 days," World Health Organization spokesman Gregory Hartl said.
The teams -- consisting of officials from Uganda's ministry of health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO -- are part of an aggressive approach to try to stamp out the outbreak of the highly infectious virus.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni spoke on state and private television Sunday urging his countrymen to be cautious.
"I therefore appeal to you to be vigilant. Avoid shaking of hands; do not take on burying somebody that has died from symptoms which look like Ebola. Instead, call the health workers to be the ones to do it. And avoid promiscuity because these sicknesses can also go through sex," he said.
This month's outbreak in western Uganda initially went undetected because patients did not show typical symptoms, Health Minister Dr. Christine Ondoa told CNN on Sunday. Patients had fevers and were vomiting, but did not show other typical symptoms, such as hemorrhaging.
The Ebola virus is a highly infectious, often fatal agent spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. Symptoms can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, a measles-like rash, red eyes and, at times, bleeding from body openings.
But diagnosis in an individual who has only recently been infected can be difficult since early symptoms, such as red eyes and skin rash, are seen more frequently in patients who have more common diseases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Uganda's Ministry of Health declared the outbreak in Kibaale district Saturday after getting confirmatory results from the Uganda Virus Research Institute identifying the disease as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, Sudan strain.
The fatality rate for those infected with that strain is about 65%, Hartl said.
"One can recover, but there's no medicine that can help one recover, so you just have to pray that your own body is strong enough," he said.
Patients with symptoms of Ebola infection had been reported early in the month in Kibaale district.
Some people delayed seeking treatment, in part, because they believed that "evil spirits" had sickened them, according to a report from district health authorities.
"This caused civil strife among the community, requiring police intervention to quell the animosity," the Health Ministry said.
An emergency team of 100 volunteers was undergoing training Monday to help spread the word in vulnerable communities about the disease and its transmission, the Uganda Red Cross Society said in a statement.
Medecins Sans Frontieres, also known as Doctors Without Borders, was helping set up an isolation center at Kibaale's hospital.
National health authorities say that in addition to the 14 deaths, at least six other people have been infected. Nine of the deaths were from a single household in the village of Nyanswiga, according to WHO.
A medic who had treated other victims is among the dead, Ondoa said.
Officials were trying to determine the extent of the outbreak, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said Sunday. The Atlanta-based organization was sending about five people to join CDC staffers permanently based in Uganda, he said.
"These outbreaks have a tendency to stamp themselves out, if you will, if we can get in and ... stop the chain of transmission," he said.
In Kibaale, a national task force has been mobilized in an effort to stem the outbreak.
As of Monday, two people with the virus remained hospitalized in stable condition, said WHO. One was a 38-year-old woman who had attended to her sister, the medic who died, and the other was a 30-year-old woman who had helped bury another victim.
Though both patients had symptoms that included fever, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, neither had shown signs of hemorrhaging, the ministry said Sunday.
One patient suspected of being infected with the virus ran away from a hospital Sunday morning, but was tracked to her home and returned to the hospital in Kibaale, Catherine Ntabadde, a spokeswoman for the Uganda Red Cross in Kampala, told CNN in a telephone interview.
"The concern is where she could have gone to when she ran away," she said.
Health officials urged the public to report any suspected cases, to avoid contact with anyone infected and to wear gloves and masks while disinfecting bedding and clothing of infected people.
Officials also advised avoiding public gatherings in the affected district.
The WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied to Uganda because of the outbreak.
The U.S. Embassy in Kampala issued an emergency message for U.S. citizens that said the outbreak appeared to be centered in Nyamarunda Sub County, Kibaale district, although one suspected victim is reported to have traveled to Kampala for treatment at Mulago Hospital, where he died on July 22.
It urged avoiding contact with dead animals, especially primates, and
refraining from eating "bushmeat" (CNN, 2012).
Title: Ebola Deaths In Uganda Rise To 15
Date: August 1, 2012
Source: Yahoo News
Abstract: At least 15 people have died in Uganda from the deadly Ebola virus with the toll likely to rise further, the health ministry said Wednesday.
Ebola broke out in early July in Uganda's western Kibale district, some 200 kilometres (120 miles) from Kampala, and around 50 kilometres from the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
"Two more deaths were last evening recorded at Kagadi Government Hospital in Kibale district... The first death was a female who had earlier tested positive for Ebola," said Dennis Lwamafa, Uganda's director general for health services.
The other death, a "new admission", was feared to have also been due to Ebola, although tests had yet to confirm the exact cause, Lwamafa said in statement.
A health worker from western Uganda last week fell sick and travelled to Kampala, later dying in hospital. It was the first time the killer virus, one of the most virulent diseases in the world, had hit the city of 1.5 million.
A sample has also been collected from a patient in Mbarara, another district of western Uganda, some 100 kilometres from Kibale -- and it is currently being analysed.
In Kibale, health workers are monitoring "two confirmed cases of Ebola and 16 unconfirmed admitted at the hospital isolation facility," Lwamafa said.
In addition, 178 people remain under surveillance in the district, he added.
Ebola, which can cause both internal and external bleeding, spreads by direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of infected persons, according to the World Health Organisation.
The rare haemorrhagic disease, named after a small river in DR Congo, killed 37 people in western Uganda in 2007 and at least 170 in the north of the country in 2000.
Neighbouring nations -- including Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania -- have also moved to reassure the public, warning people to report to health centres in case of Ebola-like symptoms.
"The people are advised not to panic, as so far we have not received any case within our borders," Tanzanian health ministry official Regina Kikulishe said.
"We advise them to report to a nearby health centre in case they come across anyone with Ebola symptoms."
South Sudan's Minister of Health Michael Milly Hussein said health workers were alerted to "ensure that all suspected cases are detected on time."
Kenya and Rwanda made similar warnings (Yahoo News, 2012).
Title: HIV Epidemics Emerging In Middle East, North Africa: Study
Date: August 2, 2012
Abstract: Epidemics of HIV are emerging among gay and bisexual men in the Middle East and North Africa and high levels of risky sexual behavior threaten to spread the AIDS virus further in the region, researchers said Tuesday.
In the first study of its kind in a region where homosexuality and bisexuality are taboo, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar found evidence for concentrated HIV epidemics -- where infection rates are above 5 percent in a certain population group -- in several countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Tunisia.
In one setting in Pakistan, HIV rates reached up to 28 percent, they said in a study in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine journal.
The researchers stressed the need for at-risk countries to act quickly to expand HIV surveillance and access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment services for men who have sex with men in an effort to halt further spread.
An estimated 33.3 million people worldwide had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS in 2009, according to the latest United Nations data, and 22.5 million of those live in sub-Saharan Africa.
There is little published data on the Middle East and North African regions and Ghina Mumtaz, who led the study with colleague Laith Abu-Raddad, said this had been driving misconceptions that there is no reliable information at all.
"It's like the black hole in the global HIV map -- and this has triggered many controversies and debates around the status of the epidemic," she said in a telephone interview.
But when they looked more closely, the researchers found that data was indeed available, although often it had been gathered by various groups and not made public.
After analysing various reports, they found "considerable and increasing epidemiological evidence on HIV and risk behavior among men who have sex with men" in the region.
"It's important to see what's there to get an evidence-based understanding of the dynamics of the epidemic," Mumtaz said.
The findings were worrying, but not surprising, the researchers said. They found that by 2008, HIV transmission via anal sex among men was responsible for more than a quarter of notified cases of HIV in several countries in the region.
"All over the world there are actually newly-emerging epidemics in men who have sex with men and ... this region is no exception," said Abu-Raddad.
He added that more testing, surveillance and access to HIV services would help limit the size of the epidemics and prevent HIV transmission from reaching other population groups such as women and heterosexuals. He stressed that this did not have to require uncomfortable public statements by governments.
"Men who have sex with men are still a highly hidden population in the region and there is stigma around this behavior, but some countries have been able to find creative ways of dealing with the problem and at the same time avoiding the social, cultural and political sensitivities," Mumtaz said.
Morocco, Lebanon and Pakistan have supported NGOs to deliver services to this highly hidden population without any direct government involvement, Mumtaz added.
"We are seeing some very effective programs by NGOs who can provide an avenue for the governments to address their growing HIV problems," she said. "These programs need to be expanded and initiated in the rest of the countries" (Reuters, 2012).
Title: Ebola Outbreak Suspected Among Uganda Prisoners
Date: August 2, 2012
Abstract: The hospital at the center of an Ebola outbreak in Uganda is now dealing with 30 suspected cases, including five from Kibaale prison, Dr. Dan Kyamanywa said Thursday.
Three patients at Kagadi hospital have been confirmed as having the virus, said Kyamanywa, a district health officer.
Doctors are now testing the suspected cases urgently so they can separate confirmed cases from those who do not have the disease, Doctors Without Borders said.
Suspected cases are still trickling into the hospital, Kyamanywa said.
At least 16 people have died in the current outbreak.
The five prisoners have been showing Ebola-like symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and fever, the doctor said.
"We do expect the number of suspected cases to increase," he said. "It's important to break transmission and reduce the number of contacts that suspected cases have."
There is a fear that the outbreak will spread to the capital, but it is unlikely, he said.
Many patients fled Kagadi hospital when Ebola was confirmed, he said, and the hospital is struggling to respond to all the call-outs to suspected cases.
"Right now there is no treatment for Ebola, so the most effective measure we can take is to contain the spread of the disease," said Olimpia de la Rosa, the Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator for Uganda Ebola intervention.
"That is why we need to start working immediately. Other cases need to be rapidly identified because containment is what can stop it," said the expert from the aid group, which is also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres.
The Ugandan government has asked people in western Uganda to travel by public transport only if it is necessary.
The outbreak began in the Kibaale district in western Uganda.
The deaths have stoked heightened fear about the spread of the virus, a highly infectious, often fatal agent spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. Symptoms can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, a measles-like rash, red eyes and, at times, bleeding from body openings.
Market day was canceled Wednesday after Uganda's president warned people not to gather in large groups.
Health officials urged the public to report any suspected cases, to avoid contact with anyone infected and to wear gloves and masks while disinfecting bedding and clothing of infected people. Officials also advised avoiding public gatherings in the affected district.
Teams in Uganda are taking an aggressive approach, including trying to track down anyone who came into contact with patients infected with the virus and health workers have been gearing up for better protection of health workers and an influx of cases.
The outbreak initially went undetected because patients did not show typical symptoms, Ugandan Health Minister Dr. Christine Ondoa told CNN on Sunday. Patients had fevers and were vomiting, but did not show other typical symptoms, such as hemorrhaging.
Diagnosis in an individual who has only recently been infected can be difficult since early symptoms, such as red eyes and skin rash, are seen more frequently in patients who have more common diseases, the CDC said.
Uganda's Ministry of Health declared the outbreak in Kibaale district Saturday after the Uganda Virus Research Institute identified the disease as the Sudan strain of Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
The Ebola virus was first detected in 1976 in the central African nation
of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The virus is named after a
river in that country. There are five strains of Ebola viruses, all named after
the areas where they were found: Zaire, Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Bundibugyo and
Reston, according to the WHO (CNN, 2012).
Title: WHO Official: Ebola Under Control In Uganda
Date: August 3, 2012
Abstract: Uganda (AP) -- Doctors were slow to respond to an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda because symptoms weren't always typical, but a World Health Organization official said Friday that authorities are halting the spread of the deadly disease.
Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, told reporters in the capital Kampala that everyone known to have had contact with Ebola victims has been isolated. Ugandan health officials have created an "Ebola contact list" with names of people who had even the slightest contact with those who contracted Ebola. The list now bears 176 names.
"The structure put in place is more than adequate," Saweka said. "We are isolating the suspected or confirmed cases."
Ebola was confirmed in Uganda on July 28, several days after villagers were dying in a remote corner of western Uganda. Ugandan officials were slow to investigate possible Ebola because the victims did not show the usual symptoms, such as coughing blood. At least 16 Ugandans have died of the disease.
Delays in confirming Ebola allowed the disease to spread to more villages deep in the western district of Kibaale, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said.
"The doctors in Kibaale say the symptoms were a bit atypical of Ebola," Museveni said in a national address Monday. "They were not clearly like Ebola symptoms. Because of that delay, the sickness spread to another village."
Saweka said that organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are helping Ugandan officials to control the spread of Ebola.
This is the fourth outbreak of Ebola in Uganda since 2000, when the disease killed 224 people and left hundreds more traumatized in northern Uganda.
Ebola is highly infectious and kills quickly. The disease was first reported in 1976 in Congo and is named for the river where it was recognized, according to the CDC.
The aid group Doctors Without Borders said in a statement on Wednesday that the first victim of the Ebola outbreak was a 3-month-old girl and that of the 65 people who attended her funeral, 15 later contracted the deadly disease.
Funerals in Uganda are typically elaborate affairs that draw huge crowds. Health officials have now taken on the task of safely burying the bodies of Ebola victims, Saweka said (AP, 2012).
Title: Prisoner With Suspected Case Of Ebola Escapes From Hospital In Uganda
Date: August 3, 2012
Abstract: One of five prisoners receiving treatment for a suspected case of Ebola virus in Uganda escaped overnight Friday from the hospital at the center of the outbreak, a health official said.
"Should his results come back and he is positive, that causes us a lot of worry. So right now, we have resolved that the remaining prisoners will be cuffed on the beds for fear that they might also escape," said Dr. Jackson Amune, commissioner at the Ministry of Health.
The inmates from Kibaale prison are among 30 people at Kagadi hospital with suspected cases of the virus. Two additional patients have confirmed cases, according to Doctors Without Borders.
The prisoners have been showing Ebola-like symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and fever, Dr. Dan Kyamanywa said Thursday.
"We do expect the number of suspected cases to increase," Kyamanywa said. "It's important to break transmission and reduce the number of contacts that suspected cases have."
Many patients fled Kagadi hospital when Ebola was confirmed, he said, and the facility is struggling to respond to all the call-outs to suspected cases.
The outbreak began in the Kibaale district in western Uganda with 53 confirmed cases. At least 16 people have died. An additional 312 people have suspected cases of the virus and have been isolated, pending further testing.
The deaths have stoked heightened fear of the virus, a highly infectious, often fatal agent spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. Symptoms can include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, a measles-like rash, red eyes and, at times, bleeding from body openings.
"I would like to stress that the disease is under control," said Joaquim Saweka, the World Health Organizationrepresentative to Uganda.
Health officials urged the public to report any suspected cases, to avoid contact with anyone infected and to wear gloves and masks while disinfecting bedding and clothing of infected people. Officials also advised avoiding public gatherings in the affected district.
Read more: Could the Ebola outbreak spread to the U.S.?
Teams in Uganda are taking an aggressive approach, including trying to track down anyone who came into contact with patients infected with the virus, and health workers have been gearing up to protect themselves and deal with an influx of cases.
Meanwhile, officials in Kenya were taking extra precautions after at least two patients showed symptoms of the virus, according to Jackstone Omoto, a medical official in Siaya, western Kenya. One man tested negative. A second man and two relatives have been isolated at the Moi Teaching & Referral Hospital in Eldoret, pending test results. The man was traveling from South Sudan to Kenya through Uganda.
"We are tracing the bus that he (traveled on), and we have requested the company to contact the ministry so we can know who else was in the bus," said Beth Mugo, public health minister.
The Ebola virus was first detected in 1976 in the central African nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo). The virus is named after a river in that country. There are five strains of the virus, all named after the areas where they were found: Zaire, Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Bundibugyo and Reston, according to the WHO (CNN, 2012).
Title: Ebola At Large? Prisoner With Suspected Case Escapes Ugandan Hospital
Date: August 4, 2012
Abstract: A World Health Organization official has stated that the Ebola outbreak in Uganda is now “under control.” However, a prisoner suspected of being infected with the deadly virus managed to escape from a hospital, spurring fears of further contagion.
The inmate’s test results are yet to be determined.
“Should his results come back and he is positive, that causes us a lot of worry,” Dr. Jackson Amune, a commissioner at the Ugandan Ministry of Health, was quoted by CNN as saying.
The prisoner broke out on Friday night, prompting hospital officials to handcuff the four remaining prisoners to their beds. The prisoners are among the 30 people suspected of carrying Ebola at a hospital in the western town of Kagadi, the center of the outbreak.
“We do expect the number of suspected cases to increase,” Dr. Dan Kyamanywa, a local health officer, noted. “It's important to break transmission and reduce the number of contacts that suspected cases have.”
In the meantime, Joaquim Saweka, the WHO representative in Uganda, said the disease was “under control.”
“The structure put in place is more than adequate,” he told reporters in the capital Kampala. “We are isolating the suspected or confirmed cases.”
He went on say that everyone known to have had contact with Ebola victims has been isolated. He also said that Ugandan health officials have written up a so-called “Ebola contact list,” containing the names of 176 people who had even the slightest contact with those infected with Ebola.
Saweka noted the fact that local officials trying to contain the virus were being assisted organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Ebola outbreak was confirmed on July 28, several days after villagers in the western district of Kibaale died from it.
The first victim of the virus was a three-month old girl, Doctors Without Borders said in a statement on Wednesday. Fifteen of the 65 people that attended her funeral ended up contracting the disease.
Officials did not respond immediately, as the victims' symptoms were not the usual ones, such as regurgitating blood. The slow response allowed the disease to spread to other villages, as well as the towns of Kagadi and Mulago.
“The doctors in Kibaale say the symptoms were a bit atypical of Ebola,” Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni stated in a national address on Monday. “They were not clearly like Ebola symptoms. Because of that delay, the sickness spread to another village.”
Another problem doctors encountered was that many suspected cases refused to go to hospital as they feared they would get infected there. Other suspected Ebola patients, dissatisfied with poor hospital conditions, broke out of their wards to protest the way they were being treated. The Ugandan Ministry of Health also stated that a number of people were refusing treatment “because they believed that the cause of the illness was due to ‘evil spirits.’”
So far, the disease has claimed the lives of at least 16 people.
The Ebola virus was first detected in Zaire (today called the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1976, and was named after a river in the country. The disease spreads through bodily fluids, and the incubation period can last from two days to two weeks.The latest outbreak is the fourth in Uganda since 2000, when over 220 people died from the virus in the north of the country (RT, 2012).
Title: Ebola Fear Hits Kagera
Date: August 5, 2012
Source: IPP Media
Abstract: A team of medical experts from Dar es Salaam was yesterday dispatched to Kagera region to further examine the two patients believed to be suffering from the Ebola hemorrhagic fever.
But as the team of medical experts was sent to Kagera region, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare subsequently confirmed the outbreak of the deadly fever in the western part of the country. Confirming the reports, the Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Seleman Rashid, also said that a team of medical experts was still diagnosing a patient in efforts to establish the symptoms.
In the meantime, reports from Nyakahanga designated hospital in Karagwe district, Kagera region indicate that there were two patients including a child, suspected to be suffering from the deadly fever that has rocked neighbouring Uganda.
According to one of the doctors who diagnosed the patient at Karagwe’s Nyakahanga hospital, preliminary findings show that the victim might have contacted the Ebola virus.
However, the doctor who requested anonymity told the Guardian on Sunday that ‘further medical examination’ would be conducted to gather more evidence about the possible outbreak of Ebola, adding that the patient had since been quarantined pending final results.
According to the doctor, the ‘Ebola patient’ was brought to the hospital on Friday morning and, upon diagnosis, it was established that the patient had suffered from Ebola. The patient who is a six-year-old child was brought to the Mulongo hospital by his mother from a village close to the Uganda-Tanzania boarder after the child developed severe symptoms.
“We are doing further medical examination on a patient … we will tell the general public once it is confirmed that we are dealing with Ebola virus infections,” the doctor said, adding that currently the patient alleged to have been infected was admitted in a separate room and now lives in isolation from other patients at the hospital.
He said preliminary check-ups found out that the diagnosis had all signs showed clear symptoms of Ebola – after which he ordered the patient to be admitted for closer monitoring locally, and further medical examination by medical experts from the ministry headquarters.
He added that the patient had since been placed in a special intensive care room which is out of bounds for all other people -- apart from his mother who is taking care of the patient. However, he said, this was a medical rule aimed at avoiding quick spread of the deadly disease
Another patient also believed to have crossed the boarder from Uganda was admitted at the hospital as well, but medical investigations of his deteriorating health conditions were still not completed by Saturday evening.
As a precaution, the doctor said his hospital team and the district health workers had since started warning people in surrounding villages to take immediate measures whenever they come across such patients. He has also warned the people living closer to the border with Uganda to be careful not to come into contact with any person whom they see vomiting or bleeding – clear signs of someone suffering from Ebola.
On Wednesday this week, Dr. Mwinyi told visibly alarmed legislators in Dodoma that a team of medical experts had been dispatched to the border with Uganda, fully equipped with protective gear and medical supplies.
The minister advised the general public especially those living in the northern regions of Kagera, Mara, Mwanza and Kigoma -- some of which share the border crossings with Uganda -- to take precautions because the disease was highly contagious.
Earlier, the World Health Organization (WHO) had alerted Tanzania on the Ebola threat, prompting the ministry to issue a press statement elaborating that Ebola
(Ebola HF) was a severe, often-fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees) that has appeared sporadically since its initial recognition in 1976.
The disease is caused by infection with Ebola virus, named after a river in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire), where it was first recognized.
The virus is one of two members of a family of RNA viruses called the
Filoviridae; there are five identified subtypes of the Ebola virus -- four of
which have been known to cause disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan,
Ebola-Ivory Coast and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The fifth, Ebola-Reston, has caused
disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans (IPP Media, 2012).
Title: Deadly Ebola Outbreak: Nine Killed In DR Congo
Date: August 19, 2012
Abstract: Nine people have died from an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo, only weeks after the virulent disease was declared “under control” in neighboring Uganda, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported.
The new cases of the Ebola virus were detected near the country’s northwestern town of Isiro, the Congolese health minister said.
A group of specialists from various international organizations – the WHO, Doctors Without Borders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – are working in the country alongside local doctors. They are conducting a detailed epidemiological investigation, and are attempting to quarantine people who may have been in contact with those infected.
The new outbreak comes just weeks after another Ebola epidemic in neighboring Uganda – roughly 30 miles from its border with DR Congo – was declared to be over. The Ugandan outbreak killed 16 people in July. The two epidemics are not believed to be linked, since the strain found in DR Congo is different from the one identified in Uganda, Doctors Without Borders reported.
Ebola is a rare hemorrhagic virus, first discovered in 1976 in Zaire (now known as DR Congo). The disease was named after a small river in the country. Symptoms of Ebola infection include a sudden onset of fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting and kidney failure.
The virus is reportedly fatal in 50-90 percent of cases. In the most severe infections, victims bleed from bodily orifices before dying. There is no treatment and no vaccine for Ebola, which is transmitted by close personal contact. It can also be transmitted to humans through the handling of infected animal carcasses, including monkeys and birds.Congo's last major Ebola epidemic in 1995 killed 245 people. Recent Ebola outbreaks were recorded in Uganda, when 37 people were killed in the western part of the country in 2007, and when at least 170 died in the nation’s northern region in 2000 (RT, 2012).
Title: West Nile Virus Claims Its 27th Victim As Judge Declares Epidemic A
Public Emergency In Dallas
Date: August 20, 2012
Source: Daily Mail
Abstract: An Illinois man has been killed by the West Nile virus, sparking fears the deadly disease is spreading.
76-year-old William Mueller died on Saturday, two weeks after being hospitalised.
Serving as president of Lombard Village, Mueller was described by his family as 'an amazing dad, husband and grandpa'.
He becomes the 27th person to be killed by the mosquito-borne virus in the U.S., of 694 cases - the sharpest spike in case numbers seen since 2004 that is baffling experts..
'It is not clear why we are seeing more activity than in recent years,' Marc Fischer of the CDC told CNN.
'Regardless of the reasons for the increase, people should be aware of the West Nile virus activity in their area and take action to protect themselves and their family.'
There is no medication to treat West Nile virus, symptoms of which include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.
No vaccinations exist, either.
The Majority of cases have been recorded in Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
In Dallas panic has deepened since a judge declared the epidemic to be a public health emergency.
An aerial assault was launched on the blood-sucking insect population for the first time in 45 years in a bid to combat the spread.
Aircraft loaded with insecticide have sprayed parts of the north east of Dallas County, after the virus killed 10 people and left at least 230 more ill.
Although commonplace in other major cities, the efforts have provoked a debate in the Dallas area between health officials trying to reduce the risk of disease and residents concerned about the dangers posed by the chemical cloud drifting down from above them.
'I cannot have any more deaths on my conscience because we did not take action,' Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings said.
Aerial spraying is also being used elsewhere, including in neighborhoods in New York City and Sacramento, California, to combat the spread of West Nile virus.
Cases of West Nile Virus have also been reported in the Chicago area, with officials spraying the nearby town of Skokie with insecticide.
Two people have been taken ill with the virus in Skokie, while the Chicago suburb of Lake County has reported its first case.
Nearly half of all West Nile cases in the United States so far this year are in Texas, however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If the trend continues, 2012 will be the worst West Nile year in the southern state's history.
The hot, dry weather has created ideal conditions for some species of mosquito.
The heat speeds up their life cycle, which accelerates the virus's replication process.
And during a drought, standing water can quickly turn stagnant when it's not flushed away by rain or runoff.
Both the mayor and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins have declared a state of emergency and voiced their support for the use of aircraft to battle the virus.
Yet even with the threat of infection, the spraying has sparked widespread opposition from people who fear the chemicals could be harmful.
Because of the severity of the outbreak, the Texas Health Department is stepping in to oversee the effort and to pay for it.
'This year is totally different from the experience Texas has had in the past,' state Health Commissioner Dr. David Lakey said. 'If it's nuisance mosquitoes, we ask the city or county to pay part of that.
But in the midst of this disease outbreak, it's easier for us to go ahead and do it.'
A national spraying company called Clarke was set to deploy two to five Beechcraft King Air twin-engine planes for three hours of spraying.
Critics have questioned whether the approach is scientifically proven to reduce West Nile cases.
But at least one study in California concluded that the odds of infection are about six times lower in treated areas than in those that are untreated.
Still, some residents fear the chemicals could harm their children, pets and useful insects such as honeybees and ladybugs.
Chemical released from the planes, synthetic pyrethroid, mimics a naturally occurring substance found in chrysanthemums.
The Environmental Protection Agency has said that pyrethroids do not pose a significant risk to wildlife or the environment, though no pesticide is 100 percent safe.
About eight-tenths of an ounce of chemical is applied per acre.
The insecticide's common name is Duet Dual-Action Adulticide.
The label says it's toxic to fish and other types of aquatic life, and it contains distilled petroleum.
Kelly Nash, who lives in Dallas and works for an environmental consulting firm, has questioned the move.
'One ounce an acre doesn't sound like much, but we will spray at least 2,000 gallons all over the city,' Nash said.
'A 2,000-gallon oil spill would be significant.
'I'm concerned that we're breeding resistant mosquitoes that next time will have Dengue fever or something worse.'
Harris County, which includes humid, mosquito-filled Houston, has used aerial spraying once a year since 2002, the year the virus was first detected in Texas.
The county uses ground spraying first and moves to aerial spraying as the virus spreads.
'We can't be everywhere at all times,' Mosquito Control Director Dr. Rudy Bueno said.
'Aerial treatment is a way to supplement what we do on the ground.'
Most people infected with West Nile virus won't get sick, but about one in 150 people will develop the severe form of the illness.
Symptoms include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.
Jordan Conner, 14, spent eight days in intensive care with the most severe form of West Nile virus.
Her mother, Ebonie Conner of Arlington, said she doesn't approve of aerial spraying and wishes local leaders would do more to educate the community.
'We've been desensitized to West Nile virus,' Mrs Conner said.
'It's been ingrained in us that it affects older people and infants.'I think they need to pass out insect repellent, mention it in back-to-school drives' (Daily Mail, 2012).
Title: An Increase In Cases And Deaths Reported In Congo Ebola Outbreak
Date: August 21, 2012
Abstract: The number of cases, deaths and health zones has all increased since the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Ebola outbreak was first reported last Friday.
According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Alert and Response (GAR) published Tuesday, as of 20 August 2012, a total of 15 (13 probable and 2 confirmed) cases with 10 deaths have been reported in Province Orientale in Eastern DRC. This is up from 10 suspected cases and 6 deaths late last week.
In addition to reporting cases in the Isiro and Dungu Health Zones of Province Orientale, there are now at least two cases and 1 death in the Pawa health zone.
The Congolese Ministry of Health has convened a National Task Force and is working with several partners including WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Suisse, MSF Belgique and the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Title: The Cholera Epidemic In West Africa Kills 250, Kibaale Reports New
Date: August 21, 2012
Abstract: On the Atlantic coast of Western Africa, the countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone have been battling a cholera epidemic since it was declared in February.
According to a Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) news release Monday, more than 13,000 people have been admitted to hospitals in the capital cities of Freetown and Conakry since February.
In addition, MSF’s medical teams have treated nearly 4,600 patients in Sierra Leone and Guinea, which share a reservoir near the coast that is a breeding ground for the disease. “This ‘coastal cholera’ has already killed some 250 people," says MSF epidemiologist Michel Van Herp. "The water reservoir allows the Vibrio cholerae bacteria to survive and go on to infect the population."
Once people are infected through contaminated water or food, the disease spreads quickly, accelerated by poor hygiene and lack of sanitation.
The Ugandan news source, the Daily Monitor reports, on Saturday, eight people were confirmed to have contracted the disease, two of which died.
District health officer, Dr. Dan Kyamanywa says cholera has been a recurrent problem along the Lake Albert shores which is mainly attributed to the disposal of waste in the lake by the fishing communities. “It is embarrassing because these people lack latrines and they defecate in the waters of Lake Albert [which they] consume,” said Dr Kyamanywa.
Cholera is an acute bacterial intestinal disease characterized by sudden onset, profuse watery stools (given the appearance as rice water stools because of flecks of mucus in water) due to a very potent enterotoxin. The enterotoxin leads to an extreme loss of fluid and electrolytes in the production of diarrhea. It has been noted that an untreated patient can lose his bodyweight in fluids in hours resulting in shock and death.
It is caused by the bacterium, Vibrio cholerae. Serogroups O1 and O139 are the types associated with the epidemiological characteristics of cholera (outbreaks).
The bacteria are acquired through ingestion of contaminated water or food through a number of mechanisms. Water is usually contaminated by the feces of infected individuals.
Drinking water can be contaminated at the source, during transport or
during storage at home.
Food can be contaminated by soiled hands, during preparation or while eating.
Beverages and ice prepared with contaminated water and fruits and vegetables washed with this water are other examples. Some outbreaks are linked to raw or undercooked seafood.
The incubation for cholera can be from a few hours to 5 days. As long as the stools are positive, the person is infective. Some patients may become carriers of the organism which can last for months.
Cholera is diagnosed by growing the bacteria in culture. Treatment consists of replacement of fluids lost, intravenous replacement in severe cases. Doxycycline or tetracycline antibiotic therapy can shorten the course of severe disease.
There is an oral vaccine available in some countries but it is not available in the U.S. Cholera prevention is the same as in other causes of traveler’s diarrhea.
The MSF notes, while eliminating cholera altogether may still be impossible in many African countries, targeted vaccinations play a role in the fight against the disease.
According to the World Health Organization, there were 85,000 cholera
cases and 2,500 deaths from cholera recorded in Africa in 2011 (Examiner, 2012).
Title: President Ernest Bai Koroma Calls Cholera Epidemic In Sierra Leone A
Date: September 1, 2012
Source: Outbreak News
Abstract: The cholera crisis in Sierra Leone continues to escalate with the latest numbers from the African nation now at 13,934 cases of cholera and 232 deaths according to a World Health Organization (WHO) Global Alert and Response Thursday.
The WHO reports the outbreak has increased dramatically in the past month.
The situation has worsened to the point that the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma has declared the escalating cholera epidemic a “humanitarian crisis”.
To date, 11 of the 13 districts in Sierra Leone has recorded cases of the bacterial gastrointestinal disease.
A Cholera Control and Command Centre (C4) has been established at the WHO Country Office in Freetown to better coordinate all the response activities to the cholera outbreak. This approach was previously used and proved effective in the response to the Choleraoutbreak in Zimbabwe in 2008-2009.
Want to help the people of Sierra Leone?
The Christian organization, Living Water International has staff on the ground working to contain the outbreak by providing hygiene, sanitation, water access and disease treatment (Outbreak News, 2012).
Title: Kenya: Is The Maize Disease An Act Of Bioterrorism?
Date: September 5, 2012
Source: All Africa
Abstract: The first recorded bio warfare act was reported in ancient Egypt when Pharaoh defied Moses and God intervened by cursing the land with pestilence.
Moses was the adopted brother of Ramses the pharaoh and knew all about the food security situation and vulnerability of Egypt. Many people including Governments have thereafter attempted to play god by manipulating biological agents for war situations.
In our times, we have all heard about the attack on the Kurds using biological agents by Saddam Hussein, the attack on Iran by their perennial enemy Iraq, the Syrian Government bio attack on its own people, Libya's government under Muammar Gaddafi had also alluded to an attack on its wheat fields by the U.S. Cuba has a case at the FAO where it has accused the US of bio terrorism on its agriculture.
There are a dozen other cases of malicious introduction of bio agents into our daily lives like the issues of HIV/AIDS, Mad Cow disease, the Avian flu, the US postal corporation anthrax envelopes, wheat stem rust or UG 99, Greening disease in citrus, aflatoxins in maize, maize necrosis disease, agrobacterium in roses etc..
Parliament should take up and fully investigate this issue of the maize disease and the national security and agricultural committees of our National Assembly should spearhead these investigations. Parliament must find out why there has been a marked decline in food productivity in the country and the reasons we are food insecure 50 years after independence.
They should ask questions particularly about the rationale of the hurried introduction of new agricultural technologies GMOs without the requisite Biosafety Act being put in place. Shouldn't the Bioterrorism Act have preceded the introduction of these GMOs? Did we factor in the caution and displeasure of our main markets for food in Europe before adopting these technologies that were sold to us as the panacea for our food insecurity?
Why is it that the US, which is currently facing drought and crop failure, not mitigated the same using these so called panacea technologies to show the way forward. The in-fighting within the departments of agriculture namely KARI, KEPHIS, PCPB, HCDA is a clear testimony of a weak leadership and a house divided at Kilimo House and does not inspire any confidence among Kenyans.
Instead of Kilimo House offering solutions to the current problems of the maize disease, they are instead engaged in an overdrive campaign in trying to mold public opinion by misusing taxpayers money to cause the publication of many uncoordinated but confusing views on the maize disease so as to obscure the glaring inconsistencies and outright incompetence.
Agriculture contributes over 22% of the gross domestic product and provides over 65% of employment to our people. Agricultural inputs like pesticides are therefore very strategic and a vital industry for Kenya on account of its importance in contributing to increasing agricultural yields and protecting our crops from the vagaries like the current maize disease.
In our estimation, the maize disease currently ravaging our country has been introduced by our "friends." This view has been considered after hypothesizing on a litany of issues including when the disease first broke out in 2010. Kilimo House has been approving the importation of bio agents into the country without any legislative frame work.
Neither has there been any post surveillance monitoring of these foreign bio-agents to determine their half-life or mutation characteristics in the tropics. Might these"friendly pests" be the cause of our current dilemma? The government has been quick to ban the use of Alphadime ostensibly for not meeting European Union residue requirements Alphadime is the only registered Kenyan made broad spectrum insecticide that can eliminate this invasive pest species.
The timing of the ban of Alphadime was convenient and timely instigated by the same culprits. Was the ban on Alphadime a conspiracy by our "friends" to make Kenya vulnerable by removing our final recourse? Who financed the media campaigns against Alphadime? Tanzania is also facing the same dilemma and will be blamed for allowing their crops to infect ours by our spin doctors at Kilimo House who have a superior propaganda machinery.
Tanzania has been blamed for introducing a myriad of pestilence to our agriculture and has become the whipping boy for our failures. Remember the infamous LGB (Osama), the Greening Disease on our citrus, the agrobacterium on our roses e.t.c. which have all been blamed on our southern neighbor? Despite this, Tanzania is still able to sustainably feed their population and afford to export their surplus to Kenya at below Kenyan market prices! The evidence adduced here is not merely anecdotal but will require further investigations to extract the truth. We repeat again (All Africa, 2012).