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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Don’t worry we just testing the virus on a few guinea pigs, we shall be done in a short while: WHO tells public not to panic over Ebola


Destructing us from Hillary Clinton’s Meeting with Museveni to discuss the next strategy to enhance US control of DR Congo Mineral Resources: Uganda bans physical contact as Ebola reaches Kampala business district

The evil that humans do: Ebola Kills 14 in Kibale District of Uganda: Locals believed the illnesses were the result of an attack of evil spirits, send the sick for prayers

WHO tells public not to panic over Ebola

By Agatha Ayebazibwe 

Posted  Tuesday, July 31  2012 at  01:00

The World Health Organisation has called on the public not to panic over the Ebola Hemorrhagic fever, saying the situation is being contained in Kibaale District.

The WHO country representative, Dr Joaquim Saweka, while opening the international scientific conference on nodding syndrome in Kampala yesterday, said health experts were attending to the situation.

“I want to assure the public and the delegates at the conference that the Ministry of Health, Centres for Disease Control, WHO and other health partners are working hard to contain the situation and there should be no cause for alarm,” Dr Saweka said.

Team dispatched
A statement issued by the organisation indicated that experts from the health ministry, WHO and CDC were dispatched to Kibaale to support the response operations and identify possible contacts that were exposed to the suspected and confirmed cases since July 6 for active follow up.

However, WHO does not recommend that any travel or trade restrictions are applied to Uganda contrary to the Ministry of Health position regarding referrals of Ebola patients to Mulago hospital.

The health ministry yesterday banned the referral of Ebola patients from Kibaale to Mulago with immediate effect as a way to contain the situation.

“The disease must be handled locally to contain the spread and we cannot accept this stampede at Mulago because all services will be at stand still,” said Dr Dennis Lwamafa, the commissioner for health services in the health ministry.”

Ebola Reston in pigs and humans in the Philippines  

3 February 2009 - On 23 January 2009, the Government of the Philippines announced that a person thought to have come in contact with sick pigs had tested positive for Ebola Reston Virus (ERV) antibodies (IgG). On 30 January 2009 the Government announced that a further four individuals had been found positive for ERV antibodies: two farm workers in Bulacan and one farm worker in Pangasinan - the two farms currently under quarantine in northern Luzon because of ERV infection was found in pigs - and one butcher from a slaughterhouse in Pangasinan. The person announced on 23 January to have tested positive for ERV antibodies is reported to be a backyard pig farmer from Valenzuela City - a neighbourhood within Metro Manila.

The Philippine Department of Health has said that the people who tested positive appear to be in good health and have not suffered from any significant illnesses in the past 12 months. The investigation team reported that it was possible that all 5 individuals had been exposed to the virus as a result of direct contact with sick pigs. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is not common practice among these animal handlers.

From these observations and previous studies of ERV, the virus has shown it can be transmitted to humans, without resulting in illness. However, the evidence available relates only to healthy adults and it would be premature to conclude the health effects of the virus on all population groups. The threat to human health is likely to be low for healthy adults but is unknown for all other population groups, such as immuno-compromised persons, persons with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women and children.

The Philippine Government is conducting contact tracing in relation to the five individuals who tested positive for antibodies. In addition, testing is ongoing for other persons who could have come into contact with sick pigs on the two quarantined farms in the provinces of Bulacan and Pangasinan where pigs co-infected with the Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS) and ERV were reported in 2008. The two farms remain under quarantine and the Philippine Government is maintaining its voluntary hold of exports of live pigs and fresh and frozen pork meat.

The Philippine Government has announced a combined Department of Health and Department of Agriculture strategy to limit the animal and human health risks of the Ebola Reston Virus and emphasized that local governments, the pig farming industry and the public will play a critical role in the strategy.

Along with its international partners, the WHO will continue to support the Philippine Government in its efforts to gain a better understanding of the Ebola Reston virus, its effects on humans, and the measures that need to be taken to reduce any risks to human health.

First detection of Ebola-Reston virus in pigs

FAO/OIE/WHO offer assistance to the Philippines

Manila/Roma, 23 December 2008 - Following the detection of the Ebola-Reston virus in pigs in the Philippines, FAO, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today that the government of the Philippines has requested the three agencies send an expert mission to work with human and animal health experts in the Philippines to further investigate the situation.

An increase in pig mortality on swine farms in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Bulacan in 2007 and 2008 prompted the Government of the Philippines to initiate laboratory investigations. Samples taken from ill pigs in May, June and September 2008 were sent to international reference laboratories which confirmed in late October that the pigs were infected with a highly virulent strain of Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) as well as the Ebola-Reston virus.

Ebola-Reston in swine

Although co-infection in pigs is not unusual, this is the first time globally that an Ebola-Reston virus has been isolated in swine. It is not, however, the first time that the Ebola-Reston virus has been found in the Philippines: it was found in monkeys from the Philippines in outbreaks that occurred in 1989-1990, 1992, and 1996.

The Ebola virus belongs to the Filoviridae family (filovirus) and is comprised of five distinct species: Zaïre, Sudan, Côte d'Ivoire, Bundibugyo and Reston. Zaïre, Sudan and Bundibugyo species have been associated with large Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) outbreaks in Africa with high case fatality ratio (25-90%) while Côte d'Ivoire and Reston have not. Reston species can infect humans but no serious illness or death in humans have been reported to date.

Since being informed of this event in late November, FAO, OIE and WHO have been making every effort to gain a better understanding of the situation and are working closely with the Philippines Government and local animal and human health experts.

The Department of Health of the Philippines has reported that initial laboratory tests on animal handlers and slaughterhouse workers who were thought to have come into contact with infected pigs were negative for Ebola-Reston infection, and that additional testing is ongoing. The Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the Philippines Department of Agriculture has notified the OIE that all infected animals were destroyed and buried or burned, the infected premises and establishments have been disinfected and the affected areas are under strict quarantine and movement control. Vaccination of swine against PRRS is ongoing in the Province of Bucalan. PRRS is not transmissible to humans.

The planned joint FAO/OIE/WHO team will work with country counterparts to address, through field and laboratory investigation, important questions as to the source of the virus, its transmission, its virulence and its natural habitat, in order to provide appropriate guidance for animal and human health protection.

Basic good hygiene

Until these questions can be answered, the FAO and WHO stressed the importance of carrying out basic good hygiene practices and food handling measures.

Ebola viruses are normally transmitted via contact with the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected animal or person. In all situations, even in the absence of identified risks, meat handling and preparation should be done in a clean environment (table top, utensils, knives) and meat handlers should follow good personal hygiene practices (e.g. clean hands, clean protective clothing). In general, hands should be regularly washed while handling raw meat.

Pork from healthy pigs is safe to eat as long as either the fresh meat is cooked properly (i.e. 70°C in all part of the food, so that there is no pink meat and the juices run clear), or, in the case of uncooked processed pork, national safety standards have been met during production, processing and distribution.

Meat from sick pigs or pigs found dead should not be eaten and should not enter the food chain or be given to other animals. Ill animals should be reported to the competent authorities and proper hygiene precautions and protection should be taken when destroying and disposing of sick or dead pigs. The Philippines Department of Agriculture has advised the Philippine public to buy its meat only from National Meat Inspection Services certified sources.

As a general rule, proper hygiene and precautionary measures (wearing gloves, goggles and protective clothing) should also be exercised when slaughtering or butchering pigs. This applies both to industrial and home-slaughtering of pigs. Children and those not involved in the process of slaughtering should be kept away.

Don't shake hands and avoid sex: Ugandan president's stark warning after Ebola kills 14
By Rebecca Seales
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has advised people to avoid shaking hands, casual sex and do-it-yourself burials to reduce the chance of contracting the deadly Ebola virus after an outbreak killed 14 people and put many more at risk.

Mr Museveni's advice came as scared patients and health workers fled a district hospital in rural western Uganda where several cases of Ebola were being treated.

The authorities are now trying to alter people's behaviour in a bid to stop the virus spreading.

'We discourage the shaking of hands because that can cause contact through sweat which can cause problems ... and avoid promiscuity because these sicknesses can also be transmitted through sex,' Mr Museveni said in a public statement.

There is no treatment for Ebola, which is transmitted by close contact and through body fluids such as saliva, vomit, faeces, sweat, semen and blood.

The authorities fear a repeat of the outbreak in 2000, the most devastating to date, when 425 people were infected, more than half of whom died.

The president said health workers believe the latest outbreak - which was confirmed on Friday - occurred about three weeks ago in Nyanswiga village. He added that doctors had initially thought the symptoms were atypical of Ebola.

Nyanswiga, in Kibaale district, is about 170 km (100 miles) west of the capital Kampala, near the Democratic Republic of Congo where the virus first emerged in 1976, taking its name from the Ebola River.