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How Ebola could head out of Africa
The Straits Times ^ | August 1, 2014 | Derek Gatherer

Posted on 07/31/2014 10:47:35 PM PDT by No One Special

It is 6am on a warm West African morning. Two men, Ahmed and Milton, are up early, getting ready for long journeys. Apart from that, they have little in common.

Ahmed is a high-ranking official in the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Guinea. He is a successful doctor, drives a Mercedes and lives in an exclusive air-conditioned apartment block in the Kaloum district of Guinea's capital, Conakry.

Milton has no steady job, no car and shares a crowded corrugated iron shed in East 3, the poorest part of Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown.

Ahmed is travelling today on important business, as he often does. Milton is simply fed up with living in poverty and is willing to risk his life to find something better. Their paths will cross in the evening of the following day, in Gueckedou, 500km to the east.

Gueckedou, situated in the eastern forested region of Guinea, is a small city, with a population of around 200,000.

Even so, few people outside of Guinea had heard of it until March this year, when it became the centre of the latest outbreak of the Zaire Ebola virus, the deadliest member of the cluster of viruses that take their name from the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where they were first discovered in 1976.

Between 1976 and last year, the virus caused 1,388 cases of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the DRC and the neighbouring republics of Gabon and Congo-Brazzaville, killing 1,098 people, a 79 per cent fatality rate.

But the 2014 outbreak, which began in the village of Meliandou, a 20-minute bone-jarring drive up the road from Gueckedou, has so far created 1,201 cases and claimed 672 lives.

This 56 per cent fatality rate is probably not an indicator of a milder strain, but simply that there are many people now struggling with the disease who will eventually be added to the list of the dead.

The sheer size of the outbreak has been overwhelming, shattering the previous record (318 cases in 1976) almost fourfold, and spreading out of Guinea into neighbouring Liberia, Sierra Leone and now Nigeria.

It is late evening in Gueckedou, and Georges would normally be about to close the cafe he owns near the junction of the N1 and N16 highways. But this is Ramadan, and business has been brisk after dark.

Tonight he has only two customers left, and he wishes they had never arrived.

It has been a hard day and Georges has developed a nasty headache. A minute ago, he had to go out into the backyard to vomit. He reaches for the stand-pipe, but the water is off again, so Georges just cleans himself off as best as he can and goes back inside. The two men in the cafe have started talking.

One is young and bedraggled and carries a tattered rucksack bulging with who knows what. The other is middle-aged and his copy of today's La Lance is almost as impeccably pressed as his white shirt.

Georges brings their drinks and some fresh sandwiches he was in the process of preparing before he went out the back to be sick. The older one is called Ahmed and he is here to report on the progress in controlling the worrying outbreak of the Ebola virus for the ministry back in Conakry.

Then, in a couple of days, he is going on to give a seminar about it at a conference in Paris.

The young one, Milton, does not speak much French at all, but in a mixture of English and Limba (which Ahmed and Georges both understand a bit), explains he is trying to get to Agadez in Niger, 3,000km to the north-east, where he hopes to buy a place on a trans-Saharan migrant convoy headed for the Mediterranean coast, and then a berth on a boat to Europe. He has heard that there is work to be had there, and life cannot get much worse back in East 3.

Ahmed, who is knowledgeable about almost everything, wishes him luck but warns him that this dangerous journey is even more perilous now. The desert to the north of Agadez is in a state of revolt and landmines have been scattered everywhere.

At the other end of the trail, Libya is also sinking into civil war again. And if Milton cannot make it to the coast by the end of September, the Mediterranean crossing becomes far rougher and more dangerous.

Georges is now feeling a little better and decides to sit down with his customers, mopping his perspiring brow with his apron. Perhaps the next drinks and a little more food are on the house. They part after a few hours, laughing and wishing each other well on their respective voyages in life. But these voyages will be short.

Georges was already infected with the Ebola virus, and now it has claimed them all. And before these three die, they will carry it on towards their other destinations.

The illegal migrant Milton and the international business traveller Ahmed are of course fictional characters, but they represent the two main aspects of the human dimension in the spread of Ebola virus. Migrants heading for Europe from the Guinea/Sierra Leone/Liberia area have two main routes north.

The first of these is entirely by sea, heading northwards towards Spain. The second is by land, travelling on convoys heading out across the desert from the city of Agadez in Niger. To reach Agadez from Sierra Leone, the most direct route is the one travelled by Milton, by road across Sierra Leone to Kailahun, then taking the ferry across the River Moa between Sierra Leone and Guinea and pressing on north by road through Gueckedou.

However, if migration of this sort was a vector for Ebola virus transmission, we would by now have expected to see cases in Agadez or locations in between, which we have not. Milton may be the kind of migrant that the European press demonised the most, but clearly, he is rare.

Ahmed, on the other hand, who in our scenario goes on to transmit the Ebola virus to his international conference in France, has already been partially translated to real life with the case of the Liberian official who developed symptoms while travelling to Lagos, Nigeria, and who died after arrival.

Containment of the Ebola virus poses three problems: preventing its spread through international travel, preventing its local expansion in Guinea and surrounding areas, and an understanding of the virus' evolution.

Clearly there is a lot of work still to be done, or horror fiction will become reality.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: africa; africaleaderssummit; ebola; obola; patricksawyer

1 posted on 07/31/2014 10:47:35 PM PDT by No One Special
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To: No One Special

Obama will give it preferred immigration status, as long as it votes RAT.


2 posted on 07/31/2014 10:54:32 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: No One Special

The rider on the Pale Horse comes.


3 posted on 07/31/2014 11:10:00 PM PDT by Fai Mao (Genius at Large)
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To: ozzymandus

Heck, AIDS votes Democrat, and I am sure Ebola is next.


4 posted on 07/31/2014 11:10:34 PM PDT by lavaroise (A well regulated gun being necessary to the state, the rights of the militia shall not be infringed)
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To: No One Special
How about the US bringing an already ill Ebola patient to the US for treatment?

Ebola: First Case Coming to United States

5 posted on 07/31/2014 11:12:07 PM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: lavaroise

I get Ebola and Ebonics confused.


6 posted on 07/31/2014 11:18:44 PM PDT by ozzymandus
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To: No One Special

Anyone who fears ebola is racist. Quit hatin’ all the time.


7 posted on 07/31/2014 11:39:18 PM PDT by Organic Panic
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To: Fai Mao

I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.

...and with Obama looking like a role model for the antichrist, why not?


8 posted on 07/31/2014 11:48:51 PM PDT by Pelham (California, what happens when you won't deport illegals)
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To: Fai Mao

Nah, he comes later. This one is the rider on the white horse with the bow, sometimes associated with “Pestilence”, dropping people in their tracks with his arrows.

And yes, I know this particular rider also has other associations, but I think this is the more apropos one for now. His brother on the red horse already rides far and wide across most of Africa and the Middle East, and the black rider with the set of balances (Famine) has been glimpsed in several areas of the Globe.


9 posted on 07/31/2014 11:52:46 PM PDT by Little Pig
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To: No One Special

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-20341423


10 posted on 08/01/2014 12:27:16 AM PDT by blondee123 (DICTATORSHIP HAS ARRIVED! Nov. 6, 2012)
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To: ozzymandus

I cant believe Obama is not postponing the African conference next week. What could be so important to risk infection?


11 posted on 08/01/2014 12:43:14 AM PDT by joshua c (Please dont feed the liberals)
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To: No One Special

If it breaks out in the US, it should be renamed “O-bola” in honor of our first black prez. It might be his most lasting legacy, and the “never let a good crisis go to waste” opportunity he really, really needs to get people to beg the gubmint to “...do something! Anything! Take away all our rights! Please, just save of from the O-bola bleedout!”


12 posted on 08/01/2014 3:11:09 AM PDT by smedley64
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To: No One Special
Milton may be the kind of migrant that the European press demonised the most

LOL. The press demonising oh-those-poor-migrants is as fictional as the story's characters.

13 posted on 08/01/2014 3:41:25 AM PDT by Moltke (Sapere aude!)
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To: joshua c
I cant believe Obama is not postponing the African conference next week. What could be so important to risk infection?

Why are you racist?
14 posted on 08/01/2014 3:58:59 AM PDT by Old Yeller (Truth is the enemy of our dysfunctional government.)
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To: No One Special

Reminds me of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, where 2/3 of all humans on Earth die from an ape virus.


15 posted on 08/01/2014 3:59:00 AM PDT by Morpheus2009
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To: Fai Mao

My thought exactly.......


16 posted on 08/01/2014 5:24:09 AM PDT by Arlis
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To: No One Special

The worst thing to do is bring the ill here for treatment. The disease is so virulent you MUST contain it or face the worst health disaster in American history.


17 posted on 08/01/2014 5:39:38 AM PDT by Rapscallion (Obama stands for the corruption of America in all aspects.)
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To: joshua c

I cant believe Obama is not postponing the African conference next week. What could be so important to risk infection?
________________

Optics. He needs to be seen with African blacks. Ironic, because the contrast makes him look even whiter.


18 posted on 08/01/2014 6:42:54 AM PDT by reformedliberal
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To: ozzymandus
I get Ebola and Ebonics confused.

One is an affliction that affects the central nervous system. Human-to-human transmission occurs via direct contact. It has the potential to cause great harm to entire segments of the population.

The other is a disease that has killed a bunch of people

19 posted on 08/01/2014 7:01:19 AM PDT by kidd
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To: No One Special

I highly recommend reading the entire article.

http://frontpageafricaonline.com/index.php/news/2506-sawyer-s-final-hours-in-lagos-indiscipline-rage-strange

FrontPageAfrica has now learned that upon being told he had Ebola, Mr. Sawyer went into a rage, denying and objecting to the opinion of the medical experts. “He was so adamant and difficult that he took the tubes from his body and took off his pants and urinated on the health workers, forcing them to flee.

Looking to get to the bottom of Sawyer’s strange ailment on the Asky Airline flight, which Sawyer transferred on in Togo, hospital officials say, he was tested for both malaria and HIV AIDS. However, when both tests came back negative, he was then asked whether he had made contact with any person with the Ebola Virus, to which Sawyer denied. Sawyer’s sister, Princess had died of the deadly virus on Monday, July 7, 2014 at the Catholic Hospital in Monrovia. On Friday, July 25, 2014, 18 days later, Sawyer died in Lagos.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that the average incubation period for suspected cases or someone who has made contact with an Ebola patient is eight to ten days from exposure to onset of symptoms. The range is from two to 21 days. “That’s why we recommend that contacts of an infected person go on a fever watch for 21 days,” says Stephan Monroe, deputy director of CDC’s National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases, at a briefing Monday.


20 posted on 08/01/2014 7:37:39 AM PDT by Gadsden1st
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To: Gadsden1st

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_West_Africa_Ebola_outbreak

The numbers have been updated for July 31st. It appears they’ve just used the numbers for the July 27 entry.

I suspect they have no idea what the true numbers are and how many people may be dead.


21 posted on 08/01/2014 7:44:05 AM PDT by Black Agnes
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To: Black Agnes

http://www.promedmail.org/

I have found the above site very informative. They post info from multiple sources and the moderator points outs errors, etc.


22 posted on 08/01/2014 7:54:47 AM PDT by Gadsden1st
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To: Gadsden1st

The latest update I see is from July 31 and doesn’t contain any numbers.


23 posted on 08/01/2014 8:01:19 AM PDT by Black Agnes
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To: Swordmaker

Lucky us he is coming to Atlanta. I think its that doctor that got sick.


24 posted on 08/01/2014 9:06:40 AM PDT by Georgia Girl 2 (The only purpose o f a pistol is to fight your way back to the rifle you should never have dropped.)
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To: ozzymandus

Ebolics


25 posted on 08/01/2014 9:20:19 AM PDT by CMB_polarization
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