• Thursday, May 23, 2024
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BusinessDay

A disinterested world is woken up by Ebola

Oil prices dipped below the $90 mark yesterday and global stock prices plummeted as fears of the dreaded ebola virus spread in the United States, Britain, Spain, Australia Macedonia and France.

In the United States, the death of the Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan led some lawmakers to call for a total ban on travelers from West Africa, although President Barack Obama administration promptly ruled this out.

The US is mounting a sweeping programme of checks at five key airports where most fligths from Africa are received daily.

In Macedonia, authorities confirmed the death of a Briton in Skopje suspected of falling ill with ebola like symptoms. Test were on going last night to confirm the actual cause of death.

A second Briton is also said to have shown ebola like virus and staff of the hotel they were staying have also been quarantined and the hotel sealed off.

In France, the Police said 60 persons had been quarantined in a Paris suburb after alarms were raised over fears of ebola in the French capital.

In the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister held an early crisis room meeting with senior ministers and health officials yesterday after which the government ordered checks at the airport and at large train stations.

Ebola has killed almost 4,000 persons in West Africa, mainly in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the health system has been overwhelmed by surges in the outbreak and the US is to send as many as 4,000 military personnel to the region to build treatment centres and train health care workers.

This Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the world’s deadliest to date and the World Health Organisation has declared an international health emergency as more than 3,850 people have died of the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this year.

Ebola is a viral illness of which the initial symptoms can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And that is just the beginning: subsequent stages are vomiting, diarrhoea and – in some cases – both internal and external bleeding.

The disease infects humans through close contact with infected animals, including chimpanzees, fruit bats and forest antelope.

It then spreads between humans by direct contact with infected blood, bodily fluids or organs, or indirectly through contact with contaminated environments. Even funerals of Ebola victims can be a risk, if mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased.

Thursday’s ebola update

•Officials in France briefly seal off a building near Paris over suspected cases of Ebola – but the alert is later lifted

•The UK is investigating reports a Briton suspected of having Ebola has died in Macedonia

•Britain is to begin enhanced screening for Ebola in people travelling from affected countries, the government announces

•The US is introducing new security measures to screen passengers arriving from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa at five major US airports

•In Texas, a county sheriff deputy was quarantined after visiting the home of the first person diagnosed with Ebola on US soil, who later died from the virus

•Spain Ebola nurse health ‘worsens’ to contract Ebola outside of West Africa – has worsened, a hospital official says.