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World View: Ebola Cluster Growing in Mali, Hundreds Possibly Exposed

World View: Ebola Cluster Growing in Mali, Hundreds Possibly Exposed

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Liberia announces end of Ebola state of emergency
  • Ebola cluster growing in Mali, hundreds possibly exposed
  • U.S. scaling back troop presence in Liberia

Liberia announces end of Ebola state of emergency

A woman crawls toward the body of her sister as a burial team takes her away for cremation on October 10 in Monrovia, Liberia. The sister had died from Ebola earlier in the morning while trying to walk to a treatment center.  (Getty / CNN)
A woman crawls toward the body of her sister as a burial team takes her away for cremation on October 10 in Monrovia, Liberia. The sister had died from Ebola earlier in the morning while trying to walk to a treatment center. (Getty / CNN)

Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced that Liberia’sEbola state of emergency, imposed in August, would not be extended.There is some evidence that the rate of growth of new Ebola cases inLiberia has begun to level off, justifying the end of the state ofemergency, which was supposed to control the Ebola outbreak by curbingmovement of people in worst-hit areas of the country.

In one particular region of Liberia, Lofa County, Ebola cases haveplummeted. That’s because Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctorswithout Borders) developed a strategy where health-care workersdeveloped trusting relations with people in all the villages in thecounty, and were able to change behaviors.

However, it’s hard for me, at least, to see any reason for lessconcern. According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO)Ebola situation report, the number of cases in Liberia increased from4665 to 6878, or an almost 50% increase, in the 17 days from October25 to November 11. That’s still pretty much the same rate of doublingevery month, so I don’t see what the difference is. And even if thenumber of cases in Liberia is leveling off a little, WHO reports thatthe number of new Ebola cases is still surging in Sierra Leona.BBC andWashington Post and WHO Ebola Situation Report, 14-Nov-2014

Ebola cluster growing in Mali, hundreds possibly exposed

It now appears that an Ebola cluster is growing in Bamako, the capitalcity of Mali. So far, there have been only four cases and fourdeaths. However, hundreds of other people may have been exposed.

The chain of transmission was started by a 70-year-old man living in atown along Guinea’s border with Mali. He was sick, but no one testedhim for Ebola. He traveled by car to Bamako, where he was treated ina local hospital and died. Because of his religious status as a GrandImam, his body was treated with a ritual washing ceremony, and thensent back to his home in Guinea for a traditional funeral. Hundredsof people were in contact with the body, and Ebola wasn’t recognizeduntil the nurse who treated him was diagnosed with Ebola.

Health workers in Mali are now doing contact tracing in a panickedstate, hoping to stop the spread of Ebola in Mali, and keep it fromjoining Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea as entire countries in chaos,devastated by Ebola. We won’t know until at least the end of the yearwhether they’re successful. NPR and Reuters and NBC

U.S. scaling back troop presence in Liberia

The Pentagon doesn’t plan to deploy the full 4,000 U.S. troops toLiberia as had been previously announced. Instead, the current 2,200troops will grow to nearly 3,000 by mid-December.

The troops have been tasked with building 17 100-bed treatment centersfor Ebola, and have already built a 25-bed facility for medicalpersonnel who contract the disease. NBC News

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, Doctors without Borders,World Health Organization, WHO, Lofa County,Mali, Bamako, Guinea, Sierra Leone
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