Friday, October 10, 2014

Global Impact: Concern for Ebola Exposure in Macedonia, Spain, Czech Republic

According to, a possible case of Ebola has stirred alarm in the UK after a Briton died from symptoms consistent with the virus while on a business trip to Macedonia, tapping into growing international nerves that the outbreak could reach beyond West Africa.

Paris authorities also tested a US woman hospitalized with what was said to be "probable" case of Ebola, according to local reports. However she was later pronounced clear of the virus.
The World Health Organization  (WHO) said it was "unlikely" that the 57-year-old Briton, who displayed fever, vomiting and internal bleeding, had contracted the disease. Yet, his hotel in Skopje, the Macedonian capital, was sealed off and a 72-year-old friend who also been taken ill has been put into isolation.
Neither man is believed to have traveled to any country in the West African outbreak zone, where more than 3,800 people have now died of the disease. 
The WHO's deputy head, Bruce Aylward, on Thursday warned that the disease was now "entrenched" in the capitals of the three worst hit countries--Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia--and that the epidemic was "accelerating in almost all of the settings" with around 70% of cases proving fatal.
The Briton had reportedly felt unwell for around three days and had complained of severe stomach pains. He was taken to hospital on Thursday afternoon at roughly 1500 hours and died 90 minutes later. 
The case has drawn anxiety among guests at the quarantined hotel. One tourist, Rebecca Harris, told the BBC that they had "no idea what as was going on," saying she was "worried" that nobody was keeping them informed about the situation.
COMMENT: Dr. Jovanka Kostovska of Macedonia's commission for infectious diseases said the man's condition had deteriorated quickly before his death. She told a press conference that his symptoms were those of Ebola, which "raises suspicion." Samples from the decedent had been dispatched to a medical facility in Germany to confirm whether he had in fact contracted the disease. 
Public Health England, however, also said it was "unlikely" that the businessman had died from Ebola, though it was investigating the case. 
The agency's Dr. Brian McCloskey said: "Public Health England is aware there are unconfirmed reports of a British national dying in Macedonia, who may have exhibited some symptoms compatible with Ebola.
"We understand Ebola to be unlikely as the cause of death, but are willing to continue to work with partners to investigate."
Regardless of whether the Ebola virus is detected, the case indicates a rising sense of panic across Europe in the wake of the news that a Spanish nurse contracted the disease while treating a missionary evacuated from Sierra Leone, in the first instance of an infection occurring outside West Africa. 
Nurse Teresa Romero's condition has deteriorated since her admission to hospital on Monday (October 6) and the Spanish authorities have been criticized for their handling of the disease, with medical staff complaining that protective clothing has been inadequate and suggestions that it may be impossible to trace all of those she may have come into contact with during almost a week in which she displayed symptoms before being hospitalized. 
Authorities in France sealed off a social services facility near Paris with 60 people inside on Thursday after four people who had traveled to the country from Guinea earlier this month complained of headaches and fever. 
A 56-year-old Czech man with Ebola-like symptoms was also being tested for the disease in Prague on Thursday (October 9), after falling ill following a trip to Liberia. The results are expected later today.
On the other side of the Atlantic, aircraft cleaners went on strike at New York's La Guardia airport, protesting that they had not received any training or protection despite regularly coming into contact with passengers' bodily fluids. 

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