Govt Deeply Concerned About Spread of Ebola

With the deadly Ebola virus claiming over 70 lives in the west African nation of Guinea and fears that it could spread far beyond the country’s borders, the government says it is deeply concerned about the virus crossing into Namibia and warned Namibians travelling abroad to remain vigilant.

Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, emphasised his concerns about the disease on Friday in the National Assembly during the discussion of the health ministry’s budget allocation. “We should keep our fingers crossed and hope that Namibians travelling abroad do not contract the virus,” he said.

“As government we are concerned about this outbreak but we have put measures in place to act when the need arises. I would however like to urge all Namibians travelling abroad to remain cautious and if anyone by chance contracts the virus, please inform us so that we can respond in time and provide the correct medical aice,” said Kamwi.

Kamwi said government is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) on keeping track of the virus.

“As we speak the ministry stands prepared, but I can tell you that this is not an easy virus to deal with,” he said.

Officials say there are at least 111 suspected cases of the viral disease, which spreads in the blood and shuts down the immune system, causing high fever, headache and muscle pain. The virus is transmitted by contact with the fluids of infected people or animals.

The WHO says that, to date, no confirmed cases of Ebola have been found outside of Guinea, but at least 12 suspected cases are under investigation in neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Most people infected by the Ebola virus die – as there is still no cure. The WHO has registered 15 outbreaks across Africa since 1976 when the virus was first discovered.

Guinea is currently experiencing an epidemic. So far the disease has occurred mainly in the remote villages of central and west Africa, particularly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Sudan, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Uganda and more recently in Guinea.

Between two and 21 days after becoming infected, patients begin to feel weak and experience headaches, muscle aches and chills. They lose their appetite and feel lethargic, suffering from stomach cramps, diarrhoea and nausea. A so-called hemorrhagic fever sets in, accompanied by severe internal bleeding.

This condition affects the gastrointestinal tract, spleen and lungs, eventually leading to death.

Health officials in Guinea warn that the arrival of Ebola in the country’s capital city, Conakry, which has a population of 2 million people and with an international airport could spell major disaster.

Source : New Era