LONDON, Sept 09, 2016: Scientists have found a hidden weak spot shared by all five known types of the deadly Ebola virus and successfully targeted it with two antibodies that blocked its ability to invade human cells.
- Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016
- Many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months
- They show some quite distinct scarring patterns
Sierra Leone, West Africa, August 25, 2017: Patients who survive infection with the Ebola virus often continue to face numerous health problems. New research finds 80 percent of Ebola survivors suffer disabilities one year after being discharged from the hospital.
Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016; tens of thousands more who were infected survived.
Of those survivors, many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months.
Researchers at the University of Liverpool, the UK and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK are studying what’s called post-Ebola syndrome. One of the senior authors of the study, Dr. Janet Scott, says researchers are unsure why survivors experience such disabilities.
“I’m not sure we’ve quite gotten to the bottom of it yet,” Scott said. “The idea that you go through something as horrific as Ebola and just walk away from that unscathed was always a bit of a vain hope. So, it could be the inflammatory response. It could be damage to the muscles, and it could be the persistence of the virus in some cases. It could be all of those things.”
Scott says problems found in Ebola survivors’ eyes may provide clues to what is happening elsewhere in the body.
“They show some quite distinct scarring patterns,” she said. “There’s definitely scar tissue there. We can see it in the eyes. We can’t see it in the rest of the body, but I’m sure it’s in the rest of the body because the patients are coming in with this huge range of problems.”
The disabilities were reported in past cases of Ebola outbreak, as well. However, because past outbreaks were smaller and there were few survivors, researchers were not able to do major, long-term studies on the after effects.
This time, said Scott, “There are 5,000 survivors or thereabouts in Sierra Leone, and more in Guinea and Liberia. So, it’s an opportunity from a research point of view to find out the full spectrum of sequelae … the things that happen after an acute illness.”
Military Hospital 34 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, also took part in the study, helping to recruit 27 Ebola survivors and 54 close contacts who were not infected. About 80 percent of survivors reported disabilities compared to 11 percent of close contacts.
“The problems we’re seeing in Ebola survivors, this is not due just to the tough life in Sierra Leone. This is more than likely down to their experience in Ebola,” Scott said.
The research was led by Dr. Soushieta Jagadesh, who said: “a year following acute disease, survivors of West Africa Ebola Virus Disease continue to have a higher chance of disability in mobility, cognition, and vision.”
“Issues such as anxiety and depression persist in survivors and must not be neglected,” she added.
Scott hopes the findings can be used to provide better care in the event of another Ebola outbreak, no matter where it is. In the West Africa outbreak, the first goal was to contain the epidemic, followed by reducing the death rate.
“If I was treating an Ebola patient again, it has to be more than just surviving,” Scott said. “You have to try to make people survive well. Surviving with half your body paralyzed or with your vision impaired and being unable to care for your family or earn a living isn’t really enough. So, what I would like to do is to focus on that aspect to make people survive better and survive well.” (VOA)
Dakar, August 17, 2017: When aid worker Idalia Amaya arrived at the scene of the mudslide that devastated Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, she was horrified to find homes washed away, entire villages engulfed by mud, and corpses floating down the streets.
“Bodies were just being washed down streams … so many people were crying and wailing,” said Amaya, an emergency response coordinator for Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
“It was a horrible sight — it was devastating,” the U.S. aid worker told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone on Wednesday, two days after witnessing the mud’s deadly fallout.
A mountainside collapsed on Monday morning in the town of Regent, burying dozens of homes as people slept and killing at least 400. Women and children were hit the hardest in what is one of Africa’s deadliest mudslides in decades.
“The chance of finding more survivors is slim to none,” Amaya said. “It is so difficult to search in the mud.”
“A lot of victims were women and children, as men had left for work early in the morning. It is heartbreaking to see fathers and husbands who have lost all of their relatives.”
At least 3,000 people have been left homeless — and urgently need food, shelter and health care — while another 600 are missing, according to the Red Cross.
“Many people are reliving trauma they suffered during Ebola,” said Amaya, referring to the world’s worst recorded outbreak of the disease, which ravaged the former British colony from 2014 to 2016, infecting 14,000 people and killing 4,000.
“They are working around the clock to dig out survivors, support those in need, and make the best of the situation,” Amaya added. “I am struck by the resilience of people who have been through civil war, Ebola and deadly floods.”
Bodies continue to arrive at Freetown’s overwhelmed central morgue, with corpses laid on the floor and the ground outside.
The authorities and aid agencies are preparing to bury the dead in several Freetown cemeteries in coming days, CRS said.
As hundreds of people queued outside the morgue, Amaya said Freetown was struggling to come to terms with its latest disaster.
“It still feels very raw,” she said. “But people are coming together, grieving together, and starting the healing process.”(VOA)
Nigeria is known for its top class tomatoes. Tasty and juicy tomatoes are part of nearly every dish in Nigeria. A state government in Nigeria has declared a state of emergency due to the substantial destruction of tomato fields by moths.
Nigerian farmers have termed the outbreak as ‘Tomato Ebola’. Tomato is a central ingredient in Nigerian dishes. The scarcity of tomatoes will simply mean now they can’t afford their beloved toms. Nigerians won’t be able to make their favorite jollof rice (a national dish made with tomato paste). Such is the scarcity of tomatoes in the country. Inflation rates are growing and Africa’s economy is getting affected as a result of the moth named Tuta absolute was also known as Tomato Leaf Miner.
The moth attacks the leaves of the tomato plant and the larvae produced by the moth feed on the plants causing a total loss of yield. No pesticides are able to kill the larvae. After 3 hours of spraying, they again come back to life.
Northwest and central regions have been affected the most. Kaduna (also called the tomato capital of Nigeria) is in a state of emergency. Manzo Daniel (the Kaduna state agriculture commissioner) said “We have declared a state of emergency over the outbreak of a moth that has destroyed over 80% of tomato farms in the state. More than 200 tomato farmers in the region have suffered losses of more than 1bn naira ($5.02m) from the disease.” A bucket of toms which was earlier 1.5$ now costs 7.5$. Price has rocketed up to 400%.
Nigeria’s federal agriculture minister has reported that the moth has spread to at least 6 states and is posing a threat to national food security. He also warned that the moth can attack potato and pepper plants.
Governors and commissioners of states are jointly working to get rid of this situation. Kenya has a good advantage on this issue. They use some plant extract to take care of the moth. Since Nigerian experts don’t have the knowledge yet so they are looking forward to Kenya to eradicate this tomato menace. The agricultural specialists are working with Kenya experts to find a proper solution.
The heat is on even on social platforms. On Social networking, sites such as Twitter people are tweeting humorous posts about Spanish La Tomatina festival where tons of tomatoes are wasted. Some even tweeted “La Tomatina@ Tomatoes throwing party in Spain. If only these guys know the price of Tomatoes in Nigeria today…”
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Pritam is pursuing engineering and is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen