Sierra Leonne orders Ebola lockdown

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Monday, 8 September, 2014

Sierra Leone has ordered a lockdown to help control Ebola virus. The government has stated that people must stay at home from 18 to 21 September. Read the story in All Africa - http://allafrica.com/stories/201409070012.html

The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has criticised the doctor from Port Harcourt (Dr Iyke Enemuo), who died from Ebola, for treating the index case in a hotel, not hospital. This patient was a ECOWAS diplomat (Olubukun Koye), who fled quarantine in Lagos to go to Port Harcourt. See All Africa - http://allafrica.com/stories/201409080273.html

This story has interesting parallels with how the SARS outbreak became global. SARS started in China in late 2002. The globalisation of the SARS epidemic was initiated in the Metropole hotel (9th floor) in February 2003. A doctor from China, exhausted from dealing with epidemic pneumia in Guangdong province, took a room in the hotel and infected 10 people who then took the SARS virus to Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, USA, Canada, and Ireland (Tsang et al 2003). The severe Vietnamese and Canadian SARS epidemics were started by people infected at the hotel.

Port Harcourt is a major international commercial hub in Nigeria. Let's hope that people will not take Ebolavirus home with them.

Reference
Tsang T et al. Update: Outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - Worldwide, 2003. Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report 2003; 52(12);241-248.

Image: The chain of transmission of SARS virus in the Hong Kong hotel in February 2003 (from Tseng et al 2003).

Posted by Rick Speare