On multiple occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers were notified via text messages to their mobile devices concerning new US and international health agency warnings and actions regarding the expanding spread of the Ebola virus. This week has seen reports of suspected or confirmed cases in the Philippines, India, Benin, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Ontario and Mexico (our source was USGOV medical official). Additional confirmed cases and deaths have been reported in Nigeria. The government of Nigeria has declared a national state of emergency emergency, as has the government of Liberia, due to the rapid spread and rising death toll of the virus. Guinea has closed all land borders with with Liberia and Sierra Leone.
According to the World Health Organization, 68 new cases were formally reported between August 5th and 6th, as well as 29 new deaths. This brings the total the total to 1,779 confirmed cases reported, 961 of whom have died. And these are just the reported numbers. During testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ken Isaacs, vice president of program and government relations for the relief group Samaritan's Purse, indicated his organizations experts state the official epidemic case numbers from the World Health Organization represent only 25% to 50% of the true numbers.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance to airlines regarding the Ebola virus, the handling of passengers displaying symptoms and guidance for flight crews, cleaning and cargo personnel. Be advised that there is an increasing likelihood that if you display flu-like symptoms (such as a fever or chills), even if you have not traveled to West Africa or knowingly been in the presence of anyone who has, you may be prevented from boarding.
On Tuesday it was announced that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had established an internal Ebola task force to most effectively support overarching U.S. government and international efforts to prevent further transmission of the virus.
On Wednesday the Centers for Disease Control raised its response to the expanding Ebola outbreak to a Level 1 status, their highest level of mobilization which is reserved for the most serious public health emergencies. The agency says the move was appropriate considering the outbreak’s “potential to affect many lives.”
On Thursday, in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden clearly stated that Ebola's spread to America was "inevitable."
Also on Thursday, the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia began evacuating family members due to the grave situation in the country, which includes a literal shutdown of two major hospitals after numerous medical workers became infected and died.
And late this week World Health Organization Director Dr. Margaret Chan announced that the organization has declared the Ebola outbreak a Global Health Emergency, saying that countries affected by the deadly virus "simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity."
Since the release of reports of a case of Ebola in Mexico city, the government of Mexico has been pushing back hard in denial. We caution readers that given chaotic border situation, the complicity of the Mexican government in allowing and even facilitating the ongoing flow of individuals from around the world through their country and to the border relatively unchallenged, as well as the clear desire of Federal and State officials on this side of the border to facilitate the same, it would be expected that there would be an outpouring of effort to squash any notion of Ebola in Mexico.
For more authoritative information on the dangerous public health threats facing the U.S. as a result of existing border security policy, watch the interview below with Zack Taylor, Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO).
Additionally, we would like to call to readers attention the strong potential in the coming days and weeks for Ebola cases to start appearing in China. Unknown to most Americans, the chinese government and industry have been making massive investments in West Africa in order to gain access to the natural resources so desperately needed back home. As a result, hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals live in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and elsewhere in the region.
Similarly, the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou is home to a large population of nationals from a number of West African countries. Chinese media outlets report that more than 1000 individuals per day arrive in Guangzhou's international airport from West Africa.
The concern about Ebola's spread into China is so great that health authorities have set up machines to test passengers' body temperature. Anyone measuring above 99.5F is required to have his or her blood tested. Given that the virus has an incubation period of up to 21 days, it appears to only be a matter of time before cases start appearing. And given the dense population of China.
As AlertsUSA has reported since the beginning of the outbreak, given the globally interconnected nature of the commercial airline system, there is a high risk of sick individuals eventually making their way to the U.S..
Here again, we remind readers that U.S., Canadian, European and Asian health authorities are on high alert at points of entry. International airports, airline staff, customs and immigration officials and security personnel are monitoring travelers using a variety of means, including thermal cameras, to identify ill travelers.
AlertsUSA again strongly recommends that airline travelers, including domestic passengers, become hyper sensitive about their proximity to those visibly ill during your trips. While health authorities stress that Ebola is not airborne, a fact they chose to dance around is that it is transmissible, as with most other contagions, via airborne saliva particles, such as those released via coughs and sneezes. Given that planeloads of individuals arrive hourly from impacted international locations, only to then diffuse into the domestic airline network, your increased, polite vigilance can only be a benefit to your overall safety.
AlertsUSA strongly recommends that airline travelers, including domestic passengers, become hyper sensitive about their proximity to those visibly ill during your trips. While health authorities stress that Ebola is not airborne, a fact they chose to dance around is that it is transmissible, as with most other contagions, via airborne saliva particles, such as those released via coughs and sneezes (also see this).
Given that planeloads of individuals arrive hourly from impacted international locations, only to then diffuse into the domestic airline network, your increased, polite vigilance can only be a benefit to your overall safety.
We also feel it is prudent to point out that while the current "hot zone" is West Africa, take note of the fact that this region is widely visited and populated by individuals of European, Middle Eastern and Chinese descent.
CDC - Ebola Page
World Health Organization Ebola Page
CDC - Ebola Guidance for Airlines
CDC - Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients
with Known or Suspected Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in U.S. Hospitals
CDC - Safe Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in U.S. Hospitals World Health Organization Ebola Page
CDC - Legal Authorities for Isolation and Quarantine
CDC - Specific Laws and Regs Governing the Control of
CDC - Final Rules for Control of Communicable Diseases:
Interstate and Foreign
Previous AlertsUSA Threat Journal Coverage and Resources
August 2, 2014
July 26, 2014
March 29, 2014
As always, AlertsUSA continues to closely monitor developments with the spread of this virus and will immediately notify service subscribers of major changes in its spread to different regions, important notices and warnings by government agencies or any other major changes in the overall threat environment as events warrant.