THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: “EBOLA VIRUS: DEATH TOLL REACHES 932… IT’S ASTONISHING THAT THE NIGERIANS DIDN’T TREAT SAWYER FROM THE START AS A POTENTIAL EBOLA CASE.”

Ebola: Death toll reaches 932

Via The Wall Street Journal: Ebola Virus: Death Toll Reaches 932. Excerpt:

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: "EBOLA VIRUS: DEATH TOLL REACHES 932… IT'S ASTONISHING THAT THE NIGERIANS DIDN'T TREAT SAWYER FROM THE START AS A POTENTIAL EBOLA CASE."

as at 1/8/2014

The number of people to have died in the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in history has risen to at least 932, according to the World Health Organization. Between August 2 and 4 this year, 45 people died of the disease in West Africa and the number of cases in the region rose by 108.

The figures, reported in a WHO statement on Wednesday, didn’t include additional deaths and cases that have been attributed to Ebola since. They include a man in Saudi Arabia who was suspected to have Ebola and died Wednesday morning when his heart stopped and attempts to resuscitate him failed, the Saudi Ministry of Health said.

And they include a nurse in Nigeria who died from Ebola, while five other hospital workers have been confirmed as infected with the virus, the country’s Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said, escalating the epidemiological toll from a single airline passenger.

The nurse, and all of the other infected Nigerians thus far, each helped treat Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American consultant who fell sick during his air travel between Monrovia, Liberia, and Lagos, Nigeria, Mr. Chukwu said. They have all been put into an isolation unit, he added.

Their infections show how a single patient’s reluctance to concede that he had Ebola has brought fatal consequences to the health workers at the very center of West Africa’s fight against the virus.

Mr. Sawyer’s arrival on July 20 marked the first case of Ebola in Africa’s most populous nation, though medical staff didn’t know it at the time: For two days, Mr. Sawyer told his caregivers that he had malaria, even though his sister had recently died from Ebola, Lagos officials have said. But blood tests confirmed Mr. Sawyer had contracted Ebola.

That confirmation sparked a race to track down, monitor and, where necessary, isolate scores of flight attendants, passengers, airport workers and hospital staff who may have had infectious contact with Mr. Sawyer, who died on July 25.

City health officials believe those measures will prevent a further outbreak of Ebola in Africa’s largest city, a megalopolis of up to 21 million people, at least from the current infection, and authorities are setting up tent camps in all of Nigeria’s 36 states to isolate any further cases, said Mr. Chukwu, the health minister.

Still, Nigerian officials were too late to prevent the spread of Mr. Sawyer’s illness to the people who cared for him in the early hours of his arrival.

Given the extent of Ebola in West Africa by mid-July, it’s astonishing that the Nigerians didn’t treat Sawyer from the start as a potential Ebola case.

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