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November 18, 2014

2014 Ebola Outbreak History 

The first cases of Ebola in West Africa were reported in March 2014; However the index patient traced back to December 2013 in Guinea. This is the largest Ebola outbreak since medical scientists first identified the Ebola virus in 1976. It starting in Guinea and spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all other outbreaks combined; as of November 14, there have been 14, 415 total reported cases and 5, 506 deaths from Ebola in West Africa.

New Cases 

On November 12 officials in Mali confirmed two new Ebola cases who received treatment at the Pasteur Clinic in Bamako: one an imam from Guinea and the other a nurse at the clinic. Both patients died. On November 15, 2014 Dr. Martin Salia, a doctor who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, arrived in the U.S. for treatment at the Nebraska Medical Center. The doctor is a Sierra Leone national with legal permanent residency in the U.S. He worked at the Kissy United Methodist Hospital in Freetown, Sierra Leone; but may have contracted Ebola at one of three other facilities where he worked, as Kissy United Methodist does not have an Ebola care unit. He began to display Ebola-like symptoms on November 6, but tests came back negative for Ebola. Tests run on November 10, returned positive results. The doctor and his wife, believed to be a U.S. citizen, paid for his evacuation to the Nebraska Medical Center from Sierra Leon. The doctor passed on November 17, 2014.

Cleared Cases

On November 10, Bellevue Hospital in New York City declared Dr. Craig Spencer free of the Ebola virus, and released him on November 11. The doctor contracted the virus while volunteering in Guinea, but did not know it until days after having returned to the U.S. He followed the protocol established by Doctors Without Borders, and monitored his health; and he notified New York health officials as soon as a fever presented.

Government Actions

On November 13 Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared an end to the state of emergency that she had established on August 6. President Sirleaf ended the restrictive state of emergency because the daily rate of new Ebola cases has dropped to about 50, from a peak of 500 per day. On November 15, Mali health authorities identified and began monitoring 256 people who had contact with the two fatalities reported on November 12.

Business Impact 

Pinkerton finds it likely that the growing Ebola threat increasingly will affect travel in the mid-term. In addition, airlines will take extra time to sanitize planes that carried passengers from West African countries at risk of having Ebola, and flight delays may occur due to the extra preparation. Clients who think they may be at risk for Ebola exposure should monitor their health for 21 days, and seek immediate medical care if symptoms of Ebola become evident.