According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a patient admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola. The patient was quarrantined shortly after arriving at the hospital based on their symptoms and travel history. The CDC will deploy experts to Texas to direct the handling of the case.
Meanwhile, the CDC says that no new cases of Ebola have been reported in Nigeria and Senegal since Sept. 5 and Aug. 29, respectively. In Senegal, all people who came in contact with an infected patient have now completed a three-week follow-up, with no further cases of Ebola reported.
According to a report in the New York Times, an emergency command center financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight polio has been instrumental in the apparent containment of Ebola. As soon as the outbreak began, it was turned into the Ebola Emergency Operations Center.
In addition, the CDC 's experts in Nigeria who were working on polio and HIV had already trained 100 Nigerian doctors in epidemiology, including contact tracing. Forty of these doctors were immediately reassigned to fight Ebola.
The chief of the command center, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, also praised a coordinated effort by the health ministry, the CDC, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, and the International Committee for the Red Cross for the success in containing Ebola in Nigeria and Senegal.
The Ebola outbreak, which began in West Africa in March, is still spreading in other countries. There have been 6,574 cases and 3,091 deaths so far, according to the CDC.
About 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have lost one or both of their parents, according to UNICEF. The number has spiked recently and is expected to continue to rise. To make matters worse, many of these children are being rejected by their surviving relatives for fear of infection.
Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF's regional director for West and Central Africa, said in a press statement, “Thousands of children are living through the Ebola-caused deaths of their mother, father, or family members. These children urgently need special attention and support; yet many of them feel unwanted and even abandoned. Orphans are usually taken in by a member of the extended family, but in some communities, the fear surrounding Ebola is becoming stronger than family ties.”
Ebola is also taking a heavy emotional toll on the children, especially when they or their parents are placed in isolation. “Ebola is turning a basic human reaction like comforting a sick child into a potential death sentence,” said Fontaine. “The vast majority of the children affected by Ebola are still left without appropriate care. We cannot respond to a crisis of this nature and this scale in the usual ways. We need more courage, more creativity, and far, far more resources.”
In Liberia, UNICEF is helping the government train 400 additional mental health and social workers. UNICEF is also working with local authorities in the most affected countries to help strengthen family and community support for children affected by Ebola. The organization is also working to provide care to those who have been rejected by their communities or whose whole families have died.
In Guinea, UNICEF and partners will provide about 60,000 children and families in Ebola-affected communities with psychosocial support.