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Ebola crisis continues to grow

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On Aug. 6, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) brought its emergency operations center to its highest readiness state, a Level 1 activation. This allows the CDC to bring all its resources to bear on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

There were 31 CDC personnel in the affected countries as of Aug. 4. The agency plans to send an additional 50 over the next 30 days. The surge of personnel will continue until the illness has been brought under control. The CDC expects that this will take a minimum of three to six months.

As of Aug. 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a total of 1,711 Ebola cases from four West African nations. The data falls into three groups, 1,070 confirmed illnesses, 436 probable and 205 suspected. There have been 932 Ebola deaths with 603 listed as laboratory confirmed.

From July 31 through Aug. 4, 343 new Ebola cases were reported to the WHO. In addition, 106 deaths due to Ebola were add to the growing toll in the four affected nations.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Liberia has provided a critical piece of data in an Ebola situation report dated Aug. 4 There have been 65 health care workers who have contracted Ebola in Liberia and 34 of them have died. Media reports suggest that in the four countries with Ebola, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, the number of infected health care workers ranges into the hundreds.

Liberia has closed a hospital in its capital, Monrovia, due to the Ebola death of its director and a number of Ebola illnesses in its staff. The National Catholic Register reported on Aug. 5 that Brother Patrick Nshamdze, 52, the director of St. Joseph’s Catholic Hospital died Aug. 2. The hospital is run by the Hospitaller Order of St. John. Two other male religious and three nuns from the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Conception have also contracted Ebola and are in quarantine there.

ABC is reporting that Spain has evacuated two of its nationals from the stricken hospital. Father Miguel Pajares has contracted Ebola and was flown to Spain in a specially prepared medical transport. A nun who is not infected, but who worked at the hospital, has also been brought back to Spain.

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