Guinea-Bissau has recorded three cases of Zika, becoming the second country in West Africa where the dangerous viral disease has been detected, the government said on Saturday. “Three cases of contamination by Zika virus have been confirmed,” a statement quoted Health Minister Domingos Malu as saying. The cases occurred in the Bijagos archipelago, a group of 88 islands of which 23 are inhabited, Malu told a cabinet meeting on Friday.
A study of a cluster of Ebola cases that appeared in Liberia last year, months after the country was declared Ebola-free, has found that the virus re-emerged after lying dormant in a female survivor. The results suggest Liberia and the other African countries at the centre of the outbreak should maintain high levels of vigilance for longer than thought to contain any future flare-ups of the deadly haemorrhagic fever. World Health Organization data show West Africa's Ebola epidemic killed more than 11,300 people and infected some 28,600 as it swept through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia from 2013 in the world's worst outbreak of the disease.
A fifth person has died of Ebola in southeast Guinea since March 17, a health official told Reuters on Tuesday, raising concerns that a recent flare-up of the deadly virus could spread. The latest case was detected in Macenta prefecture, about 200 kilometers from the village of Korokpara where the four other recent Ebola-related deaths occurred, said Fode Sylla Tass, spokesman for National Coordination of the Fight against Ebola in Guinea. Burials, where bodies of the deceased are often washed, have been a main cause of transmission of Ebola, which has killed at least 11,300 people in West Africa since 2013 in the worst outbreak on record.
WASHINGTON (AP) — New details about the possible effects of the Zika virus on the fetal brain emerged Wednesday as U.S. health officials say mosquito eradication here and abroad is key to protect pregnant women until they can develop a vaccine.
By Alister Doyle OSLO (Reuters) – Land degradation, such as a spread of deserts in parts of Africa, costs the world economy trillions of dollars a year and may drive tens of millions of people from their homes, a U.N.-backed study said on Tuesday. Worldwide, about 52 percent of farmland is already damaged, according to the report by The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD), compiled by 30 research groups around the world. It estimated that land degradation worldwide cost between $6.3 trillion and $10.6 trillion a year in lost benefits such as production of food, timber, medicines, fresh water, cycling of nutrients or absorption of greenhouse gases.
By Joseph Akwiri MOMBASA (Reuters) – East Africa’s biggest port in the Kenyan city of Mombasa said on Saturday it had dismissed 27 workers it believed were behind a strike this week that paralysed operations for two days and cost the port at least $2 million. Over 2,000 workers went on strike on Wednesday and Thursday in protest against higher deductions for the government’s national health insurance scheme, prompting port management to threaten to fire them, having advertised their positions. The work stoppage has disrupted business at the biggest port in the region, which handles imports such as fuel for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.
By Tansa Musa and Diadie Ba YAOUNDE/DAKAR (Reuters) – Cameroon state airline Camair-Co will use $50 million from African lender Ecobank to relaunch its operations, a senior executive said, as national carriers in West Africa seek cash and strategic partners to stay afloat. Camair-Co general manager Jean Paul Nana Sandjo said it expected to receive the 30 billion CFA francs within two to three weeks. A sit-in at loss-making Senegal Airlines by employees demanding six months of salary arrears, which entered its fourth day on Thursday, underlined the challenges facing West Africa’s state carriers. The airline’s management was not available to comment but flights continued as normal, airport staff said.
By James Pearson SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea has banned foreign runners from participating in an international marathon scheduled to be held in the capital in April, citing fears about the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, a Beijing-based travel agency said on Monday. North Korea is thousands of miles from the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and has reported no cases of the virus, which has killed more than 9,000 people. Nonetheless, its borders have remained closed to foreign tourists since last October, for fear the virus might spread, and it imposes a strict 21-day quarantine for foreign aid workers and diplomats, who have been told to stay in embassy compounds. “Our North Korean partners in Pyongyang contacted us this morning with news that the 2015 Pyongyang Marathon has – as of today – been closed to amateur and professional foreign runners,” Nick Bonner, director of Koryo Tours, told Reuters in an emailed statement.
Ebola continues to spread. The fight against this pandemic in West Africa appears to have mixed results. Today, the U.S. Homeland Security Department lifted Ebola-related screening for travelers from Mali. In Liberia, newly reported cases dropped from roughly 300 per week in September to fewer than 100 a month later. The good news continues…
By Ben Hirschler LONDON (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson has started clinical trials of its experimental Ebola vaccine, which uses a booster from Denmark’s Bavarian Nordic, making it the third such shot to enter human testing. The initiation of the Phase I study in Britain, which had been expected about now, marks further progress in the race to develop a vaccine against a disease that has killed more than 8,000 people in West Africa since last year. Two other experimental vaccines, one from GlaxoSmithKline and a rival from NewLink and Merck, are already in clinical development. …