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7/31/2014

Italy migrants: Nineteen ‘suffocate’ aboard boat from Africa

Survivor of shipwreck in Lampedusa, Italy Thousands of migrants have risked their lives to reach Italy this year

Nineteen migrants have died, reportedly by suffocating, aboard a crowded boat travelling from North Africa to Italy.

The migrants are thought to have choked on fumes from an old engine while they were confined below deck, Italian news agency Ansa reports.

Rescuers found 18 people in a tangle of bodies. Another person is said to have died during the evacuation. The boat was carrying some 600 people.

Italy is struggling to cope with a rising flow of migrants to its shores.

Many of them make the dangerous crossing from Africa on crowded and unseaworthy vessels, says the BBC’s Rome correspondent, Alan Johnston.

The boat in the latest incident was heading for the Italian island of Lampedusa. It was intercepted after it sent out an SOS signal.

Two passengers from the boat have been taken for treatment to a hospital in Sicily.

In the past month, at least 45 migrants have died in similar circumstances – as a result of being crushed or asphyxiated aboard overcrowded boats.

On Friday, Ansa reported that migrants rescued by a merchant ship this week had spoken of a shipwreck in which 60 people had drowned. Migration to Italy and Malta There has recently been a huge rise in the number of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Italy.

EU border agency Frontex says almost 60,000 migrants have already landed in southern Italy this year.

Most are from Africa or the Middle East and pay large sums to smugglers in Libya and Tunisia, who transport them in unsafe fishing vessels.

Officials say Libya’s continuing political instability is partly to blame for the rise.

Italy – which bears the brunt of migrants making the crossing – launched a rescue operation in the Mediterranean last year, and has repeatedly appealed for the EU’s help to tackle the problem.

6/27/2014

Outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone

Filed under: disease/health,guinea,liberia,Sierra leone — admin @ 2:29 pm

At a Glance:

* Suspected and Confirmed Case Count: 390 * Suspected Case Deaths: 270 * Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 260

Liberia at a Glance

* Suspected and Confirmed Case Count: 51 * Suspected Case Deaths: 34 * Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 34

Sierra Leone at a Glance

* Suspected and Confirmed Case Count: 158 * Suspected Case Deaths: 58 * Laboratory Confirmed Cases: 147

Highlights

* June 20, 2014, the Guinea Ministry of Health announced a total of 390 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), including 270 fatal cases. * Affected districts include Conakry, Guéckédou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Dabola, Djingaraye, Télimélé, Boffa, Dubreka, and Kouroussa (see map). * 260 cases across Guinea have been confirmed by laboratory testing to be positive for Ebola virus infection. * In Guinea’s capital city, Conakry, 65 suspect cases have been reported to meet the clinical definition for EHF, including 33 fatal cases. * June 20, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone reported 147 laboratory confirmed cases of EHF with 34 fatal cases among the confirmed. * A total of 158 clinical EHF cases have been reported from 5 Sierra Leone districts: Kailahun, Kambia, Port Loko, Kenema, and Western. * June 22, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia reported 51 suspect and confirmed EHF cases (including 34 laboratory confirmations) and 34 reported fatalities and. * Genetic analysis of the virus indicates that it is closely related (97% identical) to variants of Ebola virus (species Zaire ebolavirus) identified earlier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon (Baize et al. 2014External Web Site Icon). * The Guinean Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia are working with national and international partners to investigate and respond to the outbreak.

Oubreak Update

As of June 20, 2014, the total number of confirmed and suspect Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) cases as stated by the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Guinea was 390, including 270 fatal cases and 260 laboratory confirmed cases. Active surveillance continues in Conakry, Guéckédou, Macenta, Télimélé, Dubreka, and Boffa districts.

The World Health Organization has stated that as of June 20, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone reported a cumulative total of 158 clinical cases of EHF (including 147 laboratory confirmations, 34 of these being fatal cases). Districts reporting clinical EHF patients include Kailahun, Kenema, Kambia, Port Loko, and Western. Reports and investigations of suspect cases continue across the country. Laboratory testing is being conducted in Kenema city. The Government of Sierra Leone, WHO, and CDC have sent experts to aid in the response and investigation.

As of June 22, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia had reported 51 overall clinical cases of EHF, including 34 laboratory confirmations, and 34 fatal cases. All cases reported in June have been from Lofa and Montserado districts. Laboratory testing is being conducted in Monrovia.

CDC is in regular communication with its international partners, WHO, and MSF regarding the outbreak. Currently CDC has a 4 person team in Guinea and a staff member in Sierra Leone assisting the respective MOHs and the WHO-led international response to this Ebola outbreak

Based on reports from the Ministry of Heath of Guinea, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia, and WHO EPR.

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