Following the WHO’s warnings, (the ironically named) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a “state of emergency” over the Ebola outbreak that is rapidly escalating in his nation. This comes on the heels of a US medical journal study that finds, as Reuters reports, the Ebola virus that is ravagaing West Africa was not imported from Central Africa but caused by a “new strain” of the disease – raising the specter of further regional epidemics.
Ebola is endemic to Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, South Sudan and Gabon, and scientists initially believed that Central Africa’s Zaire strain of the virus was responsible for the outbreak. However, as Reuters reports,
Using analysis of blood samples from infected patients, however, researchers determined that while the Guinean form of the Ebola virus (EBOV) showed a 97 percent similarity to the Zaire strain, the disease was not introduced from Central Africa.
“This study demonstrates the emergence of a new EBOV strain in Guinea,” wrote the group of more than 30 doctors and scientists, who published their preliminary findings on the website of the New England Journal of Medicine.
“It is possible that EBOV has circulated undetected in this region for some time. The emergence of the virus in Guinea highlights the risk of EBOV outbreaks in the whole West African subregion,” the report continued.
“What is clear to us from the study is that the virus wasn’t brought in from the outside, that it is indigenous,” said Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for the WHO, which was not involved in authoring the study.
The awful conclusion:
“It means there were possibly outbreaks in the past that were just not detected,” he said.
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Nigerian President Jonathan has declared a national state of emergency…