Ebola and Seafarers: A Cause For Concern

 maritime safety news  Comments Off on Ebola and Seafarers: A Cause For Concern
Aug 042014
 

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Ebola symptoms. Click for larger image. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Many of today’s seafarers come from countries where healthcare facilities are limited and may be unable to handle an outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease, which has already killed almost 900 people in West Africa.  Three global shipping organisations have expressed concern about the potential exposure of ship’s crews  to the disease and have issued joint guidelines to their members on the risks posed in countries affected by the Ebola virus.

Ebola emerged in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, in Nzara, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The present outbreak has struck Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There is no cure and treatment largely consists of mitigating he symptoms (See graphic). Nine out of ten people infected die. Continue reading »

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Swine Flu Advisory

 seaman  Comments Off on Swine Flu Advisory
May 022009
 

London P&I Club has alerted its members on the Swine Flu situation. Swine Flu may not be as deadly as first appeared but responses to it will affect shipping and seafarers. The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency has also  issued guidelines advising masters to take seafarers suspected of having contracted the disease off duty and treat them aboard ship.

THE United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) is co-ordinating the response to the potential pandemic of influenza A (H1N1), which is often referred to as “pig flu” or “swine flu”.

In addition to Mexico, where the outbreak began, cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK and the US. Deaths have been confirmed in Mexico and the US. Moreover, suspected cases are being investigated in many countries including, Australia, Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, South Africa and South Korea.

The early symptoms of “swine flu” are said to be similar to the more common type of influenza (fever, head ache, chills, sore throat etc) but the WHO is concerned about the relatively high mortality rates of those infected with the influenza A (H1N1) virus.

The WHO has produced the attached interim guidance on infection prevention and control, which they has emphasised may be revised as their understanding of the virus develops.

WHO’s dedicated website can be accessed here.

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