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Averting the Lassa Fever Scare: Multifaceted Action Urgently Required

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first_imgIn early March this year the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) reported the outbreak of Lassa fever in Montserrado and Nimba counties, claiming three lives. Immediately following this scary announcement, the Daily Observer, in an Editorial, called on the Liberian government to treat the resurgence of this deadly disease with urgency, in order to forestall its spread.The Editorial further disclosed that a total of 134 contacts had been identified in Montserrado County (105), Margibi, 25 and Nimba (4), including 37 health workers. The Editorial noted that since January 1 this year, a total of 28 suspected cases of Lassa fever have been reported across the country, including 12 deaths in Montserrado, Bong and Nimba counties.Now two more deaths from Lassa fever have been reported this week—both in Margibi County—from a highly authoritative source, the county’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Myer Chea Pajibo. The Liberia News Agency (LNA) reported that Dr. Pajibo made the announcement this Tuesday at a news conference at the C.H. Rennie Memorial Hospital in Kakata, the Margibi capital.The two confirmed cases, he said, had been identified on May 4 and 7, 2018 at the C.H. Rennie Hospital. But he declined to name the victims or their specific communities, though Dr. Pajibo did indicate that both victims came from Kakata, the county capital, and from Gibi, a mountainous region of the county. The Chief Medical Officer made another equally troubling revelation.The male victim and his wife had traveled to Toma in Bong County to the funeral of their grandchild “who had suddenly died from a fever of unknown origin.” Could the fever that killed their grandchild have also been Lassa fever? Too bad an autopsy on the child did not take place before burial, though it may not be too late.But surely this should lead Bong County authorities, beginning with their Chief Medical Officer and Phebe and C.B. Dunbar Hospitals to launch an immediate investigation into the nature of the fever that caused this child’s death, to authenticate whether or not it was Lassa fever, and also to test other children in the area to determine whether any of them may be afflicted with that or any other strange “fever”.On a broader perspective, we are again calling on the Liberian government, most especially the Ministry of Health and the NPHIL to institute a national ALERT initiative, to warn the public about the danger of Lassa fever and ALL that people can and must do vigorously to suppress the further spread of this virus. Part of the campaign should be to let the public know exactly where the disease comes from.Lassa fever is a viral hemorrhagic illness caused by a virus that is transmitted through contact with the urine or feces of infected rodents (rats) and through direct contact with body fluids of infected individuals. Hemorrhagic means a profuse discharge of blood vessel; bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood. And where do rats, roaches, mosquitos and other such dangerous creatures come from?They come from unattended garbage—huge dumpsites, mountains of which are found in Paynesville, especially the commercial Red Light district, stagnant water found in such places as the clogged drainages in Soniwehn in central Monrovia and elsewhere.We must here highly commend the new Mayor of Paynesville City, Madam Pam Belcher-Taylor, who shortly after taking office has already begun cleaning up the garbage from the city’s main thoroughfare, Tubman Boulevard, especially the filthy stockpiles found near Matilda Parker’s place of birth.We pray that Mayor Belcher-Taylor will go further and clean up the marketplaces where our market women, with their babies and other children must sell in filth; and also the piles of garbage leading to the Gobachop market and the long stretches of garbage behind the Police Station on Somalia Drive. We make the same plea to the Mayor of Monrovia, Jefferson Koijee, to clean up the nation’s capital—Soniwehn, Center Street, including the Palm Grove Cemetery, Waterside and the whole Bushrod Island vicinity.We make the same appeal to all of Liberia’s other mayors, especially those where the Lassa fever virus has been taking its deadly toll—in Kakata and other areas of Margibi County, Gbarnga and other parts of Bong County, Ganta, Sanniquellie and other parts of Nimba County.The Heath authorities, especially Minister Wilhelmina Jallah, should ever remember the urgent plea we made in a recent Editorial, to reactivate the Ministry’s Sanitation Division, so that they may undertake a vigorous campaign to ensure a clean Monrovia and all other cities around the country.The Health Minister and all government officials have definitely heard of the ancient dictum—“Cleanliness is next to godliness.” All of our doctors, nurses and paramedics and most people in Liberia have also heard that “Prevention is better than cure.”A vigorous sanitation campaign is a most critical part of PREVENTION!Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more


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first_imgTWO late late goals from Sean Hume helped St Eunan’s U21 footballers lift the county championship today against all the odds.Star-studded Kilcar were odds-on favourites to win the title.And with eight minutes left, they were seven points to the good and thought they had both hands on the trophy. But they hadn’t counted on a remarkable comeback by the Letterkenny team – written off by all the local media before a ball was kicked.St Eunan’s had slipped into the lead in the 17th minute when Darragh Mulgrew hit the back of the net, but five minutes later Kilcar netted themselves through Eoin McHugh.Kilcar kept that lead and extended it to three, leading 1-09 to 1-06 at the break – but they weren’t out of sight.McHugh scored two quick frees after the break before the brilliant Paddy McBrearty pointed again – his seventh of the day at that stage – to give Kilcar a six point advantage. But St Eunan’s have their own handy marksman and Sean Hume pointed yet again from distance to narrow the gap – before hammering home a goal to level the game 2-10 to 1-13.Sean Daffan was the hero in the Eunan’s goal as he pulled off a stunning save as McBrearty rifled home what looked like the winner. He had to settle instead for a point from the resulting 45, to take Kilcar a point clear.But Michael Miller pointed straight away to tie the game again – 2-12 to 1-15 in injury time.A couple of referee decisions – against Eunan’s players for over-carrying – led to frustration in the crowd.But that soon turned to delight for the Letterkenny side at least as Sean Hume fired him another goal four minutes into injury time to complete a remarkable 3-12 to 1-15 victory. HUME THE HERO AS ST EUNAN’S STUN FAVOURITES KILCAR TO WIN U21 TITLE was last modified: December 20th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:kilcarSt EunansU21 championshiplast_img read more

Pro gamer tests out new system

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first_imgIt took Microsoft Corp. only two tries to get it right in the video-game-console business. The new Xbox 360, available today, is a stylish, powerful improvement over the previous model that largely fulfills the company’s promise of making a next-generation game system that can serve as an entertainment hub. There are two flavors of Xbox 360, but I can only recommend the pricier $399.99 version. It includes a remote control, a headset enabling you to chat with buddies in online multiplayer games, a comfortable wireless controller, and most importantly, a 20-gigabyte detachable hard drive. For $100 less you could buy the basic “Core System” sans a hard drive, but it’s not a very good value. This time around, Microsoft went with an external power supply, and for good reason: It is a giant gray brick nearly as large as the console itself. Good thing I was able to tuck it out of view behind the television. At the console’s heart is a 3.2 gigahertz IBM-designed PowerPC microprocessor with three cores – or tiny computing engines – that run simultaneously. The unit has 512 megabytes of memory, eight times more than the original Xbox, as well as a custom graphics chip. The machine’s power was evident the moment I turned it on, and the graphics are the best looking I’ve seen on any platform. “Project Gotham Racing 3” captures the blurred sensation of barreling down race tracks with fluid photorealism. It’s like watching a real race on television but you’re actually controlling the outcome. Other games I tested were equally stunning, notably the World War II first-person shooter “Call of Duty 2,” where you can actually see Russian soldiers exhaling as they battle Nazis on frozen battlefields. In “NBA2K6,” rivulets of trickling digital sweat have never been so perfectly rendered in a video game. Of the 18 games available at launch, none really stands out as a marquee title, and many are available for older-generation systems. I wish Microsoft had paired the new unit with a must-have title. “Halo 3” would seem a no-brainer. I was able to play older-generation games like “Halo 2” without a hitch using software emulation. I was unable to transfer my saved games, though, so I had to start all over. Some old Xbox favorites such as the fighting game “Ninja Gaiden” didn’t work at all, even though it’s on a list of compatible titles at www.xbox.com. My advice? Don’t get rid of your old Xbox just yet. Xbox 360 uses a simple, easy-to-navigate interface called Dashboard to switch between games, online play and other functions. It’s far superior to what’s out there on other consoles. Four tabs on the screen’s sides each manage a different function: One handles your Xbox Live account, another is for setting parental controls, sound and video options and a third is for nongame media. The fourth tab manages games and is also where you can play and buy Xbox Live Arcade games, which tend to be casual games like “Bejeweled” or retro hits like “Joust.” (A no-frills “silver” service is free, while “gold” memberships cost $69.99 for 12 months, $39.99 for three months). Transferring my old Xbox Live account to the 360 was simple but disconcerting. For security reasons, Microsoft barred me from using the online service on my old Xbox after had I upgraded. The media tab offers the most tantalizing peek at how the 360 goes beyond video games. After downloading and installing a special software patch on my home computer, I was able to wirelessly access MP3 music files on my PC and play them on the 360. I couldn’t stream the hundreds of AAC-encoded songs I’ve downloaded from Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes service, though. I pulled up some vacation photos in much the same way. The device also supports movies if you have a computer with the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system (I don’t). You could even rip music CDs directly onto the 360, but with only 20 gigabytes of storage (nearly half of that already consumed with pre-loaded demos, film clips and other freebies) you’ll probably run out of space fast. Though it’s more than double the price of older consoles, there’s a lot of value in the Xbox 360. In fact, it reminds me more of a PC than a video-game console, just a whole lot cheaper. Case in point: I recently spent $350 just for a video card for my PC. Think about it: For $50 more, I could have bought an entire game system that’s nearly as powerful. Microsoft has done more than beat rivals to market with a powerful, flexible video-game machine. With Xbox 360, the company that helped turn personal computers into household devices has created a machine that may someday replace them. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Not only do you lose out on the disk storage, but you get a controller that’s tethered to the system. There’s no remote, headset or other accessories that would easily top $100 if purchased separately. Regardless, you’ll have to buy the games separately – neither system includes any beyond a few demos and the simple board and puzzle games you can download via a robust, much-improved Xbox Live multiplayer gaming network. For a system that so seamlessly melds the worlds of online and offline gaming, Wi-Fi should have been included. Instead, it’s an extra accessory. The 360 is a pleasing visual contrast to its decidedly garish, hulking predecessor. Instead of a black behemoth with lime-green accents, the 360 is a slim off-white color and can either stand on its side like a personal computer tower or be stacked horizontally with the rest of your audio-visual gear. last_img read more