A two-year old boy from Guinea who died in December is suspected to be patient zero in the current outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa, which has killed over 960 people. Scientists are meanwhile hoping that the first vaccine against the deadly disease will be ready by 2015.
The boy, who wasn't named, apparently fell ill in a village in Guéckédou in southeastern Guinea, which is in the intersection with Sierra Leone and Liberia, giving the disease an entry point in all three countries. The New York Times reported that the boy died on Dec. 6, and a week later Ebola killed the boy's mother, his 3-year-old sister, and his grandmother. The family displayed symptoms of the virus, including fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but did not identify Ebola as the reason.
Two mourners at the grandmother's funeral reportedly carried the virus home to their village, while a health worker there carried it to yet another village. By March, when the Ebola outbreak was recognized by the World Health Organization, dozens of people had died in eight Guinean communities, and suspected cases were being announced in Liberia and Sierra Leone. more >>
The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution calling on the Democratic Republic of Congo not to block any longer the 1,000 Congolese children who have been adopted, or are in the process of being adopted, from uniting with their adoptive families in the United States. The Congolese government stopped processing adoption cases last September.
Sens. Mary L. Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, and Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, announced the passage of their resolution this week, days before the three-day U.S.-African Summit in Washington, which begins Monday.
Nearly 50 African heads of state and government, including DRC President Joseph Kabila, will gather for the unprecedented meeting. more >>
A court in Uganda on Friday declared an anti-gay bill "null and void." Pastor Rick Warren of California's Saddleback Church and several human rights groups had condemned the bill as draconian. Supporters of the law blamed the ruling on pressure from U.S. President Barack Obama.
A panel of five judges at Uganda's Constitutional Court invalidated the bill on Friday, saying the parliamentary at the time of its passing lacked a quorum, according to The Associated Press.
The measure passed the parliament in December after a death penalty clause was dropped, but it criminalized the promotion of homosexuality and required citizens to denounce to the police anyone suspected of being gay. It was signed into law earlier this year. more >>
Two young brothers, Wisdom Clement, 2, and Prayer Clement, 9 months, died in Nigeria last Friday after their mother allegedly gave them holy water she purchased from a local pastor for their healing.
Now the mother, Ese Oghenevwe, 25, and the pastor, Austin Eduviere of Triumphant World International Church in Abraka, have been arrested for the death of the boys according to a Vanguard report.
Local police in Abraka said they received a report at about 4:00 a.m. on July 25 that Oghenevwe had killed her sons after giving them a liquid to drink. more >>
Two American missionaries who have been working to fight the deadliest outbreak of Ebola virus in history, continue fighting for their lives after contracting the disease. Major airlines are meanwhile banning flights into West Africa as the outbreak spreads.
Charlotte-based missionary group SIM USA, which is assisting efforts at a Liberia treatment center alongside Samaritan's Purse, said that both Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are in stable condition, but are suffering from some symptoms of the virus and face critical days ahead.
"The next few days are critical in assessing the recovery of these Ebola crisis responders," Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA, said on Tuesday. "SIM and Samaritan's Purse invite people to pray for the full restoration of our two workers and for the stemming of the spread of this virus across Liberia and other nations of West Africa." more >>
At least five people were killed and eight others injured in a bomb attack on a Catholic church in Nigeria's northern city of Kano on Sunday. The bombing was blamed on the Islamist terror group Boko Haram.
The Saint Charles Catholic church, which is situated in Kano's Sabon Gari (foreign quarter) area, a mainly Christian area, was attacked shortly after the end of Sunday mass, police spokesman Frank Mba told Agence France Presse.
"We suspect an IED (improvised explosive device) that was thrown from across the road," the spokesman said. more >>