The Ebola outbreak in Western Africa has now claimed more than 1,000 lives. Here, Dr. Michael Misialek, associate chair of pathology at Newton-Wellesley Hospital and assistant clinical professor of anatomic and clinical pathology at Tufts University School of Medicine, shares what he’s hearing from his Nigerian pathology colleagues.
By Dr. Michael Misialek
As I sat in the meeting on Monday, helping plan our hospital’s response to a hypothetical suspected Ebola case, it seemed surreal.
Just a few days previously, I bet most Americans would have had trouble finding Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea on a map, and Ebola was most certainly not a household name. What a difference a few days can make.
Could Ebola come to Boston? It could, theoretically. Many other local hospitals are having similar meetings to plan for that contingency. The World Health Organization recently stated that the Ebola outbreak is moving faster than it can control, and thus labeled it an international health emergency. The countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been hardest hit. Nigeria recently reported two deaths with 10 confirmed cases.
Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, is understandably worried. To find out how it is preparing itself and use some of that knowledge for our own preparations, I recently spoke with two colleagues there: Dr. Yawale Iliyasu, an attending pathologist at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria, and president of the West African Division of the International Academy of Pathologists; and Dr. J.O. Ogunbiyi, a pathologist at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, Nigeria, and former president of the same division.
As pathologists trained in the study of disease, we may often be the first to recognize and report on new and emerging illnesses. Continue reading