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First Epidemic change America


Americans never saw it coming. Hardly anyone in Philadelphia, the nation’s temporary capital, noticed the first to die in the summer of 1793, a few weeks after the celebration of Independence Day: a few foreigners, an oyster seller in the waterfront slums. When more poor began to die, respectable people shrugged it off as a passing “putrid fever” brought on by rotted fish or perishables heaped on the docks. Then the young, healthy wife of a Baptist minister died, then at an ever-accelerating pace businessmen, ministers, magistrates, law officers, federal officials, men and women, the old and the young, masters and servants, the pious and the dissolute alike. It quickly became clear that no one was safe.

The plague that was sweeping through the city was yellow fever, one of the deadliest and least-understood contagions of the time. It was the nation’s first epidemic and it threatened not only to destroy what was then its largest city, home to some 40,000 people, but also its fragile new government, which had formed barely four years earlier. It was a terrifying warning that life as Americans knew it could be snuffed out overnight by a phenomenon that no one could control.


Businesses collapsed. Schools and newspapers closed. The post office shut. For weeks, not a single ship dared to enter Philadelphia’s harbor. Each morning yielded a new crop of corpses. They lay putrefying where they fell in homes and streets. Frightened neighbors nailed shut the doors and windows of their infected neighbors’ homes, leaving them to die. The most basic bonds of civility and the most intimate family ties frayed and snapped. Doctors, fearing for their own lives, abandoned the ill. The poorhouse turned away the needy. Parents abandoned their infected children, and children their parents, husbands their wives, and wives their husbands. An estimated 20,000 people fled, or tried to. Terrified refugees seeking hoped-for safety in rural New Jersey or further afield were driven from town to town, many of them to die alone by the roadside.

For nearly two months, the United States had no government. George Washington, a vulnerable sixty years old, was convinced to escape to the safety of Mount Vernon. He handed over management of the government to Secretary of War Henry Knox, who panicked and fled north in hope of reaching New York, but then was stuck for weeks in forced quarantine at Elizabeth, New Jersey. Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton caught the fever and almost died, while every member of his staff left town.

Some claimed the city’s suffering was God’s just punishment for Philadelphians’ sinful pride. Others swore that tobacco smoke, or camphor slung around the neck, or clouds of gunpowder would stem infection; for a time, soldiers rolled cannon around the streets, firing every few yards. Benjamin Rush, the city’s most celebrated physician, preached a horrific regimen of relentless purges and bloodletting, asserting that while effete Europeans probably couldn’t endure such a treatment it was perfectly suited to hearty, republican Americans. He bled one man twenty-two times and drained him of 176 ounces of blood. He probably killed more patients than he saved.


When the city’s fate seemed most hopeless, its least respected citizens stepped forward to do what no one else would. It was at first believed – erroneously, as would soon be seen — that Africans were far less susceptible to infection. Although slavery would soon end in Pennsylvania, it was still legal under certain conditions and racism was widespread. Black people were mostly restricted to the lowliest jobs. Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and an early abolitionist, begged the leaders of the city’s 2,000 free Black people for help. Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, the founders of the first AME churches, agreed. If their followers acted now as a people, they reasoned, then possibly whites would abandon their prejudices and embrace them as brothers. “Much depends upon us for the help of our color more than many are aware,” they wrote. “We intreat you to consider the obligations we lay under to help forward the cause of freedom.” Even as Black people died at the same rate as white people, volunteers – including both Jones and Allen — remained at work tending the sick, feeding the abandoned, preparing medicines, collecting bodies, supplying coffins, and carting the dead to graveyards with at least a modicum of respect. They could not stop the epidemic, but they restored a fragile sense of human dignity to a despairing city that had sunk close to barbarism.

Woodcut print depicts yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia, 1793. Carriages rumbled through the streets to pick up the dying and the dead. Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

In November, with the onset of cold weather, the number of infections mercifully tapered off. By then the epidemic had killed at least 5,000 people, about 12 percent of the city’s population, and many more in surrounding areas. Unknown numbers were sickened but survived. Commerce slowly revived. Members of the government trickled back. But Philadelphia would never be quite the same. Its reputation as a safe and healthy place to live was irreparably damaged for years to come. Before the epidemic, Pennsylvanians had confidently believed that they would win back the designation of the country’s permanent capital from the upstart site on the Potomac River, which they typically disparaged as a malarial swamp. Such voices were now stilled forever.


A more significant impact of the epidemic was its effect on both Black and white Philadelphians’ attitude toward race. Once-docile Black people saw white people stripped of their aura of invulnerability as their manifest fear and selfishness demolished trust in their authority. “Many of the white people that ought to be patterns for us to follow after have acted in a manner that would make humanity shudder,” wrote Jones and Allen. In the furnace of the epidemic, the Black community had forged a new self-confidence as a community along with a determination to fight lingering bigotry with the power of faith and compassion. White support for antislavery grew. By the early 1800s, it became virtually impossible to enforce the Fugitive Slave Law in Pennsylvania, thereby laying the foundation for the Underground Railroad and for lasting collaboration in biracial antislavery activity.

It would be another century before scientific researchers discovered that the carriers of yellow fever were mosquitos, which had bred in the cesspits of Philadelphia. Although other cities escaped Philadelphia’s grim fate in 1793, thanks to the harsh quarantines imposed by other states, the fever would return periodically throughout the decade, leaving few places on the East Coast completely untouched.

Over time, memory of Philadelphia’s trauma faded beneath the impact of later epidemics such as the cholera scares of the mid-nineteenth century and the Spanish flu of 1918. But it still offers some lessons as the nation, and the world, wrestle with the continued onslaught of the coronavirus. Fortunately, in the midst of this new pandemic, as we guardedly celebrate another Independence Day, we have medical resources that the Americans of 1793 couldn’t imagine, and we understand the nature of infection even if we still can’t fully control it. However, like our forbears, Americans are today painfully learning that the failure to anticipate an epidemic after the first warning signs can be fatal. It also showed just how thin, in a time of crisis, the line between stability and political, moral, and economic collapse may be. As the Black citizens of Philadelphia demonstrated, however, compassion and self-sacrifice have the power to restore civilization and human dignity even in the midst of the cruelest catastrophe.



Where is Lassa Fever? – By Olamide Noble | Historic


The illness was discovered in 1969 and is named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases occurred. An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 infections of Lassa fever occur annually, with approximately 5,000 deaths. Surveillance for Lassa fever is not standardized; therefore, these estimates are crude.


Lassa fever (LF) is an acute and sometimes severe viral hemorrhagic illness endemic in West Africa. The disease was first recognized in Nigeria in 1969. Humans contract Lassa virus (LASV) primarily through contact with contaminated excreta of the rodent Mastomys natalensis, which is the natural reservoir.

Who Discovered Lassa Fever?

Lassa fever was first described in the 1950s, and the viral particle was identified in 1969 from three missionary nurses who died in Lassa, Nigeria, after caring for an infected obstetrical patient.

Where Was Lassa Fever First Discovered In Nigeria?

Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that occurs in West Africa. The illness was discovered in 1969 when two missionary nurses died in Lassa Village in Borno State. The cause of the illness was found to be Lassa virus, named after the town in Nigeria where the first cases originated.

Where Did Lassa Fever Originates From?

Descriptions of the disease date from the 1950s. The virus was first described in 1969 from a case in the town of Lassa, in Borno State, Nigeria. Lassa fever is relatively common in West Africa including the countries of Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Ghana.

How Did Lassa Fever Spread?

The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans mainly through handling rats, food or house- hold items contaminated by rats’ urine and faeces. The virus can spread between people through direct contact with the body fluids of a person infected with Lassa fever, as well as contaminated bedding and clothing.

Symptoms of Lassa Fever

Symptoms: Fever, headaches, bleeding

Other names: Lassa hemorrhagic fever

Deaths: 5,000 deaths per year

as written by: Adigun Michael Olamide ‘Olamide Noble’

source(s): Google



Anambra in confusion over unknown diseases attack | Details.

Some Nigerians have taken to social media to report alleged strange diseases experienced by some residents of Onitsha, Anambra state.

Strange diseases reported in Onitsha, Anambra
According to the reports, sufferers are allegedly losing their senses of taste and smell, and many of them are reportedly treating malaria.

Taking to Twitter, a lady identified as Unachukwu wrote that people should reach out to their loved ones as the alleged strange disease has been confirmed by many residents of the city


She wrote:

Hearing this news on how a lot of people in Onitsha are sick and losing their sense of smell and taste too. A few friends have confirmed it to be true, please reach out to your family and friends.

Creamy_Jaunty (Anaeriaku 1 of Ihiala)
Hearing this news on how a lot of people in Onitsha are sick and losing their sense of smell and taste too.
A few friends have confirmed it to be true, please reach out to your family and friends.


@OluchukwuBelon1 wrote:
Not only in Onitsha, in Lagos state, some many people are treating either malaria or typhoid and this baffles me because they are too much of them now than before.

no big deal, seen a lot of people in Aba with the same symptoms, treatment is basic malaria drugs and vitamin C supplements, or if you are traditional, boil a mixture of neem, lime, grape in water and drink 2 cups everyday( 1morning and 1night) for 3 days. Not a medical advice.


@onyeka01 wrote:

Everybody is onitsha is sick, malaria drugs has increased in the local market . We are all taking injections


I live and work in Fegge. I can confirm that this is true but more true is that they’re recovering. Speculations say it is a result of the fumigation that was carried out in the markets.



COVID-19: Slovenia declares end of epidemic.

Slovenian government has declared the end of coronavirus epidemic, becoming the first country in Europe to do so after authorities confirmed less than seven new coronavirus cases each day for the past two weeks.

People now arriving in Slovenia from other European Union states will no longer be obliged to go into quarantine for at least seven days as was the case from early April, the government said in a statement, but a quarantine of at least 14 days will remain in place for people from non-EU states, except for some exemptions including diplomats and people transporting cargo.

As for foreign citizens who show signs of coronavirus infection, they will not be allowed to enter the country.


Citizens will still have to follow basic rules to prevent a possible spread of infection, the government said without elaborating.

They are also required to wear masks in indoor public spaces, stand at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) apart, and disinfect hands upon entering public spaces.

“Slovenia has tamed the epidemic over the past two months… Today Slovenia has the best epidemiological picture in Europe,” Prime Minister Janez Jansa told parliament in a remote session late Thursday.


According to the prime minister, the end of epidemic means some measures, including financial aid to citizens and firms hit by the coronavirus, will expire at the end of May.

The country of two million people, which borders Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia, has so far reported 1,464 coronavirus cases and 103 deaths. with 267 recoveries.



COVID-19: 5 patients discharged in Lagos. [Nigeria]

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday announced the recovery and discharge of five COVID-19 patients.

Sanwo-Olu said in an email statement”4 females, and 1 male have been discharged to reunite with their families and the society.”

“With the newly discharged patients, we now have a total of 55 people that have been successfully managed for #COVID-19 at our isolation facilities and discharged to the community,” Sanwo-Olu added.


2 epidemics attacking Nigeria.

What should a country that is caught between two tribulations do? Should it stick to the one that it is familiar with or should it engage the one it has never tried? Nigeria is caught between two debilitating disease epidemics – Lassa fever and coronavirus disease 2019 a.k.a COVID-19.

To millions of Nigerians, Lassa fever is a “home disease”.The COVID-19 – a deadly viral disease that has sickened more than one million worldwide and killed more than 50,000, is the newcomer.

Unarguably, Africa’s most populous nation has had its fair share of disease outbreaks, including the debilitating 2014 West African Ebola Virus Disease. In January 2020, several weeks after the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Hubei province of the Chinese city of Wuhan, the World Health Organisation, WHO, declared the outbreak a Public Health Event of International Concern, PHEIC.

Nigeria, on the other hand, has been struggling with Lassa fever for more than five decades. but has not declared the disease a public health event of national emergency and concern.

The detection of the COVID-19 index case in Lagos late in February 2020, was not the first time that Nigeria would be confronted by a viral disease outbreak of pandemic proportions threatening fragile health systems in the country as the infection increasingly spreads.

The country did not immediately swing into necessary action when it ought to have done so but it later did.

The nation is now almost completely on total lockdown.In the last two months, Nigeria has seen a gradual daily increase in COVID-19 confirmed cases and it has matched the development almost stride for stride.

The dedication and commitment with which the national response has been implemented leaves health watchers wondering why the same could not have been extended to the age-long Lassa fever malady.

As at 11:00 am on 3rd April there were 190 confirmed cases reported with 20 discharged and two deaths.

As at 11 am yesterday, the numbers were: Lagos- 98; FCT- 38; Osun- 20; Oyo- 8; Akwa Ibom- 5; Ogun- 4; Edo- 4; Kaduna- 4; Bauchi- 3; Enugu- 2; Ekiti- 2; Rivers-1 and Benue- 1.

The disease has invaded the country’s highest level of governance and also infiltrated its social strata to the extent of threatening national security.

But even as COVID-19 saga takes firm foothold in after wreaking havoc on over 200 countries this is not the only viral outbreak Nigerians have encountered in recent times although it is most frightening especially going by the number of lives it has ravaged globally.

To say Nigeria is currently dealing with the world’s largest Lassa fever epidemic would not be exaggeration.

In several respects, Lassa fever – an acute, annual, viral haemorrhagic fever – for now has caused Nigeria more havoc than COVID-19.

Prior to the debut of COVID-19, outbreaks of Lassa in Nigeria had already killed more than 100 people within the first few weeks of the year.

That number is higher than the number of reported cases of COVID-19 as at last week.

The Lassa fever outbreak in Nigeria is permanently active and outbreak is an annual ritual that has killed more than 1, 150 people since it was first diagnosed five decades ago.

The number of cases usually climbs around the start of the year linked to the dry season.

For several decades, Nigeria has been under pressure to declare a national health emergency as it struggles to contain annual episodes of Lassa fever outbreaks.

Since Lassa fever was first reported in Nigeria in January 1969, an estimated 20,000 suspected cases have been reported with more than 1,200 deaths.

Between 1969 and 2007, the disease was reported in only Borno and Plateau states, but from 2008 to 2012, it spread to eight other states.

From 2013 to date, at least 28 states have reported the disease annually. Over the 50-year period of Nigeria reporting 20,000 suspected cases, 11,195 were reported between 2016 and January 2020, while 632 of the total deaths were reported during the same period.

Laboratory confirmation of suspected cases has been of great concern. Of the 3,498 suspected cases in, 2018, only 633 were confirmed positive, while in 2019, only 833 of the 5,057 suspected were confirmed. Over the past five decades.

While a drug exists for treatment of Lassa fever, there is no approved drug or vaccine for COVID-19.

Problems of inefficient laboratory diagnoses and late hospital admission of patients, combine to make treatment of Lassa Fever patients cumbersome.

Of concern during Lassa fever outbreaks in Nigeria is the high proportion of deaths.

In the view of the Director General of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ikheweazu, there would always be cases of Lassa fever until “we are able to prevent it’’.

Over the years, the Federal Ministry of Health assured of high level of alert to eliminate the disease. But it has largely remained unfulfilled as Lassa fever remains endemic in Nigeria.

Resources are only just becoming available for setting up special facilities, enhancing the surveillance mechanism, and boosting adequate human resource to address the challenge.

As declared by the Nigeria Academy of Science, the Federal Government should declare Lassa Fever disease a public health event of national concernü attaining an emergency status.

COVID-19 is a completely different matter.

Before the discovery of the index case in February 2020, Nigeria swung into action strengthening surveillance at the country’s five international airports in Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Enugu and the FCT.

A Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, was set upThe NCDC had set up the Coronavirus Group to mitigate the impact of the virus even as the World Health Organization listed Nigeria among 13 African countries at high-risk for the spread of the virus.

The Presidential Task Force announced a ban on travelers from 13 countries with over 1,000 cases domestically before it finally shut the airspace for all foreign flights.

All travelers returning from the affected countries prior to the restriction were to be on supervised self-isolation just as the Federal government announced the closure of international airports in Enugu, Port Harcourt and Kano.

Soon after, the COVID-19 Regulations, 2020 was signed into law by the President, just as the lockdown on Lagos, the FCT and Ogun state kicked off.

As the coronavirus outbreak spreads across the nation, various terminologies entered the Nigerian vocabulary courtesy of public health officials.

They include: practice social distancing; work from home; stay at home; avoid public transportation and crowds; keep space between yourself and others and, where necessary, self-isolate.

These are good measures to curtail the spread of the disease. But which are the measures to contain Lassa fever that has killed more Nigerians? The country is under attack by two epidemics.

Health officials maintain that the two should be equally attacked by the authorities


Lassa Fever: 185 killed in 951 cases confirmed by NCDC (Nigeria)

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has revealed that a total of 185 people have died of Lassa fever with 951 cases confirmed in the country since the beginning of the year 2020.

It made this known in its latest situation report on the disease for week 13 posted on its Twitter handle on Thursday.

It noted that the number of new cases confirmed decreased from 28 cases in week 12 to 19 cases in the reporting week.

According to the agency, the new cases were reported in eight states of Edo, Ondo, Ebonyi, Bauchi, Taraba, Plateau, Kogi, and Delta.

It added that one new death from Lassa fever was reported in week 13 while the predominant age-group affected was 21-30 years.

Lassa fever, a viral haemorrhagic fever, is endemic in some parts of West Africa and is usually passed on through food contaminated with infected rat urine or faeces.

In 80 per cent of cases, the fever is asymptomatic but for some, the symptoms include high fever, headache, mouth ulcers, muscle aches, haemorrhaging under the skin and heart and kidney failure.

It has an incubation period of between six and 21 days and can be transmitted through contact with an infected person via bodily fluids and excretion.


COVID-19: Nigeria will go into recession if epidemic continues for 6 months – Finance Minister.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Zaina Ahmed, has said the country will go into recession if the Coronavirus pandemic persists longer than six months.

She made this known on Friday March 27. NobleReporters learnt.

“We are hopeful that this pandemic will be limited in time. If it is an average of three months, we should be able to close the year with positive growth. But if it goes longer than that – six months, one year – we will go into recession.” she said


COVID-19: 8-months-old baby in Uganda test positive.

Uganda has confirmed five new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 14.

Minister of State for Primary Health Care Joyce Moriku Kaducu said Wednesday that two of the new cases are Chinese nationals while the others are Ugandans.

Officials said one of the patients is an eight-month-old baby in Eastern Uganda, whose father travelled from Kenya recently.

Uganda reported its first case of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) early this week.

On Saturday, President Yoweri Museveni announced that Uganda was closing all its border points to prevent people from crossing into the country in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

“Humans crossing into Uganda from the different border points are prohibited going forward. This is until we find coordination at the East African level. Please stay where you are. We are not against anyone but this is about manageability,” President Museveni said on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Mr Museveni said he is still assessing whether to ban public transport as part of his government’s efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“Now, the only remaining thing is public transport. That’s what I’m still struggling with in my head. If you don’t have your private means of transport, don’t use public transport. Stay at home.

“Where are you going? I’m thinking of having temperature monitors at disembarkation and embarkation points of these public means of transport. I don’t want to ban them but I’m trying to discourage you (citizens) from using them,” Mr Museveni said while addressing the nation after Uganda’s first confirmed case of Covid-19.

“Before I came here, I saw a young man called Obuku who used to make a lot of noise speaking nonsense, but this time he spoke some sense. I heard him telling people to stay home. So coronavirus shouldn’t be underestimated because it’s making some people speak sense.”


COVID-19: Pandemic not death sentence – Femi Adesina says.

Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity has said that the novel coronavirus disease is not a death sentence.

He spoke while assuring Nigerians on Wednesday that coronavirus-infected persons would receive adequate medical attention.

The presidential aide, who cited the recovery of the index case to buttress his point, emphasised that anybody that tested positive should not panic as the virus was curable.

“We also will pray along with the persons, give them our goodwill and best wishes and they will surely come out of it. Even the index case of the coronavirus disease in Nigeria recovered and has been discharged.

“God that has shown us mercy thus far will continue to show that mercy. Anybody that test positive is not a death sentence, they will be attended to, they will be tested and they will be fine,” he said.