October 3rd, 2014
09:46 AM ET

Widow of Ebola Victim: 'Ebola is Everyone's Problem'

The battle against Ebola hit home for one American woman in Minnesota when her husband became the first American victim of the disease.

Patrick Sawyer was diagnosed with Ebola after traveling to Nigeria from Liberia for a business conference. He died just days later, leaving behind Kofa and their three children.

Founder and Executive Director of the Kofa Foundation, and the widow of the late Patrick Sawyer, Decontee Kofa has now made it her mission to help survivors and family members of those battling infections disease because she believes that “Ebola is everyone’s problem. It's all of our problems.’

She feels that emergence of an Ebola patient in Dallas, Texas, has made that more apparent.

“The thing is that this is a wake-up call that Ebola can come here at any time,” she tells CNN's Michaela Pereira.

But Kofa urges calm that there is still no reason to panic here because the health care system in the United States is better equipped to handle it than that in West Africa.

She also mentions the fear of catching it in America is especially being directed at the Liberian American community and cautions against that.

The Liberian American community is afraid of being stigmatized, she said. “They don't want to be ostracized because they're Liberians.”

Sympathizing with the family of the patient being quarantined in Dallas, Kofa shared a message on “New Day” saying, “You’re not alone ... Stay calm.  Listen to the instructions. Don't leave your home. We're praying with you. And we hope that all is well.”


RELATED: Ebola patient's home not sanitized

RELATED: Ebola fears hit close to home

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August 31st, 2014
08:40 AM ET

Concerns Grow About Joan Rivers' Health

Joan Rivers was 81 when she went into cardiac arrest during surgery. Although extremely young at heart, her age undoubtedly was a factor in this procedure

Christi and Victor spoke with Dr. Dave Montgomery, a cardiologist at Piedmont Heart Institute who has performed the very same procedure many times.

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WHO: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa an International Health Emergency
August 8th, 2014
05:54 AM ET

WHO: Ebola Outbreak in West Africa an International Health Emergency

Global health experts Friday declared the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa an international health emergency that requires a coordinated global approach.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are battling the Ebola virus, which has killed 932 people in those countries. The epidemic has also spread to Nigeria.

"The possible consequences of further international spread are particularly serious in view of the virulence of the virus, the intensive community and health facility transmission patterns, and the weak health systems in the currently affected and most at-risk countries," the World health Organization said Friday, after two days of emergency meetings.

The United Nations health agency described it as the worst outbreak in the four-decade history of tracking the disease.

"A coordinated international response is deemed essential to stop and reverse the international spread of Ebola," WHO said.

A WHO official said bogus information is adding to the rapid spread of the disease.

"Perhaps one of the most important factors contributing to this is fear and misinformation," said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the assistant director for health security.

"This is critical to understand, because what it is doing is that it helps foster suspicion and anxiety in communities, and when that happens we see a situation where people are reluctant to go to health facilities or maybe reluctant to bring their family members there. And it underscores the importance of communities being aware and understanding but we also see that fear impacts other countries."

See the latest on "New Day" at 6am ET.


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July 15th, 2014
10:51 AM ET

9-Year-Old Girl Dies From Brain-Eating Amoeba in Water

A brain-eating amoeba that lurks in fresh water has prompted warnings from Kansas officials after it killed a 9-year-old girl.

Hally Yust was an avid water skier and spent the past few weeks swimming in several bodies of fresh water. She died last week fromNaegleria fowleri, a brain-eating parasite that lives in warm, standing water.

At Hally's funeral Monday, her family wore matching T-shirts with the logo of her water-skiing club, CNN affiliate WDAF said. Relatives honored the young athlete by announcing the Hally Yust Women's Basketball Scholarship at Kansas State University.

"Our precious daughter, Hally, loved life and part of her great joy was spending time playing in the water," her family said in a statement.

"Her life was taken by a rare amoeba organism that grows in many different fresh water settings. We want you to know this tragic event is very, very rare, and this is not something to become fearful about."


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