Now Playing Tracks

The West Africa Ebola Virus Outbreak Claims An American Victim: Ebola victim planned to fly to Minnesota in August, wife says


A former Minnesota resident infected with the Ebola virus who traveled from Liberia to Nigeria before he died from the disease had planned to visit family back in the United States next month.

Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old father of three, sparked a global health scare when it was discovered that he had transported the virus across borders in Africa, and news of his plans to travel back to the Minnesota town where his wife and children still live ratcheted up fears that the virus could spread to North America.

"Patrick could’ve easily come home with Ebola," Decontee Sawyer, his wife, told KSTP-TV. She lives in Coon Rapids, Minn., with the couple’s three daughters. “Easy. Easy. It’s close; it’s at our front door. It knocked down my front door.”

Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian national who moved from Minnesota to Liberia to work for the country’s ministry of finance, collapsed in an airport in Lagos last week after showing symptoms of the disease. He died Friday in what health officials determined to be the first probable case of the Ebola virus in Nigeria.

Sawyer’s death has rocked the West African community in Minnesota,home to the largest Liberian immigrant population in the United States.

"Everyone knows Patrick," Decontee Sawyer told KARE-TV. “It’s hit everyone’s front door, and they feel like they’ve lost a best friend and brother, and they are awake now.”

Decontee said Patrick had been caring for his sister, who had fallen ill with what later turned out to be Ebola.

There have been 1,201 reported cases and 672 deaths from the virus in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since the recent Ebola outbreak began in March, according to the World Health Organization.

View gallery


According to Decontee Sawyer, her husband was scheduled to travel to Minnesota in mid-August for two of his daughters’ birthdays.

Minnesota health officials met with community members Monday. Coon Rapids is home to a large West African community, and officials have warned residents to be on extra alert since Sawyer’s death. A memorial service for Sawyer is scheduled on Sept. 14 in Coon Rapids.

"This can’t happen anymore," Decontee Sawyer told KSTP-TV. "I don’t want any more families going through what I’m going through. So I pray, and then I’m ready to fight."

The 34-year-old widow says she is working to raise awareness about the dangers of an Ebola outbreak in the United States.

"Patrick was coming here. What if he still wasn’t displaying symptoms yet and came?" Sawyer told the Pioneer Press. “He could have brought Ebola here. Someone else could bring Ebola here.

"I don’t want all of this to be for nothing," she said. "I have three girls who will never get to know their father."


Animations of Saturn’s aurorae

Earth isn’t the only planet in the solar system with spectacular light shows. Both Jupiter and Saturn have magnetic fields much stronger than Earth’s. Auroras also have been observed on the surfaces of Venus, Mars and even on moons (e.g. Io, Europa, and Ganymede). The auroras on Saturn are created when solar wind particles are channeled into the planet’s magnetic field toward its poles, where they interact with electrically charged gas (plasma) in the upper atmosphere and emit light. Aurora features on Saturn can also be caused by electromagnetic waves generated when its moons move through the plasma that fills the planet’s magnetosphere.  The main source is the small moon Enceladus, which ejects water vapor from the geysers on its south pole, a portion of which is ionized. The interaction between Saturn’s magnetosphere and the solar wind generates bright oval aurorae around the planet’s poles observed in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. The aurorae of Saturn are highly variable. Their location and brightness strongly depends on the Solar wind pressure: the aurorae become brighter and move closer to the poles when the Solar wind pressure increases.

Credit: ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser & L. Calçada)

Despite the state’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law, Alexander is facing 60 years in prison for having fired a warning shot in 2012 to stop her abusive ex-husband from attacking her. The bullet fired by Alexander, a Black working-class mother, hit no one and caused no injury. Nonetheless, she was arrested, jailed and convicted — until a mass movement forced her conviction to be thrown out in late 2013. The state’s prosecutor, Angela Corey, decided to retry the case and has repeatedly slandered Alexander to the mass media and even in the state’s legislature. While the state’s persecution of Alexander continues, the movement to win her freedom has not gone away.
'Free Marissa Alexander’ march shakes Jacksonville (via aboriginalnewswire)
To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union