Ebola

Ebola466 posts

Ebola is a disease caused by an ebolavirus. Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus, with a fever, sore throat, muscle pain and headaches. Vomiting, diarrhea and rash follow, along with decreased function of the liver and kidneys. Victims bleed both within the body and externally. From 1976 through 2013, the World Health Organization reported a total of 1,716 cases. In 2013 an outbreak started in Guinea, spreading to neighboring African countries and infectied doctors, some of who were transported back to the US for treatment. The virus continues to claim victims as it spreads to more countries.

3 Nov, 2014

London patient negative

A woman with a haemorrhagic fever at St. George’s hospital in Tooting has tested negative for the virus. She had travel connections with west Africa and was isolated away from the A&E while samples were tested at the Government laboratory at Porton Down in Wiltshire. Spokesman:

The outcome of the Ebola test result is negative. We can confirm that the patient will remain at St George’s Hospital. All appropriate actions have been taken by our staff to protect the public and the patient

2 Nov, 2014

Exponential phase may be over

WHO officials tell BBC Health that they are relatively optimistic new cases may level off to around 1,000 a week, indicating the exponential growth phase may be over. WHO official:

Things clearly have changed with respect to the trajectory of the epidemic. What we’ve seen is, very clearly, a slowing down in the some of the affected areas in the three countries.

UN worker treated in France

France is treating a UN employee who contracted the virus in Sierra Leone. Health ministry statement:

This person, who worked in Sierra Leone in the fight against Ebola, has undergone a secure medical evacuation by specialised aircraft

The person is in isolation under high security in an army training hospital in Saint-Mande near Paris.

Indonesian worker hospitalized

A domestic worker in Indonesia, the world’s fourth-biggest country by population, is hospitalized after returning from Liberia. The unidentified worker is placed under a 21-day quarantine at the Madiun hospital in East Java province, on the archipelago country’s main Java island. The worker’s name isn’t released yet. Around 6.5 million Indonesians work in domestic service in other countries, mostly in Asia. This is the first suspected case in the country, which has strong economic growth but a relatively underdeveloped medical system.

Indonesian patient improves

The 46-year-old domestic worker, identified as GN, is still in isolation but is improving. He is one of 28 domestic workers who returned from Liberia Oct. 26. A blood sample has been sent to the health ministry for testing. Health ministry:

On Saturday morning, the patient’s body temperature was 37.3 degrees Celsius and he reported to be no longer suffering swallowing pain. His condition is improving

1 Nov, 2014

Canada suspends visas

Canada becomes the second developed nation after Australia to close off immigration channels to people from the three Ebola-affected west African countries. Work on permanent-resident applications is also suspended. An immigration ministry spokesman says the measures are different from Australia’s.

We have instituted a pause, but there is room for discretion if we can be assured that someone is not infected with Ebola.

Africa tourism falls

Tourism operators in Africa’s east, north, and south are reporting big drops in business due to the virus. Hotels in Tanzania have reported a 30% drop in business and 2015 bookings are down 50%, while a South African tourism industry council says 55% of tourism-dependent businesses have suffered a negative impact. Cook Travel in north Africa says tourists have canceled trips to Egypt and Morocco, and Morocco has asked to put off the African Cup of Nations soccer tournament it is scheduled to host in early 2015. A World Bank report says sub-Saharan Africa had a record 33.8 million tourists in 2012. The World Tourism Organization says Africa tourism rose 6% last year and was expected to increase 4%-6% this year, but that’s now unlikely to happen. One extended family from Long Island paid a $20,500 fee to reschedule a $197,000 safari holiday from July 2015 until 2016. Employee at Cook Travel in New York:

People are being a little bit unreasonable—they’re treating Ebola like the modern version of the plague

Condition upgraded

Officials say Spencer’s condition has been upgraded from “serious but stable” to “stable”. Authorities have said Spencer was awake, communicating and undergoing plasma and antiviral therapies, treatments that have been used to treat Ebola patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and at the Nebraska Medical Center.

Report: Worst case scenario 130 U.S. infections

Medical researchers provide Associated Press with a range of predictions for the eventual number of U.S. cases, ranging from one or two additional infections by end-2014, to as many as 130 cases. Stanford University infections disease professor:

I don’t think there’s going to be a huge outbreak here, no. However, as best we can tell right now, it is quite possible that every major city will see at least a handful of cases.

31 Oct, 2014

Roommate in Africa had virus

A document released by the state of Maine indicates Hickox’s roommate had Ebola:

The respondent’s roommate in Africa became infected without knowing how she became infected with Ebola. (Any potential risk to respondent from that incident has passed)

Funds vaccine to counter airborne exposure

The Pentagon provides a $9.5 million funding grant to the Profectus BioSciences to manufacture trivalent VesiculoVax™-vectored vaccine. Statement:

The lyophilized trivalent vaccine is being tested in both pre-exposure and post-exposure studies to confirm protection of non-human primates from aerosol exposure to Ebola and Marburg viruses.

Quarantine rule ‘absolutely ridiculous’

Somerset County volunteer Steve Butwell, who is planning to return to Liberia to resume running the medical clinic he and his founded in the remote Po River area, says the New Jersey quarantine rule that Hickox was isolated under hasn’t been formulated by medical scientists. Butwell:

It’s absolutely ridiculous. You can’t quarantine someone without explaining the process. You don’t want to downplay the need to keep people safe but it sounded like things were being made up on the fly. Let the experts in infectious diseases set the standards. I don’t want just people in general leadership roles making the calls.

Interview

Interview

Hickox gives an interview to media after the state judge rules that she won’t have to stay in quarantine. She says she will comply with the court’s recommendations including direct monitoring.

I’m very satisfied…It’s just a good day.

Nurse Upbeat As Ebola Quarantine Rejected

MSF: Death toll may be much higher

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres says the death toll in Sierra Leone may be much higher than the WHO’s revised total of 4,951 from 13,567 reported cases. MSF coordinator:

The situation is catastrophic. There are several villages and communities that have been basically wiped out. In one of the villages I went to, there were 40 inhabitants and 39 died. The WHO says there is a correction factor of 2.5, so maybe it is 2.5 times higher and maybe that is not far from the truth. It could be 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000.

Judge rejects quarantine

District Court Chief Judge Charles LaVerdiere rejects Hickox’s quarantine order but orders her to submit to “direct active monitoring,” coordinate travel with public health officials and immediately notify health authorities should symptoms appear. Hickox tells reporters the decision is a “good compromise” and that she would continue to comply with direct active monitoring.

I know that Ebola is a scary disease.  have seen it face-to-face. I know we are nowhere near winning this battle. We’ll only win this battle as we continue this discussion, as we gain a better collective understanding about Ebola and public health, as we overcome the fear and, most importantly, as we end the outbreak that is still ongoing in West Africa today.

LaVerdiere praises Hickox for lending her skills “generously, kindly and with compassion” to “aid, comfort and care” for Ebola patients.

We owe her and all professionals who give of themselves in this way a debt of gratitude.

Military to train more response teams

The Department of Defense is expecting a request from the Department of Health and Human Services for more rapid response personnel similar to the first military team, which completed training at Fort Sam Houston this week. The first team is made up of Army, Navy and Air Force personnel, including 20 critical care and inpatient nurses, five physicians and five infection control specialists who would instruct civilian health care workers in infectious disease protocols. At least one team member has experience treating Ebola patients.

Court order restricts movement

A 24-hour court order limits Hickox’s ability to travel, mandates that she keep a three-foot buffer when meeting other people, and bans her from public places. A further decision will be made by a Maine state court later Friday.

Sneezing poster disappears

ebola-cdc-cough-posterThe CDC poster stating that Ebola can be spread by sneezing is apparently deleted from the CDC website. Message replacing the page:

The What’s the difference between infections spread through air or by droplets? Fact sheet is being updated and is currently unavailable. Please visit cdc.gov/Ebola for up-to-date information on Ebola.

(A cached version is here). It has also reportedly change a question-and-answer section that mentioned coughing and sneezing. CDC response to article:

This particular Q&A is being updated to ensure people understand that Ebola is not an airborne virus like the flu and will be reposted soon

Conn. girl goes back to school

Seven-year-old Ikeoluwa Opayemi is allowed by the Milford School District to return to class. The 21-day quarantine previously imposed by the district after her trip to Nigeria was due to expire over the weekend, allowing her to go to school on Monday. Milford’s superintendent of schools, and Ikeoluwa’s father issue a joint statement:

She is perfectly healthy and can take part in school activities, without restriction.

Her family and the school district have both agreed to settle the lawsuit the family filed after she was barred from school. It isn’t stated whether the reversal of the quarantine is part of the conditions of settling the suit.

Tulsa patient tests negative

A patient being monitored in Tulsa, Okla., has tested negative in initial tests for Ebola. The patient tested positive for malaria. He recently returned from west Africa, and had developed a fever, but had not had contact with Ebola patients.

Recommends sneeze protection

The WHO issues new guidelines for healthcare workers specifying that protective equipment should be worn to protect the mouth, nose and eyes from contaminated droplets and fluids. WHO:

These guidelines hold an important role in clarifying effective personal protective equipment options that protect the safety of healthcare workers and patients from Ebola virus disease transmission.

Confusion expected in flu season

The CDC expects hospitals to face some confusion during the upcoming flu season. Spokeswoman:

There may be some public concern or confusion between seasonal influenza and Ebola

She says this has happened in past with fears over the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS):

Flu-like symptoms in US residents this flu season will most likely be caused by seasonal influenza, not Ebola.

Some similar symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue and aches and pains. Influenza causes cough, sore throat and runny nose, which Ebola does not. Ebola leads to vomiting and diarrhea within three to six days, severe weakness and stomach pain, as well as unexplained bleeding and bruising.

30 Oct, 2014

Nurses union to strike

Oakland, Calif.-based National Nurses United and its affiliate, the California Nurses Association (CNA), say nurses will walk off the job on Nov. 12 at 66 of the non-profit Kaiser Permanente managed healthcare provider’s facilities in California, and Providence Hospital in D.C. National Nurses executive director:

Nurses, who have been willing to stand by the patients whether it’s the flu, whether it’s Ebola, whether it’s cancer, now they’re being asked to put themselves in harm’s way unprotected, unguarded

They will also hold bake sales the same day to raise money for hazmat protection, as they say nurses have been at risk since Duncan developed the virus. Kaiser Permanente says that it is well prepared for Ebola, and says that the walkout by approximately 18,000 nurses comes during negotiations over a labor contract. The most recent contract expired a week ago. Spokeswoman:

The claims CNA is making about Kaiser Permanente’s Ebola preparedness, in an attempt to justify a strike, are simply untrue

Offers protections to Ebola workers

New York state offers employee protections and financial guarantees for healthcare workers traveling to Ebola-affected west Africa. They are similar to the rights granted to military reservists. Workers are not allowed to have their pay cut or be demoted for serving in Africa, and the state will make up lost income if they are quarantined on return. Cuomo and de Blasio:

In particular, the State of New York and the City of New York will work to ensure that health care workers who selflessly travel to West Africa to treat Ebola patients would have their pay, health care and employment statuses continue seamlessly when they get back

Pastor offers ‘healing water’

Pastor Temitope Balogun Joshua of the Africa-wide megachurch Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), which boasts 50,000 weekly worshipers, has been asked by Nigeria’s health minister to discourage Ebola victimes from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, from traveling to seek his help. He complied with the request but has airlifted more than 4,000 bottles of healing water to Sierra Leone, explaining that it contains the power of God and can cure the virus. Joshua:

What makes you a good citizen makes you a good Christian…Obey the law of your land by not crossing the borders of your nation with Ebola virus.

Pandemic training

FEMA is reported to be in the middle of a two-year training exercise simulating a pandemic in New Jersey and New York City. (FEMA document here). Overview:

History teaches us that the impact of a pandemic can be far-reaching. The 1918 ‘Spanish Flu’ influenza killed approximately 30,000 people in NYC, 500,000 in the United States and as many as 50-100 million worldwide. Furthermore, it leads to widespread social disruption and economic loss.

U.S. ‘quarantines horses, not people’

A veterinarian writes in the Wilson County News that the government has stricter rules for livestock than for people:

If I wish to import a horse into the United States from Liberia or any African country other than Morocco, the horse needs to undergo a 60-day quarantine period at a USDA-approved quarantine facility prior to mingling with the general population of horses in this country. …

If I were a resident of Liberia incubating Ebola, however, in order to enter the United States all I need to do is present a valid visa. I could lie when asked if I’d have been exposed to Ebola or, if showing symptoms, take Tylenol before going to the airport. Within hours (no quarantine required) I can be walking the streets of any city in the United States.

Disputes reports of lying

The New York state Health Department says Spencer cooperated fully with authorities and dismisses a report that he initially lied about his activities. Health Department official:

Dr. Spencer cooperated fully with the Health Department to establish a timeline of his movements in the days following his return to New York from Guinea, providing his MetroCard, credit cards and cellphone. He followed protocol by contacting his employer immediately upon developing fever and remained in his apartment until being transported to the hospital, which is why the chance anyone else contracted Ebola is extremely small. Dr. Spencer is a hero who deserves our thanks and thoughts for a speedy recovery

In crisis that is going to get worse

The CEO of Sierra Leone’s Ebola Response Center says the country is ‘in a crisis situation which is going to get worse.’ Palo Conteh tells a press conference:

We need to go ahead to stop the transmission in order to arrest the situation. Our proud country has faced so many challenges, but none more serious than today. Today we have a new and vicious enemy, an enemy that does not wear uniform, that … attacks anyone that comes into contact with (it) and if unchecked will ravage our beautiful land and its fine people.

Report: Quarantines could increase

A report for Forbes magazine says that if the virus spreads to somewhere geographically closer to the U.S., there will be more than the sporadic handful of cases that have occurred so far. It predicts that forced quarantine will be increased as a way to mitigate threat amidst uncertainty, and says the number of people quarantined could rise to the hundreds.

Two test negative in Western Australia

The state Health Department doesn’t confirm any specific details about the people involved but stressed they tested negative after traveling from west Africa and exhibiting fevers. The latest cases take the total number of people tested in the state to four, after a woman was cleared of the virus Sept. 23 at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and a previous case also proved negative.

47 volunteers have returned to U.S.

An NBC poll of 13 aid agencies including Doctors Without Borders, International Medicine Corps. Save The Children, and American Red Cross, shows that about 150 volunteers have gone to west Africa and 47 have returned to the U.S., without infecting anybody. California Department of Public Health director Dr. Ron Chapman:

Not everyone who has been to an Ebola affected area should be considered high risk.

‘Plot to weaponize virus’

Terror Incident

Spanish authorities say they have found discussions by jihadists in chat rooms on how to weaponize the virus, and are taking them seriously. Interior ministry:

The use of Ebola as a poisonous weapon against the United States [was discussed in a forum] linked to ISIS

Maine governor to force quarantine

LePage says his office will file a court order to enforce Hickox to follow quarantine procedures. Health and Human Services commissioner:

We are hopeful that the selfless health workers who are brave and caring enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we will pursue legal authority, if necessary, to ensure risk is minimized for all Mainers. We are in the process of filing that court order.

29 Oct, 2014

Sues after daughter kept out of school

Opayemi files the suit under the Americans With Disabilities Act against Milford Public Schools and the City of Milford, Conn., after his third-grader daughter Ikeoluwa is told not to return to school until Nov. 3. They had traveled to Opayemi’s home country of Nigeria for a wedding. They have lived in Milford for around six years. Lawsuit:

[The order to stay home was] because of rumors, panic and the climate of the school

Journalist monitored for virus

DiPaola, a 23-year-old freelancer, is monitored by Chicago city health officials after a week in Liberia covering the virus, including visiting treatment centres and places where bodies were being collected. He has no symptoms and says he has not had contact with patients.

As a reporter, the rule is if you’re close enough to need PPE, which is the spacesuits, you’re too close. And you have to back up. I never got close enough to anybody to need to wear PPE.

Nurses are taking his temperature at home three times a week and are in contact by phone on the days when they don’t visit. He is free to come and go, including riding the train. He returned to Chicago on Oct. 20 but it was nine days before city health officials got in touch, which he says is because he is a very low risk.

Will challenge court order

Hickox says she will challenge any court order obtained by the state of Maine to keep her isolated until Nov. 10:

They will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public, even though I am completely healthy and symptom-free….then I will challenge those legal actions. I’m not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it’s not science-based.

Obama: We can’t seal ourselves off

Pres. Obama says that restrictive measures that confine U.S. healthcare workers on their return from west Africa could discourage from fighting the virus at its source:

We can’t hermetically seal ourselves off

Strict travel measures won’t prevent infections:

Yes, we are likely to see a possible case elsewhere outside of these countries, and that’s true whether or not we adopt a travel ban, whether or not you adopt a quarantine. We have to keep in mind that if we’re discouraging our health care workers, who are prepared to make these sacrifices, from traveling to these places in need, then we’re not doing our job in terms of looking after our own public health and safety.

Bush meat traders out of work

Many restaurants in Ghana’s capital Accra have stopped serving rodents, snails, and wild pig parts, and there is only one bush meat vendor remaining at the Agbogbloshie market in the city after rumors that the traditional food carries Ebola. Yaa Kyerewaa says the bush meat she sold at the market used to keep her four children in school:

Bush meat is healthy. I usually eat it as a special food on Sundays. We have been consuming for years only for it to be made unpopular by these needless rumors flying around. No one wants to buy our products now. It is sad.

Decline in Liberia could be real trend

The WHO says cases are declining in Liberia and this could be a real trend, although the epidemic is still continuing. There are empty beds in treatment centers and the number of burials has declined. There may be as much as a 25 percent week-on-week reduction in cases. WHO official:

The epidemic (in Liberia) may be slowing down

This is likely due to more safe burials, higher isolation rates, and public health campaigns.

Small clusters of cases could overwhelm system

An AP review finds that the U.S. health system is so unprepared and short on resources that even small clusters of the virus could overwhelm parts of the system. Airborne viruses such as SARS, a new flu strain, or the Lassa virus could also crash the system. The review assessed training, manpower, funding, emergency room shortcomings, supplies, infection control and protection for health care workers as well as interviewing dozens of experts. One says that a small group of experts at each hospital knows procedures but worries this isn’t sufficient:

Will it be enough? We’ll find out.

Refused rental priveleges

Dallas County chief executive Judge Jenkins says landlords are refusing to rent properties to Duncan’s fiancee, Troh:

The theory is maybe an African, [or] a West African, who has Ebola will come visit her. So, there’s a lot of fear still out there in our community.

Jenkins adds that his wife was told she cannot work in a school cafeteria as some moms at the school suspected that he may have Ebola due to his involvement in the Duncan case.

Test finds virus in 15 minutes

ebola-test-15-minutesTulane University and Colo.-based Corgenix create a test that they say is as easy to use as a home pregnancy test and nearly as fast, detecting the virus in only 15 minutes from only a drop of blood. It is funded with $3 million from the government and is awaiting federal approval from the FDA before being used in west Africa. Potentially, someone with a fever could call the country’s 911 line, and a health worker could show up at the door and tell the individual if he or she has Ebola. Advisor to the president’s office in Guinea:

Just as important as getting people isolated is getting people isolated quickly

Bitcoin extortion attempt

Unidentified individuals say they will release the virus in the Czech Republic if the Czech government doesn’t pay them 1 million Euros ($1.25 million) in three payments on Monday, Wednesday, and after they hand over the alleged infected materials. Threat:

[Failure to comply with] any of our requests will lead to the spreading of the infected material in Prague and other cities.

Obama: America may see more cases

The President says more cases may be unavoidable while the outbreak continues in west Africa:

We may still continue to see individual cases in America in the weeks and months ahead.

He says the U.S. healthcare system has proven to be well capable of handling Ebola cases.

California issues quarantine policy

California sets out rules giving county health officials the ability to screen people arriving from west Africa or who have worked with infected patients, to determine if they are at risk and if they should be quarantined. Failure to comply with a quarantine order could result in misdemeanor criminal charges. Health department statement:

This order will allow local health officers to determine, for those coming into California, who is most at risk for developing this disease, and to contain any potential spread of the disease by responding to those risks appropriately

Lysol fields queries on Ebola

Lysol says it is taking a large number of queries from customers who want to know if its cleaning products are effective against the virus. Parent company spokeswoman:

We have seen an exponential increase in the number of queries we get from consumers. They want to know if our claim that Lysol kills 99% of all germs applies to Ebola.

It has purchased Google search terms relating to Lysol and Ebola and linked them to an Ebola subpage on its website, which directs people to the CDC. As the CDC hasn’t issued an official Ebola warning to the general public, the standard for effective Ebola-preventing disinfectants exists only for hospitals. Lysol says its products haven’t been tested to kill Ebola:

based on their ability to kill similar as well as harder to kill viruses, these products are likely to be effective against the Ebola virus.

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