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.

29 Oct, 2014

Patient zero named

The first patient in the current outbreak is identified as two-year-old Emile Ouamouno from the forest village of Meliandou, two hours from Guinea’s capital Conakry. His ister, Philomene, has also died, along with his mother. UNICEF official who spoke with Emile’s father:

Emile loved to dance and Philomene liked to carry little babies on her back and pretend she was a mom.

Controversy over soldiers in Italy

ebola-troops-italy Officials and media in the Veneto region of Italy have raised concerns over the quarantine of U.S. soldiers at a base there on their return from west Africa. President of the Veneto regional assembly:

They shouldn’t have been sent here, they should do their quarantine for Ebola at home […] it would have been more respectful [of the U.S. to have] thought about the risks posed to local citizens.

A report by the Messaggero daily says soldiers from the base who are not in quarantine are being avoided at local pubs. The populist/Eurosceptic Five Star political party:

The government must send all the US soldiers back to Washington.

The San Bortolo hospital in Vicenza has prepared a special isolation unit with five beds ready for potential Ebola cases. 35 more soldiers were expected to arrive Wednesday and would be placed in isolation at the base.

CDC warns of transmission by sneezing

A poster released on the CDC website highlights sneezing as a risk:

Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose or mouth of another person

May have lied about NYC travels

A law enforcement source says Spencer initially told officials he isolated himself in his apartment in Harlem. Source:

He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around.

Police reportedly phoned the city Health Department with questions, after which he admitted to going bowling at The Gutter, going to the High Line, and eating at The Meatball Shop.

Refuses to stay quarantined

In a Skype call with Matt Lauer, Hickox, who does not have any symptoms of the deadly virus, says she will not abide by quarantine rules that she said were “not scientifically nor constitutionally just.” According to Hickox’s attorney, she had only agreed to remain home for two days after arriving from New Jersey.

I don’t plan on sticking to the guidelines. I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public.

Northern Maine Medical Center says Hickox had originally agreed to a 21-day quarantine, and that her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, had also agreed to a self-quarantine for 21 days. There is no word on whether he would abide by quarantine for the full period. Two state police cars have been stationed outside Wilbur’s home, in Fort Kent, where she has been living.

Quarantined Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox 'Will Go to Court'

May take legal action against Maine

Hickox says she will take legal action against the State of Maine if they enforce the current quarantine order, during an interview on ABC News.

I remain really concerned by these mandatory quarantine policies. I think we are only adding to stigmatization that again is not based on science or evidence. I will go to court to attain my freedom.

28 Oct, 2014

Document shows plan to bring foreign patients to U.S.

An internal State Department document shows a plan to bring Ebola-infected doctors and medical aides to the U.S. for treatment, as part of a plan to get other countries to send medical teams to West Africa by promising that the U.S. will be the global medical backstop. It says other countries are waiting for ‘medevac assurances’ before committing medics. Four-page document:

The United States needs to show leadership and act as we are asking others to act by admitting certain non-citizens into the country for medical treatment for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) during the Ebola crisis.

Isolation based on panic

Health care officials say the decision to isolate Hickox is based on panic, not science. NYU bioethicist:

The flu kills 5,000 people per year. If we want to freak out about something, that’s what we should be freaking out about.

Call from Obama

Pres. Obama calls Vinson from the White House to say the administration appreciates the effort of her and other health care workers. After the call:

We’ve got to make sure that those workers who are willing and able and dedicated to go over there in a really tough job, that they’re applauded, thanked and supported. That should be our priority. And we can make sure that when they come back they are being monitored in a prudent fashion.

Moves ICU patients

Bellevue is forced to move its ICU patients to NYU Langone, two blocks north, as it is tied up with Ebola care. Two adult patients were moved over the weekend and Langone is expecting to take two more pediatric ICU patients on Monday. The hospitals are located on Manhattan’s East Side. Joint statement:

These recent transfers will help alleviate some of the demand on Bellevue’s critical care staff as they focus on current patient care issues.

5,000 healthcare workers needed

Kim says at least 5,000 medics and support staff are needed to fight the virus, but says fear is keeping people at home:

Right now, I’m very much worried about where we will find those healthcare workers. With the fear factor going out of control in so many places, I hope healthcare professionals will understand that when they took their oath to become a health care worker it was precisely for moments like this

Australia shuts borders

Australia places a ban on visas for citizens of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. The UN, Liberia, and others say this will do little to control the virus’s spread. Sirleaf:

Anytime there’s stigmatization, there’s quarantine, there’s exclusion of people, many of whom are just normal, then those of us who are fighting this epidemic, when we face that, we get very sad,

‘So grateful to be well’

Vinson gives a statement surrounded by relatives as well as Emory doctors and nurses thanking those who treated her during her 13-day battle with the deadly virus.

I’m so grateful to be well. With God, all things are possible…As a nurse and now as someone who has experienced what it is like to be cared for through a life-threatening illness, I am so appreciative and grateful for your skill, warmth and care.

As she leave the room, Vinson hugs each nurse and doctor.

Racial attacks in Bronx

The African Advocacy Council says two brothers in sixth and eighth grade who emigrated from Senegal a month ago were beaten and left severely injured, with their attackers calling them ‘Ebola’. The group says this is only the latest in several incidents targeting Africans since the outbreak. It is due to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. Eastern to urge city and school officials to protect students.

Lawmaker: Plans to treat foreign patients in U.S.

House Judiciary Committee leader Rep. Goodlatte, R-Va., says his office has received ‘information from within the administration’ that the plans are being developed to treat non-U.S. citizens for treatment within the early days of developing the illness. Goodlatte:

This is simply a matter of common sense that if you are concerned about this problem spreading — and this is a deadly disease that we’re even concerned about the great health care workers when they come back not spreading it — we certainly shouldn’t be bringing in the patients.

He doesn’t specify who would pay for the treatment, whether the plan would involve non-U.S. residents, or other details.

Drugmakers rush to prepare medicines

Pharmaceutical companies are reportedly rushing to prepare drugs for the virus. NBC reports that:

  • Johnson & Johnson says it will begin safety testing in early January of a vaccine combination that could protect against an Ebola strain ‘highly similar’ to the virus that triggered the outbreak.
  • Human trials of a vaccine co-developed by the U.S. National Institutes of Health and GlaxoSmithKline are being funded by GSK, its charitable trust and funds from the U.S. and UK governments. It is being tested for safety in the U.S., UK, and Mali.
  • NewLink Genetics holds the license on a vaccine initially developed by the Public Health Agency of Canada that has been sent to Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Maryland for testing on healthy volunteers, with preliminary safety results expected by December.

Details of plan to bring non-citizens to U.S.

Fox obtains State Department documents showing details of the plan to bring non-U.S. patients into the country. The channel doesn’t say what stage the plan is at or how likely it is to be implemented but says the document has been seen by Undersecretary Kennedy. Reporter:

They’re documents we started hearing about in the middle of last week…It’s basically been cleared at the highest level of the State Department…allowing non-U.S. citizens to come here – be brought here, because we pay for it – for treatment

The report says the cost is estimated to be at least $500,000 per patient including multiple nurses and other healthcare workers:

That’s actually a very low estimate

The document notes that Germany is the first nation to accept a non-citizen for treatment. It says patients are anticipated to be people from:

NGOs, major American corporations, allies, and other potential friends or partners in the region … All this is to show the U.S. is committed to fighting Ebola

27 Oct, 2014

Confusion over anti-Ebola effort

Media question the White House over the anti-Ebola effort and what Klain is doing, as confusion deepens with New York changing its mandatory quarantine rules and New Jersey keeping its rules in place, while the CDC says returning healthcare workers don’t need to be quarantined but U.S. armed forces personnel are quarantined in Italy. Reporter to White House press secretary:

What has changed since he started his job? It appears as though this week there’s more confusion than there was last week, given what we’re seeing in New York and New Jersey, and more differences between how the states are dealing with it.

Minnesota restaurant changes name

The owner of Mama Ti’s African Kitchen in Minneapolis-St. Paul is forced to tape over the ‘African’ part of the sign after customers avoid the restaurant and one asks directly if the establishment has Ebola.

This African name that brought people in before, is now hurting me. We get the jokes, the ridicule. Just putting that tape up there triggered emotions that I keep down, but that really hurt

‘Quarantine is destructive’

The New England Journal of Medicine says the quarantine policies put in place by state governors are ‘more destructive than beneficial’:

We think the governors have it wrong.

Can survive for up to 50 days

The Zaire strain of the virus survives the longest on glass surfaces stored at 39 fahrenheit, up to 50 days, and can remain alive on dry surfaces such as doorknobs and tables for several hours. The survival period is extended in moist environments, such as mucus. Researchers:

This study has demonstrated that filoviruses are able to survive and remain infectious, for extended periods when suspended within liquid and dried onto surfaces. Data from this study extend the knowledge on the survival of filoviruses under different conditions and provide a basis with which to inform risk assessments and manage exposure.

Received Brincidofovir

Medical records show that Duncan received the experimental drug six days after doctors first suspected he had the virus, but it was unable to prevent his death. Mukpo also received the drug, and survived.


Hickox is released from the tent outside University Hospital where she was being held in quarantine, and is allowed to take private transport home to Maine. Statement:

Since testing negative for Ebola on early Saturday morning, the patient being monitored in isolation at University Hospital in Newark has thankfully been symptom free for the last 24 hours. As a result, and after being evaluated in coordination with the CDC and the treating clinicians at University Hospital, the patient is being discharged.

Modifies quarantine rules

Gov. Cuomo announces that people arriving in New York State after having contact with Ebola victims in west Africa will be required to stay at home for 21 days, a modification that is more in line with federal guidance.

It’s a home quarantine but it is a mandatory quarantine…It’s not like a terrible task is being asked of you … you stay at home

Criticizes nations for failing to help

Powers criticizes the international response as she begins a tour of Ebola-affected west Africa:

The international response to Ebola needs to be taken to a wholly different scale than it is right now. [Many countries are] signing on to resolutions and praising the good work that the United States and the United Kingdom and others are doing, but they themselves haven’t taken the responsibility yet to send docs, to send beds, to send the reasonable amount of money

Child quarantined

An ambulance crew is full hazmat gear brings a five-year-old boy is to Bellevue after reporting a fever. He had been in Guinea, one of the three West African countries affected by the disease, in the past 21 days, While initially being examined, officials said the child did not have a fever, but later developed one around 7 a.m. Monday. After consulting with the hospital, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Department conducted a test for Ebola. Test results are expected within 12 hours. Health officials are also looking and other causes for the child’s symptoms

26 Oct, 2014

Wikipedia article gets 17m views

The online encyclopedia’s article about Ebola has been viewed around the same number of times in the last month as the WHO’s Ebola fact sheet, and the Ebola pages of WebMD and the Mayo Clinic. Wikiproject Medicine founder Dr. Jacob de Wolff, who is an internist at Northwick Park Hospital in London:

It is because Wikipedia is such a recognized brand — obviously the C.D.C. is still much more authoritative than we will ever be — that people will click on that link

Lied about exposure

The ER nurse says that Duncan denied contact with patients on his second visit to Texas Health Presbyterian:

I explained to him, ‘We are under the impression that you may have been exposed to Ebola.’ And I said, ‘Where are you from?’ And he told me Liberia. And I asked ‘Have you been in contact with anyone who’s been sick?’ No. He said no.

Toddler dies in Mali


Two-year-old Fanta Kone dies after contracting the virus. Her grandmother traveled more than 600 miles from back to Mali from southern Guinea after her father died of the virus there. WHO:

The child’s symptomatic state during the bus journey is especially concerning, as it presented multiple opportunities for exposures – including high-risk exposures – involving many people.

Urges states to reverse quarantine policy

The White House is pressing New York and New Jersey to reverse mandatory quarantine policies. Administration official:

[The decision is] uncoordinated, very hurried, an immediate reaction to the New York City case that doesn’t comport with science.

Florida orders 21-day quarantine

Gov. Scott signs an order requiring twice-daily monitoring for anyone returning from places the CDC designates as affected by Ebola:

Therefore, we are moving quickly to require the four individuals who have returned to Florida already – and anyone in the future who will return to Florida from an Ebola area – to take part in twice daily 21-day health evaluations with DOH personnel

U.S. soldiers isolated in Italy

Soldiers returning from Liberia are reported to be placed in isolation in Vicenza for 21 days. Among the 11 soliders reported to be in isolation is Maj. Gen. Williams, who was the commander of the U.S. Army in Africa but turned over duties to the 101st Airborne Division over the weekend. They were apparently met by Carabinieri in full uniform. If the policy continues, hundreds of soldiers will end up in isolation. Another 30 are due to fly in to the country Monday. The Pentagon refers to the quarantine as ‘enhanced monitoring’. The soldiers are confined to a building, and can’t see their families.

Pentagon builds transport units

The Pentagon is building portable isolation units that can carry up to 12 Ebola patients for transport on military planes. It says it doesn’t expect to need them for the 3,000 U.S. troops heading to the region, as they are focused on building clinics, training personnel and testing patient blood samples.

We want to be prepared to care for the people we do have there just out of an abundance of caution

White House secures release

Pressure from the White House is reported to be behind Hickox’s release from quarantine. Administration official:

We have let the governors of New York, New Jersey, and others states know that we have concerns with the unintended consequences of policies not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in West Africa.

We have also let these states know that we are working on new guidelines for returning healthcare workers that will protect the American people against imported cases, while, at the same time, enabling us to continue to tackle this epidemic in West Africa.

‘Medical system a casualty’

Reports say the reputation of the WHO is being damaged after the organization is faulted for foot-dragging and misjudgements, while Big Pharma, the West’s aid policies in Africa, and public faith in the industrialized world’s health systems are also questioned. Commentary in The Lancet:

Failures in leadership have allowed a preventable disease to spin out of control, with vast harms to social order and human dignity

Illinois quarantine order

The state Department of Public Health announces a 21-day quarantine for people who’ve had direct contact with West Africa Ebola patients. Gov. Quinn:

[This is a] common sense step

Cases top 10,000

The WHO says cases of the virus now number more than 10,000, and 5,000 people have died. It says the true number could be higher, due to underreporting.

Treatment ‘Inhumane’

In a phone call with CNN, Hickox criticizes the way she has been treated.

For the first 12 hours, I was in shock. Now I’m angry…It’s really inhumane….To quarantine everyone, in case, you know, when you cannot predict who may develop Ebola or not, and to make me stay for 21 days, to not be with my family, to put me through this emotional and physical stress, is completely unacceptable. I feel like my basic human rights have been violated. To put me through this emotional and physical stress is completely unacceptable.

She also criticizes Chris Christie:

I heard from my mother last night who called me concerned and said, Governor Christie just said in an interview that you were quote-unquote ‘obviously ill’. And this is so frustrating to me. First of all, I don’t think he’s a doctor. And secondly, he’s never laid eyes on me. And thirdly, I have been asymptomatic since I’ve been here. I feel physically completely strong and emotionally completely exhausted. But for him to say I’m ‘obviously ill’, which is even a strange thing, that, what does that mean? Someone define that for me, because I think I don’t quite understand what ‘obviously ill’ means.

Writes op-ed critical of quarantine

Hickox writes an op-ed for the Dallas Morning News about her quarantine:

I am scared about how health care workers will be treated at airports when they declare that they have been fighting Ebola in West Africa. I am scared that, like me, they will arrive and see a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.

Frantic search for experimental drug

ebola-drug-searchCity health officials send out an email marked URGENT asking if New York area hospitals, researchers and pharmacies have supplies of the experimental Ebola drug Brincidofovir. It’s not clear if the drug was obtained. Email:

The drug would presumably be under the jurisdiction of your investigational drug or research area. If you do have this drug, please contact Dr. Scott Harper at DOHMH as soon as possible.

Bowling alley, meatball shop face uncertainty

The businesses that Spencer visited say they are concerned over how customers will react. Todd Powers, the owner of The Gutter, has hired a cleaning crew at his own expense although the CDC said he could reopen the business immediately. Powers:

Once that’s taken care of, we’ll open the doors to the public and we hope the mayor and governor come down and bowl.

City officials visited The Gutter and The Meatball Shop, in Greenwich Village, which Spencer visited, in order to reassure the public there is no risk. He also visited the Blue Bottle Coffee on High Line park.

ACLU: Constitutional concerns

The ACLU raises questions over the legality of the quarantine orders in New York and New Jersey after Hickox is quarantined. ACLU:

We understand the importance of protecting the public from an Ebola outbreak [but the mandatory isolation rules] raise serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its police powers by detaining people who are exhibiting no Ebola symptoms.

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