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.

28 Oct, 2014

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.

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.

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.

‘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.

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,

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

29 Oct, 2014

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

30 Oct, 2014

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.

‘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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

31 Oct, 2014

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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