Ebola outbreak likely driving malaria deaths: study

AFP                                                                                                             April 24, 2015
PARIS --The collapse of health services in three west African countries devastated by Ebola may have caused some 11,000 additional deaths from malaria, a preventable and curable disease, researchers said Friday.

Desinfected gloves dry at Elwa hospital in Monrovia, Liberia on September 7, 2014 (AFP Photo/Dominique Faget)

A further 3,900 deaths may have resulted from interruptions in the delivery of insecticide-treated bed nets, according to outbreak modelling data published in The Lancet on the eve of World Malaria Day.

This suggested the haemorrhagic fever outbreak "could have resulted in a comparable number of malaria deaths as those due to Ebola itself," said a statement issued by the medical journal.

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Drowned Migrants and ‘a Failure of Compassion’

      

As many as 950 migrants are feared dead after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean. Children are carried by rescue workers as migrants arrive via boat at the Sicilian harbour of Pozzallo

reuters.com - by Mike Corones - April 21, 2015

Already, this week’s migrant deaths in the Mediterranean are hard to tally.

As many as 900 refugees died in a shipwreck off of Libya on Sunday, the day before two other boats carrying 400 people faced distress off of Libya and three migrants died when yet another boat ran aground in Greece. As this Reuters graphic shows, the vast majority of illegal border crossings over the Mediterranean happen via central and eastern sea routes, a fact reflected in this week’s disasters.

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What Did the U.S. Learn from Ebola? How to Prepare for Bioterrorist Attacks

FOREIGN POLICY  by Siobhán O'Grady                        April 13, 2015
When the Ebola virus spread from Guinea to Sierra Leone and Liberia last spring, the initial international response was labeled a failure. By the time President Barack Obama ordered troops to the affected countries in September, more than 2,400 people were dead.

But in the United States, where major hospitals prepared for an outbreak, there were only four in-country diagnoses, one of which resulted in a death. And some see the urgency of that response as a lesson in how the government can prepare for another public health hazard: a bioterrorist attack.

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally chairs a House subcommittee that will examine over the next few months the threat of bioterrorist attacks and U.S. preparedness to respond to them. She told Foreign Policy that even if a disease outbreak and the use of a biological agent in a coordinated attack are not completely analogous, the response strains similar systems.

“We can learn lessons from other outbreaks that are naturally occurring,” she said. “We can identify weaknesses in our response and even if it wasn’t terrorism, it presses the system at the same level....”

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US regulators recall 10-minute Ebola test

AFP                                                                                April  23, 2015
Miami  - US regulators have issued an international recall for a 10-minute Ebola blood test made by a California-based company, saying it has not been proven to work and could put lives at risk.

"A recall has been issued for the LuSys Laboratories, Inc., Ebola Virus One-Step Test Kits because the FDA has not cleared or approved the kits for use or sale," said the Food and Drug Administration in a statement emailed to reporters on Thursday.

"The results obtained from these test kits have not demonstrated to be accurate and should not be used as in vitro diagnostic tests for Ebola infection."

Contacted by AFP, a company representative in San Diego said early trials have shown the test to be 86 percent accurate. The problem with the FDA came down to a labeling error, he said. The equipment had not been properly labeled "for research purposes only."

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http://news.yahoo.com/us-regulators-recall-10-minute-ebola-test-193530081.html;_ylt=AwrC1CmnSjlVNDsAZTDQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByaWg0YW05BGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwM4BHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--

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Ebola survivors donate plasma to tackle outbreak

EUREKALERT                                                                           April 22, 2015
UNIVERSITY OF LIVERPOOL -- 
The first donations of plasma, from survivors of the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, have been received by an international research team working to help tackle current and future disease outbreaks in West Africa.

The team, led by scientists at the University of Liverpool and colleagues at the College of Medicine and Allied Health Services, Ministry of Health, Sierra Leone, is investigating how plasma from Ebola survivors could help treat patients with the disease at the Ebola Treatment Unit, run by the 34th Regiment Military Hospital group in Freetown.

Dr Calum Semple, from the University's Institute of Child Health, and his collaborators developed a convalescent plasma protocol in readiness for an outbreak, such as Ebola, as part of the outbreak preparatory work of the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infection Consortium.

The study is one of several being supported by the Wellcome Trust's platform for evaluating experimental Ebola therapeutics in West Africa.

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-04/uol-esd042215.php

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More than 26,000 have been infected with Ebola: WHO

AFP 

(Scroll down for complete WHO report                                                                                         April 22, 2015

Geneva - More than 26,000 people have been infected with Ebola since the outbreak began and more than 10,800 have died, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

The UN health body also warned that the decline in confirmed cases appeared to have stagnated, urging increased efforts to stop transmission of the deadly virus.

In all, 26,079 people have contracted the disease over the past 16 months, and 10,823 of them have died, almost all of them in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone....

In the week leading to April 19, 33 new confirmed cases were reported, with 21 in Guinea, 12 in Sierra Leone and none in Liberia.

That compares to 37 new confirmed cases the week before, and 30 the week before that....

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Mapping of Assessments and Identification of Gaps - Sierra Leone and Liberia

ACAPS                                                                                April 22, 2015

Survey of surveys for Liberia and Sierra Leone, April, 1015

A multitude of needs assessments have been conducted to capture impacts of the Ebola outbreak on affected communities, since March 2014. This paper reviews all of the assessments on Liberia and Sierra Leone made available to the Ebola Needs Analysis Project, between December 2014 and 20 March 2015. Several assessments have been conducted at a regional level. This report focuses only on those conducted on a national level or lower, to allow for disaggregation of results. http://acaps.org/img/documents/t-acaps_mapping_assessments_-identifying_gaps_22_april_2015.pdf

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http://acaps.org/img/documents/t-acaps_mapping_assessments_-identifying_gaps_22_april_2015.pdf

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Tekmira Ebola drug succeeds in small monkey study

REUTERS by Aharon Begley                                                                    Aug. 22, 2015
NEW YORK --An experimental Ebola drug from Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp cured all three monkeys intentionally infected with the virus, scientists reported on Wednesday, the first such success against the strain of Ebola in West Africa's 2014-2015 outbreak.

Although other experimental treatments appeared to help Ebola patients last year, especially in the United States, those one-time uses cannot prove efficacy against the "Makona" strain, since patients' recovery might be due to other causes. Similarly, drugs, including Mapp Biopharmaceutical's ZMapp, cured monkeys in lab experiments, but in a strain of Ebola different from that responsible for the current outbreak, the worst ever recorded.

"We can't say for certain that an experimental drug that works against one strain will work in another, even if they're almost identical genetically," said Thomas Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch, senior author of the study published in the journal Nature.

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Africa: Apes Lack Ebola Protection, Scientists Warn

ALL AFRICA by Sarah Naraghi                    April 2, 2015

(Scroll down for releated report and story.)

Research on potential Ebola vaccines should seek to protect great apes as well as humans to prevent the disease from decimating gorilla and chimpanzee populations, say experts.

                   Chimps play at the on Tacugama Sanctuary in Sierra Leone which is under threat of closure

Work is continuing on trials of potential Ebola vaccines and the rate of fresh cases of the disease in the West African outbreak is slowing.

But unrelated outbreaks among Central Africa's great ape populations could happen at any time, says a report from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The study estimates that Ebola has wiped out thousands of gorillas and chimpanzees since the early 2000s, with some rainforests experiencing a 90 per cent decline in their great ape populations...

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Eleven handed life sentences over Guinea Ebola worker murders

REUTERS                                                                                                            April 22, 2015

CONAKRY (Reuters) - A court in Guinea has sentenced 11 people to life in prison for murdering a team educating locals about the risks of Ebola in a remote part of the West African country last year, a state prosecutor said on Wednesday.

The broken windshield of an Ebola emergency team vehicle is seen after it had been pelted with stones in Lola

February 9, 2015. REUTERS/Misha Hussain

The bodies of eight people were discovered in September in Womey, a village near the city of Nzerekore around 1,000 km (620 miles) southeast of the capital Conakry.

Some had been hacked to death with machetes or had their throats slit before their bodies were thrown into latrines, witnesses at the trial in Nzerekore said.

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Looking Into the Mirror of EBOLA: A Reminder of the Importance of Nutrition As We Age

HUFFINGTON POST by Dr. Simin Nikbin Meydan                                                               April 21, 2015
When the world was devastated by the deadly outbreak of Ebola in West Africa last year, we were given a warning call on many levels. While I was mulling over the whys and hows of the epidemic, my mind automatically went to the role that nutrition can play in helping to stem the spread, and mortality rates, of diseases and perhaps deter future outbreaks.

 The next step my mind took, (admittedly, I research nutrition, immunology and infection in older adults), was to the role nutrition plays in maintaining a robust immune response and fighting against infections particularly in older adults. Remember the SARS outbreak in 2003? SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the SARS coronavirus. The outbreak began in southern China and caused an eventual 8,096 cases with 774 deaths reported in multiple countries. The overall mortality rate in aged populations exceeded 50%. Age matters in fighting infections. As we age, our immune systems gray and we need to factor this into our response to outbreaks.

It is telling that infectious epidemics usually originate in areas of the world that suffer from poor nutrition.

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Understanding the Emergence of Ebola Virus Disease in Sierra Leone: Stalking the Virus in the Threatening Wake of Emergence

PLOS  Current Outbreaks  by Nadia Wauquier and others                                             April 20, 2015

The initial steps of emergence and spread of a virus are critical in the development of a potential outbreak and need to be thoroughly dissected and understood in order to improve on preventative strategies. In the current West African outbreak of EVD, a unique index case has been identified, pinpointing the geographical origin of the epidemic in Guinea.

Herein, we provide an accounting of events that serve as the footprint of EVD emergence in Sierra Leone and a road map for risk mitigation fueled by lessons learned....

...Continuous active surveillance is needed and must be organized by specialized centers joined in local, regional, and international networks. Surveillance centers must be connected to public health systems and also to research teams for increased understanding and awareness to permit identification and implementation of rapid intervention strategies....

Read complete study  and see maps.

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Road to Zero: Sierra Leone’s Struggle to Rid Itself of Ebola

GIZMODO by Mark Honigsbaum - Mosaic                                                 April 21, 2015

The worst of the Ebola epidemic may be over but the World Health Organization has declared that life in Sierra Leone, as in other Ebola-affected West African countries, can only return to normal when transmission of the virus ceases and cases drop to zero. Unfortunately, not everyone in Sierra Leone is so concerned...

Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, was having trouble ‘getting to zero’, and his underlings were getting antsy. “We need one more push,” said Major Palo Conteh, the commander of Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and a former Olympic quarter miler. “It’s like in the 400 metres when you’re 20m from the finish line, that’s the time to kick hard.”

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Scientists to share real-time genetic data on deadly MERS, Ebola

REUTERS by Kate Kelland                     April 21, 2015

LONDON, April 21 - Genetic sequence data on two of the deadliest yet most poorly understood viruses are to be made available to researchers worldwide in real time as scientists seek to speed up understanding of Ebola and MERS infections.

The project, led by British scientists with West African and Saudi Arabian collaboration, hopes to encourage laboratories around the world to use the live data -- updated as new cases emerge -- to find new ways to diagnose and treat the killer diseases, and ideally, ultimately, prevent them.

"The collective expertise of the world's infectious disease experts is more powerful than any single lab, and the best way of tapping into this...is to make data freely available as soon as possible," said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust global health charity which is funding the work.

The gene sequences, already available for MERS cases and soon to come in the case of Ebola, will be posted on the website virological.org for anyone to see, access and use.

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http://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKBN0NC19W20150421?sp=true

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Intercessory Prayer Service and Community Dialogue on Ebola

Prince George's County Health Department to be Presenting

CAPITOL HEIGHTS, MARYLAND, April 20 - Restoration Chapel International, in its disaster relief mission, is collaborating with the US-Africa Ebola Working Group, under the sponsorship of Miss Africa Foundation, to hold an Intercessory Prayer Service and Community Dialogue on Ebola on April 26, 2015 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 9113 Hampton Overlook; Capitol Heights, Maryland 20743. The objective is to provide a spiritual platform for those with ties to the affected countries and African ambassadors to come together and mourn their loss, share stories and mobilize relief efforts for Ebola survivors in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The event is co-chaired by Prophet Frank Sarpong and Dr. Rodney Sadler, with Prince George's County providing tactical support.

U.S. citizens, the African Diplomatic Corps, local officials, community leaders and nationals from at least 30 African countries will attend. Survivors of the deadly virus will participate via skype. Other speakers include:

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