No new Ebola cases in Liberia for more than two weeks: WHO

AFP                                                                                                                       March 11, 2015

Geneva  - No new case of the deadly Ebola virus has been registered in Liberia since February 19, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, also hailing positive signs in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

                      A man walks past an Ebola campaign banner with the new slogan "Ebola Must GO" in Monrovia

Liberia, long the hardest-hit country in the Ebola epidemic that has killed nearly 10,000 people in west Africa, "has now gone well over two weeks without a new reported case," said Bruce Aylward, who heads WHO's Ebola response....

The outlook was less positive in the other countries affected by the outbreak, Guinea and Sierra Leone, although Aylward highlighted positive signs there too.
Read complete story.
http://news.yahoo.com/no-ebola-cases-liberia-more-two-weeks-175855158.html;_ylt=AwrBJR9j5gBVAQYArDLQtDMD

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Waning interest is biggest risk in race to overcome Ebola: WHO

REUTERS     by Tom Miles                                                                                        March 11, 2015

GENEVA -Waning interest in Ebola could jeopardize efforts to stamp out the world's worst recorded outbreak of the disease, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

Nameplates are seen at a cemetery for victims of Ebola virus in Suakoko, Liberia, March 11, 2015.  Reuters/James Giahyue

Case numbers have fallen to a low level and it should be possible to stop transmission by mid-year, but the disease is "not waning" and it is much too early to assume the outbreak will end, said WHO Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward.

"We talk often about how steep the drop in cases has been. The only thing that has dropped more quickly and more steeply is the new contributions in financing," he told reporters in Geneva. 

...the failure to make further inroads is "alarming", Aylward said.

"Getting from here to zero is going to require another reinvestment (in the drive to tackle the outbreak)."

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The State of African Resilience

Ebola-Stricken Countries Lagged in Health Systems

savethechildren.org

CLICK HERE - REPORT - A WAKE-UP CALL - Lessons from Ebola for the world’s health systems (50 page .PDF report)

nytimes.com - by Donald G. McNeil Jr. - March 9, 2015

The world has spent more than $4 billion fighting Ebola, but according to a new report from Save the Children, it would have cost only $1.6 billion to bring health care systems up to minimum standards in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, which might have prevented the outbreak or ended it faster.

Even before Ebola struck West Africa, more than 25 countries had health care systems worse than those in impoverished Liberia and Sierra Leone, the report also found.

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Why we’re still waiting on an Ebola vaccine

Researchers are scrambling to start trials before the outbreak fades, but establishing faith in vaccines will take time

AL JAZEERA AMERICA  by

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — Since Ebola hit this coastal city last summer, nurses at Connaught Hospital have put their lives on the line by working with patients at risk of the deadly disease. Now researchers aim to recruit them as well as ambulance drivers and other hospital staff as subjects in one of the largest Ebola vaccine trials to date.

But just a few weeks before the trial begins enrollment, many health care workers are voicing discomfort about the shot. “It would be really good to have a vaccine, but we’re scared because it’s new,” said Kadiatu Nubieu, a nurse at Connaught.

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Ebola is Still Here: Voices from Liberia and Sierra Leone on Response and Recovery

policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk - Authors: Cairns, Edmund
February 27, 2015 - ISBN: 978-1-78077-825-9

In Sierra Leone and Liberia, thousands of local people have taken part in campaigns to spread the message about how Ebola can be controlled, and millions have taken vital practical steps to prevent infection. When the last case of Ebola is eliminated, it will not only be because of medical treatment and action by governments and the international community, but because communities have been at the heart of the response. Before Ebola struck West Africa, Liberia and Sierra Leone were among the poorest countries in the world – now they are even poorer. The challenge of recovery is enormous and communities must once again be at the heart of it. Oxfam has listened to women and men in Liberia and Sierra Leone to hear their priorities for the immediate response, the recovery and beyond. This paper presents those priorities, from rebuilding shattered livelihoods and building a resilient health service, to making schools safe and free for all.

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Global Ebola Response Coalition Meeting (GERC) - 06 March 2015

                                                     

ebolaresponse.un.org

Coalition Meeting Notes - Minutes from the weekly meetings held by the Global Ebola Response Coalition:

Global Ebola Response Coalition Meeting 21 | 6th March 2015:

Issues Discussed and Next Steps

The twenty first meeting of the Global Ebola Response Coalition Core Group took place on 6 March. The main points covered in the meeting follow.

2.            Participants discussed the status of the outbreak.  The cumulative number of people who have been diagnosed with Ebola in the current outbreak is now 23,983. The number of people newly diagnosed with Ebola in the 7 days to 1 March, is 132; the figure was 99 in the preceding 7 days. This week’s total reflects increases in Guinea (35 to 51) and Sierra Leone (63 to 81) but a fall in Liberia (1 to 0). The volatility in numbers of people newly diagnosed with Ebola each week continues: the figure ranges between 90 and 160 new cases per week.  The majority of new cases are reported from the geographical region around the coastal border areas between Guinea and Sierra Leone.

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A panel of independent experts to assess WHO's response in the Ebola outbreak

WHO PRESS RELEASE                                                March 10, 2015

The WHO Director-General has commissioned a panel of outside independent experts to undertake an assessment on all aspects of WHO’s response in the Ebola outbreak. This is in response to a resolution passed during the Ebola Special Session of the Executive Board in January 2015.

Dame Barbara Stocking will chair the panel. She was formerly Chief Executive of Oxfam GB (2001-13) and during this time led major humanitarian responses. Currently she is President of Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge, UK.

The other panel members are: Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfun, Director-General of the National Institute for Biomedical Research, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Dr Faisal Shuaib, Head of the National Ebola Emergency Operations Center, Nigeria; Dr Carmencita Alberto-Banatin, independent consultant and advisor on health emergencies and disasters, Philippines; Professor Julio Frenk, Dean of the Faculty, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA; and Professor Ilona Kickbusch, Director of the Global Health Programme at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland.

The panel will present a first progress report on its work to the 68th World Health Assembly in May 2015.

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Ebola crisis could force Sierra Leone to diversify away from mining

THE GUARDIAN  by                                                          March 10, 2015

As Sierra Leone looks to rebuild after the Ebola epidemic, it may be forced to diversify from a mining-heavy economic base. Falling iron ore prices and the effects of Ebola on the industry signal the need for change, according to the chairman of the Chamber of Mines, who said the diversification could be beneficial.

A mine in Koidu, Sierra Leone. Falling iron ore prices and the Ebola crisis could force changes in the mining sector.Photograph: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

 John Bonoh Sisay said mining companies will also have to change the way they interact with local people, placing a greater emphasis on supporting healthcare systems as part of corporate social responsibility.

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Economist: Some high-tech solutions fail with fight against Ebola in West Africa

THE ECONOMIST                                                                                                   March 9, 2015

As in all Ebola episodes, preventing infection in West Africa during what has been the worst outbreak in history has placed a lot of effort on looking after those dealing with the victims. New high-tech equipment is now available for use by health care workers, but in some countries it may be inappropriate....

Health care workers inside a USAID-funded Ebola clinic in Liberia wearing protective gear. Some of the best protective gear or technology is not available to African countries because of high costs or other conditions.  Photos by Abbas Dulleh • Associated Press,

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Can Mental Health Services Spur Economic Recovery in Ebola-ravaged Liberia?

MAD in AMERICA                                                                                        March 9, 2015

What's the key to rebuilding Liberian communities and igniting the country's economic recovery in the wake of the devastation of the Ebola epidemic and civil war? Expanding mental health services, reported articles in Nature, Devex, StarAfrica and other outlets.

A new three-year, $3 million effort to expand mental health services in Liberia is being funded by the government of Japan through a World Bank-administered trust fund, reported Devex. "Developers of the project hope that an increased focus on mental health will help spur economic recovery and growth in the devastated region by helping build social capital and community trust, while fostering positive coping behaviors," stated Devex. "A new squad of child mental health clinicians will be deployed to approximately 60 schools, while community-based interventions beyond Ebola-affected communities will be strengthened...."

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First look at hospitalized Ebola survivors' immune cells could guide vaccine design

MEDICALXPRESS                                                                                                 March 9, 2015
Researchers from Emory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have now obtained a first look at the responses in four Ebola disease survivors who received care at Emory University Hospital in 2014, by closely examining their T and B cells during the acute phase of the disease. The findings reveal surprisingly high levels of , and have implications for the current effort to develop vaccines against Ebola.

The Ebola virus, isolated in November 2014 from patient blood samples obtained in Mali. The virus was isolated on Vero cells in a BSL-4 suite at Rocky Mountain Laboratories. Credit: NIAID

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Postmortem Stability of Ebola Virus

A CDC study suggests that the Ebola virus may still be able to cause disease a week after a person infected with the virus has died.

CDC  EMERGING INFECTIOUSNESS DISEASE JOURNAL        March, 2015
Abstract

The ongoing Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has highlighted questions regarding stability of the virus and detection of RNA from corpses. We used Ebola virus–infected macaques to model humans who died of Ebola virus disease. Viable virus was isolated 7 days posteuthanasia; viral RNA was detectable for 10 weeks.

Read complete study.

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/21/5/15-0041_article

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Liberia removes Ebola crematorium after last patient is cured, country's outbreak is contained

MONROVIA, Liberia — Marking the progress in controlling its Ebola outbreak, the Liberian government dismantled a crematorium and removed drums containing the ashes of more than 3,000 Ebola victims cremated during the height of the epidemic, whose last patient was discharged last week.

 Liberia resorted to cremating the bodies of Ebola victims when communities rejected burials in their areas for fear the disease could spread and contaminate their soil and affect them. The cremations were very controversial because they were against traditional burial practices. But those customs, including washing and touching the dead, spread the deadly Ebola which brought the government to impose cremations.

Religious leaders gathered Saturday at the former crematorium outside Monrovia and prayed for the victims who came from many different religious groups, Acting Information Minister Isaac Jackson told The Associated Press.

The 19 barrels of remains will be buried on a 25-acre plot bought by the government as a cemetery for Ebola victims.

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How big data is beating Ebola

Computational epidemiologists at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) have been working to combat the world’s largest and deadliest outbreak of Ebola. - See more at: http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123459120/how-big-data-beating-ebola#sthash.CTk2zlgo.dpuf
Computational epidemiologists at Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) have been working to combat the world’s largest and deadliest outbreak of Ebola. VBI’s Bryan Lewis writes - See more at: http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123459120/how-big-data-beating-ebola#sthash.CTk2zlgo.dpuf
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