What providers can learn from infectious disease outbreaks

FIERCEHEALTHCARE                 by                                                                Jan. 5. 2015

(Two items. Scroll down.)

With the Ebola crisis far from over as a new year begins, both this current threat to global health as well as past infectious disease outbreaks carry important lessons for critical care providers, according to an article in the American Journal of Critical Care.

Because new pathogens are so unpredictable, "outbreaks reinforce the importance of critical care knowledge, skill and teamwork in uncertain situations," wrote Cindy L. Munro, R.N., Ph.D., and Richard H. Savel, M.D, both editors of the AJCC. "The recent Ebola outbreak reminds us that hand-washing, personal protective equipment and pristine technique are essential."

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The Race for the Ebola Vaccine

THE DAILY BEAST  by Abby Haglage                                                                  Jan. 7, 2015

...Although a few smaller companies have become involved in the race for a vaccine, three major pharmaceutical makers are taking the lead—each pursuing a different vaccine. The trials are unprecedented for a variety of reasons, including the rapid timeline (trials of this nature generally take three to four years).

                                                      Steve Parsons-WPA Pool/Getty Images

Each individual race involves an unusual collaboration between researchers, manufacturers, and public-health entities. Together, the teams are working 24 hours a day for a product that promises much higher risk than it does profit.

Here’s what you need to know about the Ebola vaccine front-runners.

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Effort on Ebola Hurt W.H.O. Chief

NEW YORK TIMES  by Somini Sengupta                                                  Jan. 7, 2015

....Now, Ebola is battering three fragile countries in Africa and with it, the W.H.O.’s standing — in large part, Dr. Chan’s critics say, because she let governments around the world steer the agency to fit their own needs, instead of firmly taking the helm as the world’s doctor in chief.

Diplomacy is an inevitable, even necessary, part of running the world’s main health organization, vital to getting fractious countries to cooperate for the sake of global health, her critics acknowledge.

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Ebola deaths top 8,000; exposures trigger health worker evacuations

Ebola: Roundup of recent developments

(Two items. Scroll down for UNMEER report.)

CENTER FOR INFECTIOUSNESS DISEASE AND POLICY   by Lisa Schnirring                              Jan. 5, 2015

As deaths in West Africa's Ebola outbreak officially topped 8,000 over the weekend, leadership of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) changed hands, and Guinea launched a new effort to battle the disease amid continuing reports of community resistance....

In other developments, Guinea's government has announced the launch of a campaign called "zero Ebola in 60 days", UNMEER said today. Guinea's Ebola case counts have been oscillating over the past several months, and in its most recent update, the WHO said it's not clear what the trend is. The first part of Guinea's campaign will start Tuesday, with expert teams traveling to six regions to assess local response efforts and form an action plan for each prefecture that dovetails with Guinea's national action plan.

UNMEER said the campaign's working groups are targeting surveillance, case management, infection control, community engagement and social mobilization, and safe burials.

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UN: Ebola kills 8,153 people in West Africa, infects 20,650

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                      Jan. 5, 2015

GENEVA --The World Health Organization says at least 8,153 people have died in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The Geneva-based body said Monday that the total number of confirmed, probable and suspected deaths from the disease comes from 20,656 cases in the three most affected countries — a mortality rate of 39 percent.

The U.N. health agency says 2,915 deaths have been reported from Sierra Leone, 3,471 in Liberia and 1,767 in Guinea.

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J&J, Bavarian Nordic start clinical tests in Ebola vaccine race

REUTERS     by Ben Hirschler                              Jan. 6, 2015
LONDON --Johnson & Johnson has started clinical trials of its experimental Ebola vaccine, which uses a booster from Denmark's Bavarian Nordic, making it the third such shot to enter human testing.

The initiation of the Phase I study in Britain, which had been expected about now, marks further progress in the race to develop a vaccine against a disease that has killed more than 8,000 people in West Africa since last year.

Two other experimental vaccines, one from GlaxoSmithKline and a rival from NewLink and Merck, are already in clinical development. However, the J&J vaccine offers a different approach, since it involves two separate injections.

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Ebola’s legacy: After the passing

The virus will have a long-lasting impact on already poor countries

THE ECONOMIST                                                                                                      Jan. 3, 2015
When Ebola was at its worst in west Africa a few months ago, many worried that weak governments in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone might be swept away by riots or the collapse of order as the virus took hold. In fact, the opposite appears to be the case. Governments have tightened their grip and are displaying authoritarian inclinations in ways rarely seen in the three young democracies....

The disease, meanwhile, continues to spread. In the week to December 21st, Guinea experienced its highest incidence of the virus since the outbreak began (see chart). In Liberia dozens of new cases have been reported along the border with Sierra Leone.

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Liberia close to beating Ebola as cases dwindle

THE GUARDIAN  by Lisa O'Caroll                                                                       Jan. 5, 2015

Liberia appears close to beating Ebola, with plans to reopen schools next month after the latest figures showed the infection rate has dwindled to just over four cases a day.

Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, announced that schools would reopen on 2 February. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

The US also plans to withdraw about half its 2,400 troops six months after the virus struck, claiming 3,400 lives.

Optimism has been increased by figures issued by the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (Unmeer). They show the country had no confirmed Ebola cases on 31 December and just 91 cases in the past 21 days.

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Ebola: as ZMapp stocks run out doctors turn to alternative treatments

THE GUARDIAN by                                 Jan, 5, 2015
LONDON --Even at the Royal Free hospital in London, the lead UK specialist centre for Ebola, doctors have limited options for treating their patients. In the end, survival may depend more on the strength of an individual’s immune system than anything medical science is currently able to do.

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Travelers from Mali no longer need to go through enhanced Ebola screenings

WASHINGTON POST    by Marc Berman                                                  Jan. 5, 2015

People flying to the United States from Mali will no longer need to go through enhanced Ebola screening at U.S. airports, authorities announced Monday.

An interview with a passenger arriving from a country with known instances of Ebola. (Josh Denmark/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Reuters)

The change, which goes into effect Tuesday, also means that people flying from Mali no longer have to travel through the five U.S. airports that use the screening methods. Travelers from Mali will continue to be screened before leaving that country, and anyone who flew from Mali to the United States before Tuesday is still supposed to monitor themselves for 21 days and report symptoms.

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Merck-NewLink Ebola vaccine trial resumes at lower dose: Geneva hospital

(Two stories. Scroll down.)

REUTERS                                                       Jan. 5, 2015

GENEVA --The clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck and NewLink resumed on Monday at a lower dose after a pause to assess complaints of joint pains in some volunteers, the University of Geneva hospital said.

The Geneva hospital announced on Dec. 11 that its vaccine trial had been suspended as a precautionary measure after four patients complained of joint pains. On Monday, the hospital said 10 of 59 volunteers who received the vaccine had felt pains in their joints "similar to rheumatism" after some two weeks, but these symptoms had disappeared rapidly without any treatment.

Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory agency, and ethics and safety committees have approved the resumption of the trial at a lower dose, the hospital said in a statement.

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Ebola wipes out every mother in Liberian village

In Joeblow, Liberia, every mother has been killed by Ebola leaving a village full of confused and devastated children

THE TELEGRAPH by  Sarah Knapton                          Jan, 5, 2015

For 11-year-old Montgomery Philip, childhood is over. Six months ago he would have been playing football with his schoolmates, but now his job is to care for his 10-monthold baby brother Jenkie. The pair are both victims of the Ebola virus. Not because they caught the disease, but because they live in Joeblow, Liberia, where the devastating outbreak has killed every mother in the village.

                              Chloe Brett has been working to find homes for children left behind in the aftermath of the outbreak

The women died because social convention decrees it is they who tend to the sick and bury the dead.

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Could a pregnant woman change the way we think about Ebola?

THE WASHINGTON POST by Kevin Sieff                          Jan. 5, 2015

PORT LOKO, Sierra Leone — When Fatmata Kabia walked into the Ebola isolation center, her chances of survival were almost zero.

Not because her symptoms were particularly bad — though they were. Not because the disease had already killed most of her family — though it had. Kabia, 21, appeared doomed for another reason: She was pregnant.

Meratu Koroma, 18, four months pregnant, battles intense pain while waiting for an Ebola test in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

Few diseases are less understood than the Ebola virus, which has claimed more than 7,900 lives across West Africa. But one thing is clear: Pregnant Ebola patients rarely survive. And their babies never do.

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Save the Children probe how UK nurse contracted Ebola

BBC                                                                                                   Jan. 5, 2015

The charity Save the Children has said "no stone will be left unturned" in its investigation into how a British nurse working at an Ebola treatment centre contracted the disease.

 Pauline Cafferkey was diagnosed after returning to Glasgow a week ago. She had been working with the charity in Kerrytown, Sierra Leone.

Ms Cafferkey is critically ill in a north London hospital after her condition worsened in recent days.

Save the Children's Sierra Leone Director Rob MacGillivray told the BBC the charity would carry out a special investigation over and above its routine reviews....

He said the investigation would look at how protective equipment is used, and at person-to-person contact both inside and outside the Kerrytown treatment centre where the nurse worked.

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New Ebola Lockdown in Sierra Leone as Airport Checks Upped

Agence France-Presse                                                                                    Jan. 4, 2015

Freetown:  The Ebola lockdown in the northern Tonkolili district of Sierra Leone was extended on Sunday for two weeks as authorities stepped up the fight to contain the epidemic.

The move comes as the government imposed "additional screening measures" at Freetown International Airport after two workers apparently caught the disease.

A five-day lockdown had been declared by the government across the badly-hit north of the country last month.

More than 70 cases of the virus had been confirmed in Tonkolili during a five-week locked down there ordered by local authorities, District Coordinator Salieu Bah told journalists.


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