Obama: U.S. military to provide equipment, resources to battle Ebola epidemic in Africa

- Sep 7 - The Washington Post

President Obama said Sunday that the U.S. military will begin aiding what has been a chaotic and ineffective response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, arguing that it represents a serious national security concern.

The move significantly ramps up the U.S. response and comes as the already strained military is likely to be called upon further to address militant threats in the Middle East. The decision to involve the military in providing equipment and other assistance for international health workers in Africa comes after mounting calls from some unlikely groups — most prominently the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders — demonstrating to the White House the urgency of the issue.


Ebola Spurs A Full Public Lockdown In Sierra Leone

  Hoping to stop a virus that has killed hundreds of its citizens, Sierra Leone will institute a temporary lockdown this month. This photo from August shows people walking in Kenema, in a part of Sierra Leone that's been hit hard by the outbreak. Carl De Souza/AFP/Getty Imagesby Bill Chappell - Sep 06, 2014 8:57 AM ET - NPR

Sierra Leone will impose a three-day lockdown on all its citizens, as part of a plan to "deal with Ebola once and for all," the government says. The move is an effort to stop the disease that has killed over 2,000 people in five West African countries, according to World Health Organization data.

But the lockdown's effectiveness will depend on citizens buying in to the government's plan. From Nairobi, NPR's Gregory Warner reports:

"From Sept. 19 to 21, the people of Sierra Leone will have to remain in their homes so health workers can isolate new Ebola cases and prevent the disease from spreading. But the lockdown will have to be mostly voluntary. Sierra Leone does not have the police or military capacity to enforce it on 6 million citizens.

Guinean government halts Ebola Education activities in southeast region

Sierra Leone begins three-day lockdown to counter Ebola

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — One of the most stringent anti-Ebola measures to date began here Friday morning as Sierra Leone imposed a three-day national lockdown, ordering people off the streets and into their homes in an effort to stamp out the deadly disease.

Police officers patrolled the streets of the densely populated capital, telling stragglers to go home and stay indoors. Volunteers in bright jerseys prepared to go house-to-house throughout the country to warn people about Ebola’s dangers and to root out those who might be infected but were staying in hiding.

The normally busy streets of Freetown were empty Friday morning, stores were closed and pedestrians were rare on the main thoroughfares.

The country’s president, justifying the extraordinary move in a radio address Thursday night, suggested that Sierra Leone was engaged in a life-or-death struggle with the disease.

Some Airports Are Taking The Temperature of Passengers


September 18, 201412:07 PM ET
A health official uses a handheld infrared thermometer on a passenger arriving at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Nigeria.

A health official uses a handheld infrared thermometer on a passenger arriving at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Nigeria.

Sunday Alamba/AP

Airports in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are relying on a familiar tool to stop the spread of Ebola: the thermometer.

U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps to Help Treat Ebola Patients in Liberia


hhs.gov - September 16, 2014

A team of specialized officers from the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is being prepared to deploy to manage and staff a previously announced U.S. Department of Defense hospital in Liberia to care for health care workers who become ill from Ebola.

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Commissioned Corps is an elite uniformed service with more than 6,800 full-time, highly qualified public health professionals, serving the most underserved and vulnerable populations domestically and abroad.

Sixty-five Commissioned Corps officers, with diverse clinical and public health backgrounds, will travel to Liberia to provide direct patient care to health care workers. In addition to their professional expertise, these officers will undergo further intensive training in Ebola response and advanced infection control.

UN Announces Mission to Combat Ebola, Declares Outbreak ‘Threat to Peace and Security’


18 September 2014 – The Security Council, in its first emergency meeting on a public health crisis, today declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a threat to peace and security, as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that the United Nations will deploy a new emergency health mission to combat one of most horrific diseases on the planet that has shattered the lives of millions.

“This international mission, to be known as the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, will have five priorities: stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks,” Mr. Ban told the Security Council.

“Under the leadership of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the Mission will bring together the full range of UN actors and expertise in support of national efforts,” he said, adding that details of the mission were sent in a letter to the Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

U.N. Security Council - Peace and Security in Africa (Ebola)


September 18, 2014

Deadly Ebola Outbreak Matters to Everyone, Secretary-General Tells Security Council, Urging Financial Support for Special Emergency Response Mission

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Security Council meeting on Ebola, in New York today:



Update: Attacks on WHO Healthcare Workers in Nzerekore Region of Guinea

The flutrackers forum has been an excellent source of Ebola-related information.  Here is a summary of their updates on the attacks on WHO healthcare workers in the Nzerekore region of Guinea (see actual flutrackers posts in the link below).

Last month (in August 2014) the general market area of Nzerekore was sprayed (to disinfect) by healthcare workers during the night, without the people being informed that the spraying would be taking place.

The people of Nzerekore were angered by this action, so a riot broke out the following morning.  Since then, the people of Nzerekore have had an aversion to healthcare workers.

When the WHO healthcare workers arrived (this week) to educate the people on Ebola, they were quickly surrounded and their bodyguards were overcome by large numbers of youth from the village.  The WHO healthcare workers and the bodyguards were assaulted, and had to flee for their lives.  The number of injured and deaths from this attack has not yet been determined. Some may still be in hiding, or being held hostage.

Healthcare workers should not enter this epicenter region until an understanding with the people of the village is reached.

DRC Ebola outbreak 'distinct and independent event,' say WHO

BWHO state that "the virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in West Africa."y Catharine Paddock PhD - Medical News Today - Updated: 3 Sep 2014 3am PST

The World Health Organization have announced that the Ebola virus in the new outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo is not derived from strains circulating in the current outbreak in West Africa. 

"Results from virus characterization, together with findings from the epidemiological investigation, are definitive: the outbreak in DRC is a distinct and independent event, with no relationship to the outbreak in West Africa," says a situation statement the World Health Organization (WHO) released on Tuesday.


U.N. Leader Plans Stronger Presence in Ebola Zone

submitted by Mike Kraft


A burial team on Wednesday collected the body of a person who was thought to have died from Ebola in Monrovia, Liberia. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

nytimes.com - By SOMINI SENGUPTA, RICK GLADSTONE and SHERI FINK - September 17, 2014

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said on Wednesday that he planned to establish a new on-the-ground mission in West Africa to coordinate the struggle against Ebola, a move that signaled his concern with the response so far and the limitations of the World Health Organization’s abilities.

In an interview with the editorial board of The New York Times, Mr. Ban said that he intended to ask the General Assembly to support his plan in order to demonstrate the unanimous global concern about Ebola, the deadly virus that is spreading at exponential rates in three Western African countries.

Ebola Training for Health Care Workers to Begin in Northeast Alabama

al.gov - by Mike Oliver - September 15, 2014

ANNISTON, Alabama -- Everything you need to know about treating Ebola -- and staying alive doing so -- will be taught in training sessions which kick off with a pilot program Sept. 22 in this northeastern Alabama town.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is behind this series of 3-day training sessions for health care workers who may deploy to Africa's hotspots, said CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund.

"This is something new we are doing for the outbreak," she said.

According to a sample syllabus, topics range from laboratory and diagnostic testing to simulating drawing blood from an Ebola patient (no real Ebola patients will participate.)

Participants will also learn how to transport or move patients, proper ways to dispose of waste and burial procedures.


CLICK HERE - CDC Safety Training Course for Healthcare Workers Going to West Africa in Response to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

Very Few Aircraft Equipped to Evacuate Ebola Patients

submitted by Mike Kraft


Phoenix Air, which has equipped two Gulfstream III planes to accommodate Ebola patients, has so far transported 5 such patients.  Photo - Phoenix Air Group

cidrap.umn.edu - by Robert Roos - September 16, 2014

With West Africa's burgeoning Ebola epidemic expected to last at least 6 to 9 more months, the demand for evacuations of visiting medical workers who get infected seems likely to grow. That demand might well collide with a shortage of aircraft that are equipped to safely transport Ebola patients.

The four Ebola patients who have been evacuated from West Africa to the United States have all been flown by Phoenix Air of Carterville, Ga., which has two Gulfstream III business jets that are specially equipped to carry such patients at minimal risk to others on the plane.

Other aircraft that are properly equipped to transport Ebola patients are very scarce, according to US mission organizations that have arranged evacuations for a few of their workers in West Africa.


Hell in the Hot Zone


DON'T TOUCH Health workers in protective gear prepare to see patients at the Ebola-treatment center in the courtyard of Donka hospital, in Conakry, Guinea.  Photo: by Jeffery E. Stern

vanityfair.com - by Jeffery E. Stern - October 2014

As the Ebola epidemic rages, two questions have emerged: How did the deadly virus escape detection for three months? And why has a massive international effort failed to contain it? Traveling to Meliandou, a remote Guinean village and the likely home of Patient Zero, Jeffrey E. Stern tracks the virus’s path—and the psychological contagion that is still feeding the worst Ebola outbreak in history.


Subcommittee Hearing: Global Efforts to Fight Ebola - September 17, 2014



House Committee on Foreign Affairs - Subcommittee Hearing: Global Efforts to Fight Ebola

2172 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Sep 17, 2014 10:00am to 1:00pm

Chairman Smith on the hearing: “This latest outbreak of the Ebola virus has far outpaced all previous outbreaks.  Because of various challenges heretofore unseen, such as urban infections, cross-border transmissions and increasing infections and deaths of health care workers, the current outbreak is expanding exponentially.  This hearing will examine the problems faced by the global coalition to fight Ebola. We will hear directly from the National Institutes of Health, the FDA and an American doctor who contracted and survived Ebola, and other witnesses.”


Panel I


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