Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change

      

Women working in fields in northeastern Syria in 2010.  A new report suggests extreme drought in Syria was most likely a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011. Credit Louai Beshara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Climate change in the Fertile Crescent and implications of the recent Syrian drought

nytimes.com - by Henry Fountain - March 2, 2015

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Maternal health: Ebola’s lasting legacy

One of the most devastating consequences of the Ebola outbreak will be its impact on maternal health.

NATURE  by Erika Check Hayden                                                                                       March 5, 2015
...Ebola is having tremendous knock-on effects for maternal health in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Pregnancy seems to make women uniquely vulnerable to the effects of the disease, and babies born to infected women have not been known to survive.

 

Uninfected but affected: women line up for perinatal care at a Marie Stopes centre in Sierra Leone. Marie Stopes, Sierra Leone, supported by DFID/UKAID

Compounding these individual tragedies, the blood and abundant bodily fluid that accompanies delivery or miscarriage pose enormous risk of infection to health workers. As a result, many refuse to treat patients who are pregnant for fear that they will become infected.

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Europe Unlikely to Meet Climate Goal, Study Finds

CLICK HERE - SOER 2015
— The European environment — state and outlook 2015

CLICK HERE - Synthesis Report
The European environment — state and outlook 2015

CLICK HERE - Assessment of Global Megatrends
The European environment — state and outlook 2015

nytimes.com - by Melissa Eddy - March 2, 2015

BERLIN — The European Union will fail to meet an ambitious goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 unless it takes more aggressive measures to limit the use of fossil fuels and adopts new environmental policies, according to a report released on Tuesday.

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Ebola’s mental-health wounds linger in Africa

 

Health-care workers struggle to help people who have been traumatized by the epidemic.

 SCIENCE  by Sarah  Reardon                                                                                       March 3, 2015

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa may be fading, but its impact on mental health could linger for years. Survivors are often haunted by traumatic memories and face rejection by society when they return home, and those who never contracted the disease may grieve for lost relatives or struggle to cope with extreme anxiety.

 

The trauma caused by death and fear is having long-term ramifications on the people of Sierra Leone.

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Back to School, Though Not Back to Normal, in a Liberia Still Fearful of Ebola

NEW YORK TIMES   by Norimitsu Onishi                                                                         March 5, 2015

MONROVIA --About eight months after governments in the region closed schools to stop the spread of Ebola, uniformed and backpack-carrying schoolchildren have returned to the streets of Monrovia, the capital, perhaps the most visible sign of the epidemic’s ebb.

James Nyema, 9, a second-grader known as J.C., wore pink mittens as students at the C.D.B. King Elementary School in Monrovia rose to sing Liberia’s national anthem. It was their first day back, eight months after schools were closed to stop the spread of Ebola. Many of the children wore long sleeves and trousers that covered as much skin as possible.Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Ebola?

LIVE SCIENCE  by Rahael Retner                             March 5, 2015

Texas nurse Nina Pham, who was infected with Ebola, says she has had ongoing health problems since being cured of the disease, and experts say this is not uncommon for Ebola survivors.

The long-term effects of Ebola have not been well studied, and doctors will likely learn a lot more about the disease's aftermath from the most recent outbreak in West Africa, the largest in history, said Dr. Jesse Goodman, an infectious-disease expert and a professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

 But it is clear that Ebola survivors can experience health problems that remain with them temporarily as a result of their battle with the disease, Goodman said....

 These symptoms may result, in part, from the body's release of certain immune-system chemicals called cytokines. These chemicals fight the disease but make people feel sick. Dehydration, low blood pressure and nutrition problems that people experience during an Ebola infection can also injure a person's muscles or other tissues, Goodman said.

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Ebola in graphics The toll of a tragedy

THE ECONOMIST   by the Data Team                                                                         March 5, 2015

Graphics illustrating the Ebola situation.


See complete set of Graphics

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/03/ebola-graphics

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Guinea to start final trials of Ebola vaccines this week

REUTERS by Kate Kelland and Tom Miles                      March 5, 2015

LONDON/GENEVA --Final stage trials of an Ebola vaccine being developed by Merck and NewLink Genetics will begin in Guinea on March 7, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Signaling global health authorities' determination to see through trials despite a sharp drop in cases in the West Africa epidemic, the WHO said a second shot, developed by GlaxoSmithKline will be tested "in a sequential study, as supply becomes available".

All three worst-hit countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - aim to conduct final-stage trials of vaccines, and Liberia is already testing the GlaxoSmithKline and Merck-NewLink shots, while Sierra Leone is expected to announce plans soon.

But recent steep declines in new Ebola cases will make it far harder to prove whether experimental vaccines work, as the vaccine's effect will be difficult to establish.

The WHO, however, said it was committed to pushing ahead.

Read complete story.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/05/us-health-ebola-vaccine-idUSKBN0M10ZD20150305

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Last Ebola Patient Is Released in Liberia

ASSOCIATED PRESS by JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH                                             March 5, 2015

MONROVIA -- Liberia released its last Ebola patient, a 58-year old English teacher, from a treatment center in the capital on Thursday, beginning its countdown to being declared Ebola free.

"I am one of the happiest human beings today on earth because it was not easy going through this situation and coming out alive," Beatrice Yardolo told The Associated Press after her release.

...The St. Paul's Bridge community where she resides and teaches had become the last "hotspot" for Ebola cases in Monrovia, according to Tolbert Nyenswah, Assistant Health Minister and head of the country's Ebola response.

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ACLU sues Christie administration over withheld Ebola documents

NEW JERSEY ADVANCE MEDIA By Kathleen O'Brien           March 4, 2015
 How did Gov. Chris Christie's administration come up with its policies and protocols for handling Ebola?

Nurse Kaci Hickox was a Maine nurse returning to the United States after volunteering to help with the Ebola crisis when she ran afoul of New Jersey's newly instituted quarantine policy. Here she is in isolation at University Hospital in Newark in the fall of 2014.

To get the answer, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey asked to see emails and other policy communications from top officials in the N.J. Department of Health.

Those requests were denied or otherwise rebuffed, the group said in a lawsuit filed yesterday that claims the state is in violation of the Open Public Records Act. Its lawsuit asks the court to fine the state and order it to provide the documents.

Read complete story.

http://www.nj.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2015/03/aclu_sues_nj_over_ebola_documents.html

 

 

 

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Case Study: Nebraska's Ebola isolation and decontamination approach

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY                                                                                                 March 4, 2015

The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit (NBU), located at the Nebraska Medical Center, has shared its protocol for Ebola patient discharge, handling a patient's body after death and environmental disinfection in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Discharge process for a patient treated for EVD

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Ebola: Epidemic is not over – key areas still need to be tackled

Description of key Ebola areas---MSF

MSF                                                        March 3, 2015

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues, albeit with decreasing intensity. The virus has infected more than 23,700 people across the region since the outbreak was declared 11 months ago. While the number of new patients in Liberia is declining, numbers are still fluctuating in both Guinea and Sierra Leone. A total of 99 new confirmed cases were reported across the three worst affected countries during the week up to 22 February 2015.

The unpredictable nature of the epidemic means that teams from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are maintaining a flexible approach and continuing to respond where the needs are greatest in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

See country-by-country analysis and complete story.

http://www.msf.org/article/ebola-epidemic-not-over-%E2%80%93-key-areas-still-need-be-tackled

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Ebola: UN tells Brussels meeting world must ‘stay on course’ to get to, remain at zero cases

UNITED NATIONS NEWS CENTRE                           March 4, 2015

BRUSSELS --Representatives of United Nations organizations engaged in the response against Ebola pledged their support Ttuesday to the worst-affected West African countries in “each stage of this journey; the drive to zero, the early recovery, the medium and longer term development.”

UN and EU meet in Brussels, Belgium, to take stock of the Ebola situation and identify ways forward. Photo: UNMEER

The pledge was made at a high-level international conference on Ebola sponsored by the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, aimed at maintaining global attention on the crisis, taking stock of the fight against the epidemic and on coordinating next steps and discussing the recovery process.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, said that current phase of the response “is the hardest part and a bumpy road” and urged the international community to remain fully engaged until the task is completed, especially as the virus is moving and as some communities are reticent about being engaged in the response.

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Ebola ‘leaves 12,000 orphans in Sierra Leone’

THE GUARDIAN  by  Lisa O'Carroll                                                                        March 4, 2015

The devastating impact of the Ebola crisis was laid bare this week with a report showing more than 12,000 children have been orphaned by the disease in Sierra Leone.

They have been identified in the first national survey of orphans, which was conducted by the British charity Street Child. It says the future for these children is dire. Many are living in fear without the support and security of parents, but the charity says there is light at the end of the tunnel “if the international aid community works together”.

The charity found that some children, rejected by their friends because of the stigma of Ebola, have tried to take their own lives, while girls are being forced into commercial sex work to earn money for food their parents would have previously provided.

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Sierra Leone's young community leaders are best weapon against Ebola

COMMENTARY: Foreign leaders discussing solutions to the Ebola epidemic must acknowledge the contribution made by local workers to reduce infection rates

    

     International response … leaders of Ebola-hit countries in west Africa and EU commissioners attend a conference in    Brussels on Ebola on Tuesday 3 March. Photograph: Thierry Charlier/AFP/Getty Images

THE GUARDIAN by James Fofanah                                                                    March 3, 2015

...The international community’s initial focus on a purely medical response – and a megaphone broadcast of the over-simplistic message that “Ebola is real” – was a failure, and a major reason for the rapid spread of the disease at the early-to-middle stages of the epidemic.

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