Ebola Virus Mutating Rapidly as it Spreads

Outbreak likely originated with a single animal-to-human transmission.

nature.com - Erika Check Hayden - August 28, 2014

Augustine Goba and his colleagues have now decoded the genetic sequences of 99 Ebola viruses collected from 78 patients during the first 24 days of the epidemic in Sierra Leone. The work, published online in Science, could help to inform the design of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, says structural biologist Erica Ollmann Saphire of The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. “This paper is terrific,” she adds.

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First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal - health minister

DAKAR Aug 29 (Reuters) - The first case of Ebola has been confirmed in Senegal, a major hub for the business and aid community in West Africa, Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck told a news conference on Friday.

The minister said the case was a Guinean national who had arrived from the neighbouring West African country, where the deadly virus was first detected in March.

Reporting by Diadie Ba; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Emma Farge.

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Ebola spreads to Nigeria oil hub Port Harcourt

28 August 2014

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28966258

Nigeria has confirmed its first Ebola death outside Lagos – a doctor in the oil hub of Port Harcourt.

His wife has been put under quarantine, while a further 70 people in the city are under surveillance.

Latest figures show more than 1,550 people have died of Ebola, with at least 3,000 confirmed cases - mostly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the total number of cases could potentially exceed 20,000.

Cell-Phone Data Might Help Predict Ebola’s Spread

On the move: This model of West African regional transportation patterns was built using, among other sources, mobile-phone data for Senegal, released by the mobile carrier Orange.

Mobility data from an African mobile-phone carrier could help researchers recommend where to focus health-care efforts.

By David Talbot on August 22, 2014

Ebola outbreak 'could top 20,000'

Published on Aug. 28, 2014

An outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa could amount to 20,000 cases, the World Health organisation says (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention/PA) 

 

Ebola Causing Huge Damage to West Africa Economies: Development Bank

         

Health workers wearing protective clothing prepare to carry an abandoned dead body presenting with Ebola symptoms at Duwala market in Monrovia August 17, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/2Tango

reuters.com - By Josephus Olu-Mammah and Umaru Fofana - August 27, 2014

(Reuters) - The worst ever Ebola outbreak is causing enormous damage to West African economies as foreign businessmen quit the region, the African Development Bank said, while a leading medical charity branded the international response "entirely inadequate."

As transport companies suspend services, cutting off the region, governments and economists have warned that the epidemic could crush the fragile economic gains made in Sierra Leone and Liberia following a decade of civil war in the 1990s. . .

. . . Air France, the French network of Air France-KLM said on Wednesday it had suspended flights to Sierra Leone after advice from the French government.

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Researchers Unlock Clues to How Ebola Disarms Immune System

cell.com - medicinenet.com - nlm.nih.gov - theramatch.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 13, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've discovered how the deadly Ebola virus disables the immune system. They hope the findings will prove valuable in efforts to find treatments for the disease taking hundreds of lives in Africa. . .

. . . American researchers found that the Ebola protein VP24 disrupts a cell's natural immune response. They said this action is an important first step on Ebola's path to causing fatal disease, according to the study published Aug. 13 in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.

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CLICK HERE - STUDY - Ebola Virus VP24 Targets a Unique NLS Binding Site on Karyopherin Alpha 5 to Selectively Compete with Nuclear Import of Phosphorylated STAT1

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WHO Shuts Sierra Leone Lab After Worker Infected with Ebola

                         

A British man infected with the Ebola virus is loaded into a Royal Air Force (RAF) ambulance after being flown home on a C17 plane from Sierra Leone, at Northolt air base outside London, August 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Andrew Winning

af.reuters.com - By Umaru Fofana and Media Coulibaly - August 26, 2014

FREETOWN/KINSHASA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday it had shut a laboratory in Sierra Leone after a health worker there was infected with Ebola, a move that may hamper efforts to boost the global response to the worst ever outbreak of the disease.

. . . The WHO said it had withdrawn staff from the laboratory testing for Ebola at Kailahun -- one of only two in Sierra Leone -- after a Senegalese epidemiologist was infected with Ebola. . .

"It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers," WHO spokesperson Christy Feig said, without specifying how long the measure would last. "After our assessment, they will return."

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Ebola outbreak: Why Liberia's quarantine in West Point slum will fail

A relic of the Middle Ages, quarantines do more harm than good

By Amber Hildebrandt, CBC News Aug 25, 2014 5:00 AM ET

Medical experts say that mass quarantine is rarely if ever effective in stemming the spread of a contagion like Ebola, and the move by Liberia to cordon off a sprawling slum is likely to do more harm than good.

Democratic Republic of Congo Declares Ebola Outbreak in Northern Equateur Province

reuters.com - (Reporting by Bienvenu-Marie Bakumanya; Writing by Daniel Flynn; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)
August 24, 2014

(Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province on Sunday after two out of eight cases tested came back positive for the deadly virus, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said.

A mysterious disease has killed dozens of people in Equateur in recent weeks but the World Health Organization had said on Thursday it was not Ebola.

"I declare an Ebola epidemic in the region of Djera, in the territory of Boende in the province of Equateur," Kabange Numbi told a news conference. . .

. . . Numbi said that one of the two cases that tested positive was for the Sudanese strain of the disease, while the other was a mixture between the Sudanese and the Zaire strain -- the most lethal variety.

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Last Ebola-Free Region of Liberia Falls to Virus

reliefweb.int - by Zoom DOSSO with Selim SAHEB ETTABA in Dakar

MONROVIA, August 22, 2014 (AFP) - Every region of Liberia has now been hit by Ebola, officials said Friday, as the World Health Organization warned the fight against the worst-ever outbreak of the killer disease would take months.

After seeing people fall to the deadly virus in area after area, Liberia said two people had succumbed to the virus in Sinoe province, the last Ebola-free bastion in a country that has seen the biggest toll . . .

. . . The virus has spread relentlessly through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and Nigeria has also been affected despite showing some progress in fighting the epidemic . . .

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Ozone-Depleting Compound Found In Unexpected Concentrations Despite Ban

Video: Earth's atmosphere contains an unexpectedly large amount of an ozone-depleting compound from an unknown source decades after the compound was banned worldwide.

huffingtonpost.com - August 23rd, 2014 - Katherine Boehrer

New research from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows that large quantities of a chemical responsible for depleting the ozone layer are still being emitted, even years after an international ban.

New measurements have revealed that despite the Montreal Protocol, which limits the use of a variety of ozone-depleting chemicals, releases of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) continue. There should be zero emissions of the compound under the international agreement, but NASA measurements show an average of 39 kilotons are still emitted every year.

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Ebola - Existence of an Invisible Caseload of Patients Who are Not Being Detected by the Surveillance System

Photo: CDC

As Ebola outbreak grows, WHO notes case-count difficulties

cidrap.umn.edu - by Robert Roos - August 22, 2014

. . . the World Health Organization (WHO) conceded that the size of the epidemic has been underestimated and cited a list of reasons for that, from concealment and denial of cases to the closing of treatment centers and clinics. . .

. . . The WHO also said that in parts of Liberia, newly opened treatment facilities have been immediately flooded with patients, many of whom were not previously identified. "This phenomenon strongly suggests the existence of an invisible caseload of patients who are not being detected by the surveillance system."

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WHO Expert in West Africa Infected by the Ebola Virus

Assessment of the Risk of Ebola Virus Transmission from Bodily Fluids and Fomites

      

jid.oxfordjournals.org

  1. J Infect Dis. (2007) 196 (Supplement 2): S142-S147. doi: 10.1086/520545

Abstract

Although Ebola virus (EBOV) is transmitted by unprotected physical contact with infected persons, few data exist on which specific bodily fluids are infected or on the risk of fomite transmission. Therefore, we tested various clinical specimens from 26 laboratory-confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, as well as environmental specimens collected from an isolation ward, for the presence of EBOV. Virus was detected by culture and/or reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction in 16 of 54 clinical specimens (including saliva, stool, semen, breast milk, tears, nasal blood, and a skin swab) and in 2 of 33 environmental specimens.We conclude that EBOV is shed in a wide variety of bodily fluids during the acute period of illness but that the risk of transmission from fomites in an isolation ward and from convalescent patients is low when currently recommended infection control guidelines for the viral hemorrhagic fevers are followed.

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