Boots on the Ground

Bloomberg School students assess Ebola interventions at outbreak epicenter.

When the Red Cross asked for help conducting Ebola-related research in Guinea, Bloomberg School doctoral students Tim Roberton and Clementine Fu immediately stepped forward. From July 19 to August 1, the two worked in the outbreak’s initial epicenter in Guéckédou, and in the capital city of Conakry.

Over 300 Ebola deaths traced back to a healer in Sierra Leone



FREETOWN, Sierra Leone - It has laid waste to the tribal chiefdoms of Sierra Leone, leaving hundreds dead, but the Ebola crisis began with just one healer's claims to special powers.

The outbreak need never have spread from Guinea, health officials  told  AFP, except for a herbalist in the remote eastern border village of Sokoma.

Liberia President Declares Ebola Curfew


In this undated handout photo provided by Medecins Sans Frontieres, local staff and healthcare workers for Doctors Without Borders, exit an isolation ward in Guekedou, Guinea. For doctors and nurses fighting Ebola in West Africa, working in head-to-toe protective gear in muddy health clinics is often the least of their problems, as many also struggle to convince people they are there to stop Ebola, not spread it. (AP Photo/MSF) - by JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH - August 19, 2014

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) -- Liberia's president declared a curfew and ordered security forces to quarantine a slum home to at least 50,000 people late Tuesday as the West African country battled to stop the spread of Ebola in the capital. . .

. . . Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced late Tuesday that a curfew is going into place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Security forces also will be ensuring no one goes in or out of West Point, a slum in the capital where angry residents attacked an Ebola observation center over the weekend.

Ebola Crisis: 3 Receiving Untested Ebola Drug in Liberia Improving


A girl suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus has her temperature checked at the government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Although the outbreak began in Guinea, Liberia has now recorded the highest number of deaths and Sierra Leone the most cases. (Carl de Souza/AFP/Getty)

Ebola situation is 'less alarming' in Guinea than it is in Liberia and Sierra Leone, WHO says - Associated Press - August 19, 2014

Three Liberian health workers receiving an experimental drug for Ebola are showing signs of recovery, officials said Tuesday, though medical experts caution it is not certain if the drug is effective. . .

. . . The three Liberians are being treated with the last known doses of ZMapp, a drug that had earlier been given to two infected Americans and a Spaniard. The Americans are also improving, but the Spaniard died.


Grain Harvest Fact Sheet

Rice grains.

Image: Rice grains. - August 19th, 2014

With grain providing much of the calories that sustain humanity, the status of the world grain harvest is a good indicator of the adequacy of the food supply.

More than 2 billion tons of grain are produced each year worldwide, nearly half of it in just three countries: China, the United States, and India.

Corn, wheat, and rice account for most of the world’s grain harvest.


WHO: Ebola-Hit Countries Must Screen All Departing Travellers


An immigration officer uses an infra-red laser thermometer to examine a policeman on his arrival at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, August 11, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde - August 18, 2014

GENEVA (Reuters) - Authorities in countries affected by Ebola should check people departing at international airports, seaports and major border crossings and stop any with signs of the virus from travelling, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.

The U.N. health agency reiterated that the risk of getting infected with Ebola on an aircraft was small as infected people are usually too ill to travel, and said that the risk is also very low to travellers in affected countries, namely Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

There was no need for wider travel or trade restrictions, the WHO said in a statement.


MSF Begins Admitting Patients to Ebola Center in Monrovia, Liberia


A Doctors Without Borders staffer supervises as construction workers complete the new Ebola treatment center on August 17, 2014 near Monrovia, Liberia.  John Moore—Getty Images - August 18, 2014

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) admitted nine patients today into its newly constructed ELWA 3 Ebola Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia, beginning a process of scaling up operations at the 120-bed facility.

An Ebola outbreak continues to rage virtually unchecked in this city of approximately one million people, far exceeding the capacity of the few medical facilities accepting Ebola patients. Much of the city’s health system has shut down over fears of Ebola among staff members and patients, leaving many people without treatment for other conditions.

Full Report - WHO - Ethical Considerations for Use of Unregistered Interventions for Ebola Viral Disease

CDC’s Disease Detectives Respond to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak

Ute, a CDC laboratory specialist, works on viruses like Ebola. - August 18, 2014

The Most Important Test in West Africa

When a person in West Africa suddenly has a fever, how do you know whether it’s Ebola or something else?  When an Ebola patient gets better, how do you know when that person is no longer infectious to others?

To get answers to both questions, you need a laboratory equipped with state of the art equipment. To get those urgently needed answers quickly, that lab ideally would be located close to an Ebola treatment center.

It sounds difficult to build such a safe, sophisticated lab in a major city – and seems nearly impossible in the remote parts of Africa where Ebola outbreaks occur – but CDC has done it for other outbreaks and is doing it now in West Africa.  CDC mobile labs equipped with real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) equipment already are being set up next to West African Ebola treatment centers.

And Ute, a CDC expert, heads up the teams going with them.  When she’s not traveling to remote regions of the world, she’s at CDC headquarters in Atlanta working to speed diagnosis of the world’s worst viruses.

Nigeria trains 800 volunteers to fight Ebola

Ebola was first reported to reach Nigeria after an infected Liberian man arrived in the country's airport [AP] - 16 Aug 2014 18:20

Move follows appeal to make up for shortage of medical personnel due to doctors' strike over pay.

Nigeria has said it has trained 800 volunteers to battle Ebola as fears rose that the worst-ever outbreak of the deadly disease could spread across Africa's most populous nation.  Authorities in the capital Lagos last week appealed for volunteers to make up for a shortage of medical personnel because of a six-week nationwide doctors' strike over pay.

Suffering and song in Sierra Leone's Ebola 'hot zone'

08/16/2014 14:47 GMT - by Frankie TAGGART

KAILAHUN, August 16, 2014 (AFP) - Virologists call it the "hot zone" -- nature's version of a nuclear ground zero, the centre of an onslaught by one of the most deadly biological agents ever known to humankind.

Kailahun, a poor but resourceful trading post like any other in Sierra Leone until a few short months ago, has found itself at the epicentre of the worst-ever outbreak of the feared Ebola virus.

Ebola fears rise in Liberia after hospital looted

By Jonathan Paye-Layleh, Associated Press AUGUST 17, 2014

Liberian officials fear Ebola could soon spread through the capital's largest slum after residents raided a quarantine center for suspected patients and took items including bloody sheets and mattresses.

With Aid Doctors Gone, Ebola Fight Grows Harder


A Liberian health worker spoke with families in a classroom now used as an Ebola isolation ward on Friday in Monrovia, Liberia. People suspected of contracting the Ebola virus are being brought to the center, a closed primary school, while larger facilities are being built to house the surging number of patients. John Moore/Getty Images - by Sheri Fink -August 16, 2014

CDC Fighting Ebola at Home and Abroad: Staff Deployed to W Africa, Enhanced Surveillance, Testing, and Guidance in US - August 13, 2014

More than 50 CDC experts battling Ebola in Africa

Hundreds of public health professionals working 24/7 in support

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now has more than 50 disease detectives and other highly trained experts battling Ebola on the ground in West Africa – successfully deploying in less than two weeks the surge of help it promised within 30 days.

CDC’s Emergency Operations Center is also at its highest level of alert.  This means more than 350 CDC U.S. staff are working on logistics, communications, analytics, management, and other support functions to support the response 24/7.

“We are fulfilling our promise to the people of West Africa, Americans, and the world, that CDC would quickly ramp up its efforts to help bring the worst Ebola outbreak in history under control,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.  “We know how to stop Ebola.  It won’t be easy or fast, but working together with our U.S. and international partners and country leadership, together we are doing it.”

Resilience on the Fly: Christchurch’s SCIRT Offers a Model for Rebuilding After a Disaster

submitted by Samuel Bendett - by David Killick - August 15, 2014

You do not see it, but you certainly know when it is not there: infrastructure, the miles of underground pipes carrying drinking water, stormwater and wastewater, utilities such as gas and electricity, and fiber-optics and communications cables that spread likes veins and arteries under the streets of a city.

That calamity hit Christchurch, New Zealand, in a series of earthquakes that devastated the city in 2010 and 2011.

The organization created to manage Christchurch’s infrastructure rebuild – it is called SCIRT, for Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team— has a vital role, and it has become something of a global model for how to put the guts of a city back together again quickly and efficiently after a disaster.




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