French scientists roll out rapid diagnostic test for Ebola

 FIERCE DIAGNOSTICS                            Oct. 23, 2014


French scientists are developing a diagnostic tool that works similar to a home pregnancy test and can quickly identify the virus through a tiny fluid sample.


  CEA's Ebola testing kit uses strips to rapidly identify the presence of the virus in fluid samples.--Courtesy of France's Atomic Energy  Commission

France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is teaming up with European pharma company Vedalab to roll out a user-friendly testing system than could diagnose Ebola in less than 15 minutes, the agency said in a statement. The kit, dubbed "Ebola eZYSCREEN," includes a hand-held device that reads small samples of blood, plasma or urine to detect the virus, and shows results in stripes through a window on the tool.

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Ebola crisis: Mali vows to keep Guinea border open despite child's death


REUTERS                                         OCT. 25, 2014

BAMAKO--Mali will not close its borders with neighbouring Guinea after its first Ebola-related death, president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita says.

A two-year-old girl infected with the disease was brought across the frontier by her grandmother and died in Mali this week.

Mr Keita said that the incident showed it was impossible to completely seal his country off from Ebola but said he remained calm as the girl's journey and potential contacts had already been traced.

It comes as Mauritania has closed its border with Mali after the Ebola case was confirmed in Mali's western region, two Mauritanian officials said on Saturday.There is little accurate data but border closures by West African states trying to protect themselves from the epidemic have had a crippling effect on regional economies.

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Ebola In US: President Obama Lauds CDC Response, Urges Public To Be 'Guided By Science'

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES                 Oct. 25, 2014


U.S. President Barack Obama again encouraged Americans to be “guided by the facts, not fear” in their assessments of Ebola virus disease as he discussed the first confirmed case in New York and the national response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in his weekly address Saturday. Obama also mentioned the recoveries of Ashoka Mukpo and Nina Pham, who both tested negative for Ebola this week, and stressed the difficulty of contracting the virus.

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Most New Yorkers Aren't Freaking Out About Ebola, So You Shouldn't Either

 New York City Council District 7 Community Liason Fidel Malena hands out flyers about Ebola risk near the apartment building of Ebola patient Dr. Craig Spencer, in New York, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014. Spencer remained in stable condition while isolated in a hospital, talking by cellphone to his family and assisting disease detectives who are accounting for his every movement since arriving in New York from Guinea via Europe on Oct. 17. (AP Photo/Richard Drew) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

THE HUFFINGTON POST                                                          Oct. 24, 2014

NEW YORK -- As news of New York City's first confirmed Ebola case spreads through the city, New Yorkers -- even those at the hospital where the patient is being treated, who rode the same subway lines he traveled on and who live in his building -- are remaining markedly calm....

Zachary Hasselbring, a New York University student riding the A train, ...said  "I think everybody's overreacting a bit," he said. "It's blown out of proportion."

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Doctors, aid workers fight Ebola in West Africa, then fear of disease in U.S.

WASHINGTON POST                                                                                   Oct. 25, 2014      
By Deneen L. Brown

Workers and volunteers face unease after flying to virus epicenters

Dr. David Schnabel, epidemic intelligence service officer with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, works with database training of Ministry of Health staff at the Bo District Surveillance Office in Sierra Leone in August. (Gbessay Saffa)

"David Schnabel, a former Army doctor who lives in Baltimore, said he hasn’t talked much with people he doesn’t know about his five-week trip to Sierra Leone. Schnabel, who was working for the CDC in the hard-hit Bo District, returned on Sept. 29.

“'I can tell you I did not broadcast where I had been before or after I returned to strangers,” said Schnabel, who trained Sierra Leoneans on Ebola safety protocols rather than caring for patients. “I understood the emotional response to Ebola. To protect myself from any stigma, I consciously was careful who I told.'”

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New Ebola Quarantine Protocol Seen as Barrier to Volunteers

NEW YORK TIMES               Oct. 25, 2014
by David W. Shin and Liz Robbins

The surprise decision by the governors of New York and New Jersey yesterday to impose a mandatory quarantine on persons who arrived at area airports and had contact with Ebola infected persons has touched off concern that it will deter people from volunteering to work in West Africa.

"Among medical professionals who have been fighting Ebola in West Africa, the restrictions only intensified the debate. While a few of those interviewed said an overabundance of caution was welcome, the vast majority said that restrictions like those adopted by New York and New Jersey could cripple volunteers’ efforts at the front lines of the epidemic."

" Dr. Rick Sacra, who contracted Ebola in Liberia and was flown back to the United States to be treated in September, said...many doctors and nurses who volunteered would spend about three weeks in Africa and then return to their regular jobs. The requirement that they be quarantined at home upon their return “will effectively double the burden on those people, on the loss of productive time,” Dr. Sacra said.

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Ebola outbreak: Cases pass 10,000, WHO reports

Liberia remains the worst affected country, with 4,665 cases

BBC                                              Oct. 25, 2014

The number of cases in the Ebola outbreak has exceeded 10,000, with 4,922 deaths, the World Health Organization says in its latest report.

Only 27 of the cases have occurred outside the three worst-hit countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

Those three countries account for all but 10 of the fatalities.

Mali became the latest nation to record a death, a two-year-old girl. More than 40 people known to have come into contact with her have been quarantined.

The latest WHO situation report says that Liberia remains the worst affected country, with 2,705 deaths. Sierra Leone has had 1,281 fatalities and there have been 926 in Guinea.

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Newark Passenger Who Worked With Ebola Patients Develops Fever

UPDATE 2      U.S. nurse quarantined over Ebola criticizes her treatment and  airport temperaure reading


By Jonathan Allen                                                                        Oct. 25, 2014

NEW YORK --Kaci Hickox, a nurse, returned on Friday from working with medical charity Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone and was placed in quarantine after arriving at Newark.

Hickox, who was transferred from the airport to a hospital where she was placed in isolation, described a confusing and upsetting experience at the airport and was worried the same treatment was in store for other American health workers trying to help.

"I ... thought of many colleagues who will return home to America and face the same ordeal," Hickox wrote in an article published on Saturday by The Dallas Morning News with the help of one of the newspaper's reporters. "Will they be made to feel like criminals and prisoners?"

In her article, Hickox ...said her temperature was normal when tested orally at the hospital, but had shown a fever when she was tested using a non-contact forehead scanner, which reflected the fact she was flustered and anxious.

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DHS’s Coordinated Response to Ebola

 DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY                                                        OCT. 24, 2014

WASHINGTON --In nine days of enhanced screening at five major American airports of passengers from West African countries hit by Ebola, only three of the 552 arrivals had high temperatures, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics. The passengers went through seconary screening and none of them was found to have Ebola, according to a DHS document.


The figures were in a chart contained in DHS statement describing the agency's role in helping counter Ebola with

enhanced screening at airports. The chart covered the period from October 11 when the screening started, through

October 20.

See complete statement and chart.

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New York and New Jersey Tighten Ebola Screenings at Airports

NEW YORK TIMES                    Oct. 24, 2014

The announcement comes one day after an American doctor, who had worked in Guinea and returned to New York City earlier in October, tested positive for Ebola and became the first New York patient of the deadly virus.

“A voluntary Ebola quarantine is not enough,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York. “This is too serious a public health situation.”

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MSF Protocols for Staff Returning from Ebola-Affected Countries

DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS/MEDECINS SANS FRONTIERE                                      OCT. 23, 2014

Doctors without Borders (MSF)  describes its specific guidelines and protocols for staff members returning from Ebola assignments. The guidlines were posted following the hospitalization of Dr. Craig Smith, one of its workers, in New York City yesterday.

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U.S. considering quarantine for returning Ebola health workers: CDC

REUTERS                                         OCT. 24, 2014

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON  - The Obama administration is considering quarantining healthcare workers returning to the United States from the Ebola hot zone of West Africa, after a New York doctor who treated Ebola patients there tested positive for the virus.

Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Reuters on Friday that quarantine is among a number of options being discussed by officials from across the administration.

Staff of the emergency medical services in France (SAMU) wear Ebola virus protection outfits during a press presentation at the Necker Hospital in Paris, October 24, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

"There are a number of options being discussed pertaining to the monitoring and mobility of healthcare workers who are returning to the United States from affected countries," Skinner said.

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Leaked documents reveal behind-the-scenes Ebola vaccine issues


By Jon Cohen and  Kai Kupferschmidt                          OCT.23, 2014

Extensive background documents from a meeting that took place today at the World Health Organization (WHO) have provided new details about exactly what it will take to test, produce, and bankroll Ebola vaccines, which could be a potential game changer in the epidemic.

ScienceInsider obtained materials that vaccinemakers, governments, and WHO provided to the 100 or so participants at a meeting on “access and financing” of Ebola vaccines. The documents put hard numbers on what until now have been somewhat fuzzy academic discussions. And they make clear to the attendees—who include representatives from governments, industry, philanthropies, and nongovernmental organizations—that although testing and production are moving forward at record speed, knotty issues remain. 

Read complete article

Also see previous posting of three articles on plans  for vaccine and and antibody testing

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WHO says Ebola vaccine plans accelerating as trials advance


REUTERS                                       OCT. 24

By Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland

GENEVA/LONDON, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Trials of Ebola vaccines could begin in West Africa in December, a month earlier than expected, and hundreds of thousands of doses should be available for use by the middle of next year, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Vaccines are being developed and made ready in record time by drugmakers working with regulators, the U.N. health agency said, but questions remain about their safety and efficacy which can only be settled by full clinical trials.

"Vaccine is not a magic bullet, but when ready they may be a good part of the effort to turn the tide against the epidemic," senior WHO official Marie-Paule Kieny told a news briefing after a meeting in Geneva of industry executives, global health experts, drug regulators and funders.

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Dallas Nurse Nina Pham, Now 'Ebola Free,' Discharged By NIH

NPR                                                                         Oct. 24   12:04 PM


BETHESDA, MARYLAND-- Dallas Nurse Nina Pham, who became the first person to contract Ebola on U.S. soil while treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan, is now free of the virus and has been discharged from a special facility at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Nina Pham, 26, who became the first person to contract Ebola within the United States, is set to be released after testing free of the virus.--AP

Speaking at a news conference, Pham said ...

"Although I no longer have Ebola, I know it may be awhile before I get my strength back," Pham said, asking for the media to respect her privacy.

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