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US Looking Past Ebola to Prepare for Next Outbreak

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                   Nov. 23, 2014
By Lauran Neergarrd Medical Writer

The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, public health officials are girding for the next health disaster.

"It's really urgent that we address the weak links and blind spots around the world," Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Associated Press. "Ebola is a powerful reminder that a health threat anywhere can affect us."

Ebola sprang from one of those blind spots, in an area that lacks the health systems needed to detect an outbreak before it becomes a crisis. Now the Obama administration has requested $600 million for the CDC to implement what it calls the Global Health Security Agenda, working with an international coalition to shore up disease detection in high-risk countries and guard against the next contagion....

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Ebola: Failures of Imagination - October 24th, 2014 -  Jody Lanard and Peter M. Sandman

The alleged U.S. over-reaction to the first three domestic Ebola cases in the United States – what Maryn McKenna calls Ebolanoia – is matched only by the world’s true under-reaction to the risks posed by Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. We are not referring to the current humanitarian catastrophe there, although the world has long been under-reacting to that.


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UN security council criticises discrimination against those from Ebola-hit regions

THE GUARDIAN                                                    Nov. 21, 2014
THE UNITED NATIONS --The UN security council has criticized travel bans against nationals from Ebola-hit countries.

Last month the Australian immigration minster, Scott Morrison, announced Australia would stop granting temporary visas to visitors from west Africa. The security council statement criticised such blanket bans and urged countries to maintain links with affected countries.

“The security council expresses its continued concern about the detrimental effect of the isolation of the affected countries as a result of trade and travel restrictions imposed on and to the affected countries as well as acts of discrimination against the nationals of Guinea, Liberia, Mali and Sierra Leone,” said Julia Bishop, the Australian foreign mniister who was presiding over the session Thursday.

The council statement also described the Ebola outbreeak in Africa as "a threat to international peace and security..."

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Ebola becomes latest stock scam, U.S. SEC says

REUTERS                                                                                                 NOV. 20, 2014
By Sarah N. Lynch

U.S. regulators on Thursday suspended trading in four small over-the-counter stocks of companies that they said have been touting the development of products to prevent or treat the Ebola virus, and warned investors to beware of similar scams.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said it had suspended trading in the shares of New York-based Bravo Enterprises Ltd, California-based Immunotech Laboratories Inc, Canada-based Myriad Interactive Media Inc and Wholehealth Products Inc, which is also located in California.

The SEC also issued a warning that "con artists" may be soliciting investors and claiming to be developing treatments or medicine to prevent the deadly virus.

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U.S. to allow people from nations hit by Ebola to stay temporarily

REUTERS                                                                                                                      Nov. 20, 2014
By Julia Edwards

WASHINGTON-- The Department of Homeland Security will grant temporary protected status to people from the three West African countries most affected by Ebola who are currently residing in the United States, department officials said on Thursday.

A U.S. Coast Guard Corpsman working with the Office of Field Operations checks the temperature of a traveler who has recently traveled to either Guinea, Sierra Leone, or Liberia in this handout picture from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection taken at Washington Dulles International Airport October 16, 2014.Credit: Reuters/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Josh Denmark/Handout via Reuters

People from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone in the United States as of Thursday may apply for protection from deportation, as well as for work permits, for 18 months, said a Department of Homeland Security official.

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Markey and Portman Introduce Legislation to Fund Domestic “Ebola Treatment Hubs”

OFFICE OF SENATOR MARKEY                                                                                               Nov. 19, 2014

 WASHINGTON – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) today introduced legislation to allocate funds to support the establishment of regional designated hospitals that can provide specialized care for Ebola patients in an isolated setting. Currently, there are only four hospitals with bio-containment facilities in the United States, and those locations have a total of 11 beds that can be used at any one time for Ebola patients or others with infectious diseases that require isolation.

“The Ebola outbreak exposed serious vulnerabilities in our national public health preparedness and it is critical that hospitals are sufficiently trained, staffed, and prepared to provide the specialized treatment for Ebola patients while also protecting themselves” said Senator Markey. “The creation of these designated Ebola treatment centers will improve our ability to treat any future domestic Ebola cases and help ensure our hospitals are prepared for the next highly infectious disease outbreak.”

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WHO plans to speed development of Ebola rapid test

By Lisa Schnirring                                               Nov.18, 2014

Quicker and simpler diagnostic tests for Ebola could go a long way in helping break chains of disease transmission in West Africa's outbreak region, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today, as it unveiled two new initiatives to expedite their development.

The WHO said it hopes new efforts—similar to those under way to test and deliver an Ebola vaccine—can compress the development of a rapid test in months instead of years.

A Navy worker extracts RNA from a patient sample at a Naval mobile lab in Liberia. US Army Africa

Standard reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests used in mobile and other labs in the outbreak are very accurate when conducted by trained staff, but they require a full tube of blood, take 2 to 6 hours to get a result, and costs around $100 per test, the WHO said today in a statement....

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Gates Foundation, other donors launch study of Ebola drugs, survivors' blood, in Africa

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                                  Nov. 18, 2014

A coalition of companies and aid groups announced plans Tuesday to test experimental drugs and collect blood plasma from Ebola survivors to treat new victims of the disease in West Africa.

This Nov. 7, 2014, photo shows the inside a mobile donation unit at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh, N.C. The unit was headed to Africa for use in a study of blood plasma treatment for Ebola patients. (AP Photo/Trevor Jenkins) (The Associated Press)

Plasma from survivors contains antibodies, substances the immune system makes to fight the virus. Several Ebola patients have received survivor plasma and recovered, but doctors say there is no way to know whether it really helps without a study like the one they are about to start within a month.

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