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U.S. Buys Up Ebola Gear, Leaving Little for Africa

Manufacturers Strain to Meet Demand Amid Rising Anxiety

WALL STREET JOURNAL                                                                                                       Nov. 25, 2014
 By Drew Hinshaw in Accra, Ghana, and Jacob Bunge in Chicago

Protective suits were running low in Sierra Leone this month, when a Christian charity decided to ship some over. The charity turned to American medical-wear suppliers, which came back with bad news: The suits needed to treat Ebola are running low in America, too.

A worker wearing Personal Protective Equipment has his name written on his suit before leaving an Ebola treatment center in Guinea last week. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

“There’s been some sleepless nights,” said Jennifer Mounsey, director of corporate engagement for World Vision, the Christian humanitarian group based in Monrovia, Calif. “We’re all sweating bullets.”

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People are treating Africa like a country because of Ebola

From Monrovia to Guangdong, Africans can't escape the stigma. (Reuters/Alex Lee)Benno Muchler - November 25, 2014 -

Ebola was one of the biggest news stories this year. What did we learn from it? Not much. Panic and fear replaced rational thinking. And there was another pernicious behavior we didn’t change.

Ebola would have been a chance to start differentiating Africa. Yet, we’re doing quite the opposite. We continue to look at Africa as one country. We act as if the whole continent is contaminated. And most sadly, outside Africa we stigmatize Africans, no matter which part of the continent they’re from, because of Ebola.

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Ebola Is Changing Course In Liberia. Will The U.S. Military Adapt?

A helicopter's eye view of a new ETU, funded by USAID and built by Save the Children.November 25, 2014 - by Kelly McEvers -

The Ebola outbreak started in rural areas, but by June it had reached Liberia's capital, Monrovia.

By August, the number of people contracting the Ebola virus in the country was doubling every week. The Liberian government and aid workers begged for help.

Enter the U.S. military, who along with other U.S. agencies had a clear plan in mid-September to build more Ebola treatment units, or ETUs. At least one would be built in the major town of each of Liberia's 15 counties. That way, sick patients in those counties wouldn't bring more Ebola to the capital.

But it's taken a long time to build these ETUs; most won't be done until the end of the year. And now the spread of Ebola changing — clusters are popping up in remote rural areas. So building a huge treatment center in each county's main town may no longer make sense.

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Who Will Pay Ebola Patients' Medical Bills in the U.S.?

THE NATIONAL JOURNAL   By Maria Koren           Nov. 24, 2014

...Nine people have been treated for the virus in the U.S. since August. Seven recovered. The National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, which treated one of them, estimates treatment for patients diagnosed with Ebola costs $50,000 a day. Officials at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, which cared for two patients, put the daily cost at $30,000, and the totalat $1.16 million for a single patient. Most patients have been hospitalized for more than two weeks.

The U.S. has shown it can beat Ebola. But who will pay for the expensive care it takes to do it?

It's a tough question, and one that the people holding the bills seem reluctant to answer. Hospitals that have treated patients in Georgia, Nebraska, New York, and Texas did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the governors' offices of these states. NIH was forthcothcoming about cost of care, but the feds pick up the tab for treatment there.

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Notable Absence of New Ebola Quarantines at New York Area Airports

NEW YORK TIMES    By Anemona Hartocollis                                                          NOV. 24, 2014

NEW YORK   ...since Kaci Hickox, a nurse, flew into Newark’s airport on Oct. 24 and was kept at a hospital for three days, no one else has been caught up in the quarantine dragnet at the New York and New Jersey airports.

The absence of quarantines is striking, not only because both governors emphatically defended the policy as a necessary precaution, but also because most people returning from Ebola-stricken countries arrive in the United States through Kennedy and Newark Liberty International Airports.

...New York and New Jersey officials say no one coming through the two airports since Ms. Hickox has reported direct contact with Ebola patients.

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The US Is Stockpiling Ebola Survivors’ Plasma to Treat Future Patients

                                                                                                    Getty Images

WIRED                 BY Katie M. Palmer                                                    Nov. 24, 214

The FDA announced Friday that it would start developing a stockpile of blood plasma from Ebola survivors, treated with a pathogen inactivation system that’s never been used before in the United States.

So far, the US has had some amazing success in curing Ebola, possibly thanks to experimental plasma treatments. Drawn from survivors, the stuff comes enriched in antibodies that could help to fight off the disease—but it also has the potential to carry other diseases, like malaria, that are common in west Africa where Ebola is raging. The new system will kill off any extra contaminants that may be lurking in this potentially live-saving serum.

It’s the same one, Cerus Corporation’s Intercept system, that will be used in a Gates Foundation-funded study of Ebola treatments in West Africa. The pathogen-killing molecule at the heart of the system is amotosalen, part of a class of three-ringed molecules called psoralens....

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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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