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What Employers Are Doing To Counter Ebola

FORBES MAGAZINE                              NOV. 11, 2014
By Tevi Troy, President, American Health Policy Institute

Ebola has killed over 5,000 people, roiled U.S. hospitals, and shaken the faith of Americans in the government’s ability to respond. At the same time, and below the radar, U.S. companies are responding to Ebola with a variety of steps to protect themselves, their employees, and their operations.

The most important element of communicating the threat of the Ebola outbreak for both the government and corporate leaders is to provide factual information while also preventing panic and fear. There have been 5,000 false alarm cases of Ebola as people flock to U.S. emergency rooms out of fear that their common cold or seasonal flu symptoms are early manifestations of the Ebola virus. This hysteria not only has potential mental and physical health implications, but also economic implications. Fear may incentivize some people to change their behavior, whether through cancelling flights and vacation plans or visiting the doctor and stocking up on medications. Furthermore, treating suspected Ebola patients, even if they don’t pan out, is expensive and labor intensive for hospitals.

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N.Y. doctor, free of Ebola, discharged from hospital

USA TODAY                                             Nov. 11, 2014
By Matthew Diebel, Doug Stanglin and Liz Szabo

NEW YORK — Craig Spencer, a New York doctor whose hospitalization for Ebola stirred fears that the disease might spread throughout Manhattan, was declared free of the virus Tuesday and released from the hospital...

Dr. Craig Spencer, center, is flanked by New York City Mayor Bill Bill de Blasio, left, and his wife Chirlane McCray as he leaves Bellevue Hospital after being declared free of the Ebola virus on Nov. 11 in New York. (Photo: Andrew Gombert, European Pressphoto Agency)

The release of the 33-year-old physician, who tested positive for the virus Oct. 23, means there are no longer any known Ebola cases being treated in the United States.

The volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, who contracted the disease while treating Ebola patients in Guinea in West Africa, said:

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Craig Spencer, New York Doctor With Ebola, Will Leave Bellevue Hospital


New York doctor cleared of Ebola, which means there are no known Ebola cases in the U.S.

WASHINGTON POST                                                                     Nov. 10, 2014

By Mark Herman

The doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa before returning to New York City has been declared free of the virus, hospital officials announced Monday. This news means that 41 days after the first Ebola diagnosis in the United States, there are no known cases of the virus in the country.

Craig Spencer, 33, who had been treating Ebola patients in Guinea, was diagnosed with Ebola on Oct. 23. Bellevue Hospital Center in New York City, where Spencer was being treated, confirmed in a statement Monday that he “has been declared free of the virus.” Spencer will be discharged on Tuesday, according to the hospital.

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Fast-spreading killers: how Ebola compares with other diseases

HOMELAND SECURITY NEWS WIRE                            Nov. 1, 2014
By Mick Roberts

The West African outbreak of Ebola has claimed more than 4,800 lives and this number is sure to rise. There is understandably a lot of fear about Ebola, but how does it actually compare with other fast-spreading infectious diseases?
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Harnessing artificial intelligence to search for new Ebola treatments

HOMELAND SECURITY NEWS WIRE                                                                             Nov.6, 2014

The University of Toronto, Chematria, and IBM are combining forces in a quest to find new treatments for the Ebola virus.

Using a virtual research technology invented by Chematria, a startup housed at U of T’s Impact Center, the team will use software that learns and thinks like a human chemist to search for new medicines. Running on Canada’s most powerful supercomputer, the effort will simulate and analyze the effectiveness of millions of hypothetical drugs in just a matter of weeks.

“What we are attempting would have been considered science fiction, until now,” says Abraham Heifets, a U of T graduate and the chief executive officer of Chematria. “We are going to explore the possible effectiveness of millions of drugs, something that used to take decades of physical research and tens of millions of dollars, in mere days with our technology.”

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Nurses will strike over Ebola protocols at Kaiser hospitals

THE MODESTO BEE                                   NOV.9, 2014

BY Ken Carlson

Nurses represented by the California Nurses Association are planning a two-day strike starting Tuesday at Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics.

The union claims the Oakland-based health care system has ignored its concerns that the hospitals lack protocols to protect nurses against Ebola. About 18,000 nurses could participate in the labor action at Kaiser’s 66 hospitals and clinics, the union said.

No cases of Ebola have been reported in California as the epidemic continues in West Africa.

In a statement, Kaiser said the union is in contract talks on behalf of nurses working at its health facilities. The strike is scheduled from 7 a.m. Tuesday to 6:59 a.m. Thursday.

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7 Key Insights in Using ICT to Improve Ebola Response

Image: A billboard that reads 'Stop the Ebola Virus'

Image: A billboard that reads 'Stop the Ebola Virus' - October 31st 2014 - Wayan Vota

Yesterday, we had the 85th Technology Salon in Washington, DC, this one focused on How Can ICTs Improve Our Ebola Response? Be sure to sign up to get invited to our next event.

In the lively morning-long discussion with 35 key thought leaders and decision makers from across the technology and development sectors, we came to several interesting conclusions.


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Exclusive: U.S. Ebola researchers plead for access to virus samples

A transmission electron micrograph shows Ebola virus particles in this undated handout image released by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fredrick, Maryland. Credit: Reuters/USAMRIID/Handout

Image: A transmission electron micrograph shows Ebola virus particles in this undated handout image released by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Fredrick, Maryland. Credit: Reuters/USAMRIID/Handout - November 5th 2014 - Julie Steenhuysen

Scientists across the United States say they cannot obtain samples of Ebola, complicating efforts to understand how the virus is mutating and develop new drugs, vaccines and diagnostics.

The problems reflect growing caution by regulators and transport companies about handling Ebola as well as the limited resources of West African countries which are struggling to help thousands of infected citizens.

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Funding cuts hamper health agencies’ ability to prepare for, respond to Ebola

HOMELAND SECURITY NEWS WIRE                        Nov.7, 2014

Federal and state funds for local health agencies have been cut over the past few years, so when hospitals and municipal health agencies are asked proactively to respond to possible threats of Ebola, many question how they will fund such activities. Since 2008, at least 51,000 state and local public health jobs (roughly 20 percent), have been lost due to cuts in federal funding, according to a new survey by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). Next week, the Senate Committee on Appropriations will hold a hearingto consider additional funding to prepare for an Ebola outbreak.

“It’s critically important to have a sustainable infrastructure, tools and the necessary resources to effectively address all potential health threats to the public, not just Ebola,” said James Blumenstock, emergency preparedness officer for ASTHO. “Public health threats don’t come one at a time, especially this time of year.”

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Military names 5 U.S. bases for troop Ebola quarantines

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                              Nov. 7, 2014
WASHINGTON -- The top U.S. military officer has designated five U.S. bases where American troops would be housed and isolated for 21 days upon returning from Africa after serving in the Ebolaresponse mission, U.S. officials said Friday.

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed a plan that lists Fort Hood and Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington; and Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, as bases where troops would be quarantined.

The U.S. also will use two bases in Italy and Germany for returning troops based in that region....

The plan exempts military personnel who travel to Africa for short-term visits and have very limited contact with people there, such as military staff traveling with a senior official who only stops in the country for a day or two...

In a related announcement, U.S. Northern Command has decided to train 30 more medical support personnel who will be available to help U.S. hospitals with any future Ebola cases. The personnel will begin training in San Antonio, Texas, later this month and will supplement a 30-member team that has already been trained and is ready to respond.

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