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Communication

A message to the Content Management working group

We want to thank you all once again for the wonderful contributions you are making to the Resilience Systems.

We are going to take this opportunity to share a few posting highlights, and let you know that in the near future we intend to establish a link to our instruction sets within the Content Management group.

Here are a few posting highlights:

When posting older time-sensitive articles, please remember to adjust the publication date under “Authoring information” / “Authored on”. Doing so will ensure that our material is posted in chronological order according to the article publication dates. Of course if the article is not time-sensitive and is important or just as applicable today as it was on the date of publication, please feel free to use a current publication date. Ideally we would like to have current information towards the top of the Home page.

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Most calls to Ebola center are pranks: Sierra Leone official

AFP-JIJI                                                                               Jan. 14, 2014
FREETOWN – Eighty percent of people phoning a toll-free Ebola help number are prank callers, the head of the Ebola Call Centre in Sierra Leone, Reynold Senessie, said Tuesday.

“Such prank calls are affecting the smooth operation of the center,” Senessie said while briefing Palo Conteh, head of the National Ebola Response Centre (NERC), who paid an unannounced visit to the call center.

The good news is that “genuine calls are dwindling and response to such calls have been swift,” he added.

Read complete story.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/01/14/world/science-health-world/calls-ebola-center-pranks-sierra-leone-official/#.VLa5BXu1f8w
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Use of a Nationwide Call Center for Ebola Response and Monitoring During a 3-Day House-to-House Campaign — Sierra Leone, September 2014

CDC detaied study of call center useage in Sierra Leone

See complete study.

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Launching a vital link in the Ebola-response effort

MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics                    Jan. 13, 2015

A shipment of medical equipment that arrived in Monrovia, Liberia, from Miami on Jan. 12 will enable 25 government hospitals to receive infection-control training. Critically, the shipment will help facilities that were partially or fully closed due to the ongoing Ebola crisis to recommence regular operations.

Many resources in the Ebola-response effort have appropriately focused on Ebola treatment; this flight launches an important new step in the response by providing training and supplies for health workers to safely resume vital services.

The delivery was organized by the Academic Consortium Combatting Ebola in Liberia (ACCEL), a network of academic centers with technical expertise in emergency medicine and logistics systems....

Read complete story.

http://newsoffice.mit.edu/2015/cargo-flight-launches-vital-link-ebola-response-effort-liberia-0113

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Ebola Response Provides Key Lessons for Risk Communications

Commentary: The CDC fumbled initial communications about Ebola transmission but recovered. What about next time?

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT  by Jim McKay                                                              Jan. 13, 2015

It would be interesting to see what would happen if there was another Ebola scare in the U.S. The answer might depend on when it happened and perhaps where the person became infected. But chances are the health infrastructure would handle it, and perhaps respond to another infectious disease outbreak much better, having had the experience that the recent Ebola episodes provided.

That experience included hiccups and communication errors that resulted not in panic but disagreement on the part of some in the health community and alarm in the public. One target of criticism is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which was confident from the beginning in expressing that hospitals throughout the U.S. were ready to handle Ebola cases and messaging to the public about the difficulty of transmission of the infection. The CDC chose not to participate in this discussion....

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CDC - Ebola Training in Anniston

            

The CDC’s Karen Williams, right, instructs Kwan Kew Lai to wash her hands before each step in the process before she removes her protective suit at an Ebola-treatment training session in Anniston, Ala.
Steve Gates for The Wall Street Journal

cdc.gov - January 7, 2015

Making the decision to volunteer in an Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) in West Africa shows a lot of courage and takes support from friends, loved ones, and other healthcare workers. It also requires the knowledge and skills to safely treat very sick patients in a challenging environment. CDC understands that healthcare workers preparing to deploy to West Africa need to know the infection prevention and control principles necessary for working in an ETU. To help meet this need, CDC offers an introductory training course at the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

(ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - Oct. 8, 2014)

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EbolaTracks: an automated SMS system for monitoring persons potentially exposed to Ebola virus disease

EUROSURVEILLANCE                                                              Volume 20, Issue 1, Jan. 8 2015

Australian researchers reported on an automated text-message system used for actively monitoring people potentially exposed to Ebola. The system prompts contacts to submit information on symptoms and temperature twice a day. The Department of Health in Western Australia uses the system, called "EbolaTracks," to track travelers returning from West Africa and (potentially) contacts of any local cases.

Twenty-two people were enrolled in the program as of Jan 5, and 14 have completed active monitoring. The system sent 1,108 text messages and got a 91% response rate. Health officials followed up by phone when they didn't get a reply. Such systems could be valuable tools for larger-scale contact monitoring for Ebola or other infectious diseases, they concluded.

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=20999

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Geographic information helps provide public health intelligence at mass gatherings

MEDICALNEWS TODAY                                                            Jan. 6, 2015

Infectious diseases are one of the many health issues that worry the organizers of mass gatherings, such as the Hajj and the World Cup. Geographers' tools of the trade can help event organizers to better plan, monitor and respond timely to such eventualities. The ways in which geographers gather, analyze, and visualize information provide health officials with clearer pictures of the transport routes and environmental factors that may further the spread of viruses to and from the attendees' home countries.

In Chapter 3 of the new book Health, Science and Place: A New Model, geographer and biologist Dr. Amy Blatt explains how geographic information is used for disease surveillance at mass gatherings.
Read complete article

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/287577.php?tw

Read excerpt from the book,chapter 3.

by Dr. Amy Blatt
http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-12003-4_3

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Ebola survivors in west Africa to share stories via mobile app

REUTERS                                                            Jan. 4, 2015   

Ebola survivors in the three west African countries worst hit by the epidemic will share their stories through a mobile application to be launched on Monday, in a Unicef-backed campaign to inform and fight stigma around the disease.

...Although many people have survived the disease, they still face rejection and stigma from their communities, while the virus continues to spread due to lack of information and denial, according to the WHO and other health organisations.

The campaign, called #ISurvivedEbola, is funded by US philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft Paul G Allen’s foundation which has committed $100m to fight the disease. Unicef, the UN children’s agency is collaborating in the project.

Survivors in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia will be given smartphones and will document their stories and exchange tips on how to cope with it for a mobile app which will be available to the public, the backers said in a statement.

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Story Behind the Story: How Times Reporters Unraveled the Ebola Epidemic

NEW YORK TIMES                                               Jan. 2, 2015

Celia W. Dugger, deputy science editor for health, has helped to coordinate the Times’s coverage of Ebola. She edited a feature published Tuesday on the origin of this year’s Ebola outbreak, and shares how the story came together after months of reporting.

As the Ebola epidemic gained velocity this fall, spreading fear and death across one of the world’s poorest regions, I kept coming back to the same questions: How did this one get away? How did the experts — and the media, including editors like me, for that matter — miss the signs in the spring that this time would be catastrophically different from the nearly two dozen prior outbreaks? Why did the most seasoned Ebola hands — men and women who had repeatedly risked their lives battling this lethal foe — let their guard down and scale back in May just when the virus might have been throttled?

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Automated mobile phone service hopes to stop spread of Ebola in west Africa

THE GUARDIAN  by Mark Anderson                                                                    Dec. 30, 2014

People in rural areas of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea battling Ebola could be helped by an automated phone service that offers advice about how to avoid contracting the virus.

Startup company Halt!Ebola is using “robocalling” to reach people where information hotlines are not being used.

The company is trying to acquire mobile phone numbers from the networks operating in these regions to enable them to make the calls. When people answer, an audio message with information and advice about the virus is played back.

Read complete story.

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