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CDC head says Sierra Leone in strong place with Ebola

ASSOCIATED PRESS by Clarence Roy-Macaulay                                                  Aug. 3, 2015

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone  — Sierra Leone is in a stronger place than it was six months ago to fight Ebola, but the new challenge is to get to zero cases, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday during a visit, as new cases emerged in the city and in an area that had not seen the deadly virus for months.

Two new cases of Ebola surfaced in Sierra Leone's Northern Tonkolili District after a man died last week. The district had not had a single case of Ebola in five months. The victim contracted the disease in the capital, traveled to his home village, and was treated for a fever at the local hospital but authorities didn't call the Ebola emergency number. He didn't have a burial that followed special procedures required for Ebola victims....

Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director, said it was important that the case was identified and not missed, and he was impressed with the speed of the response.

"The challenge now is to get to zero cases and that is not going to be easy," he said. "Authorities must not let down their guard. The country should keep its guard up."

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What ‘100 Percent Effective’ Means for That Ebola Vaccine

WIRED.COM by Katie M. Palmer                                                            Aug. 4, 2015

Last week, the medical journal the Lancet published preliminary results on the efficacy of an Ebola vaccine in Guinea, and everybody got really excited—especially about one particular figure. The vaccine, the results suggested, was 100 percent effective at protecting against Ebola, a thrilling prospect in the face of an epidemic that has killed more than 11,000 people. ...

But that number probably means less than you think it does. It’s based on incomplete data, so it doesn’t have the statistical clout it should. And it never will. Based on the vaccine’s early success, the trial’s runners decided that all participants in the study should get it immediately after exposure. That’s a perfectly reasonable, humane reaction, but it also means that the researchers will never be able to collect better data on the vaccine’s efficacy, which is what regulators look for when they’re deciding to approve a drug. In other words, the vaccine’s early success could make it harder for people to get it down the line.

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Global Health Risk Framework - Meeting 1 - July 29, 2015

The first meeting of the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future took place on July 28-29, 2015 at the National Academy of Sciences building, located at 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. The meeting was closed on July 28, but open to the public on July 29 from 9 am to 1 pm.

The objectives of the open session on July 29 included the following:

The International Oversight Group will present the Statement of Task to the Commission and make clarifications, if needed.

An expert panel will address issues of governance, finance, resilient health systems, and medical products research and development when responding to infectious disease outbreaks of international concern at the global, regional, national, and local levels. The Commission will consider the different perspectives presented, as they develop the approach for this study.


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Arktek Passive Vaccine Storage Device - P6


From watching the video in the link below, the Arktek vaccine cold storage device is also known as the P6 . . .

The P6 is not just a container, but an innovative high-tech device.  It is designed to keep vaccines at the appropriate temperatures for a month or more with repeat vaccine retrievals and no need for electricity (using just one initial batch of ice).  The device also has built-in communications and monitoring capability.  The P6 units are able to send live updates, including the units’ GPS positions viewable on interactive maps, the number of days since fresh ice had been added, temperature, and more.  Here are the details . . .

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More than 70,000 children born during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia at risk of exclusion if not registered, warns UNICEF

UNICEF PRESS OFFICE                                                 July 31, 2015

MONROVIA, Liberia -- UNICEF is supporting a drive by the Liberian Government to register more than 70,000 children whose births were not recorded during the Ebola crisis, leaving them vulnerable to marginalization and exclusion.

Birth registrations in 2014 and 2015 dropped sharply from pre-Ebola levels, according to Ministry of Health data. In 2013, before the onset of the virus, the births of 79,000 children were registered. In 2014, when many health facilities had closed or had reduced services due to the Ebola response, the number of registrations fell to 48,000 – a 39 per cent decrease over the previous year.

Just 700 children are reported to have had their births registered between January and May 2015. 


                                                                               © UNICEF/UNI190366/Grile Three month old Success Sumois,     strapped to her mother’s back, waits to be registered through the mobile birth registration team at the Totota Clinic in Liberia.

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WHO: Trials Show New Ebola Vaccine is 'Highly Effective'


On March 23, 2015, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) together with the World Health Organization started a clinical trial in Guinea to test the safety, efficacy and capacity substance to provoke an immune response of the anti-Ebola vaccine rVSV-EBOV. - by Laura Smith-Spark - July 31, 2015

(CNN) A newly developed vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus is "highly effective" and could help prevent its spread in the current and future outbreaks, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Trials of the single-dose VSV-EBOV vaccine began in March in Guinea -- one of three West African nations at the center of the outbreak -- and have shown such promise that this week it was decided to extend immediate vaccination to "all people at risk" after close contact with an infected person, a WHO news release said.

"This is an extremely promising development," said Dr. Margaret Chan, the body's director general.


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UN Ebola mission winds down, WHO takes reins in West Africa


LONDON — The United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response is officially winding down Friday, handing its leadership role and senior staff to the Geneva-based World Health Organization as efforts to contain the deadly virus continue.

"We have reached an important milestone in the global Ebola response," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement Friday, while noting that that crisis "is not yet over."

The Ebola mission, also called UNMEER, was established last year as WHO struggled to get a handle on an outbreak that has killed more than 11,000 people, mainly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. WHO had been strongly criticized for fumbling its response to the epidemic, and the creation of UNMEER was widely seen as a rebuke to its leadership.

Speaking to reporters Friday, UNMEER chief David Nabarro said he had seen signs that WHO had already absorbed some of the lessons of the Ebola disaster, recovering its coordination role in West Africa and deploying more 1,000 staffers to the field.

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WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET: The Global Health Security Agenda

The U.S. Government announces it intends to invest more than $1 billion in resources to expand the Global Health Security Agenda to prevent, detect, and respond to future infectious disease outbreaks overseas.

THE WHITE HOUSE PRESS OFFICE                       July 28, 2015

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa continues to galvanize global attention and resources as the international community strives to eliminate active cases and help the affected countries recover.  African leaders and African Union officials have shown extraordinary leadership in addressing the outbreak. The epidemic highlighted the urgent need to establish global capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to biological threats – to prevent future outbreaks from becoming epidemics. 

Beginning with the release of the National Strategy for Countering Biological Threats in 2009, and outlined in his 2011 speech at the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama has called upon all countries to come together to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease threats, whether naturally occurring, accidental or deliberately spread.  Today, the President underscored the unwavering U.S. commitment to partnering with Africans, their governments, and all who will join the effort to improve health security across the continent and for all people.

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Ebola death in Sierra Leone leads to mass quarantine

DEUTSCHE WELLE    by Susan Houlton                         July 31, 2015
A village in northern Sierra Leone has been placed under quarantine after a post-mortem test revealed a man had died from Ebola. Several hospitals failed to recognize him as a potential victim of the disease.

Earlier this week the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the fewest weekly Ebola infections for over a year in West Africa. However the WHO also said it was bracing for a significant new outbreak in Sierra Leone, which alongside Guinea and Liberia, is one of the worst affected countries.

In the week up to Sunday 26 July, there were four confirmed cases in Guinea and three in Sierra Leone. Those three included a patient who died after travelling from the capital Freetown to the northern district of Tonkolili. He was described by the WHO as posing "a substantial risk of further transmission." The patient had only been confirmed Ebola-positive after post-mortem testing....

According to Hassan Abdul Sesay, a member of parliament from the region where the patient died, the man had traveled to his home village to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
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The Individualised versus the Public Health Approach to Treating Ebola

PLOS/Medicine   by  Tom H. Boyles                            July 28, 2015

The mortality rate for patients with Ebola virus disease (EVD) in West Africa is approximately 65% [1]. There are no published figures for high-resource settings, but media sources and individual case reports suggest it is much lower and approaches 0% for those who receive this level of care from the beginning of their illness.

In their article “Ebola Viral Disease: Experience and Decision Making for the First Cases outside of Africa,” David Stephens and colleagues give insight into the care that can be provided when available resources are not the limiting factor [2]. They describe the decision to open the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit (SCDU) of Emory University Hospital (EUH) when two United States patients contracted EVD while working in West Africa. Using a large specialist team, they provided high-quality care in a safe working environment and disseminated their knowledge and experience widely.....

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