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WHO: Ebola spreading in W. Africa, threatens Ivory Coast; some areas see fewer cases

By Joel Achenbach                                                  October 14 at 9:15 AM

The World Health Organization issued a mixed report Tuesday on progress in the fight against the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, noting that the number of new cases is dropping in some areas that had been hit hard by the virus earlier this year. But the disease is spreading across a broader geographical region, including along the Ivory Coast border, and continues to be rampant in some capital cities.

Ebola is killing 70 percent of the people who become infected, said Bruce Aylward, WHO assistant director-general overseeing the organization’s response to the West Africa epidemic. In a conference call with journalists, he said the official statistics do not capture the true lethality of the virus.

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‘A teenage girl bled to death over two days’: Ebola nurses describe life and death on the frontline

An Ebola health worker is decontaminated at a Médecins sans Frontières unit in Monrovia in Liberia.
Photograph: Pascal Guyot/AFP/Getty Images - by Bridget Mulrooney, Sue Ellen Kovack and Anine Kongelf - October 13, 2014

Bridget Mulrooney, 36
American nurse working for the International Medical Corps in Bong County, Liberia

I was working as a travel nurse at a children’s hospital in California when I got an email from International Medical Corps asking if I was interested in deploying to Liberia to help fight Ebola. I wanted to go immediately but I was locked into a contract at the time. The more I heard, the more excited I got.


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Ebola outbreak threatens peace, security, WHO chief says

GENEVA — The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is “unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, said Monday.

Chan, who dealt with the 2009 avian flu pandemic and the SARS outbreaks of 2002-03, said the Ebola outbreak had progressed from a public health crisis to “a crisis for international peace and security.”

“I have never seen a health event threaten the very survival of societies and governments in already very poor countries,” she said in a statement delivered on her behalf to a conference in Manila, Philippines, and released by her office in Geneva. “I have never seen an infectious disease contribute so strongly to potential state failure.”

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WHO and Partners agree on a common approach to strengthen Ebola preparedness in unaffected countries

Brazzaville, 10 October 2014 - The World Health Organization (WHO) and partner organizations meeting in Brazzaville have agreed on a range of core actions to support countries unaffected by Ebola in strengthening their preparedness in the event of an outbreak.

Building on national and international existing preparedness efforts, a set of tools is being developed to help any country to intensify and accelerate their readiness.

One of these tools is a comprehensive checklist of core principles, standards, capacities and practices, which all countries should have or meet. The checklist can be used by countries to assess their level of preparedness, guide their efforts to strengthen themselves and to request assistance. Items on the checklist include infection prevention control, contact tracing, case management, surveillance, laboratory capacity, safe burial, public awareness and community engagement and national legislation and regulation to support country readiness.

“While we rightly focus on stopping the outbreak in affected countries, we should not forget that all other countries are at risk, albeit at varying levels”, said WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo.

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Tweets About Ebola -

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Family Identifies Ebola Patient - by marjorie Owens - October 13, 2014

DALLAS — A Dallas nurse diagnosed with the Ebola virus over the weekend is a former Texas Christian University student identified by a family member as 26-year-old Nina Pham.

The family reached out to News 8 Monday morning and shared an image of the nurse who grew up in Fort Worth.

A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, Pham became infected while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from the virus days before the nurse's diagnosis.


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Ebola Vaccine Would Likely Have Been Found By Now If Not For Budget Cuts: NIH Director


By Sam Stein                                                              Updated Oct. 13 ,2014

BETHESDA, Md. -- As the federal government frantically works to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and as it responds to a second diagnosis of the disease at home, one of the country's top health officials says a vaccine likely would have already been discovered were it not for budget cuts.

Dr. Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, said that a decade of stagnant spending has "slowed down" research on all items, including vaccinations for infectious diseases. As a result, he said, the international community has been left playing catch-up on a potentially avoidable humanitarian catastrophe.

"NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It's not like we suddenly woke up and thought, 'Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'" Collins told The Huffington Post on Friday. "Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would've gone through clinical trials and would have been ready."

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Hospitals should ‘think Ebola,’ CDC director says

CDC: U.S. has to rethink the way it addresses Ebola infection control

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                            Oct. 13, 2014

By Connie Cass

DALLAS --Every hospital must know how to diagnose Ebola in people who have been in West Africa and be ready to isolate a suspected case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

He said the CDC is working to improve protections for hospital workers after a nurse caring for an Ebola patient in Dallas became the first person to become infected with the disease inside the U.S.

‘‘We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control,’’ Frieden said, ‘‘because even a single infection is unacceptable.’’

The CDC is scrambling to interview all staff of the Dallas hospital who could have been exposed to the patient, a Liberian man who became sick after traveling to the United States and died at the hospital. Anyone at risk will be monitored, he said.

‘‘We need to consider the possibility that there could be additional cases, particularly among the health care workers who cared for the index patient’’ — the Liberian man — ‘‘when he was so ill,’’ Frieden said.

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Scroll down for the stories and link to CDC check list


NEW YORK TIMES                   Oct. 13, 2014
By Pam Belluck

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking new steps to help hospital workers protect themselves, providing more training and urging hospitals to run drills to practice dealing with potential Ebola patients.

In response to the news that a health care worker in Dallas had contracted Ebola, a spokeswoman said the agency would also issue more specific instructions and explanations for putting on and removing protective equipment and would urge nurses and doctors to enlist a co-worker or “buddy” to watch them do so....

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Ebola: UK cancels resumption of direct flights to Sierra Leone

THE GUARDIAN                                 Oct, 2014
By Lisa O'Caroll

The first direct flights to resume from the UK to Sierra Leone have been cancelled after the British government revoked Gambia Bird’s recently granted permit because of fears over Ebola.

The Department of Transport cited the deteriorating public health situation for the revocation when it notified the German-owned airline on Friday evening.

The airline said it would appeal against the decision, especially as its licence was only granted on 26 September.

Cuban health workers unload medical supplies at Freetown's airport to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone. Charities say the UK flight decision closes a vital humanitarian corrider to the country. Photograph: Florian Plaucheur/AFP/Getty Images

The decision closed what charities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) said was a vital humanitarian corridor to Sierra Leone, which is struggling to cope with the Ebola outbreak.

Médecins sans Frontières...criticised the decision. It said if the government was going to stop commercial airlines flying to the region it would have to put in place state alternatives.

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