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Obama warns against Ebola hysteria as cruise ship heads back to Texas. President rejects calls for west Africa travel ban . Cruise ship returns to Texas after passenger isolated

THE GUARDIAN                              Oct. 18, 2014

WASHINGTON- President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Americans not to succumb to hysteria about Ebola, even as he warned that addressing the deadly virus would require citizens, government leaders and the media to all pitch in.

in his weekly address, Obama also pushed back against calls for the US to institute a travel ban. Lawmakers have called it a commonsense step to prevent more people with Ebola from entering the US, but Obama said such a ban would only hamper aid efforts and screening measures.

“Trying to seal off an entire region of the world – if that were even possible – could actually make the situation worse,” the president said.

Growing US concern about Ebola and the three cases diagnosed so far in Dallas prompted Obama on Friday to tap a former top White House adviser to be his point person on Ebola. Striking a careful balance, Obama said there was no “outbreak” or “epidemic” of Ebola in the US, but said even one case was too many.

“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear – because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need,” Obama said. “We have to be guided by the science.”

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In Layers of Gear, Offering Healing Hand to Ebola Patients in Liberia


Dr. Steven Hatch carried Blessing Gea, 9, into the high-risk ward. Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times - by Sheri Fink - October 16, 2014

SUAKOKO, Liberia — The first time Dr. Steven Hatch suited up in protective gear at an Ebola treatment center, he was confronted with the weight of his decision to volunteer here. A patient, sweating and heavily soiled, had collapsed in a corridor. “Literally every surface of his body was covered in billions of particles of Ebola,” he recalled.


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Staff in Texas Ebola Case Is Asked to Avoid Public Spaces

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UN Ebola trust fund gets $100,000, almost $1 bln needed

REUTERS                                 Oct. 17,2014

By Michelle Nichols and Lesley Wroughton

UNITED NATIONS/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A United Nations trust fund seeking nearly $1 billion for rapid, flexible funding of the most urgent needs to fight Ebola in West Africa has received a deposit of just $100,000 nearly a month after it was set up.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sept. 16 that $988 million is needed to tackle the deadly hemorrhagic fever over the next six months. Since then $365 million has been committed to stop Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, which have been hit hardest by the epidemic.

Nearly all that money was donated directly to U.N. agencies and nonprofits working in West Africa with just $100,000 paid by Colombia into the trust fund set up by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, according to U.N. records.

Some diplomats and officials said many donors had made commitments to U.N. agencies before the trust fund was established. Others said donors were already overstretched and suggested they might be wary of how money put into the trust fund would be spent.

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Senegal is now Ebola-free, according to the WHO

THE WASHINGTON POST                  Oct. 17, 2014
By Abby Ohlheiser

The World Health Organization said on Friday that the Ebola outbreak in Senegal is officially over.


Senegalese border police check papers after an aircraft carrying U.N. humanitarian personnel landed near Dakar on Sept. 27. (Seyl Lou/AFP/Getty Images)

Senegal's first and only confirmed Ebola patient traveled to the country by road from Guinea in August, bringing the virus with him. Officials confirmed his Ebola diagnosis on Aug. 29. But samples from this index patient tested negative for Ebola on Sept. 5, "indicating that he had recovered from Ebola virus disease," the WHO said in a news release.

By Sept. 18, the patient was fully recovered and returned to Guinea.

According to the WHO, Senegal officials kept track of 74 close contacts of the patient -- people who were at risk of contracting Ebola themselves. None of those contacts showed symptoms or tested positive for the disease.

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IAEA to provide nuclear detection technology to help diagnose Ebola in West Africa

HOMELAND SECURITY TODAY                                Oct. 17, 2014

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it would provide specialized diagnostic equipment to help Sierra Leone in its efforts to combat the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak. Later, the support is planned to be extended to Liberia and Guinea. The support is in line with a UN Security Council appeal and responds to a request from Sierra Leone. The IAEA assistance will supplement the country’s ability to diagnose EVD quickly using a diagnostic technology known as Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). RT-PCR is a nuclear-derived technology which allows EVD to be detected within a few hours, while other methods require growing on a cell culture for several days before a diagnosis is determined.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it would provide specialized diagnostic equipment to help Sierra Leone in its efforts to combat the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak, IAEA director General Yukiya Amano announced Tuesday. Later, the support is planned to be extended to Liberia and Guinea.

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Ebola: WHO lists 15 priority countries

WHO says it is focusing on 15 African countries to stop spread of disease, as EU reviews its screening policies.

 AL JAZEERA                                               Oct. 17, 2014

The World Health Organizaton  (WHO) has said it is focusing its attention on 15 countries to prevent the spread of Ebola, as the EU announced a review of its entry policies and the disease was reported in the last untouched area of Sierra Leone.

Dr Isabelle Nuttall, the WHO's global director, said on Thursday that cases were doubling every four weeks and that health officials were trying to prevent the disease spreading from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the worst-hit nations, to neighbouring countries and those with a strong travel and trade relationship.

Focus countries
Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, DR Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Nigeria, South Sudan and Togo.


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Ebola outbreak: WHO admits it botched early attempt to stop disease

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS                                         Oct. 17, 2014

The World Health Organization has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

"Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall," WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn't work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

"It's the regional office in Africa that's the frontline," said Dr. Peter Piot, co-discoverer of the Ebola virus. "And they didn't do anything. That office is really not competent." (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

The UN health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are "politically motivated appointments" made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency's chief in Geneva, Dr. Margaret Chan.

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Obama Authorizes National Guard To Help Fight Ebola

BUSINESS INSIDER                                                           Oct. 17, 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama authorized the use of American military reservists on Thursday to support humanitarian aid efforts against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

In a letter to leaders of the US Congress, Obama said an unspecified number of reservists will be used to help activate duty personnel in support of the Ebola mission in West Africa.

It could include personnel such as engineers, logistics staff, and communications specialists. No individuals or units has been identified yet for the call-up.

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Obama May Name ‘Czar’ to Oversee Ebola Response


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