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Liberians still face travel headaches, stigma abroad even after country declared Ebola-free

ASSOCIATED PRESS By KRISTA LARSON                   June 19, 2015

DAKAR  Senegal  — Robtel Neajai Pailey hadn't been back home to Liberia since Ebola engulfed the country's capital in July, fearful that doing so could make it harder for her to travel as countries around the globe clamped down on visitors with West African passports.

So it was a mix of shock and anger earlier this month when she couldn't get a visa to attend an important meeting in the United Arab Emirates that had been months in the making.

It didn't matter that she had not even been in Liberia during the epidemic. Nor did it matter that Liberia was declared Ebola-free more than a month ago.

"It's not just affecting people who are in the country — it's all of us who have Liberian passports," said Pailey, an academic, activist and author who is based at SOAS, University of London.

The World Health Organization declared Liberia Ebola-free in early May. Still, fear of the deadly disease still reigns in many places, causing students to miss out on scholarships abroad, and keeping relatives from attending weddings and funerals.
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Vaccine trial won’t cause Ebola - WHO

GRAPHIC ONLINE by Rebecca Quisacde-Duho and Rhodaline Oppong                              June 20, 2015

Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho & Rhodaline Oppong
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho & Rhodaline Oppong
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho & Rhodaline Oppong
Rebecca Quaicoe-Duho & Rhodaline Oppong

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has assured Ghanaians that the proposed Ebola vaccine trial will not cause Ebola in the country.

WHO says it views the safety of people as paramount and would, therefore, not overlook any wrongdoing in the development of a vaccine.

 The WHO Country Representative, Dr Magda Robalo, gave the assurance at a public sensitisation forum in Accra last Thursday....

 Recently, following public agitations, the Minister of Health, Mr Alex Segbefia, called for more consultation on the proposed Ebola vaccine trial which was to be undertaken at Hohoe in the Volta Region.

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Surviving Ebola: Physical & Psychological Ailments Linger for Many

LIVE SCIENCE by Rachael Rettner                          June 19, 2015

Many people who survive an Ebola infection experience appetite loss and joint pain for months after they are declared free of the virus, although nearly half say they feel they've made close to a full recovery, according to a new study of more than 100 survivors of the disease.

But in addition to causing physical symptoms, Ebola often leaves a lasting impact on people's social lives and mental health, with nearly all survivors reporting social rejection and a loss of self-confidence, the study found.

"Our findings highlight the need for continued surveillance among survivors of Ebola virus disease," the researchers, from Donka National Hospital in Guinea, wrote in the June 9 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. "In countries where psychiatric and psychological care may be limited, provision of such care may require additional resources and awareness."

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http://www.livescience.com/51278-ebola-survivors-physical-mental-health.html

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Staying at zero: Keeping Ebola out of Liberia


WHO                                                                  June 19, 2105
Ebola transmission may be over in Liberia, but in northwestern Lofa County health officials are concerned about its return. The virus first surfaced in the county in March 2014 via a traveller from Guinea and went on to devastate the country.

All 6 districts of northwestern Lofa County share a border with Guinea or Sierra Leone, where the Ebola transmission continues. Every day, hundreds of people pour into Lofa from the 2 Ebola-hit countries — traders, merchants, farmers and other economic migrants, relatives of Liberians attending weddings and funerals and patients going to Liberian health centres in border towns. On market days, the numbers double. They enter Liberia through 33 official border checkpoints and nearly 300 unofficial, mostly unmanned crossings.

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Trial of Canadian Ebola drug stopped; no overall benefit shown

CANADIAN PRESS  by  Helen Branswell                       June 19, 2015

TORONTO -- A Canadian company that had been developing an Ebola drug says a clinical trial of the experimental product has been stopped.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals says the trial was halted because it seemed clear that continuing was not likely to show that the drug works.

The drug is called TKM-Ebola. It was being tested with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone.

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http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/trial-of-canadian-ebola-drug-stopped-no-overall-benefit-shown-1.2430501

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Ebola showed aid delivery desperately needs an overhaul

REUTERS  by Stella Dawson                                                          JUNE 18, 2015

WASHINGTON -- The Ebola epidemic exposed long-standing holes in aid delivery,  which desperately needs an overhaul before the next international emergency hits, aid experts said on Thursday.

Supplies for the Ebola zone in West Africa wait to be loaded at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport September 20, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Many of the shortcomings seen during the Haiti earthquake of slow responses and uncoordinated relief efforts were repeated during the Ebola crisis that erupted in West Africa a year ago, they said.

With Sierra Leone and Guinea continuing to report cases of the deadly virus, the international community must act urgently, said Carolyn Reynolds, external relations manager at the World Bank.

"We need to think outside the box," she said at a panel on global health preparedness held on Capitol Hill.

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www.trust.org/item/20150618215202-ilvea/?source=fiOtherNews2

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Thailand Confirms First MERS Case: Health Ministry

      

Crew members of Thai Airways prepare to disinfect the cabin of an aircraft of the national carrier at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand, June 18, 2015.  Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom

reuters.com - by Pracha Hariraksapitak and Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Jeremy Laurence - June 18, 2015

Thailand confirmed its first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) on Thursday, becoming the fourth Asian country to register the deadly virus this year.

Public Health Minister Rajata Rajatanavin told a news conference that a 75-year-old businessman from Oman had tested positive for MERS.

"From two lab tests we can confirm that the MERS virus was found," Rajata said, adding the man had traveled to Bangkok for medical treatment for a heart condition.

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CLICK HERE -WHO - MERS

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Pregnant Ebola patient may have been contagious for days without symptoms

REUTERS by Gene Emery                                                                         June 18, 2015

 NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Pregnant women infected with Ebola may be contagious for days before they show symptoms, a group of doctors is warning in the June 18 New England Journal of Medicine.

The warning is based on a single case and the woman did not actually spread the deadly infection to anyone. But laboratory tests revealed high levels of the virus when no symptoms were present.

Usually people aren't considered to be contagious until they start to feel ill.

The reason pregnant women may be an exception may have to do with the way pregnancy affects the woman's body, the doctors say. Her immune system becomes more tolerate of the fetus, whose tissues would normally be considered foreign.

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http://news.yahoo.com/pregnant-ebola-patient-may-contagious-days-without-symptoms-124114264.html;_ylt=AwrC0wxAAYNVTlEAmp7QtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTBybGY3bmpvBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--

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Ebola genetic code analysed to show evolution of worst ever outbreak

THE GUARDIAN   by Ian Sample                                                                             June 18, 2015

Scientists have analysed the genetic code of Ebola viruses from patients across west Africa and pieced together the evolution of the worst ever outbreak of the killer disease.

Experts from Public Health England at Porton Down in Britain, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and other leading labs, used DNA from 179 Ebola samples to reconstruct the spread of the virus from Guinea into surrounding countries last year.

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Blood, Sweat and Tears: Study Will Watch Ebola Survivors

NBC NEWS   by Maggie Fox                              June 17, 2015         

Does Ebola stay in your eyes after you recover? Can it spread via semen? Why does it cause achey joints?

U.S. researchers are launching a study in Liberia to take a look at survivors of the deadly virus to see just how common these long-term effects are, and whether they contribute to outbreaks.

"To unravel the many unknowns, we have expanded the focus of our partnership with Liberia's Ministry of Health to include research on the long-term health effects of Ebola virus disease, in addition to our ongoing efforts to find an effective preventive vaccine and treatments for Ebola virus disease," said Dr. Tony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Liberia's health ministry and the NIAID will be studying 1,500 Ebola survivors and 6,000 of their close contacts. They'll look at sweat, tears, semen and other bodily fluids in the survivors and follow everyone for as long as five years.

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