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At Least 21 Dead, 37 Missing in Landslips

by Ananda Gautam, June 12, 2015 | ekantipur.com

TAPLEJUNG article photo

TAPLEJUNG, JUN 12 - At least 21 people died and 37 others went missing in landslides triggered by heavy rainfall at several places in Taplejung district on Wednesday night.

Chief District Officer Damaru Prasad Niraula said seven men, eight women and six children died in landslides at Liwang, Santhakra, Khokling, Thinglabu and Lingtep VDCs. 

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New Study Links Global Warming to Hurricane Sandy and Other Extreme Weather Events

By John Abraham | The Gaurdian | June 22, 2015

Hurricane Sandy article image

The paper finds that global warming is putting extreme weather on steroids 

One of the hottest areas of climate research these days is on the potential connections between human emissions, global warming, and extreme weather. Will global warming make extreme weather more common or less common? More severe or less severe? 

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Finger-prick, blood test for Ebola takes just minutes

THE WASHINGTON POST by

Public health officials may soon be able to screen patients for Ebola at border crossings and hospitals with a finger-prick blood test that takes mere minutes.

The development of the rapid diagnostic test, reported in The Lancet Thursday, represents a significant victory for scientists around the world who have been experimenting over the past year with all manner of vaccines, treatments and other ways of eradicating the virus.

Developing a way of confirming Ebola in a patient has been one of the top priorities. In the early stages the symptoms -- chest pain, cough, nausea -- can look like many other illnesses, making it very difficult for doctors to triage -- to determine who should be quarantined and who to send home. It can often take days or longer for laboratory tests, the current standard, to return a positive or negative result.

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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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Readability of Ebola Information on Websites of Public Health Agencies, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Europe

CDC IED JOURNAL  by    Enrique Castro-Sánchez , Elpiniki Spanoudakis, and Alison H. Holmes    Volume 21, Number 7- July 2015                                          

 Public involvement in efforts to control the current Ebola virus disease epidemic requires understandable information. We reviewed the readability of Ebola information from public health agencies in non–Ebola-affected areas. A substantial proportion of citizens would have difficulty understanding existing information, which would potentially hinder effective health-seeking behaviors....

Several factors, including readability of information provided (8), can help reduce health literacy deficits...It is recommended that health information materials should be written at a level typically understandable by an 11-year-old person ... anxiety or panic attributed to a highly virulent infection, such as Ebola, might hinder comprehension of related information (11).

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Favipiravir—a prophylactic treatment for Ebola contacts?

THE LANCET byMichel Van Herp, Hilde Declerck and Tom Decroo June 13, 2015

.. the efficacy of candidate Ebola vaccines for primary prevention has not been proven.2 Furthermore, in communities in which Ebola transmission might be ongoing, an important question is: how will such a vaccination be perceived if a vaccinated person develops Ebola? Such a scenario is possible in people who contract Ebola virus before vaccination. If a person is infected with Ebola virus before vaccination, the vaccine might have a post-exposure prophylactic effect. However, how effective this prophylaxis might be is unknown.2 Moreover, if someone is infected more than 48 h before vaccination, the post-exposure prophylactic effect is likely to be insufficient, leading to possible development of Ebola after vaccination. This scenario is likely to result in serious issues relating to community trust and acceptance of an Ebola vaccine.3 How to exclude Ebola among people presenting with post-vaccination fever is also an issue.2

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Google Launches Sidewalk Labs; Aims to Help Fix Cities

               

Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page speaks during the keynote presentation at Google I/O 2013 in San Francisco.(Photo: Jeff Chiu, AP)

Google (GOOG) is starting a new, independent urban innovation company called Sidewalk Labs that aims to improve cities, according to a post on Google+ by CEO Larry Page. The Street

usatoday.com - by Jessica Guynn - June 11, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — Google, famous for its ambitious projects to build self-driving cars and high-altitude balloons that beam the Internet to earth, is now taking aim at fixing another major problem: city life.

The new initiative, called Sidewalk Labs, will use technology and innovation in an effort to improve urban life at a time when the U.S. population is gravitating to cities, according to Google CEO Larry Page.

Based in New York, it will be run by Dan Doctoroff, a former deputy mayor of New York City who will combine his experience in managing cities with funding from Google.

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The Case for Improved Diagnostic Tools to Control Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa and How to Get There

PLOS by Arlene C. Chua,Jane Cunningham,Francis Moussy, Mark D. Perkins,and Pierre Formenty      June 11 2015

 ...Since the identification of Ebola in Guinea in March 2013, rapid deployment of international mobile laboratories through WHO networks—Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) [2] and Emerging and Dangerous Pathogens Laboratory Network (EDPLN) [3]—has been vital to outbreak control operations. Deployable laboratories from multiple international organizations have been established near Ebola treatment centers (ETC) in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone....

However, several technical and social factors conspire to delay diagnosis, starting with weak surveillance systems and slow patient access to centralized ETCs. While the mean processing time is 5 hours (time difference from when samples are received in the laboratory to when they are tested), there is a marked difference in the time from when the samples are collected from suspected patients to the time they are received by the laboratory

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Bethlehem's Orasure gets government contract to develop quick Ebola test

LEIGH VALLEYLIVE  by Tony Rodin                             June 12, 2015

BETHLAHEM, PENNSYLVANIA  --OraSure Technologies Inc., a Bethlehem company that pioneered a quick test for determining HIV infection, has received a more than $10 million multiphase government contract to do the same for Ebola diagnosis, the company said Friday morning.

The company has developed a prototype device "that appears to deliver analytical performance similar to laboratory PCR tests when evaluated on stored samples from infected patients," the company said.

The three-year contract begins with a $1.8 million commitment and can add $8.6 million for clinical and regulatory activities, the company said.

The Ebola test will utilize the same OraQuick technology used in the company's rapid HIV and hepatitis C test kits, the company said.

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http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2015/06/bethlehems_orasure_gets_govern.html

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International Ebola Recovery Conference Ending Ebola: “Get to Zero, Stay at Zero and Rebuild”

Congo Town, Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP

Image: Congo Town, Freetown, Sierra Leone. Photo: Dylan Lowthian/UNDP

africa.undp.org - May 9th, 2015

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host an International Ebola Recovery Conference in July to ensure that the affected countries receive the resources and support they need to overcome the wider socio-economic consequences of the ongoing Ebola outbreak.

The conference at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 10 July 2015 will take place in cooperation with the Governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, together with other partners. 

With numbers of Ebola cases have dropped, the affected countries still need the support of the international community to get to zero cases, stay there, and to move forward on the road to recovery.

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