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Ebola: limitations of correcting misinformation

THE LANCET                                                                                                              Dec.18, 2014
Communication and social mobilisation strategies to raise awareness about Ebola virus disease and the risk factors for its transmission are central elements in the response to the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa.1 A principle underpinning these efforts is to change risky "behaviour" related to "traditional" practices and "misinformation".

 Populations at risk of contracting Ebola virus disease have been exhorted to “put aside, tradition, culture and whatever family rites they have and do the right thing”....Such messages follow logically from clinical and epidemiological framings of contagion.

They pay little attention, however, to the historical, political, economic, and social contexts in which they are delivered....

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Ebola Survivors Fight Prejudice

Organizations seek to help patients reintegrate into society after recovering

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN   by Erika Check Hayden and Nature magazine                                               Dec. 18, 2014

Katima Kamara survived Ebola. Now she cares for children as a nurse at an Ebola treatment center in Kenema, Sierra Leone. But Kamara’s neighbours are wary of her, despite her bill of good health. Some call her home the ‘Ebola compound’ and avoid taking water from her well.

Kamara’s story is not unusual. Across Sierra Leone, Ebola survivors are working as nurses, caregivers, counsellors, organizers and outreach workers, seeking to halt the spread of the disease that threatened their lives. But they also fight discrimination and stigma, lingering health problems and poverty—a legacy of the ongoing Ebola epidemic that is only now beginning to be addressed, seven months after the virus emerged in the country....

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Ebola leaves hundreds of thousands facing hunger in three worst-hit countries

FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO)                                                            Dec. 17, 2014

The number of people facing food insecurity due to the Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could top one million by March 2015 unless access to food is drastically improved and measures are put in place to safeguard crop and livestock production, two UN agencies warned today.

The disease's impact is potentially devastating in the three countries already coping with chronic food insecurity, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) said in three country reports published today.

Border closures, quarantines, hunting bans and other restrictions are seriously hindering people's access to food, threatening their livelihoods, disrupting food markets and processing chains, and exacerbating shortages stemming from crop losses in areas with the highest Ebola infection rates, the FAO-WFP reports stressed.

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Ebola Centres Overflow as Sierra Leone Steps Up Fight


A Sierra Leonean boy looks out of a doorway in Freetown, Sierra Leone, December 16, 2014. 
Credit: Reuters/Baz Ratner - by Emma Farge - December 17, 2014

(Reuters) - Ebola centres in Sierra Leone overflowed on Wednesday as health workers combed the streets of the capital Freetown for patients, after the government launched a major operation to contain the epidemic in West Africa's worst-hit country.

President Ernest Bai Koroma said on national television that travel between all parts of the country had been restricted as part of "Operation Western Area Surge", and public gatherings would be strictly controlled in the run-up to Christmas.


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Lessons From an Outbreak: How Ebola Shaped 2014

Interviews with experts on what to take away from the devastation of the disease.

THE ATLANTIC   by Julie Beck                                                                                                 Dec. 17, 2014

...While some in the Western media criticized West Africans' fear of health workers and resistance to public-health measures, the United States got a small taste of Ebola panic when Thomas Eric Duncan became the first case diagnosed in the country in September, followed by three other cases this fall. Duncan was the only patient to die in the U.S., and the panic died down quietly.

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Challenges in Responding to the Ebola Epidemic — Four Rural Counties, Liberia, August–November 2014


                CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)                                                                   

 by Aimee Summers, PhD1,2, Tolbert G. Nyenswah, MPH 3, Joel M. Montgomery, PhD2,4, John Neatherlin, MPH2,4,       Jordan W. Tappero, MD                                                                                                              Dec. 16, 2014

...The Ebola epidemic in Liberia presents unique challenges not only from its spread into crowded urban environments (10) but also its occurrence in remote communities. As in urban counties, county and district health teams in rural counties with remote regions need adequate training in 1) case reporting; 2) case investigation; 3) case management; 4) contact tracing; 5) safe burials; 6) safe collection, processing, and transport of blood specimens for testing; and 7) development of a county-level incident management system.

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2014 on Track to be Hottest Year on Record



The temperatures so far in 2014 compared to the top 5 warmest years on record.
Click image to enlarge. Credit: NOAA









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Here’s How Much the Next Ebola Will Cost Us

Why saving the environment can help prevent it

TIME MAGAZINE     by Alexandra Sifferlin                                                                         Dec. 16, 2014

The global community cannot withstand another Ebola outbreak: The World Bank estimates the two-year financial burden price tag of the current epidemic at $32.6 billion. Unfortunately, the virus has revealed gaping holes in our preparedness for major infectious disease epidemics. Because of these, plus the urbanization of rural communities and globalization of travel and trade, more of these epidemics are expected.

In a new report from the EcoHealth Alliance published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), experts estimate that the world will see about five new emerging infectious diseases each year and that we need new prevention strategies to cut economic losses.

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For Ebola Patients in Sierra Leone, Survival Takes More Than Medicine

WIRED             by Erika Check Hayden                                                                                         Dec. 16, 2014

BO, Sierra Leone—Morning rounds have just begun at an Ebola treatment center here in the city of Bo, in central Sierra Leone.

An Ebola management center run by Doctors Without Borders in Bo, Sierra Leone.  Erika Check Hayden

The patients who are able shuffle out of a tent towards two layers of chain-link fence that separate them from the outside—2 meters minimum distance. Some clutch bottles of water, bright orange soda, or foil-wrapped nutritional bars. A woman in an orange printed wrap skirt lags behind the others, struggling to slide a sandal on to her foot. She came here in bad shape with her husband and three children, but she is improving; she was recently taken off intravenous fluids....

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Ebola Survivors Crucial to Containing the Epidemic: Experts


Survivors of the Ebola virus pose for a picture outside a clinic near Tubmanburg, October 15, 2014.
REUTERS/James Giahyue

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - To hasten Ebola containment, mobilize survivors - by Magdalena Mis - December 10, 2014

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Thousands of Ebola survivors with little to no risk of re-infection are critical to controlling the epidemic and training them has the potential to save thousands of lives and decrease the spread of the virus, experts said on Wednesday.

Survivors have developed immunity and are effectively the only people in the world protected from the virus, which could allow them to care for the sick without risking their lives, said experts in the International Journal of Epidemiology.



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