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The world should learn from the Ebola crisis to combat MERS in Saudi Arabia

EDITORIAL, THE WASHINGTON POST                                                                      Feb. 27, 2015

A DISEASE outbreak has a source and a pathway for transmission, but both can be exceedingly difficult to discover. Middle East respiratory syndrome, or MERS, is surging anew in Saudi Arabia and raising familiar questions: Where is this coronavirus coming from and how is it spreading?


A man wearing a mask looks on as he stands in front of camels at a camel market in the village of al-Thamama near Riyadh May 11, 2014. Saudi Arabia said people handling camels should wear masks and gloves to prevent spreading Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), (Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters)

There is growing evidence that the natural reservoir of MERS, which first appeared in 2012, is dromedary camels, and last year’s peak in the spring seemed to coincide with the weaning period of camel calves. A new seasonal oscillation may be starting now. But there are worrisome and unexplained gaps in recent case reports.

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Ebola: Sierra Leone village in lockdown after 31 new cases recorded

THE GUARDIAN by Lisa O'Carroll                         Feb. 27, 2015

Efforts to beat Ebola in Sierra Leone have been dealt a setback after 31 new cases were recorded in one village.

                            Red Cross healthcare workers. 

The community of 500 just outside the town of Makeni has now been put in lockdown by the army amid fears that more could be infected.

The World Health Organisation said cases have been linked to one man who escaped a quarantine in Freetown to go home to his village to get treatment from a traditional faith healer.

The quarantine area is a fishing community, yards from the hotel where many of humanitarian agencies have stayed.

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Ebola halts HIV progress in Sierra Leone, says UN

Thomson Reuters Foundation by Misha Hussain                                                        Feb.27, 2015

 DAKAR -- The West African Ebola outbreak has halted progress in tackling HIV in Sierra Leone, shutting health clinics and scaring patients from being tested or seeking treatment, the United Nations has said.

In an internal document seen by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) raised concerns that HIV prevalence and drug resistance in the country could increase as a result.

"Hospitals have closed down because they have been overrun by Ebola patients and non-Ebola patients are too afraid to go to them for fear of catching the virus," said Hakan Bjorkman, who manages UNDP's AIDS programme.

"HIV prevention activities in schools and awareness raising for the general population has been suspended due to the restriction of movement, the closure of all education institutions and the overall ban on public gathering."

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Please Don't Let An Earthquake Hit When I'm In The Shower

A bicyclist passes a home damaged in a 2011 earthquake at Bhaktapur, some 7 miles southeast of Kathmandu. Prakash Mathema /AFP/Getty Images

Image: A bicyclist passes a home damaged in a 2011 earthquake at Bhaktapur, some 7 miles southeast of Kathmandu.
Prakash Mathema /AFP/Getty Images - February 25th 2015 - Donatella Lorch

What would you do if you lived in a city where you faced the world's greatest risk of dying in a catastrophic earthquake?

I like to believe that I'm prepared. I have water, blankets, sleeping bags, a tent, dry food, a crow bar, shovel, charcoal and "go-bags" for each family member — hiking knapsacks filled with clothing, documents, rope and flashlights and stored in a one-room shed in my yard.


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Fear of Ebola's sexual transmission drives abstinence, panic

REUTERS                                                            Feb. 25, 2015

 MONROVIA --Musa Pabai left an Ebola treatment centre in Liberia in November, grateful to have survived a disease that has killed nearly 10,000 people across West Africa but fearing he still could pose grave danger the person closest to him.


People await medical treatment in the outpatient lounge of Redemption Hospital, formerly an Ebola holding center, on February 2, 2015 in Monrovia, Liberia. Most hospitals and clinics have re-opened, as the Ebola epidemic wanes.
Image by: John Moore / Getty Images.

By Valentine's Day, nearly three months later, the 23-year-old had not yet returned to Hannah, his girlfriend and mother of his young son.

"I don't want to be tempted by her ... It would be a problem," he said in the capital Monrovia, where he spent his self-imposed exile, afraid that he could still infect her through sexual contact despite his clean bill of health.

Research has shown traces of Ebola in semen of some survivors for at least 82 days after the onset of symptoms and in vaginal secretions for a much shorter period.

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Ebola Crisis: Red Cross workers attacked as virus conspiracies create panic in Guinea

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES by Elsa Buchanan                                           Feb.24 ,2015

Ebola health workers have been the victims of mob attacks across Guinea caused by false rumours spread by opposition politicians, international NGOs exclusively claimed to IBTimes UK.

Members of the French military check a medical centre at Conakry's International airport, on 19 January 2015(BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest of these rumours - that the Red Cross was intentionally spraying schoolchildren with the virus - spread chaos in the capital Conakry and the region of Faranah last week, resulting in violent attacks against the organisation workers.

On 19 February, the Prefect of Faranah, Kennett Guilavogui, announced seven people had been arrested for the dissemination of rumours and false or misleading news....

Local journalist, Macky Sow told IBTimes UK: "It is very difficult to prove these rumours are spread for political reasons, but there are many people who claim politicians are behind these rumours."

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Ebola crisis: Sierra Leone orphanage quarantined

BBC            by Umaru Fofana                                        Feb. 23, 2015

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone --An orphanage run by a UK charity in Sierra Leone has been quarantined after one of its local staff was diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus.

Augustine Baker is said to be in a stable condition at a local treatment centre after becoming ill last week....

St George Foundation orphanage co-founder Philip Dean told the BBC that 33 children and seven staff were now in isolation.

The BBC's Umaru Fofana in the capital, Freetown, says that the quarantine at the St George Foundation orphanage is self-imposed, and is expected to last for three weeks.

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                                                             St George Foundation has helped about 200 children orphaned by Ebola.

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Funding to Fight Ebola: Not Too Little, but Definitely Too Late

Center for Global Development - -by Karen A. Grépin and Amanda Glassman - February 4, 2015

. . . In a new paper out today in the BMJ, Karen investigated the level and speed of the international response to the Ebola outbreak and contrasted it with the appeals made by international leaders to curb the spread of the disease. Contrary to widespread belief, Karen finds that, overall, the level of donations to the response were actually robust: as of December 31st, 2,104 donors had pledged almost $3 billion towards controlling the epidemic. Notably, this is actually larger than the official appeals for upwards of $1.5 billion. In addition, the data used underestimate total donations, in particular those given by the World Bank, which mobilized at least $1 billion in financing to help support affected countries.

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Liberia: Ebola Threat - S.D. Cooper Hospital Closed - 30 Quarantined

submitted by Gavin Macgregor-Skinner


S.D.A. Cooper Hospital in Sinkor - Monrovia, Liberia - by Bettie Johnson - February 20, 2015

Monrovia — At one of Liberia's private hospitals, more than 30 persons are said to be quarantined after authorities say a woman who knew she had Ebola deliberately tried to infect the staff of the S.D. Cooper Hospital in Sinkor. Madam Amanda Blah who died early this month disguised herself and went to over three health facilities including Mawah, JFK and S.D. Cooper.

The death of Blah followed when her cousin named Steve Yadolo who died from the virus in the Bong Mines bridge community, but infected three persons, including Blah, his sister Marlene Yadolo, and brother Elijah Yadolo who are presently at an ETU in the country.



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Ebola Transmission Through Cough Possible, But Not Likely: Experts

HEALTHDAY NEWS   by Dennis Thompson                                                                 Feb. 19, 2015

The cough of very sick Ebola patients could be as dangerous as their vomit or diarrhea to those around them, a new report suggests.

However, the same experts also cautioned that this does not mean that the deadly virus could spread quickly through the air, as illnesses like measles or flu do.

The report "shouldn't be something that alarms the public into believing that Ebola could become airborne in the way that measles is," said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior associate at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Health Security.

"This paper doesn't say that," said Adalja, who was not involved in the study.

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