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Pitt, Drexel, and NIH team up to study persistence of Ebola virus in wastewater

EUREKEALERT                                                                                                               Aug. 25, 2015
PITTSBURGH--The historic outbreak of Ebola virus disease in West Africa that began in March 2014 and has killed more than 11,000 people since, has raised new questions about the resilience of the virus and tested scientists' understanding of how to contain it. The latest discovery by a group of microbial risk-assessment and virology researchers suggests that the procedures for disposal of Ebola-contaminated liquid waste might underestimate the virus' ability to survive in wastewater.

Current epidemic response procedures from both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that after a period of days, Ebola-contaminated liquid can be disposed of directly into a sewage system without additional treatment.

However, new data recently published by researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Drexel University, and the National Institutes of Health indicate that Ebola can survive in detectable concentrations in wastewater for at least a week or longer.

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http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/uop-pda082515.php

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The velocity of Ebola spread in parts of west Africa

THE LANCET by Kate Zinszer and others.                   Aug. 24,2015

In a speed outpacing control efforts, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic in parts of west Africa spread across Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone infecting an estimated 26 800 individuals and claiming more than 11 000 lives as of May 15, 2015.1 Mobile populations coupled with porous borders1,2 and commercial air travel patterns3 affected the frequency and breadth of Ebola virus transmission.

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With Many Ebola Survivors Ailing, Doctors Evaluate Situation

ASSOCIATED PRESS  by Carley Petesch              Aug. 23, 2015

DAKAR, Senegal --Lingering health problems afflicting many of the roughly 13,000 Ebola survivors have galvanized global and local health officials to find out how widespread the ailments are, and how to remedy them.

The World Health Organization calls it an emergency within an emergency. Many of the survivors have vision and hearing issues. Some others experience physical and emotional pains, fatigue and other problems. The medical community is negotiating uncharted waters as it tries to measure the scale of this problem that comes on the tail end of the biggest Ebola outbreak in history.

"If we can find out this kind of information, hopefully we can help other Ebola survivors in the future," Dr. Zan Yeong, an eye specialist involved in a study of health problems in survivors in Liberia, told The Associated Press.

About 7,500 people will enroll — 1,500 Ebola survivors and 6,000 of their close contacts — and will be monitored over a five-year period in the study launched by Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia, or PREVAIL.

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Euro zone economy sputters as China risks loom

reuters.com - August 14th 2015 - Paul Carrel

Germany enjoyed robust if unspectacular growth in the second quarter while the French economy stagnated, leaving policymakers looking at a fragile euro zone recovery and risks from volatile Chinese markets.

The German economy, Europe's largest, grew by 0.4 percent on the quarter -- a slight acceleration from 0.3 percent in the first three months of the year but below expectations for a 0.5 percent expansion as weak investment acted as a drag.

In France, a jump in exports was not strong enough to offset the impact of weak consumer spending and changes in inventories and growth came to a standstill after a strong first quarter.

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Stock Market Plunge Wipes Out This Year’s Gains

            

washingtonpost.com - by Thad Moore and Drew Harwell - August 21, 2015

A worldwide sell-off pushed U.S. stocks to their worst week since 2011 as spooked investors scattered amid worries of an economic slowdown in China and the potential for higher interest rates at home.

The Dow Jones industrial average capped a four-day losing streak by dropping more than 500 points to close at 16,459.75, sinking 10 percent from its May peak and following even steeper market declines in Asia and Europe.

The rout will further rattle workers whose 401(k) retirement accounts have taken a troubling hit. Investors have lost billions in recent weeks and are flocking to safety-net Treasury bonds as they wait for the bleeding to stop.

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Study calls humans unsustainable “super predators”

A hunter in camoflauge, sitting next to another hunger, takes aim with a firearm.

Image: A hunter in camoflauge, sitting next to another hunger, takes aim with a firearm.

slashgear.com - August 21st, 2015 - Chris Burns

A ten-year study is published on "the unique ecology of human predators", showing mankind to be an unsustainable threat to all wildlife on our planet. This paper, authored by C. Darimont, C. Fox, H. Bryan, and T. Reimchen, compares the predatory patterns of humans to all other predators on the planet. They show that humans kill adult prey at a median rate up to 14 times higher than other predators, with "particularly intense exploitation" of terrestrial carnivores and fish.

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Ebola: What Happened

COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS  BY John Campbell
(Scroll down for Laurie Garett's essay "Ebola's Lessons.")

With a rapidly growing and urbanizing population, persistent poverty, and weak governance, Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to be the source of new epidemics that potentially could spread around the world. Understanding the disastrous response of African governments, international institutions, and donor governments to the Ebola epidemic is essential if history is not to be repeated yet again. That makes Laurie Garrett’s essay, “Ebola’s Lessons,” in the September/October 2015 issue of Foreign Affairs, essential reading.

The Ebola virus treatment center where four people are currently being treated is seen in Paynesville, Liberia, July 16, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/James Giahyue)

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Ebola Scares Off Trainee Nurses in Liberia

      

Marconi Collins, a nursing student at the Redemption Hospital in Liberia, cares for a patient as part of her internship, despite fears of Ebola.  Photo: Prince Collins/IRIN

irinnews.org - by Prince Collins

MONROVIA, 18 August 2015 (IRIN) - Like hundreds of other nursing students in Liberia, Jerry Songu should have been beginning his internship this month, the final step to graduating and earning his license. Instead, he has chosen to put his studies and future career on hold.

“Ebola has no boundaries,” the 36-year-old, who is in his third year of nursing school at the Caldwell Community Nursing School in the capital Monrovia, told IRIN. “It killed registered nurses and it can also kill practising nurses. So this is nothing to play with.”

“For me, I have resolved to wait until everything [the Ebola outbreak] is totally over,” he said. “My life is important and I must do everything to protect it. Big [senior] doctors died in this country from Ebola and who am I to take the risk? I am just a student. No rush now.”

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The World’s Most Dangerous Volcano May Kill Another City

Vesuvius and the surrounding Naples metropolitan area. Seen on July 28, 2015. Copernicus Sentinel data (2015)/ESA

Image: Vesuvius and the surrounding Naples metropolitan area. Seen on July 28, 2015. Copernicus Sentinel data (2015)/ESA

wired.com - July 29th, 2015 - Erik Klemetti

If you are a volcanologist, nothing strikes fear into your heart as much as thinking about the next Vesuvius eruption. This Italian giant is nestled in the sprawling metropolitan area of Naples, population 3.1 million. We’re not talking “nearby” like Rainier is to Seattle or Popocatépetl to Mexico City.

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Laws Prohibiting Bush Meat Are Actually A Boon For The Bush Meat Biz

The dik-dik is a small antelope that is hunted as bush meat. This picture was taken in Voi, a town in southern Kenya. Courtesy of Marcus Bleasdale

Image: The dik-dik is a small antelope that is hunted as bush meat. This picture was taken in Voi, a town in southern Kenya. Courtesy of Marcus Bleasdale

npr.org - August 14th, 2015 - Emily Sohn

Note: This post contains a photo of a monkey carcass, on sale at a bush meat market, that may be disturbing to some readers.

What's for dinner?

Porcupines, giant squirrels, dwarf crocodiles and a variety of primates, including golden-bellied crowned monkeys and Bioko black colobus monkeys.

Those are some of the bush meat offerings at the outdoor covered market in Malabo on Bioko Island, part of Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa.

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