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Road to Zero: Sierra Leone’s Struggle to Rid Itself of Ebola

GIZMODO by Mark Honigsbaum - Mosaic                                                 April 21, 2015

The worst of the Ebola epidemic may be over but the World Health Organization has declared that life in Sierra Leone, as in other Ebola-affected West African countries, can only return to normal when transmission of the virus ceases and cases drop to zero. Unfortunately, not everyone in Sierra Leone is so concerned...

Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, was having trouble ‘getting to zero’, and his underlings were getting antsy. “We need one more push,” said Major Palo Conteh, the commander of Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Response Centre (NERC) and a former Olympic quarter miler. “It’s like in the 400 metres when you’re 20m from the finish line, that’s the time to kick hard.”

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Ebola Lying in Wait

NEW YORK TIMES by Pam Belluck and William J. Broad     April 20, 2015

A growing body of scientific clues — some ambiguous, others substantive — suggests that the Ebola virus may have lurked in the West African rain forest for years, perhaps decades, before igniting the deadly epidemic that swept the region in the past year, taking more than 10,000 lives.

Around 2004 at a government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, a team of American scientists and West African medical personnel found what appeared to be Ebola antibodies in nearly 9 percent of blood samples. Credit Carl De Souza/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Social Pathways for Ebola Virus Disease in Rural Sierra Leone, and Some Implications for Containment

PLOS     by Paul Richards and others                                                          April. 17,  2015                  
The current outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease in Upper West Africa is the largest ever recorded. Molecular evidence suggests spread has been almost exclusively through human-to-human contact.

 Social factors are thus clearly important to understand the epidemic and ways in which it might be stopped, but these factors have so far been little analyzed.

 The present paper focuses on Sierra Leone, and provides cross sectional data on the least understood part of the epidemic—the largely undocumented spread of Ebola in rural areas. Various forms of social networking in rural communities and their relevance for understanding pathways of transmission are described. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between marriage, funerals and land tenure.

 Funerals are known to be a high-risk factor for infection. It is suggested that more than a shift in awareness of risks will be needed to change local patterns of behavior, especially in regard to funerals, since these are central to the consolidation of community ties.

http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0003567

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Signs Ebola Spreads in Sex Prompt a C.D.C. Warning

NEW YORK TIMES  by SHeri Fink                                                                                  April 20, 2015
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its guidelines on Ebola transmission on Sunday night, urging survivors to abstain from all forms of sex or use condomsevery time “until more information becomes available,” rather than three months as previously recommended.

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Nigeria Hit With Mysterious Epidemic In Ondo State, More Deadly Than Ebola: Report

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES  by Morgan Winsor        April 17, 2015

A strange disease has ravaged a small community in western Nigeria, killing at least 14 people in the last 10 days. Residents of the Ikale community in Ondo state have described the mysterious epidemic as more deadly than Ebola and many are afraid to touch the dead, the Daily Post in Nigeria reported.

“We are worried. Our people are dying. We don’t know this sickness,” resident Mary Omogbehinla told the Daily Post on Thursday. “We can’t touch those who have been killed. I have counted about 19, others said 14. God please, have mercy on us.”

Four new patients with symptoms of the strange disease were isolated at a local hospital in Ode Irele. The state’s health commissioner, Dayo Adeyanju, said Thursday the government launched an awareness campaign to encourage residents to report any potential cases of the mysterious ailment. The World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria’s health ministry and other health agencies were also contacted to help identify the disease and to ensure the cases do not spread, the Daily Post said Thursday.

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Ebola on the wane, Sierra Leone braces for a whole new crisis

WASHINGTON POST  by Todd C. Frankel                                                        April 16, 2015

Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma was ready to talk about something besides Ebola.

Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma, left, and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf listen as U.S. President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the news media in the Cabinet Room at the White House April 15, 2015 in Washington, DC. Obama and his counterparts discussed their progress in the fight against the Ebola virus and their efforts to create long-term economic recovery for the West African countries. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

His West African nation is not yet Ebola-free. It is still fighting to rid itself of the feared pathogen, which has killed more than 10,000 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia since March 2014. But today the number of new Ebola cases in Sierra Leone has slowed to a trickle. The country recorded just seven new confirmed infections last week. Last November, Sierra Leone was reporting 550 new cases a week.

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What Would You Do if Restaurants and Your Local Grocery Store Closed Tomorrow?

           

huffingtonpost.com - by Joseph Agoada - April 14, 2015

If all the supermarkets and restaurants in your neighborhood closed their doors tomorrow, would you know how to source your next meal? Would you be able to survive in a world without a local grocery store or eatery? While the thought of losing your local market may seem extreme, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are faced with the daily challenge of finding the food to fuel their day.

(READ COMPLETE ARTICLE)

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Ebola virus found in semen six months after recovery: WHO

AFP                                                                                                           April 15, 2015

Geneva- Traces of Ebola have been found in the semen of a man six months after his recovery, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, urging survivors to practice safe sex "until further notice".

The man had been declared free of the deadly virus in Liberia last September, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told AFP.

"He has provided a semen sample which has tested... positive for Ebola, 175 days after his negative blood test," he said in an email.

The UN health agency had previously said the virus had been detected in semen around three months after a patient had been declared Ebola free.

The new finding has led WHO to recommend that survivors abstain from having sex or that they practice safe sex using a condom beyond the three-month period previously prescribed.

Read complete story.

http://news.yahoo.com/ebola-virus-found-semen-six-months-recovery-104351981.html;_ylt=AwrC2Q7WeS5VaEoA82fQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByOHZyb21tBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg--

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4 Myths About Ebola Recovery in West Africa

GLOBAL HEALTH NOW Commentary by  Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks                       April 14, 2015
The aftermath of the world’s worst Ebola outbreak in history provides an important opportunity to reflect on the response; but most importantly, to acknowledge we have much more to do...our great fear is that the international community will declare Ebola’s containment a victory and move on, without addressing the reasons the outbreak was so devastating in the first place. The crisis is the canary in the mine, indicating a broader problem that long existed.

An unfortunate reality that plagues development assistance worldwide is what we call “short-termism.” It’s the tendency to mobilize health infrastructure resources only in crises. This is a reactive and costly strategy that prioritizes temporary stabilization without considerations for long-term security.... 

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Ebola: Surviving Survival - Life after recovery

Médecins Sans Frontières                                     April 13, 2015

Dr Maria Barstch spends her days in the small house that serves as MSF’s Ebola survivor clinic in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The peak of the epidemic may have passed in Sierra Leone but new cases continue to emerge almost every day, and with new cases come new survivors. While they are relieved to have defeated the deadly virus, some survivors are facing other debilitating symptoms of the so called “post-Ebola syndrome.”

                   People wait for a consultation at MSF’s survivor clinic in Freetown. Photo: Sophie McNamara/MSF

...MSF has also opened a survivor clinic in Liberia, housed at the site of MSF’s new pediatric hospital in Monrovia. In both Liberia and Sierra Leone, many survivors have previously sought treatment at local public or private hospitals and clinics but were refused care as soon as staff knew they were Ebola survivors.

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