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Ebola created a public health emergency—and we weren’t ready for it

Could the international community have done a better job when confronted with the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa? Although the virus appears to be largely contained now, this comes after at least 27,000 people were infected, with 11,000 of them dying. The virus also had the opportunity to spread within the human population for over a year, providing it a potentially dangerous opportunity to adapt to us as hosts.

To find out whether we could have managed the outbreak better, the World Health Organization (WHO) recently convened an Ebola Interim Assessment Panel, which analyzed various aspects of the organization’s response. This panel, commissioned by the WHO Director-General, included the Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, the founding Director of the UK's national Health Service, and other international public health leaders. It recently released its final report on the crisis.

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Ebola study notes afebrile patients, calls into question WHO criteria

CENTER FOR DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICY        July 24, 2015

(Also scroll down for: Ebola case definition quandary; Public health worker Ebola unease)

Researchers found that the World Health Organization (WHO) Ebola case definition has a specificity of only 31.5%, and they noted that 9% of Ebola patients reported neither a fever nor any Ebola risk exposure, calling into question WHO norms, according to a large study yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Researchers from Britain and Sierra Leone analyzed data on 850 suspected and 724 lab-confirmed Ebola patients who presented to the holding unit of Connaught Hospital in Freetown from May 29 to Dec 8, 2014. Fever or history of fever (n=599, 83%), intense fatigue or weakness (495, 68%), vomiting or nausea (365, 50%), and diarrhea (294, 41%) were the most common presenting symptoms in suspected cases.

Based on data from these patients, the investigators found the sensitivity of the WHO case definition to be 79.7%, which means about 20% of true Ebola cases would be missed (false-negatives). They found the specificity of the case definition to be 31.5%, which means 68.5% of patients who would be selected for admission would not actually have Ebola virus disease (false-positives).

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Video - Humanity From Space

      

pbs.org - July 22, 2015

From the global perspective of space, this 2-hour special reveals the breathtaking extent of our influence, revealing how we’ve transformed our planet and produced an interconnected world of extraordinary complexity.

A journey through 12,000 years, Humanity from Space shows how seemingly small flashes of innovation have changed the course of civilization; innovations that touch all of us today in ways unimaginable to our ancestors. And we’ll gaze into the future at the new challenges we’ll face in order to survive as our global population soars because of our success. In every case we’ll look at our progression in a unique and surprising way, revealing unforgettable facts and "who knew?" connections.

To visualize these stories cutting-edge technology is used to turn raw data into authentic moving images, building on expertise from a previous (and highly-praised) project; "Earth From Space." Using this technique, we can map humanity’s behavior in stunning, never seen before detail, revealing how our civilization grew, how it works today and what the future might hold.

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Campaign group accuses Liberia palm oil firm of exploiting Ebola crisis

REUTERS by  Makini Brice                                 July 23, 2015

DAKAR --Anti-corruption campaign group Global Witness on Thursday accused palm oil company Golden Veroleum of taking advantage of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia to double the size of its plantation.

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

Golden Veroleum, controlled by Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources, signed a deal with Liberia in 2010 to develop a 220,000 hectare plantation. However, the company also has to reach agreement with local communities that have customary titles over the land.

The company denied any wrongdoing.

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Ebola-Affected Countries Brainstorm Infection Prevention Control

      

frontpageafricaonline.com - by Bettie K. Johnson / Monica Melton - July 20, 2015

Monrovia - Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are the worst affected countries from the 2014 to 2015 Ebola outbreak, the worse ever in the history of the virus. The three countries are currently struggling to reach to zero infection of the Ebola virus. The World Health Organization and health practitioners from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia gathered Monday to discuss infection prevention and control in all three countries. . . .

. . . The three day consultative meeting is expected to discuss the current status of IPC and WASH in health care facilities in each country describing the progress achieved so far during the response and transition phase. It will also share the strategic plans for the IPC and WASH improvement in the context of health systems recovery, for both the current early phase and the medium/term. The consultative meeting is sponsored by World Bank and Centers for Disease Control, among others.

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Bird Flu Spreading Across West Africa, Human Spillover Feared: UN

          

A man poses with a chicken at a local market in Gombe state, Nigeria, January 30, 2015. REUTERS/ Afolabi Sotunde

trust.org - Thomson Reuters Foundation - by Chris Arsenault - 20 Jul 2015

A highly contagious strain of avian flu is spreading across West Africa, decimating poultry farms and stoking fears the virus will jump from birds to humans, the U.N.'s food agency warned on Monday.

Markets and farms in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ivory Coast and Ghana have been hit with the deadly H5N1 virus over the past six months, the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said.

If the virus continues to spread, it could affect more than 330 million people across West Africa, hurting food security and human health in a region still recovering from the Ebola crisis.

"Urgent action is needed to strengthen veterinary investigation and reporting systems... to tackle the disease at the root, before there is a spillover to humans," Juan Lubroth, head of the FAO's animal health division, said in a statement.

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Ebola: 'Fear, Denial and Fatigue Fuelling Outbreak'

               

Obi Sesay says they must get the 'last hardcore' to 'take responsibility'

bbc.com - by Tulip Mazumdar - July 14, 2015

Health officials leading the fight against Ebola in Sierra Leone say fear, fatigue and denial are allowing the virus to continue to spread.

Cases had been falling sharply since the start of the year. But the decline has stalled and more than a year since the outbreak was first declared in Sierra Leone, new cases are still emerging every week. . . .

. . . "We have not been successful in convincing a last hard core of the population to change their behaviour," said Obi Sesay, director of the National Ebola Response Centre.

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Liberia Authorities Track Herbalist Who Escaped Ebola Quarantine

      

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

af.reuters.com - July 17, 2015

MONROVIA (Reuters) - A herbalist who treated the 17-year-old boy who sparked Liberia's third wave of Ebola infections has escaped quarantine and fled to Nimba County in the north of the country near Guinea, officials said on Thursday.

He was one of 120 people placed under quarantine for coming into contact with the deceased.

"The herbalist evaded quarantine and is on the run, this is a reason we are putting everybody on alert," Paul Karnue, a spokesman for the Nimba local government said.

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'The Worst Atrocity You’ve Never Heard Of'

The ethnic cleansing unfolding in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan doesn’t get much coverage. But once you’ve witnessed it, says Nicholas Kristof, it will haunt you. By Adam B. Ellick on Publish Date July 13, 2015. Photo by Nicholas Kristof/The New York Times.

nytimes.com - By ADAM B. ELLICK and NICHOLAS KRISTOF - July 13, 2015

You’ve heard of Darfur, and you know about the slaughter underway in Syria. But the worst ethnic cleansing you’ve never heard of is unfolding in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, where the government is bombing villages, schools and hospitals and trying to keep out food and medicine.

It doesn’t get much coverage, partly because it’s difficult to get access to. But when you’ve seen these atrocities, they haunt you. So we slipped into the Nuba Mountains through rebel lines to try to document the killings. This video is the result.

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Liberia confirms new Ebola case as outbreak spreads

REUTERS   July 14, 2015

MONROVIA - A Liberian woman has died of Ebola in a hospital in Monrovia shortly after being admitted, becoming the sixth confirmed case of the virus since it resurfaced last month after a seven-week lull, a senior medical official said on Tuesday.

The victim from Montserrado County, which contains Monrovia, is thought to be linked to the other five cases from neighboring Margibi County, where the disease reemerged.

Her detection raised fears that the infection may be spreading in a new area of the country.

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http://news.yahoo.com/liberia-confirms-ebola-case-outbreak-spreads-120753593.html

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