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Back to School, Though Not Back to Normal, in a Liberia Still Fearful of Ebola

NEW YORK TIMES   by Norimitsu Onishi                                                                         March 5, 2015

MONROVIA --About eight months after governments in the region closed schools to stop the spread of Ebola, uniformed and backpack-carrying schoolchildren have returned to the streets of Monrovia, the capital, perhaps the most visible sign of the epidemic’s ebb.

James Nyema, 9, a second-grader known as J.C., wore pink mittens as students at the C.D.B. King Elementary School in Monrovia rose to sing Liberia’s national anthem. It was their first day back, eight months after schools were closed to stop the spread of Ebola. Many of the children wore long sleeves and trousers that covered as much skin as possible.Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

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Ebola in graphics The toll of a tragedy

THE ECONOMIST   by the Data Team                                                                         March 5, 2015

Graphics illustrating the Ebola situation.


See complete set of Graphics

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2015/03/ebola-graphics

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Guinea to start final trials of Ebola vaccines this week

REUTERS by Kate Kelland and Tom Miles                      March 5, 2015

LONDON/GENEVA --Final stage trials of an Ebola vaccine being developed by Merck and NewLink Genetics will begin in Guinea on March 7, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Signaling global health authorities' determination to see through trials despite a sharp drop in cases in the West Africa epidemic, the WHO said a second shot, developed by GlaxoSmithKline will be tested "in a sequential study, as supply becomes available".

All three worst-hit countries - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - aim to conduct final-stage trials of vaccines, and Liberia is already testing the GlaxoSmithKline and Merck-NewLink shots, while Sierra Leone is expected to announce plans soon.

But recent steep declines in new Ebola cases will make it far harder to prove whether experimental vaccines work, as the vaccine's effect will be difficult to establish.

The WHO, however, said it was committed to pushing ahead.

Read complete story.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/05/us-health-ebola-vaccine-idUSKBN0M10ZD20150305

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Last Ebola Patient Is Released in Liberia

ASSOCIATED PRESS by JONATHAN PAYE-LAYLEH                                             March 5, 2015

MONROVIA -- Liberia released its last Ebola patient, a 58-year old English teacher, from a treatment center in the capital on Thursday, beginning its countdown to being declared Ebola free.

"I am one of the happiest human beings today on earth because it was not easy going through this situation and coming out alive," Beatrice Yardolo told The Associated Press after her release.

...The St. Paul's Bridge community where she resides and teaches had become the last "hotspot" for Ebola cases in Monrovia, according to Tolbert Nyenswah, Assistant Health Minister and head of the country's Ebola response.

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Case Study: Nebraska's Ebola isolation and decontamination approach

MEDICAL NEWS TODAY                                                                                                 March 4, 2015

The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit (NBU), located at the Nebraska Medical Center, has shared its protocol for Ebola patient discharge, handling a patient's body after death and environmental disinfection in the March issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Discharge process for a patient treated for EVD

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Ebola: Epidemic is not over – key areas still need to be tackled

Description of key Ebola areas---MSF

MSF                                                        March 3, 2015

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues, albeit with decreasing intensity. The virus has infected more than 23,700 people across the region since the outbreak was declared 11 months ago. While the number of new patients in Liberia is declining, numbers are still fluctuating in both Guinea and Sierra Leone. A total of 99 new confirmed cases were reported across the three worst affected countries during the week up to 22 February 2015.

The unpredictable nature of the epidemic means that teams from Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are maintaining a flexible approach and continuing to respond where the needs are greatest in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

See country-by-country analysis and complete story.

http://www.msf.org/article/ebola-epidemic-not-over-%E2%80%93-key-areas-still-need-be-tackled

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Ebola: UN tells Brussels meeting world must ‘stay on course’ to get to, remain at zero cases

UNITED NATIONS NEWS CENTRE                           March 4, 2015

BRUSSELS --Representatives of United Nations organizations engaged in the response against Ebola pledged their support Ttuesday to the worst-affected West African countries in “each stage of this journey; the drive to zero, the early recovery, the medium and longer term development.”

UN and EU meet in Brussels, Belgium, to take stock of the Ebola situation and identify ways forward. Photo: UNMEER

The pledge was made at a high-level international conference on Ebola sponsored by the European Union in Brussels, Belgium, aimed at maintaining global attention on the crisis, taking stock of the fight against the epidemic and on coordinating next steps and discussing the recovery process.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro, said that current phase of the response “is the hardest part and a bumpy road” and urged the international community to remain fully engaged until the task is completed, especially as the virus is moving and as some communities are reticent about being engaged in the response.

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Ebola ‘leaves 12,000 orphans in Sierra Leone’

THE GUARDIAN  by  Lisa O'Carroll                                                                        March 4, 2015

The devastating impact of the Ebola crisis was laid bare this week with a report showing more than 12,000 children have been orphaned by the disease in Sierra Leone.

They have been identified in the first national survey of orphans, which was conducted by the British charity Street Child. It says the future for these children is dire. Many are living in fear without the support and security of parents, but the charity says there is light at the end of the tunnel “if the international aid community works together”.

The charity found that some children, rejected by their friends because of the stigma of Ebola, have tried to take their own lives, while girls are being forced into commercial sex work to earn money for food their parents would have previously provided.

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After four months, North Korea’s Ebola quarantine comes to an end

WASHINGTON POST  BY 

TOKYO — North Korea has lifted its four-month-long Ebola quarantine, bringing an end to a period of isolation that was notable even by the Hermit Kingdom’s standards.

Embassies and international aid agencies in Pyongyang received a "note verbale" from North Korea's State Emergency Anti-Epidemic Committee informing them that the quarantine was now over for all visitors except for those arriving from a handful of west African countries. Tour operators have also been informed by their North Korean partners and the state airline that the borders are being re-opened.

With no cases of the virus east of Africa, the strictly-enforced 21 day quarantine for everyone entering North Korea — locals and foreigners alike — was puzzling and inevitably sparked theories about what the ban could really be about.

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Fighting Ebola requires a culture change in the west, as well as west Africa

COMMENTARY: Only by turning our response to Ebola upside down can another epidemic be avoided: communities need to be front and centre to eradicate this disease

THE GUARDIAN by and                      March 3, 2015

Today in Brussels African political leaders and experts will meet to discuss how west Africa should be supported to respond to the Ebola catastrophe that has killed nearly 10,000 people.

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