Chinese scientists report that the Ebola virus responsible for the outbreak in West Africa last year mutated at a normal rate, further alleviating fears that the virus had been able to evolve more rapidly than usual thanks to the prolonged and widespread nature of the epidemic. Ebola, like HIV and influenza, belongs to a class of virus with a high rate of mutation, and scientists had previously warned that it might evolve to become more contagious, and, in an extreme scenario, even airborne.
This latest report published in Nature corroborates an earlier study from March, showing that while the virus did mutate as it spread to new areas, it did so within the bounds of expected behavior.
Children wash their hands before entering a classroom in Gueckedou - Photo: Jennifer Lazuta
irinnews.org - by Jennifer Lazuta
GUECKEDOU, 13 May 2015 (IRIN) - “Life is back to normal, but everything has changed,” said 30-year-old Yawa Keterine Camara as she slowly stirred a boiling cauldron of sauce outside her mud-brick home in southeastern Guinea. “I live again like before, but nothing is quite the same.”
Camara, who lost her husband to Ebola in November, said her life, like many, many other Guineans, is now divided in two: pre-Ebola and post-Ebola, the before and after.
LALITPUR, APR 28 - With the lack of safe drinking water after the April 25 earthquake , people in Khokana village, the southern outskirt of the Kathmandu Valley, has begun suffering from diarrhoea.
Although the villagers initially got treatment at local health posts, the number of the sufferers increased. So, they were referred to better hospital and the health camps run by the Nepal Army, said a local social worker, Nepal Dangol.
Similarly, Shivaram Baniya from Adarshashaul Higher Secondary School said more than 100 diarrhoea patients have been provided treatment at health camps run by a joint team of Nepal Army and the Bangladesh Army. RSS
I agree. The question is whether we can alter the trajectory of disease with better assessment, surveillance, and rapid response. What we engaged in Haiti worked, but it was never scaled appropriately.
We can do better in Nepal. The monsoon season is only a couple months away. Efforts we need to be scaled immediately.
Dr. Michael D. McDonald
Global Health Response and Resilience Alliance
NEW YORK TIMES OPINON PAGE by Andrew Revkin April 29, 2015
Yesterday, I received word of a chillingly high projection of the eventual death count in the Nepal earthquake, made by a longtime and respected analyst of seismic hazards, Max Wyss, who was on the faculties of the Universities of Colorado and Alaska and is now affiliated with the International Center for Earth Simulationin Geneva, Switzerland.
From crisis to sustainable development: lessons from the Ebola outbreak
who.int - May 10, 2015
. . . three changes will do the most to improve the world’s collective defence against the infectious disease threat.
First, invest in building resilient communities and well-performing health systems that integrate public health and primary health care. Ideally, health systems should aim for universal health coverage, so the poor are not left behind. This requires new thinking and a new approach to health development.
Second, develop the systems, capacities, and financing mechanisms needed to build surge capacity for responding to outbreaks and humanitarian emergencies.
Third, create incentives for R&D for new medical products for diseases that primarily affect the poor. A fair and just world should not let people die for what boils down to market failure and poverty.
These three things also fit well with the coming agenda for sustainable development that seeks to distribute the benefits of economic growth more evenly and respects our planet’s fragile resources.
Five days after one of history’s most devastating earthquakes hit Nepal, countries near and far are pouring in funds and personnel to address the state of emergency. Leading the pack in terms of medical and rescue personnel on the ground is Israel, with an aid convoy of 260 personnel, including about forty doctors. . . . the Israeli team is using innovative and ingenious technology to rescue more people from the areas of destruction and to provide first-class medical care to those who need it most.
Expert medical and non-medical expert teams are assisting victims of the Nepal Earthquake, which shook the Kathmandu Valley before noon on Saturday 25 April.
We currently have approximately 120 staff working in Nepal.
An MSF surgical team provided support for three days at the hospital in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, in order to help the staff operate on waiting patients.
In the town of Arughat, in Gorkha district, we are setting up a 20-bed inflatable hospital to initially provide treatment for wounded people.
We are adding mental health workers to our teams to begin providing psychological first aid in villages where people have suffered severe psychological trauma.
We have flown in more than 80 tonnes of supplies.
Update: 5 May 2015
Since 29 April, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) medical teams in Nepal have started reaching people spread across isolated mountain villages by helicopter and on foot. The districts of Dhading, Gorkha, Rasuwa and Sindhupalchowk were hit hard on 25 April and little or no assistance has reached many villages.
...“I am thrilled by the significant progress made by the people of Liberia,” said Tolbert Nyenswah, a deputy health minister. But, he warned, “we still need to keep up vigilance.”
The weak health systems in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three nations hit hardest by the disease, did more than just crumple in the face of Ebola’s onslaught last year. They played a central role in spreading the disease.
Clinics routinely misdiagnosed the disease and discharged Ebola patients with pills for common illnesses. Infected health care workers passed the virus to their colleagues, families and communities.
Local and international health officials are now focusing on extinguishing the waning Ebola epidemic in Guinea and Sierra Leone. But they have a bigger goal as well: shoring up beleaguered health systems that were inadequate long before Ebola struck.