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Guinea's Conde replaces key minister to boost Ebola fight

REUTERS                                                                                               Feb. 25, 2015

CONAKRY - Guinean President Alpha Conde on Tuesday replaced the minister of territorial administration with an army general in a move the government said was necessary to strengthen the fight against an Ebola outbreak in the West African nation.

 A statement read on state-owned television announced the appointment of General Bourema Conde, considered to be among the president's closest allies in Guinea's army....

More than 14 months after the first Ebola case was reported in Guinea's forest region, the government still faces pockets of often violent resistance to the campaign against the epidemic, undermining its plans to rebuild the health sector and economy.

Bourema Conde replaces Alassane Conde, a civilian who had held the position since President Conde named his first government following his election in late 2010. He will continue to serve as a government minister with an advisory role to the president. None of the three men are related.
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99 Ebola cases in past week, nearly two-thirds in Sierra Leone: WHO

REUTERS                                                  Feb. 25 2015

GENEVA - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone reported 99 new confirmed Ebola cases in the week to Feb. 22, down from 128 the previous week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

Sierra Leone accounted for the bulk of the latest infections with 63, signaling a halt to a steep decline recorded from December through January, followed by Guinea with 35 and Liberia just a single case, the U.N. agency said in its weekly report.

"Cases continue to arise from unknown chains of transmission," the WHO said. Sixteen of the new cases were identified in Guinea and Sierra Leone after post-mortem testing of people who died in the community "indicating that a significant number of individuals are still either unable or reluctant to seek treatment."

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http://news.yahoo.com/99-ebola-cases-past-week-nearly-two-thirds-195956152.html
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Update: Ebola Virus Disease Epidemic — West Africa, February 2015

 CDC  Weekly report                                                                    Feb. 24, 2015

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Ending the Ebola Outbreak

Months of declining cases have fed hopes that the Ebola outbreak might finally be ending. “There are now 10 times fewer people diagnosed with Ebola each week than there were in September last year,”said Dr. David Nabarro, the United Nation’s special envoy on the Ebola crisis.

The number of new Ebola cases fell rapidly in December and January, but officials with the United Nations and the World Health Organization cautioned that ending the outbreak entirely would be extremely difficult.

“The outbreak still presents a grave threat,” Dr. Nabarro said. “We have to really work hard to get to what we call zero-zero — zero cases, zero transmissions.”

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Ebola endemic risk remains in west Africa, scientists warn

THE GUARDIAN      by Sarah Boseley                                                                         Feb. 25, 2015
 Scientists are warning of a real risk that the Ebola virus disease could become endemic in west Africa if efforts to end the epidemic slacken as the number of cases falls.

 All previous outbreaks of Ebola were stamped out within months and the virus disappeared from the human population each time. Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, however, have been in the grip of the virus for more than a year. While the numbers of cases dropped dramatically in December and early January, they have now plateaued and there are fears that the disease may not be totally eradicated....

Dr Margaret Harris in the director general’s office of the World Health Organisation said they were at “a bump in the road”.

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The Socio-Economic Impacts of Ebola in Liberia

      

worldbank.org - February 24, 2015

In an effort to measure the economic impact of Ebola on Liberian households, the World Bank, with the Liberian Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services and the Gallup Organization, has conducted four rounds of mobile-phone surveys, in October, November, December 2014 and January 2015.

CLICK HERE - The World Bank - The Socio-Economic Impacts of Ebola in Liberia

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First Ebola survivors talk of hope and despair in Guinea

What it was like for two survivors of Ebola in Guinea

REUTERS By Misha Hussain                                                                                       Feb. 24, 2015

GUECKEDOU, Guinea (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Lying in an Ebola treatment center in southeast Guinea, hidden behind thick plastic sheets and surrounded by nurses in yellow protective suits, Rose Komano feared she would not survive the virus that had robbed her of so many loved ones.

"Everyone before me had died, I was terrified," Komano recalled.

But the 18-year-old became the first person to beat Ebola in the region of Gueckedou, where the latest outbreak of the disease was initially detected in March 2014...

In the capital Conakry, survivor Dore Zorobo had no such luck when he and six colleagues were infected by a sick woman from Sierra Leone seeking treatment at Donka hospital, where he worked as a lab technician on blood samples.

"Ebola turned my life upside down," said Zorobo, 32, from Lola in southeast Guinea, who was infected through a small cut on his hand in June.

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Quick Test for Ebola - MIT

submitted by George Hurlburt

      

A new paper diagnostic device can detect Ebola as well as other viral hemorrhagic fevers in about 10 minutes. The device (pictured here) has silver nanoparticles of different colors that indicate different diseases. On the left is the unused device, opened to reveal the contents inside. On the right, the device has been used for diagnosis; the colored bands show positive tests.  Photo - Jose Gomez-Marquez, Helena de Puig, and Chun-Wan Yen

Simple paper strip can diagnose Ebola and other fevers within 10 minutes

CLICK HERE - Lab on a Chip - Multicolored silver nanoparticles for multiplexed disease diagnostics: distinguishing dengue, yellow fever, and Ebola viruses

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - eurekalert.org - February 24, 2015

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- When diagnosing a case of Ebola, time is of the essence. . .

. . . A new test from MIT researchers . . . The device, a simple paper strip similar to a pregnancy test, can rapidly diagnose Ebola, as well as other viral hemorrhagic fevers such as yellow fever and dengue fever. . .

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Link Removal for the Control of Stochastically Evolving Epidemics Over Networks: A Comparison of Approaches

submitted by George Hurlburt

CLICK HERE - Link Removal for the Control of Stochastically Evolving Epidemics Over Networks: A Comparison of Approaches

sciencedirect.com - Elsevier - February 16, 2015 - doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.02.005

Highlights

• Disease control efforts are often constrained by limited resources.
• Limited resources can be used more effectively by leveraging network information.
• We compare four link removal algorithms to prevent disease spread under a budget.
• Optimal quarantining performs best for large budgets and structured networks.
• Knowing where an outbreak begins is most valuable at moderate budget levels.

Abstract

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Ebola Crisis: Red Cross workers attacked as virus conspiracies create panic in Guinea

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES by Elsa Buchanan                                           Feb.24 ,2015

Ebola health workers have been the victims of mob attacks across Guinea caused by false rumours spread by opposition politicians, international NGOs exclusively claimed to IBTimes UK.

Members of the French military check a medical centre at Conakry's International airport, on 19 January 2015(BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)

The latest of these rumours - that the Red Cross was intentionally spraying schoolchildren with the virus - spread chaos in the capital Conakry and the region of Faranah last week, resulting in violent attacks against the organisation workers.

On 19 February, the Prefect of Faranah, Kennett Guilavogui, announced seven people had been arrested for the dissemination of rumours and false or misleading news....

Local journalist, Macky Sow told IBTimes UK: "It is very difficult to prove these rumours are spread for political reasons, but there are many people who claim politicians are behind these rumours."

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6 Challenges to Stamping Out Ebola

Despite a recent sharp drop in the overall number of Ebola cases, the situation remains precarious in West Africa

NATURE MAGAZINE  by Declan Butler                                                                    Feb. 24, 2015
More than a year since the start of one of the worst public health crises in recent history, Ebola cases have been tumbling in West Africa. But the epidemic is far from over: the risk of flare ups and further geographical spread will remain until there are no new cases.

The ease in case numbers means that public-health countermeasures and resources can be shifted in many places, from curbing runaway outbreaks to aggressively targeting the remaining, often smaller outbreaks....

At the same time, there is a danger of complacency. Reducing the number of cases to zero demands identifying and breaking all new chains of transmission, a task that still faces major obstacles—not least the fast approaching rainy season.

Highlighting the precariousness of the current situation, on February 20, the officials leading the United Nations' Ebola response efforts warned that the gains of the past few months risked unravelling.

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