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Working in Ebola areas: First rule is you don’t touch anyone

The WASHINGTON POST      OLCT. 1, 2014

By Lenny Bernstein

MONROVIA, Liberia — I was goofing around with a small group of young children outside their home on a muddy, cratered road in the New Kru Town slum here. I made a scary face and the kids skittered, giggling, behind a low wall at the front of their shanty. Then they peeked out, hoping for more.

Finally the boldest of the lot, a little girl perhaps 5 years old, approached and stuck out her hand. “Shake!” she offered excitedly.

“No touching,” I responded, keeping my hands at my sides, trying to hide my sadness. “No touching.”

You don’t touch anyone in Liberia. Not kids, not adults, not other Westerners, not the colleagues you arrived with. It is the rule of rules, because while everyone able is taking precautions, you just can’t be sure where the invisible, lethal Ebola virus might be. Once the virus is on your fingers, it would be frighteningly easy to rub an eye and infect yourself.

Read the Full Article

Beyond the Immediate Tragedy: Ebola’s Long-Term Implications

THE ATLANTIC COUNCIL    October 1, 2014

 By J. Peter Pham

....beyond the immediate tragedy, there are significant short, medium, and long-term impacts that we are not even beginning to address.


Updated with link to CDC statement (below)

The WASHINGTON post September 30 at 5:29 PM

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed the first case of Ebola that's been diagnosed in the United States.

The Texas Department of Health Services said in a statement that the patient is at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The patient -- "an adult with a recent history of travel to West Africa" -- was admitted into an isolation unit at the hospital Sunday after developing Ebola-like symptoms "days after returning to Texas from West Africa."

The test, the Texas health department said, was conducted at the state public health laboratory in Austin and later confirmed by the CDC.

The state health lab got the ability to test for Ebola only last month, according to Carrie Williams, a spokeswoman with the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Link to full story

Update: Ebola outbreak may be over in Nigeria and Senegal--CDC


New York Times           Sept. 30, 2024

Lagos --With quick and coordinated action by some of its top doctors, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, appears to have contained its first Ebola outbreak, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

As the epidemic rages out of control in three nations only a few hundred miles away, Nigeria is the only country to have beaten back an outbreak with the potential to harm many victims in a city with vast, teeming slums.

“For those who say it’s hopeless, this is an antidote — you can control Ebola,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the C.D.C.   ....

Rains complicate delivery of Ebola supplies in West Africa


Mon Sep 29, 2014 

WASHINGTON - The rainy season in West Africa is compounding difficulties in getting supplies delivered and new treatment centers built as donors rush to isolate people infected with the deadly Ebola virus and stop its rapid spread, U.S. officials said.

Nancy Powell, newly appointed as the U.S. State Department's envoy to coordinate its Ebola response, said the top priority is to isolate as many people as quickly as possible. But that faces significant logistical hurdles.

"Infrastructure challenges in the rainy season is one of the biggest difficulties. And you add the rain and getting materials out of the capital and it is very difficult," Powell said in a news briefing last week.

The July to September rainy season is coming toward its end, but October is known for heavy thunderstorms that can drench the region and turn roads to mud.

Eric Talbert, executive director of Emergency USA which has opened a 22-bed Ebola treatment center in Goderich, outside the capital of Freetown in Sierra Leone, said the downpours complicate getting supplies along unpaved single track roads that are washed out by the heavy rains..

U.S. Military Arrives in Liberia, Slow Start

Wall Street Journal     Sept. 28, 2014 8:10 PM

By Drew Hinshaw in Robertsville, Liberia, and Betsy McKay in Atlanta


The American military effort against history's deadliest Ebola outbreak is taking shape in West Africa, but concerns are mounting that the pace isn't fast enough to check a virus that is spreading at a terrifying clip.

On Saturday, a handful of troops from the Navy's 133rd Mobile Construction Battalion led a bulldozer through thigh-high grass outside Liberia's main airport, bottles of hand sanitizer dangling from their belt loops.

They had been digging a parking lot in the East African nation of Djibouti this month when they received a call to build the first of a dozen or more tent hospitals the U.S intends to construct in this region. The soldiers started by giving the land a downward slope for water runoff—"to keep out any unwanted reptiles," said Petty Officer Second Class Justin Holsinger.

While this team levels the earth, superiors hash out the still-uncertain details of the American intervention here.

Situation Report Overview by the Associated Press


Bulk of promised global aid has yet to materialize on the ground

 The Associated Press Posted: Sep 28,  Updated: Sep 28, 2014 1:10 PM ET

  Doctors are in short supply. So are beds for patients. Six months after the Ebola outbreak emerged for the first time in an unprepared West Africa and eventually became the worst-ever outbreak, the gap between what has been sent by other countries and private groups and what is needed is huge.

Even as countries try to marshal more resources, those needs threaten to become much greater, and possibly even insurmountable....

Beds are filling up as fast as clinics can be built. Ambulance sirens blare through standstill traffic. Often, there is nowhere to take the sick except to "holding centres" where they await a bed at an Ebola treatment facility.

The virus has killed almost 3,000 people and infected more than 6,200 in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal.

Woman Saves Three Relatives from Ebola


Her trash bag protection method is being taught to others in West Africa who can't get personal protective equipment.
John Bonifield / CNN - by Elizabeth Cohen - September 26, 2014

. . . imagine how 22-year-old Fatu Kekula felt nursing her entire family through Ebola. . .

. . . Three out of her four patients survived. . .

. . . Fatu, who's in her final year of nursing school, invented her own equipment. International aid workers heard about Fatu's "trash bag method" and are now teaching it to other West Africans who can't get into hospitals and don't have protective gear of their own.


Overview of U.S.Defense Department activities against Ebola, including testing vaccine candidate

By Cheryl Pellerin

DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Sept. 26, 2014 – The Defense Department has made critical contributions to the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and today Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel described additional ways the Pentagon is helping in the broader battle against infectious disease outbreaks of the future.

He spoke at a gathering of top government and military officials and infectious disease experts from 44 countries here to attend the Global Health Security Agenda, or GHSA, Summit hosted by President Barack Obama.

Hagel said ...the department also is accelerating the manufacture of potential treatments and starting clinical trials for a vaccine candidate and it has received approval to begin safety testing for one [Ebola] vaccine candidate that will be conducted at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.”

...The DoD Cooperative Threat Reduction Program is providing unique resources and expertise to enhance detection and surveillance, Hagel said, and all department assets will help civilian responders contain Ebola's spread and mitigate its economic, social and political fallout.

For fuller description of the Defense Department's activities to counter Ebola see link to the full article:


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