Society 'to be hit by climate change'

A man wades across a flooded area.

Image: A man wades across a flooded area.

bbc.com - November 16th, 2015 - Roger Harrabin

Human societies will soon start to experience adverse effects from manmade climate change, a prominent economist has warned.

Prof Richard Tol predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages with a global warming of 1.1C - which has nearly been reached already.

Prof Tol is regarded by many campaigners as a climate "sceptic".

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Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data Launched in NY

                                        

unsdsn.org - September 29, 2015

On September 28, 2015, a new Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data was officially launched on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York. The Partnership brings together governments, private companies, academia, scientists and civil society in support of data-driven decision-making, by catalyzing more open, new and usable data to help end extreme poverty, combat climate change and promote inclusive growth. The Partnership will specifically look to provide more, better quality data to help monitor and achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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The White House - Memorandum -- Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

whitehouse.gov
Office of the Press Secretary - November 13, 2015

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

SUBJECT: Distribution of Department of Defense Funded Humanitarian Assistance in Syria

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2249a(b)(1)(B) of title 10, United States Code, I hereby:

Determine that section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, would impede the distribution of urgently needed humanitarian assistance in Syria to alleviate the current refugee crisis, as well as other United States Government objectives in the Middle East for stability and humanitarian relief; and

Waive the prohibition in section 2249a(a) of title 10, United States Code, for humanitarian reasons and to the extent necessary to allow the Department of Defense to carry out the purposes of section 2561 of title 10, United States Code, for the distribution of humanitarian assistance into Syria.

You are authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA

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Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

PLOS PATHOGENS  by Marc-Antoine de La Vega,  Derek Stein, and GaryKopinger, University of Manitoba, Canada , Nov. 12, 2015    

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada The past year has marked the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed, with over 28,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. Ebola virus (EBOV) has now been around for almost 50 years. In this review, we discuss past and present outbreaks of EBOV and how those variants evolved over time. We explore and discuss selective pressures that drive the evolution of different Ebola variants, and how they may modify the efficacy of therapeutic treatments and vaccines currently being developed. Finally, given the unprecedented size and spread of the outbreak, as well as the extended period of replication in human hosts, specific attention is given to the 2014–2015 West African outbreak variant (Makona).

Read complete article.

http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1005221

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How Technology Can Help Reboot Ebola-Free Sierra Leone

submitted by George Hurlburt  

             

The new Sensi Technology Innovation Hub hopes to help the country rebuild after its Ebola crisis

cnn.com - by Peter Guest - November 7, 2015

(CNN) - Morris Marah was working in the Sierra Leonean High Commission in London when the devastating Ebola outbreak struck his country last year.

Desperate to help, he went home; first to volunteer in a community health center, then by applying his technology skills to build an SMS-based platform that disseminated weekly information and advice on how to avoid contracting the disease to more than 500,000 people.

"I felt, sitting in London there wasn't much I could do from that far away. I wanted desperately to come out here and see how I could be useful," he says over the phone from the capital, Freetown.

Working on that platform, called Sensi, and on other public health initiatives demonstrated how successfully technology could be leveraged for social good, and inspired him to look for ways to bring the country's small, but talented, tech community together to help restart the country's stalled economy.

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Guinea Releases Last 68 People from Ebola Quarantine

reuters.com - Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Digby Lidstone - November 14, 2015

The final 68 people who had been in contact with an Ebola patient were released from quarantine on Saturday, said a senior health official, raising hopes of an end to the disease in the last West African country with confirmed cases.

The world's worst Ebola epidemic, which hopped borders to kill more than 11,300 people and devastate already fragile West African economies, has already been declared over in Liberia and Sierra Leone. But Guinea, where the outbreak began, has had a more difficult time eradicating the disease.

Dr. Abdourahmane Bathily, head of the Ebola center in Forecariah in western Guinea, said the 68 contacts had emerged from quarantine at midnight on Saturday morning.

"There are no longer any people who had contact with a person infected by the Ebola virus," said Bathily.

He added that the last confirmed Ebola case was a baby in isolation, who should be released from a treatment center next week, allowing for the West African nation to begin its own countdown clock.

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Podcast - Epidemics on the Move

submitted by Carrie La Jeunesse  

                                             

foreignpolicy.com - by Amanda Silverman - November 10, 2015

2013 Global Thinker Caroline Buckee and FP Voice Laurie Garrett discuss how human migration — and the refugee crisis — poses an immense problem to treating disease.

CLICK HERE - Podcast - Epidemics on the Move

 

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How Much Did Ebola Cost Sierra Leone?

submitted by George Hurlburt

             

(Francisco Leong / Getty News Images)

cnn.com - by Peter Guest - November 12, 2015

. . . Before the outbreak, Sierra Leone was already heavily dependent on aid money. Around 50% of public expenditure programmes were financed by donors, according to UN figures. . . .

. . . Without growth and investment, the country will struggle to create jobs for its young population -- many of whom lack stable employment -- and rebuild public services.

The government's recovery strategy, which is supported by the international community, is about "building back better," says Sudipto Mukerjee, the United Nations Development Program's country director for Sierra Leone. This is particularly relevant to the health sector, which was seriously under-developed before the crisis began, and its weakness undoubtedly contributed to the speed with which the outbreak got out of control.

"When you're talking about the health sector, you're not talking about bringing it back to where you were at the beginning of the outbreak," he says. "That's not good enough. It's also about making sure that you not only build on the investments made so far, but you invest to make it much more resilient in the future."

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How Ebola Spread: Map Could Aid Outbreak Responses

submitted by George Hurlburt

          

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Transmission network of the 2014–2015 Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone

livescience.com - by Agata Blaszczak-Boxe - November 10, 2015

A new map reveals the path that the Ebola virus took during the outbreak in Sierra Leone, giving a detailed picture of how and where the disease spread, a new study said.

The researchers made the map using a new statistical model, and they say it could be used in the future to improve the way help is delivered to outbreak regions.

"For a future outbreak, this is something that can be readily applied to help identify the regions that need intervention most critically," said study author Jeffrey Shaman, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The model could help authorities figure out where to best deploy people to respond to the outbreak, he said.

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One Year Later, Where Does the U.S. Response to Ebola Stand?

Date: 
Monday, November 23, 2015 -
10:30 to 12:00

Location

United States
31° 43' 41.4012" N, 148° 32' 6.5616" W

kff.org - November 9, 2015

On Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a policy briefing to take stock of the U.S. response with a panel that includes representatives from the U.S. government, highly affected countries in West Africa, and non-governmental organizations working in the region. In addition, the Foundation will release a new analysis of U.S. government funding for Ebola.

Will Climate Change = More Disease?

          

Bush meat was blamed for the Ebola outbreak - Photo: Issa Davies/IRIN

irinnews.org - by Philippa Garson

NEW YORK, 6 November 2015 (IRIN) - Climate change is having a profound impact on animal habitats, but what disease risk does this pose for humans?

Scientists estimate that almost 75 percent of new (and re-emerging) diseases affecting humans at the beginning of the 21st Century were transmitted through animals. Among these so-called “zoonotic” diseases are AIDS, SARS, H5N2 avian flu and H1N1, or swine flu. 

Barbara Han, from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, describes bats, pigs, and birds as “mixing vats” for viruses like Ebola, Hendra, Nipah, avian and swine flus that can spread to humans. As wild animals lose their habitats through deforestation, they come into closer contact with domestic animals and people. Extreme weather events and a warmer climate are also disrupting animal habitats, breeding cycles, and migration patterns.

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Sierra Leone May Be Ebola-Free But The Virus Still Casts A Shadow

Health workers in Sierra Leone check travelers entering the country from Liberia. Zoom Dosso/AFP/Getty Images

Image: Health workers in Sierra Leone check travelers entering the country from Liberia. Zoom Dosso/AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - November 7th, 2015 - Nahid Bhadelia

Today marks the 42nd day that Sierra Leone has had no new cases of Ebola. That potentially signals the end of the epidemic in that country.

I spent almost three months in Sierra Leone over the last year, both as a clinician in Ebola treatment units and as an infection control educator.

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World Bank Warns Climate Change Could Add 100 Million Poor by 2030

CLICK HERE - World Bank - Rapid, Climate-Informed Development Needed to Keep Climate Change from Pushing More than 100 Million People into Poverty by 2030

CLICK HERE - World Bank - Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty

in.reuters.com - by Megan Rowling - November 9, 2015

Without the right policies to keep the poor safe from extreme weather and rising seas, climate change could drive over 100 million more people into poverty by 2030, the World Bank said on Sunday.

In a report, the bank said ending poverty - one of 17 new U.N. goals adopted in September - would be impossible if global warming and its effects on the poor were not accounted for in development efforts.

But more ambitious plans to reduce climate-changing emissions - aimed at keeping global temperature rise within an internationally agreed limit of 2 degrees Celsius - must also cushion poor people from any negative repercussions, it added.

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Each 1-Day Delay in Hospitalization Ups Risk of Ebola Death

US NEWS AND WORLD REPORT HEALTHDAY NEWS by Robert Preidt,  Nov. 6, 2015

Ebola patients are more likely to survive if they are hospitalized soon after being infected, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 1,000 cases of Ebola virus that occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo over 38 years. They found that each day of delay in hospital admission was associated with an 11 percent higher risk of death during epidemics.

Delays in hospitalization were caused by factors such as geography, infrastructure and cultural influences, the researchers said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has had more Ebola outbreaks than any other country since the deadly virus was discovered in 1976, they noted.

The researchers also found that rapidly progressing Ebola outbreaks are swiftly brought under control, while national and international responses to slower-progressing outbreaks tend to be less intense. As a result, those outbreaks last longer, the study authors said.

The study was published Nov. 3 in the journal eLife.

Read complete story.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2015/11/06/each-1-day-delay-in-hospitalization-ups-risk-of-ebola-death

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Sierra Leone Declared Free of Ebola Transmissions

NEW YORK TIMES by and      Nov. 7, 2015

DAKAR, Senegal — After a nerve-racking countdown, Sierra Leone celebrated a national milestone on Saturday that government officials hoped would help the country finally leave behind a grim chapter in its history: it was officially declared free of Ebola transmissions.

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