Ebola: as ZMapp stocks run out doctors turn to alternative treatments

THE GUARDIAN by                                 Jan, 5, 2015
LONDON --Even at the Royal Free hospital in London, the lead UK specialist centre for Ebola, doctors have limited options for treating their patients. In the end, survival may depend more on the strength of an individual’s immune system than anything medical science is currently able to do.

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Travelers from Mali no longer need to go through enhanced Ebola screenings

WASHINGTON POST    by Marc Berman                                                  Jan. 5, 2015

People flying to the United States from Mali will no longer need to go through enhanced Ebola screening at U.S. airports, authorities announced Monday.

An interview with a passenger arriving from a country with known instances of Ebola. (Josh Denmark/U.S. Customs and Border Protection via Reuters)

The change, which goes into effect Tuesday, also means that people flying from Mali no longer have to travel through the five U.S. airports that use the screening methods. Travelers from Mali will continue to be screened before leaving that country, and anyone who flew from Mali to the United States before Tuesday is still supposed to monitor themselves for 21 days and report symptoms.

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Merck-NewLink Ebola vaccine trial resumes at lower dose: Geneva hospital

(Two stories. Scroll down.)

REUTERS                                                       Jan. 5, 2015

GENEVA --The clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck and NewLink resumed on Monday at a lower dose after a pause to assess complaints of joint pains in some volunteers, the University of Geneva hospital said.

The Geneva hospital announced on Dec. 11 that its vaccine trial had been suspended as a precautionary measure after four patients complained of joint pains. On Monday, the hospital said 10 of 59 volunteers who received the vaccine had felt pains in their joints "similar to rheumatism" after some two weeks, but these symptoms had disappeared rapidly without any treatment.

Swissmedic, the Swiss regulatory agency, and ethics and safety committees have approved the resumption of the trial at a lower dose, the hospital said in a statement.

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Ebola wipes out every mother in Liberian village

In Joeblow, Liberia, every mother has been killed by Ebola leaving a village full of confused and devastated children

THE TELEGRAPH by  Sarah Knapton                          Jan, 5, 2015

For 11-year-old Montgomery Philip, childhood is over. Six months ago he would have been playing football with his schoolmates, but now his job is to care for his 10-monthold baby brother Jenkie. The pair are both victims of the Ebola virus. Not because they caught the disease, but because they live in Joeblow, Liberia, where the devastating outbreak has killed every mother in the village.

                              Chloe Brett has been working to find homes for children left behind in the aftermath of the outbreak

The women died because social convention decrees it is they who tend to the sick and bury the dead.

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Could a pregnant woman change the way we think about Ebola?

THE WASHINGTON POST by Kevin Sieff                          Jan. 5, 2015

PORT LOKO, Sierra Leone — When Fatmata Kabia walked into the Ebola isolation center, her chances of survival were almost zero.

Not because her symptoms were particularly bad — though they were. Not because the disease had already killed most of her family — though it had. Kabia, 21, appeared doomed for another reason: She was pregnant.

Meratu Koroma, 18, four months pregnant, battles intense pain while waiting for an Ebola test in Port Loko, Sierra Leone. (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

Few diseases are less understood than the Ebola virus, which has claimed more than 7,900 lives across West Africa. But one thing is clear: Pregnant Ebola patients rarely survive. And their babies never do.

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Save the Children probe how UK nurse contracted Ebola

BBC                                                                                                   Jan. 5, 2015

The charity Save the Children has said "no stone will be left unturned" in its investigation into how a British nurse working at an Ebola treatment centre contracted the disease.

 Pauline Cafferkey was diagnosed after returning to Glasgow a week ago. She had been working with the charity in Kerrytown, Sierra Leone.

Ms Cafferkey is critically ill in a north London hospital after her condition worsened in recent days.

Save the Children's Sierra Leone Director Rob MacGillivray told the BBC the charity would carry out a special investigation over and above its routine reviews....

He said the investigation would look at how protective equipment is used, and at person-to-person contact both inside and outside the Kerrytown treatment centre where the nurse worked.

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New Ebola Lockdown in Sierra Leone as Airport Checks Upped

Agence France-Presse                                                                                    Jan. 4, 2015

Freetown:  The Ebola lockdown in the northern Tonkolili district of Sierra Leone was extended on Sunday for two weeks as authorities stepped up the fight to contain the epidemic.

The move comes as the government imposed "additional screening measures" at Freetown International Airport after two workers apparently caught the disease.

A five-day lockdown had been declared by the government across the badly-hit north of the country last month.

More than 70 cases of the virus had been confirmed in Tonkolili during a five-week locked down there ordered by local authorities, District Coordinator Salieu Bah told journalists.


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Ebola survivors in west Africa to share stories via mobile app

REUTERS                                                            Jan. 4, 2015   

Ebola survivors in the three west African countries worst hit by the epidemic will share their stories through a mobile application to be launched on Monday, in a Unicef-backed campaign to inform and fight stigma around the disease.

...Although many people have survived the disease, they still face rejection and stigma from their communities, while the virus continues to spread due to lack of information and denial, according to the WHO and other health organisations.

The campaign, called #ISurvivedEbola, is funded by US philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft Paul G Allen’s foundation which has committed $100m to fight the disease. Unicef, the UN children’s agency is collaborating in the project.

Survivors in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia will be given smartphones and will document their stories and exchange tips on how to cope with it for a mobile app which will be available to the public, the backers said in a statement.

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Victory against Ebola 'within our reach': new UN mission chief

AFP                                                                 Jan 4, 2015

ACCRA -- Ending the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history is a difficult task, but it is "within our reach", the UN's new mission chief on the disease said, warning that the world has no choice but to beat back the infection.

"This is a global crisis. We definitely have a difficult time ahead of us, but we can achieve it," Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the new head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), said on arrival in Ghana on Saturday.

"We have no plan B, we have to get rid of this virus. This is within our reach, but we should not be complacent," said Ahmed, a Mauritanian, who had arrived in Accra to officially assume duty, taking over from American Anthony Banbury...

Ahmed will be visiting Liberia and Sierra Leone this week, and Guinea shortly after, "to reinforce UNMEER's strategic priorities and see first-hand the Ebola response." the text said. He will be accompanied by UN Special Envoy on Ebola, David Nabarro, it added.
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Sen. Coons calls for change in U.S. Ebola strategy

CBS NEWS                                                                       Jan. 4, 2015

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, who recently returned from a trip to Liberia, said Sunday that the Pentagon should avoid prematurely withdrawing U.S. military personnel who are fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.

"We can't declare mission accomplished and withdraw too early here," Coons said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "The raging epidemic that threatened the whole country in September is now down to a few embers scattered across this country but we need a new strategy to adapt to conditions on the ground. Our troops should remain, some of them to the rest of the year, to help make sure that Liberians can transition our emergency Ebola treatment units into community health clinics and transition our high tech military mobile testing labs into Liberian-run local labs so that going forward this epidemic is really brought to an end in Liberia."

Coons said about 1,000 or more of the troops could return home because they have finished their primary missions of building the infrastructure to test for Ebola. But the money that the U.S. continues to spend on the epidemic could be spent more wisely with a change in strategy, he said

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Italian Ebola patient released from hospital in Rome

REUTERS  by Steve Scherer                                         Jan. 3, 2015

 ROME - Italy's only Ebola patient is fully recovered and was released from hospital on Friday more than a month after being flown to Rome from Sierra Leone where he worked as a doctor treating others stricken by the disease.

Italian Doctor Fabrizio waves as he leaves the Spallanzani hospital in Rome January 2, 2015. Fabrizio, Italy's only Ebola patient is fully recovered and was released from hospital on Friday more than a month after being flown to Rome from Sierra Leone where he worked as a doctor treating others stricken by the disease. REUTERS/Remo Casilli

The 50-year-old Sicilian man has been identified only by his first name, Fabrizio. He contracted the haemorrhagic virus while working for humanitarian group Emergency during the worst Ebola outbreak on record,,,.

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Patient possibly exposed to Ebola due at Nebraska hospital for observation

REUTERS                                                         Jan. 4, 2014
A U.S. health care worker who was possibly exposed to the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone was expected to arrive for observation on Sunday at a Nebraska facility that has treated three Ebola cases, hospital officials said.

The patient, who was not identified, was expected to arrive at the Biocontainment Unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha via private air ambulance around 2 p.m. CST for observation and possible treatment, the center said in a statement.

The patient "has been exposed to the virus but is not ill and is not contagious," said Dr. Phil Smith, the unit's medical director, adding "we will be taking all appropriate precautions."

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Ebola response shows flaws in US system

BOSTON GLOBE  by Felice J. Freyer                                                               Jan. 3, 2015        
The threat of Ebola over the last several months tested the nation’s ability to cope with an unfamiliar disease, raising troubling questions about what will happen when the next dangerous new germ arrives on US shores.

A worker sanitized the apartment where Ebola patient Thomas Duncan lived before being admitted to a Dallas hospital.

After Thomas Eric Duncan was misdiagnosed in a Dallas hospital and later infected two nurses with the deadly virus, government agencies and hospitals around the nation responded quickly to prevent another such incident. But it took that calamity in October to trigger measures that, critics say, a well-prepared system would have had in place....

The United States lacks a central authority and coordination among a constellation of federal, state, and local agencies, said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness. In the United Kingdom and Canada, he said, national health systems permit the federal government to designate Ebola hospitals and to set clear, mandatory protocols.

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TDR - Supplement on Integrated Community Case Management in Africa


who.int - November 26, 2014

The Journal of Global Health has published a special supplement highlighting the latest evidence on integrated community case management (iCCM) for childhood illnesses. It lists implementation approaches that have and have not worked in various settings, along with recommendations for future programming, given the current context of innovation and funding opportunities.

Entitled “Current scientific evidence and future directions for Integrated Community Case Management in Africa,” the in-depth supplement synthesizes the latest available evidence around eight thematic areas of iCCM programming:

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Understanding the Oil Price Drop


Columbia | SIPA Center on Global Energy Policy

As oil prices continued to fall in December, the Center on Global Energy Policy responded quickly to inform the discussion of how the price drop is impacting consumers, producers and geopolitical relationships through a series of publications, media interviews and a public event.


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