Ebola: WHO lists 15 priority countries

WHO says it is focusing on 15 African countries to stop spread of disease, as EU reviews its screening policies.

 AL JAZEERA                                               Oct. 17, 2014

The World Health Organizaton  (WHO) has said it is focusing its attention on 15 countries to prevent the spread of Ebola, as the EU announced a review of its entry policies and the disease was reported in the last untouched area of Sierra Leone.

Dr Isabelle Nuttall, the WHO's global director, said on Thursday that cases were doubling every four weeks and that health officials were trying to prevent the disease spreading from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the worst-hit nations, to neighbouring countries and those with a strong travel and trade relationship.

Focus countries
Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, CAR, DR Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Nigeria, South Sudan and Togo.


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Ebola outbreak: WHO admits it botched early attempt to stop disease

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS                                         Oct. 17, 2014

The World Health Organization has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

"Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall," WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn't work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

"It's the regional office in Africa that's the frontline," said Dr. Peter Piot, co-discoverer of the Ebola virus. "And they didn't do anything. That office is really not competent." (Denis Balibouse/Reuters)

The UN health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are "politically motivated appointments" made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency's chief in Geneva, Dr. Margaret Chan.

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Obama Authorizes National Guard To Help Fight Ebola

BUSINESS INSIDER                                                           Oct. 17, 2014

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama authorized the use of American military reservists on Thursday to support humanitarian aid efforts against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

In a letter to leaders of the US Congress, Obama said an unspecified number of reservists will be used to help activate duty personnel in support of the Ebola mission in West Africa.

It could include personnel such as engineers, logistics staff, and communications specialists. No individuals or units has been identified yet for the call-up.

Read full story.  Text of the Executve story included 


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All four suspected Ebola cases in Spain test negative for the disease

THE GUARDIAN                                         OCT. 17, 2014
By Ashifa Kassam

MADRID-- All four suspected Ebola cases admitted to hospitals in Spain on Thursday have tested negative for the virus in the initial rounds of tests, authorities said on Friday.

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A passenger on an Air France flight arriving at Madrid with fever symptoms was taken to Carlos III hospital.

The patient later tested negative. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

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Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to 2 Vice Presidents, Is Named Ebola ‘Czar’

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Friday appointed Ron Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as Ebola “czar” to manage the government’s response to the deadly virus as anxiety grew over its possible spread, according to a White House official.

Ron Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joseph R. Biden Jr., in 2008. Credit Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

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Obama May Name ‘Czar’ to Oversee Ebola Response


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Ebola Relief: Emergency Medical Supplies Bound for Guinea


directrelief.org - by Tony Morain - October 16, 2014

Direct Relief sent its 19th emergency shipment of Ebola supplies today to the Ministry of Health in Guinea (photos and videos found here). Weighing roughly 3,000 pounds, the shipment contains laboratory testing equipment from BD (blood collection sets), face masks, and medical gloves. In total, Direct Relief has delivered 140 tons of medical aid to Ebola-hit regions since the outbreak erupted in spring. 47 companies have contributed to these efforts through in-kind or financial contributions.

More broadly, Direct Relief is continuing to receive urgent requests from local health facilities in West Africa for essential medicines to treat non-Ebola (and treatable) illnesses that may be causing more deaths than Ebola itself.

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CDC's Frieden: U.S. not ruling out Ebola travel ban



By Will Duham

(Reuters) - Congressional lawmakers criticized the government's response to Ebola in the United States on Thursday as some called, at a congressional hearing probing efforts to contain the virus, for a ban on travel from epidemic-stricken West Africa.

Federal Aviation Administration chief Michael Huerta told reporters separately that the United States is assessing whether to issue a travel ban "on a day-to-day basis" but that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had determined that a ban would not address the challenges posed by Ebola.

...Several schools in Ohio and Texas were closed after concerns that a nurse with Ebola traveled on a plane with people with ties to the schools.

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Nurse Nina Pham To Be Transferred To NIH For Ebola Treatment

NPR                           Oct. 16, 2014

WASHINGTON --A top government health official confirms that Nina Pham, the 26-year-old nurse who became infected with Ebola after treating a patient with the disease at a Dallas hospital, will be transferred to a high-level containment facility at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in testimony before a House committee that Pham will be admitted to the NIH tonight.

There she will will be given "state of the art care" in a high-level containment facility, he says.

Officials have said Pham's condition is good. Another nurse, Amber Vinson, who also cared for index patient Thomas Eric Duncan has also contracted the disease. Duncan died from the disease last week.

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Ebola in DRC is from different source than WAfrica virus

AFP                                                    Oct. 16, 2014

WASHINGTON - An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year came from a different source than the epidemic raging across West Africa, scientists said Wednesday.

Even though the two deadly Ebola outbreaks have separate animal origins, the report in the New England Journal of Medicine nevertheless raises concern about the emergence of the often fatal hemorrhagic fever across the African continent.

A Congolese barber  cuts hair in Lokolia, on October 6, 2014, despite the authorities' order to avoid physical contact to stop the spread of Ebola (AFP Photo/Kathy Katayi)

Ebola was first identified in 1976, and had returned in waves. The latest outbreak in West Africa is history's largest, killing more than 4,400 people since the beginning of the year.

A separate, smaller outbreak in the DRC began over the summer, and has killed 49 people of the 69 believed infected between late July and October 7, the NEJM report said.

An analysis of the virus's genome showed that it is a type called Ebola Zaire, and is 99.2 percent related to a 1995 variant that emerged in Kikwit in the DRC.

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France announces Ebola screenings at Paris airport


PARIS French health officials tday said screening measures for Ebola among passengers arriving from Guinea would start Saturday at Charles de Gualle airport in Paris.

 France became the fourth country –after Britain, the United States and Canada–to announce screening checks for the virus at its main international airport, as the United Nations warned Ebola was outpacing efforts to combat the epidemic.

The announcement came as Spanish authorities said they had isolated an Air France plane at Madrid airport and activated emergency health procedures after one of the passengers was reported to have a fever and shivers in what is being treated as a suspected Ebola case, officials said Thursday.

... French President François Hollande held a video conference Wednesday with his US counterpart Barack Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian premier Matteo Renzi to discuss their response to the virus.

EU health ministers are meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss measures to deal with the epidemic....

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Lax U.S. Guidelines on Ebola Led to Poor Hospital Training, Experts Say

NEW YORK TIMES                                                                  Oct 15, 2014

A dummy depicting an Ebola patient was part of a C.D.C. training session for health care workers Wednesday in Anniston, Ala. Credit Erik S. Lesser/European Pressphoto Agency

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Obama Urges ‘Aggressive’ Monitoring of Ebola Threat in U.S.

NEW YORK TIMES                            OCT. 15, 2014

President Obamaon Wednesday directed his aides to monitor the spread of Ebola in the United States “in a much more aggressive way,” but said the American people should remain confident in the government’s ability to prevent a widespread outbreak of the deadly disease.

After a two-hour meeting of cabinet-level officials who are in charge of the government’s response to the virus, Mr. Obama promised that a review of the recent Ebola cases in Dallas would determine what went wrong that allowed two nurses to be infected.

With a video link to Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the head of the Centers for Disease Control, the president said he had ordered health officials to determine, “How we are going to make sure that something like this isn’t repeated.”

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New Texas nurse with Ebola had slight fever on airliner

REUTERS                                                          Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:10pm EDT

By Lisa Maria Garza and Terry Wade 

DALLAS  A second Texas nurse who had contracted Ebola flew on a commercial flight from Ohio to Texas with a slight temperature the day before she was diagnosed, health officials said on Wednesday, raising new concerns about U.S. efforts to control the disease.

Chances that other passengers on the plane were infected were very low, but the nurse should not have been traveling on the flight, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Thomas Frieden told reporters.

The woman, Amber Vinson, 29, was isolated immediately after reporting a fever on Tuesday, Texas Department of State Health Services officials said. She had treated Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola and was the first patient diagnosed with the virus in the United States.

Vinson, a worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, had taken a Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland, Ohio to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on Monday, officials said.

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Ebola Fight in Africa Is Hurt by Limits on Ways to Get Out


The nurse survived, but according to the aid group that sent her to Liberia and arranged to get her out, Europe’s failure to establish a swift evacuation service for infected medical workers has become a serious hurdle impeding the battle against Ebola in West Africa.

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