Army major general, troops quarantined after Ebola aid trip

CNN                                                                                                   Oct. 27, 2014
By Barbara Starr

Army Major General Darryl A. Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa, and approximately 10 other personnel are now in "controlled monitoring" in Italy after returning there from West Africa over the weekend, according to multiple U.S. military officials.

The American personnel are effectively under quarantine, but Pentagon officials declined to use that terminology.

There is no indication at this time any of the team have symptoms of Ebola.

They will be monitored for 21 days at a "separate location" at the U.S. military installation at Vicenza Italy, according to U.S. military officials. Senior Pentagon officials say it is not a "quarantine," but rather "controlled monitoring." However, the troops are being housed in an access controlled location on base, and are not allowed to go home for the 21 day period while they undergo twice daily temperature checks....

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CDC Chief Announces New Shift In Ebola Protocols

WASHINGTON--The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leader Dr. Tom Frieden announced changes to the U.S. response to Ebola and the guidance federal agencies are giving to state and local governments.

The new protocol stops short of the mandatory 21-day quarantines that some states have begun requiring. Instead, Frieden said, it relies on individual assessment and close monitoring. He also detailed several categories of risk among both airline passengers and the medical volunteers who he said have been doing "heroic work" in West Africa.

"High risk" individuals, Frieden said, include those who have cared for an Ebola patient and were accidentally poked by a needle or lacked protective gear. Those people, Frieden said, should isolate themselves in their homes and avoid all forms of mass transit and large gatherings.

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Australia seeks hospital back-up for volunteers in Ebola-hit countries

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS SENDING HEALH WORKERS TO WEST AFRICA; MEANWHILE BANS VISAS FOR VISITORS FROM EBOLA-AFFLICTED COUNTRIES

THE GUARDIAN                                          Oct. 27, 2014

The Australian government is reconsidering its previous decision not to send health workers to West Africa. It seeks reassurances that any stricked Australian health workers can receive treatment in Western facilities.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) president, Brian Owler, said the UK and US were building “state of the art” treatment centres in west Africa for international healthcare workers and he expected Australia would be able to strike an agreement.

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http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/27/australia-seeks-hospital-back-up-volunteers-ebola-hit-countries

MELBOURNE HERALD                                Oct.  27, 2014

Meanwhile Immigration Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament that immigration had been suspended from West African Countries afflicted with Ebola and no new visas were being processed.

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Congress Has Thin Legislative Record on Combating Disease Outbreaks

ROLL CALL                                     Oct. 27, 20144
By Melanie Zanona

Although Congress has publicly fretted over the threat of infectious disease pandemics, there have been few legislative attempts in the last two decades to address such health emergencies, leaving lawmakers with a limited set of policy options as they try to contain the Ebola outbreak.

Measures targeting deadly diseases have been largely crafted through the prism of bioterrorism threats, as opposed to naturally occurring outbreaks, such as swine flu and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS.

“After 9/11 and the anthrax scares, there was starting to be a lot of attention and money being pumped into public health emergency preparedness and response, but by 2008, there started to be a downturn,” said Seth Foldy, associate professor of family and community medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin and former Milwaukee health commissioner. “It bumped up again after H1N1, but then the funding slide began to kick in. There hasn’t been much sustained and strategic attention on the issue.”

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Ebola in Graphics: The toll of a tragedy

THE ECONOMIST                  Oct.. 25, 2014

Detailed graphs on the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa and the healh systems in the affected countries.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/10/ebola-graphics?fsrc=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=pulsenews.

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The Flu, TB and Now Ebola: A Rare Legal Remedy Returns

Discussion of the legal and civil liberties issues involved in quarantines

NEW YORK TIMES                                  Oct. 27, 2014

By and N

It was nearly 100 years ago that an influenza pandemic led to sweeping quarantines in American cities, and it was more than two decades ago that patients in New York were forced into isolation after an outbreak of tuberculosis.

In modern America, public health actions of such gravity are remarkably rare. So the decisions by New York and New Jersey on Friday to quarantine some travelers returning from the Ebola zone in West Africa have taken public officials into unfamiliar legal and medical territory...

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Insurance companies now write Ebola exclusions into policies; offer Ebola-related products

HOMELAND SECURITY NEWS WIRE                Oct. 27, 2014

U.S. and British insurance companies have begun to write Ebola exclusions into their policies for hospitals, event organizers, airliners, and other businesses vulnerable to disruption from the disease.

As a result, new policies and renewals will become more expensive for firms looking to insure business travel to West Africa or to cover the risk of losses from Ebola-driven business interruptions (BI).The cost of insuring an event against Ebola, for example, would likely be triple the amount of normal cancellation insurance — if the venue was in a region not known to be affected by the virus.

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http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20141027-insurance-companies-now-write-ebola-exclusions-into-policies-offer-ebolarelated-products

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Quarantined Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox to Be Released by New Jersey

ABC NEWS                                          Oct. 27, 2014

by Josh Margolin

 

NEWARK --New Jersey has decided to release a nurse who was fighting an order that forcibly quarantined her after she returned from Africa where she treated Ebola patients.

The release was announced this morning after Kaci Hickox, hired a lawyer to sue over her mandatory 21-day quarantine. Shortly before the decision by the New Jersey Health Department, the nurse said she hopes "this nightmare of mine and the fight that I’ve undertaken is not in vain.”

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200 Ethiopian volunteers to join west Africa Ebola fight

AFRICAN COUNTRIES SENDING MORE VOLUNTEERS TO HELP COUNTER WEST AFRICA'S EBOLA OUTBREAK

THE AFRICA REPORT                                             OCT. 24, 2014

In response to an urgent appeal by the African Union for medical staff to avert West Africa's health crisis, Ethiopia has pledged to send 200 volunteer health workers to countries hit by the Ebola outbreak.

DRCongo  and Nigeria have also announced plans to respond to AU's call for member countries to show solidarity in the fight against Ebola.

                                                                                                                         Reuters

Ethiopia also has pledged over $500,000 to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three affected countries.

Head of African Union commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, told journalists in Sierra Leone that   ..."Several African member states have pledged to send in a number of health workers to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, including DR Congo, which will send around 1,000 workers in three groups."

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White House Presses States to Reconsider Mandatory Ebola Quarantine Orders

UPDATE:    Under Pressure, Cuomo Loosens Policy for Ebola Quarantines in New York

NEW YORK TIMES                                                             Oct. 26, 2014

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U.S. envoy in West Africa to see how world failing in Ebola fight

REUTERS                                         Oct. 26, 2014
By Michelle Nichols

CONAKRY -- The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, arrived in Guinea's capital Conakry on Sunday to see first hand how the global response is failing to stop the deadly spread of Ebola in West Africa.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power arrives at the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

Power, who will also visit Sierra Leone and Liberia, said she hopes to gain a better understanding of which resources are missing so she can push other countries to offer more help.

"We are not on track right now to bend the curve," Power told Reuters. "I will take what I know and I learn and obviously provide it to President Obama, who's got world leaders now on speed dial on this issue."

"Hopefully the more specific we can be in terms of what the requirements are and what other countries could usefully do, the more resources we can attract," she said....

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U.S. Ebola fighters head to Africa, but will the military and civilian effort be enough?

WASHINGTON POST                               Oct. 26, 2014

By Joel Achenbach and Lena H. Sun

Hundreds of Americans have flown to Liberia in the past few days. Thousands more are on the way.

 

American troops setting up field hospital in Liberia --NYTimes

This Ebola corps is a collection of doctors, nurses, scientists, soldiers, aviators, technicians, mechanics and engineers. Many are volunteers with nonprofit organizations or the government, including uniformed doctors and nurses from the little-known U.S. Public Health Service. Most are military personnel, snapping a salute when are assigned to their mission — “Operation United Assistance.” It does not qualify for combat pay, only hardship-duty incentive pay, which is about $5 a day — before taxes....

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Mobile-phone records are an invaluable tool to combat Ebola. They should be made available to researchers

THE ECONOMIST                          Oct. 25, 2014

With at least 4,500 people dead, public-health authorities in west Africa and worldwide are struggling to contain Ebola. Borders have been closed, air passengers screened, schools suspended. But a promising tool for epidemiologists lies unused: mobile cell phone data.

When people make mobile-phone calls, the network generates a call data record (CDR) containing such information as the phone numbers of the caller and receiver, the time of the call and the tower that handled it—which gives a rough indication of the device’s location. This information provides researchers with an insight into mobility patterns...

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New York doctor with Ebola gets blood transfusion from aid worker who survived disease

FOX NEWS                                Oct. 26, 2014

Doctors treating New York City’s first Ebola patient have given the ailing doctor a transfusion of blood plasma from an aid worker who was infected with the deadly disease in West Africa and survived.

Dr. Craig Spencer received the donated plasma Friday from Nancy Writebol, a health care worker with the Christian organization SIM. Writebol was treated in August at Emory Hospital in Georgia.

Bellevue Hospital, where Spencer is being treated, said Saturday evening that the 33-year-old physician is “entering the next phase of his illness as anticipated with the appearance of gastrointestinal symptoms.”

The public hospital said in a statement that the patient is “awake and communicating.”

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http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/10/26/new-york-doctor-with-ebola-gets-blood-transfusion-from-aid-worker-who-survived/

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No mandatory Ebola quarantine for health workers coming to Washington area

WASHINGTON POST                                                                               Oct. 26, 2014

By Spencer S. Hsu and Nia-Malika Henderson

One day after governors in New York, New Jersey and Illinois imposed a mandatory 21-day quarantine on medical workers returning from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa, public health officials in the District, Maryland and Virginia did not follow suit Saturday, intensifying a national debate over how to prevent the spread of the disease.

Health officials are working to develop a consistent approach for the area around the nation’s capital. Joxel Garcia, director of the D.C. Department of Health, said that a mandatory quarantine was not scientifically justified and could have a chilling effect on the medical personnel, many of them volunteers, needed to treat Ebola patients at home and overseas.

The differing views highlight challenges confronting federal and state politicians as well as health officials as they race to keep up with fast-changing circumstances and competing political, scientific and legal demands, experts said.

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