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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Ebola outbreak is not just a human tragedy. It’s also an economic one


WASHINGTON POST                           OCT. 15, 2014

By Ylan Q. Mui

"  the (Ebola) tragedy encompasses not only those who lost their lives and their families, but also the dreams of a country that was on the cusp on an economic resurgence. With critical public works projects in limbo and businesses struggling, the virus is threatening Liberia’s chance to escape generations of poverty and join Africa’s rising prosperity.

“Liberia was moving,” said Estrada Bernard, chairman of the International Bank in Liberia and the Liberian president’s brother-in-law. “'The whole thing hinges upon how well we can get this virus under control.'”

People do business at the Waterside local market in the center of Monrovia, Liberia, over the summer. Just as their economies had begun to recover from the man-made horror of coups and civil war, the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been knocked back down by the Ebola virus. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh, File)

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U.S. military will need until December to complete Ebola treatment units in Liberia

WASHINGTON POST                 

By Dan Lamothe                       October 15, 2014

The U.S. military continues to grow the force it is deploying to western Africa to assist with the Ebola virus crisis, but it will take until late November or early December to complete all 17 treatment units it has planned, a two-star general said.

Army Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa, told reporters in a phone conference from Liberia on Tuesday that the “lion’s share” of the treatment units will be complete by late November, with a few lagging into December. That exceeds an estimate provided by his commanding officer, Gen. David Rodriguez, who said Oct. 7 that the effort would likely take until mid-November.

The effort has been hampered by heavy rains, among other obstacles.

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Second health worker infected with Ebola flew the day before reporting symptoms

WASHINGTON POST                           Oct. 15, 2014

By Abby Phillip and Fred Barbash

A second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital worker who tested positive for Ebola flew on a commercial flightfrom Cleveland to Dallas on Monday, the day before she reported symptoms of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The health worker, who has not been named, cared for an Ebola-stricken Liberian man at the hospital, then tested positive for the disease in a preliminary test, Texas health officials announced Wednesday morning.

She flew on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 at around 6 p.m. on Oct. 13. There were 132 passengers on board, according to the airline and health officials. The CDC said it is working to reach out those passengers and is also asking them to call a hotline.

The agency and the airline also said that the health-care worker did not exhibit any symptoms while on the flight. A person infected with Ebola is only contagious once the person becomes symptomatic.

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Ebola Advice From Atlanta and Nebraska Doctors Fails to Ease Fears


TIME MAGAZINE                                                                     Oct. 14, 2014

By Alexandra Sifferlin

Physicians who are treating patients with the Ebola virus at Emory University Hospital and the University of Nebraska Medical Center shared their advice and protocols with worried hospitals and health care providers over a phone conference on Tuesday. Whether the conference really quelled these fears, however, was not exactly clear.

The intent of the conference, which was organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was to answer health care questions related to admitting and treating a patient with Ebola. There’s growing concern among health officials that hospitals without specialized isolation units and with little experience treating serious communicable diseases may not be fully prepared to treat the disease....

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, seen in August 2014. Jessica McGowan—Getty Images

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Dallas hospital learned its Ebola protocols while struggling to save mortally ill patient


THE WASHINGTON POST           Oct. 15, 2014
By Amy Ellis Nutt, Abby Phillip and Joel Achenbach

DALLAS — The hospital that treated Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan had to learn on the fly how to control the deadly virus, adding new layers of protective gearfor workers in what became a losing battle to keep the contagion from spreading, a top official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

“They kept adding more protective equipment as the patient [Duncan] deteriorated. They had masks first, then face shields, then the positive-pressure respirator. They added a second pair of gloves,” said Pierre Rollin, a CDC epidemiologist.

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