China to build highway for Liberia as part of Ebola recovery aid

REUTERS                                                                                                  Aug. 9, 2015

MONROVIA -- China will build a new coastal highway for Liberia as part of its aid to the country recovering from an Ebola epidemic, Liberia's foreign minister said on Sunday.

He was speaking at a news conference with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi who is visiting Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, the countries hardest hit by the epidemic.

Liberia's existing coastal route is vital for commerce as the country rebuilds after a civil war that ended in 2003. It connects the capital to the border with Ivory Coast via the port city of Buchanan, where exports of exports of iron and timber pass through, but much of the road is unpaved.

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/09/us-health-ebola-liberia-china-idUSKCN0QE0OV20150809

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Ebola terrified us a year ago. What did it teach us about West Africa?

WASHINGTON POST  by

“If it bleeds, it leads.” That’s the cliché in journalism that describes why a certain kind of tragedy tends to dominate the news cycle. One year ago today, the World Health Organization declared Ebola an “international health emergency.” But today, coverage of West Africa is beginning its drift into media disinterest as Ebola cases wane. International attention has now largely disappeared along with the sight of biohazard suits and ambulances.....

But it would be a mistake to celebrate victory over Ebola and return to the pre-outbreak status quo. The lessons of Ebola reach beyond the preparedness of West African health systems to confront crises, touching on issues that have been critical for the region in recent years: peace, security and how responsive governments are to society’s most vulnerable members. These lessons must be understood before a post-outbreak aid and development agenda is designed....

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Ebola Survivors Face Lingering Pain, Fatigue and Depression

NEW YORK TIMES  by Denis Grady                               Aug. 8, 2015

The Ebola outbreak that started more than a year ago seems to be waning at last. But now, West Africa faces another difficulty: More than 13,000 people survived the virus, and many have lingering health problems, psychological troubles like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and worries about returning to work to feed themselves and what is left of their families.

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How to Beat the Next Ebola

submitted by George Hurlburt

             

Graves dug in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to cope with those dying from Ebola in late 2014.  Mads Nissen/Panos

The world is ill-prepared for the next epidemic or pandemic. But the horror of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa may drive change.

nature.com - by Declan Butler - August 5, 2015

If there was one point last year when public-health experts held their breath, it was when a Liberian man infected with Ebola virus flew to Lagos, Nigeria, in July. Ebola was already raging uncontrolled through impoverished countries in West Africa, killing half of those it infected. Now a vomiting man had carried it straight to the heart of Africa's largest megacity — with 21 million inhabitants, many of whom live in slums. Experts were horrified at the prospect that the virus might rip through the city — and then, because Lagos is an international travel hub, spread farther afield.

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Physicians: Global Vaccine Development Fund Could Save Billions

PHARMACEUTICAL PROCESSING by  Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs   Aug. 6, 2015

Ebola is a preventable disease, and yet a safe and effective vaccine has not been deployed. As with many vaccines, financial barriers persist: pharmaceutical companies see high costs with limited market potential, and government support is lacking. But there may be a solution to this vaccine crisis with the ability to save at-risk populations, according to a perspective piece written by physicians based at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania and the Wellcome Trust.

The article, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, proposes the creation of a $2 billion global vaccine-development fund - supported by governments, foundations and pharmaceutical companies - that would carry promising vaccines through development to deployment. With initial support, the global vaccine fund could help make vaccines available for emergency use.

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Home > International Sierra Leone Ebola Head Says Country Has 4 Cases

ASSOCIATED PRESS by CLARENCE ROY-MACAULAY  Aug. 6, 2015

FREETOWN -- Sierra Leone has only four recorded cases of Ebola, the West African nation's head of Ebola said Thursday, adding that he is hopeful the countdown to zero can soon begin.

Two of the cases have proven negative after treatments, and the other two, in the north Tonkolili district, are in treatment, said National Emergency Response Center chief Alfred Palo Conteh....

The Tonkolili district remains a worry, he said. Authorities last week quarantined 500 people after a man died from Ebola. The district had not had a single case of Ebola in five months. The victim contracted the disease in the capital, traveled to his home village, and was treated for a fever at the local hospital but authorities didn't call the Ebola emergency number.

He didn't have a burial that followed special procedures required for Ebola victims, and the man's mother and brother contracted the virus.

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http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/sierra-leone-ebola-head-country-cases-32920853

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Flooded Mines Cause Toxic Sludge in Vietnam

             

The Mong Duong coal mine in Vietnam's Quang Ninh province has flooded, spilling toxic sludge that contaminated land, rivers and coastline  Photo: Luu Quy Doan/Vnexpress

CLICK HERE - SITUATION REPORTS - United Nations - Vietnam

United Nations - irinnews.org - by Vu Duy - August 7, 2015

HANOI, 7 August 2015 (IRIN) - Toxic sludge that spilled out of open pit coal mines during 10 days of heavy rains may have seriously contaminated farmland, rivers and coastal areas in northern Vietnam.

Flooding has killed 30 people, wiped out roads and damaged thousands of homes, the United Nations said in a situation report on Wednesday. The UN also warned of potential risks to the environment, health and water sanitation after coal mines in Quang Ninh province flooded, spilling thick streams of dark sludge into the countryside.

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Rapid Assessment of Ebola-Related Implications for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Service Delivery and Utilization in Guinea

currents.plos.org

Barden-O'Fallon J, Barry MA, Brodish P, Hazerjian J. Rapid Assessment of Ebola-Related Implications for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Service Delivery and Utilization in Guinea. PLOS Currents Outbreaks. 2015 Aug 4 . Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.outbreaks.0b0ba06009dd091bc39ddb3c6d7b0826.

Abstract

Introduction: Since March 2014, Guinea has been in the midst of the largest, longest, and deadliest outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease ever recorded. Due to sub-optimal health conditions prior to the outbreak, Guinean women and children may have been especially vulnerable to worsening health care conditions. A rapid assessment was conducted to better understand how the delivery and utilization of routine RMNCH services may have been affected by the extraordinary strain placed on the health system and its client population by the Ebola outbreak in Guinea.

CLICK HERE - Rapid Assessment of Ebola-Related Implications for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Service Delivery and Utilization in Guinea

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South Sudan: More Will Die from Cholera Unless We Secure Clean Water

           

South Sudanese patients wait for medical treatment in the outpatient department of a medical camp.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Oxfam’s water and sanitation coordinator writes about the challenges of bringing South Sudan’s cholera outbreak under control

theguardian.com - by Katrice King - August 6, 2015

“I have no money to continue buying water. I will have to beg from those at the borehole or from the water trucks. Or else, I go back to the village,” a mother of five told me recently. . . .

. . . This is the agonising reality of families I have met in parts of Juba; they are struggling to cope with a worsening water crisis fuelled by the deteriorating economic situation in South Sudan. As a result, the city is now left exposed to the spread of deadly diseases.

Cholera has already claimed 42 lives since May – including seven children – and has infected more than 1,400 people. . . .

. . . If the water shortages continue, hygiene conditions in the most affected areas will worsen and people will have no alternative but to use unprotected sources such as rivers and open wells, exposing more people to cholera.

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Only two Ebola cases reported in past week, but risks remain: WHO

REUTERS  by Stephanie Nebehay                           Aug. 4, 2015

Guinea and Sierra Leone each recorded a single cases of Ebola in the past week, putting a year-end goal of ending the deadly epidemic within reach, although risks remain, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

Tight surveillance and tracing contacts of infected people remain crucial, WHO Assistant-Director Bruce Aylward said. They are especially challenging during the heavy rains in August.

In the previous week to July 26, the two countries had seven confirmed cases, which was the lowest in the past year up until then, according to the WHO.

Read complete story.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/08/04/us-health-ebola-who-idUSKCN0Q91JM20150804

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Iran city hits suffocating heat index of 165 degrees, near world record

Chart showing temperature, dew point in index in Bandar Mahshahr over last 36 hours, using National Weather Service heat index value calculations. (Brian McNoldy)

Image: Chart showing temperature, dew point in index in Bandar Mahshahr over last 36 hours, using National Weather Service heat index value calculations. (Brian McNoldy)

washingtonpost.com - July 31st, 2015 - Jason Samenow

Wherever you live or happen to travel to, never complain about the heat and humidity again.

In the city of Bandar Mahshahr (population of about 110,000 as of 2010), the air felt like a searing 165 degrees (74 Celsius) today factoring in the humidity.

Although there are no official records of heat indices, this is second highest level we have ever seen reported.

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CDC head says Sierra Leone in strong place with Ebola

ASSOCIATED PRESS by Clarence Roy-Macaulay                                                  Aug. 3, 2015

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone  — Sierra Leone is in a stronger place than it was six months ago to fight Ebola, but the new challenge is to get to zero cases, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday during a visit, as new cases emerged in the city and in an area that had not seen the deadly virus for months.

Two new cases of Ebola surfaced in Sierra Leone's Northern Tonkolili District after a man died last week. The district had not had a single case of Ebola in five months. The victim contracted the disease in the capital, traveled to his home village, and was treated for a fever at the local hospital but authorities didn't call the Ebola emergency number. He didn't have a burial that followed special procedures required for Ebola victims....

Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director, said it was important that the case was identified and not missed, and he was impressed with the speed of the response.

"The challenge now is to get to zero cases and that is not going to be easy," he said. "Authorities must not let down their guard. The country should keep its guard up."

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What ‘100 Percent Effective’ Means for That Ebola Vaccine

Analysis
WIRED.COM by Katie M. Palmer                                                            Aug. 4, 2015

Last week, the medical journal the Lancet published preliminary results on the efficacy of an Ebola vaccine in Guinea, and everybody got really excited—especially about one particular figure. The vaccine, the results suggested, was 100 percent effective at protecting against Ebola, a thrilling prospect in the face of an epidemic that has killed more than 11,000 people. ...

But that number probably means less than you think it does. It’s based on incomplete data, so it doesn’t have the statistical clout it should. And it never will. Based on the vaccine’s early success, the trial’s runners decided that all participants in the study should get it immediately after exposure. That’s a perfectly reasonable, humane reaction, but it also means that the researchers will never be able to collect better data on the vaccine’s efficacy, which is what regulators look for when they’re deciding to approve a drug. In other words, the vaccine’s early success could make it harder for people to get it down the line.

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Disastrous Sea Level Rise Is an Issue for Today's Public - Not Next Millennium's

             

huffingtonpost.com - by Dr. James Hansen - July 27, 2015

. . . 2°C global warming, rather than being a safe "guardrail," is highly dangerous. . . .

. . . My conclusion, based on the total information available, is that continued high emissions would result in multi-meter sea level rise this century and lock in continued ice sheet disintegration such that building cities or rebuilding cities on coast lines would become foolish. . . .

. . . A startling conclusion of our paper is that effects of freshwater release onto the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic are already underway and 1-2 decades sooner in the real world than in the model (Fig. 2). 

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CLICK HERE - Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics - Earth's energy imbalance and implications

CLICK HERE - Ice Melt, Sea Level Rise and Superstorms: Evidence from Paleoclimate Data, Climate Modeling, and Modern Observations that 2°C Global Warming is Highly Dangerous

OR

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Global Health Risk Framework - Meeting 1

nam.edu - July 29, 2015

The first meeting of the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future took place on July 28-29, 2015 at the National Academy of Sciences building, located at 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, in Washington, DC. The meeting was closed on July 28, but open to the public on July 29 from 9 am to 1 pm.

The objectives of the open session on July 29 included the following:

The International Oversight Group will present the Statement of Task to the Commission and make clarifications, if needed.

An expert panel will address issues of governance, finance, resilient health systems, and medical products research and development when responding to infectious disease outbreaks of international concern at the global, regional, national, and local levels. The Commission will consider the different perspectives presented, as they develop the approach for this study.

(CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION)

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