Ebola Spreading Intensely In Sierra Leone As Death Toll Rises: WHO

WHO status reports on West Africa
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REUTERS                                                                                                                      Nov. 19, 2014

By Stephanie Nebehay
 GENEVA - The toll in the Ebola epidemic has risen to 5,420 deaths out of 15,145 cases in eight countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday, with transmission of the deadly virus still "intense and widespread" in Sierra Leone.

The figures, through Nov. 16, represent a jump of 243 deaths and 732 cases since those issued last Friday, and cases continue to be under-reported, the WHO said in its latest update.

Sierra Leone, a former British colony, confirmed 533 new cases in the week to Nov. 16, it said, accounting for much of the increase. It also reported 63 deaths since last Friday.

"Much of this was driven by intense transmission in the country's west and north," the WHO said.

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WHO plans to speed development of Ebola rapid test

By Lisa Schnirring                                               Nov.18, 2014

Quicker and simpler diagnostic tests for Ebola could go a long way in helping break chains of disease transmission in West Africa's outbreak region, the World Health Organization (WHO) said today, as it unveiled two new initiatives to expedite their development.

The WHO said it hopes new efforts—similar to those under way to test and deliver an Ebola vaccine—can compress the development of a rapid test in months instead of years.

A Navy worker extracts RNA from a patient sample at a Naval mobile lab in Liberia. US Army Africa

Standard reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests used in mobile and other labs in the outbreak are very accurate when conducted by trained staff, but they require a full tube of blood, take 2 to 6 hours to get a result, and costs around $100 per test, the WHO said today in a statement....

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Queen Fears Ebola Push at Expense of Other Killer Diseases

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Ebola's impact on Africa economy might be less than feared

REUTERS                                                                                                                             nOV. 19, 2014         
By Joe Brock
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The cost of the Ebola epidemic for Sub-Saharan Africa's economy is likely to be closer to $3 billion-$4 billion and not the worst-case scenario of $32 billion, the World Bank's chief economist for the continent said on Wednesday.

Francisco Ferreira said at a lecture in Johannesburg that successful containment of Ebola in some West African countries made the gloomiest forecasts less likely, but the economic damage could still escalate if there was any complacency.

"The risk of the highest case of economic impact of Ebola has been reduced because of the success of containment in some countries. It has not gone to zero because a great level of preparedness and focus is still needed," Ferreira said.

"I would say the outlook has moved closer to the lower case of $3-$4 billion, than the upper case," he said.

In a report in October, the World Bank said that if the Ebola epidemic spread significantly outside the epicentre states of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the potential cost for Africa in disrupted cross-border trade, supply chains and tourism could amount to tens of billions of dollars.

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West African Mining Projects Take Hit From Ebola Crisis

Epidemic Delays Rollout of Jobs Meant for Residents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone

WALL STREET JOURNAL                                                                                             Nov. 19, 2014
By Patrick McGroarty in Liberia, David Gauthier-Villars in Guinea
and Alex MacDonald in London

...a promising corner of the global economic frontier is pocked with stalled mining projects. The Ebola epidemic has scared off ships and planes; prompted expatriates to abandon their posts; and delayed the rollout of thousands of jobs meant for residents of the three poor West African countries hardest hit by the virus: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A three-story steel shiploader at ArcelorMittal’s port in the Liberian city of Buchanan is part of a $1.7 billion expansion delayed by Ebola. Patrick McGroarty/The Wall Street Journal

“All the projects are at a standstill,” said Mr. Foulah, chief executive of the mining-explosives firm ECP Guinée.

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Cuban Doctor Catches Ebola in Sierra Leone


Cuban doctor with Ebola is stable, has reduced fever, official says

REUTERS                                                                                  NOV. 20, 2014

HAVANA --The Cuban doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in Sierra Leone was in stable condition with a reduced fever and no further complications, a Cuban health official said Wednesday.

The doctor, Felix Baez, 43, cannot recall any mistake in procedure that could have led to him catching the virus from a patient, said Jorge Perez, director of the tropical diseases hospital where Cuban doctors train for their Ebola missions.

Baez, who is married with two children, was due to arrive in Geneva late Thursday, Perez said.

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ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                      N0v. 19, 2014


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Gates Foundation, other donors launch study of Ebola drugs, survivors' blood, in Africa

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                                  Nov. 18, 2014

A coalition of companies and aid groups announced plans Tuesday to test experimental drugs and collect blood plasma from Ebola survivors to treat new victims of the disease in West Africa.

This Nov. 7, 2014, photo shows the inside a mobile donation unit at the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh, N.C. The unit was headed to Africa for use in a study of blood plasma treatment for Ebola patients. (AP Photo/Trevor Jenkins) (The Associated Press)

Plasma from survivors contains antibodies, substances the immune system makes to fight the virus. Several Ebola patients have received survivor plasma and recovered, but doctors say there is no way to know whether it really helps without a study like the one they are about to start within a month.

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India Quarantines Ebola Survivor Because Of Infectious Semen


India has record no Ebola cases, but the country is on high alert and has quarantined hundreds of travelers from West Africa. This hospital in New Delhi has set up an Intensive Care Unit for potential Ebola patients. 
Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

npr.org - November 18, 2014

An Indian man, who had previously recovered from Ebola, flew from Liberia to Delhi on Nov. 10, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said Tuesday in a statement.

At the Delhi airport, the 26-year-old immediately told officials his medical history: He was successfully treated for Ebola in Liberia and released from a health facility back in late September. When he boarded the plane, he had no symptoms.

The man's blood tested negative for Ebola, three times at the airport. But the virus was still lingering in one bodily fluid — his semen, health officials said.


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Hearing: Examining Medical Product Development in the Wake of the Ebola Epidemic

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Guinea Continues Probe Into Slayings of Ebola Health Workers

VOICE OF AMERICA                                                                                           Nov. 18, 2014

CONAKRY, GUINEA—Guinea’s Ministry of Justice said its investigation into the September killings of Ebola awareness health workers and a journalist in a southeastern village is moving swiftly, with a trial expected by year's end.

The murders of the eight people in the village of Wome sent shock waves of concern through Guinea and the international community that the already-difficult fight against Ebola was going to be that much harder.

A billboard with a message about Ebola appears on a street in Conakry, Guinea, Oct. 26, 2014.

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EU boosts anti-Ebola aid after Commissioners' mission to worst-hit countries


The European Union is continuing to scale up its response to the Ebola epidemic as its Coordinator for the emergency, Commissioner Christos Stylianides together with Vytenis Andriukaitis, Commissioner for Health, return from a four-day mission to the affected countries.

New funding of €29 million will be made available by the European Commissionfor transporting vital aid supplies and equipment to the affected countries, evacuation of infected international aid workers to hospitals in Europe and training and deploying health workers to the ground. Money will also reinforce local health facilities.

Of this total, €12 million is for assistance to the neighbours of the affected countries, to help them prepare for the risk of an Ebola outbreak through early detection and public awareness measures.

... The European Union's total contribution is close to €1.1 billion.

Sweden has announced that it will deploy, via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, 42 doctors, nurses and other health personnel who will run a treatment centre on the ground.

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NGOs: Ebola doctors desperately needed

WASHINGTON --The pipeline of Ebola doctors and nurses in West Africa is still running dry even as money increasingly flows into the region, leaders of the nongovernmental effort warned Tuesday.

“We face a severe shortage of adequately trained health professionals, both national and international,” Rabih Torbay, a vice president of the nonprofit International Medical Corps, told a congressional panel.

International Medical Corps has about 900 workers in Liberia and Sierra Leone, about 90 percent of whom are African nationals. But Torbay said it has been extremely difficult to recruit volunteers to help stem the outbreak.

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Benin: Authorities Rule Out the Ebola Track After a Series of Deaths


Rue de Cotonou au Bénin - Getty Images/Raido Valjamaa


Bénin: les autorités écartent la piste Ebola après une série de décès

rfi.fr/afrique - November 18, 2014

Interrogation et inquiétude au Bénin après le décès de plusieurs personnes à l’hôpital de Tanguiéta situé dans le nord-ouest du pays. Ces décès, survenus en moins d’un mois, concernent le personnel de santé. Les tests Ebola sont négatifs et la ministre de la Santé a tenu, lundi, une conférence de presse pour rassurer la population.

C’est la semaine dernière que le ministère de la Santé a été informé du décès de trois agents de l’hôpital St Jean de Dieu de Tanguiéta. Parmi eux, il y aurait deux infirmières en néonatologie. Vendredi, c’est un pédiatre qui est mort à Porto-Novo où il avait été transféré.

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Obama: West Africa Not out of the Woods on Ebola

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS                                       Nov. 18, 2014
By Darlene Superville

WASHINGTON--President Barack Obama said Tuesday that West Africa is "nowhere near out of the woods" in its fight against Ebola despite some improvement in the three countries hardest hit by the virus.

Obama said the disease remains a threat to the world, including the U.S., and he urged Congress to quickly approve his request for billions of dollars in emergency spending to combat the spread of Ebola at home and abroad.

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Hospitals Improvise Ebola Defenses, at a Cost

ASSOCIATED PRESS                                                                                         Nov. 18, 2014

By David Caruso

NEW YORK ---What does it take to Ebola-proof a hospital?

Over the past few months, U.S. medical centers have spent millions of dollars putting together a plan to treat patients with the scary, but extremely rare disease.

To a large extent, it has been an exercise in improvisation.

A medical worker stands outside a patient care room in a new custom-built bio-containment unit for potential Ebola cases at Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York. The unit, built over two weeks, is completely separate from the main medical buildings and can house three patients simultaneously. (AP Photo/John Minchillo

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