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Ebola Zaire Virus

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Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

I am sure all the comic relief would be quite funny to the thousands of West Africans that have lost their lives, if not their entire families, mothers, fathers, their babies and children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends and neighbors to Ebola Zaire.

I'm sure the doctors, nurses, aid workers and helpers treating all the patients that contracted this disease would enjoy it too as well as those that are responsible for bringing in the dead and dying and those who must dig the graves for those the disease has killed in record numbers while trying not to contract it themselves under adverse conditions,

I am sure the survivors find it funny that they are now shunned by their families and neighbors for being survivors, having already lost so much when they have so little.

I'm sure they would be quite happy to know that we can sit in our safe, clean, disease free environments commenting on how Ebola is not to be taken seriously while they continue to live in countries that provide inadequate health care, no education, subsistence level livelihoods and lives in abject poverty, run by dictators that don't give a damn about them and must continue to live with the threats of hantaviruses outbreaks.

I am sure they would appreciate all the Ebola jokes and think, "Gee, those people have such a great sense of humor."

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Posted : November 15, 2014 11:44 am
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

I don't think anyone is laughing at the disease or the victims but the hysteria that was created by precisely those you say live in their "safe, clean, disease free environments". The media consolidation worldwide tells us what we should fear.. one week it's ISIS.. the next it's a disease you have less chance of catching than hepatitis. What we should be fearing is the media sources who feed us these "scary things"

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Posted : November 15, 2014 11:53 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Like this for instance?:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ebola-outbreak/

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Posted : November 15, 2014 12:02 pm
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

Did I not say the disease IS NOT FUNNY? I've watched this program. American media response is akin to the story of Chicken Little though. Instead of filling people's minds with fear perhaps some information may help. Fear sells though. Information, sadly, is for those "commie pbs shows". We should all care that the world contains places ruled by dictators, without adequate sanitation, without real health care systems,.without proper education but instead our media feeds us fluff and scare tactics

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Posted : November 15, 2014 12:12 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

I apologize. I take Ebola very seriously. I did not mean to make light of this horrific disease and the tragic events taking place in Africa. My (attempt) at humor was directed towards the differences in British and American reporting on Ebola. What is happening in Africa is not funny in any way. Tammy

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Posted : November 15, 2014 1:24 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Did I not say the disease IS NOT FUNNY? I've watched this program. American media response is akin to the story of Chicken Little though. Instead of filling people's minds with fear perhaps some information may help. Fear sells though. Information, sadly, is for those "commie pbs shows". We should all care that the world contains places ruled by dictators, without adequate sanitation, without real health care systems,.without proper education but instead our media feeds us fluff and scare tactics

This whole point of this thread that swans has provided is to make us aware and educate us on Ebola, not scare us. I'm glad you agree that the disease isn't FUNNY and nothing to joke about.

We all are aware (I hope) that the certain media can blow things out of proportion while others will report responsibly. The fact that these types of contagious, horrific diseases can make it across the ocean from their country of origin to us and other countries should be cause for concern and awareness.

Just because this particular strain has not caused the deaths of millions, instead of thousands, doesn't mean the next one can't or won't.

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Posted : November 15, 2014 1:57 pm
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

Like this for instance?:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ebola-outbreak//blockquote >

That''s what you took from the videos? That everyone is laughing about this virus? Buy a clue, Alana.

Ebola is causing a human tragedy in an area of the world where every virus and disease causes a human tragedy. Measles killed 122,000 in 2012. Measles. That's two 61,000's! The reasons are many but the region is one of the poorest areas of the world with poor to non-existent health care. From a standpoint of virulence, ebola is a killer. It kills in a particularly nasty way and no one is laughing at the victims or their loved ones.

Americans tend to fear whatever we're told to fear by the corporate owned media and politicians. We just hand over our rights and say, “save me!”

If I were you, Alana, I think I'd be avoiding spaghetti for a while...and garlic toast!

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Posted : November 15, 2014 1:58 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Maybe you're used to handing over your rights aussie.

Here's an interesting article regarding links between wildlife health and human health.

Story Synopsis

In the lush mountains of western Uganda, tourists come to the dense forests in search of rare and exotic animals. What they don’t anticipate is coming in contact with some of the world’s rarest diseases.

That’s what recently happened to an American tourist who came down with a mysterious and deadly disease after visiting a cave known for its bats.

“We’re still not exactly sure how she acquired the infection,” says Dr. Stuart Nichol of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “We know that she did enter the mouth of the cave but didn’t go very deep into the cave.”

A team from the CDC found that she’d contracted Marburg virus -- a hemorrhagic fever that causes extensive internal bleeding. Hers was the first case to reach the United States.

During the same period, another outbreak of hemorrhagic fever was devastating a remote village in the same region. It was discovered to be a new strain of the Ebola virus, which scientists believe was transmitted to humans who ate infected bush meat.

“Uganda is a really good example of a hot spot for where these diseases arise,” says Dr. Ali Khan of the CDC. “The infections due to animals represent 75 percent of all the emerging infectious diseases, and so if you’re really going to tackle these diseases, you can’t just focus on people. You need to focus on the animals, you need to focus on the environment, and on the interface where those come together to decrease infectious diseases worldwide.”

The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest lies on Uganda’s southern border. It’s home to half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas, and it’s where Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka goes to work. She’s been studying diseases in the gorillas for 15 years and is known as the Dian Fossey of Uganda.

“I think what’s so special about the great apes is that they’re so similar to us,” she says. “We share over 98 percent of genetic material, with both gorillas and chimpanzees. And it means that we can learn a lot about ourselves by studying them.

“When you go to visit them in the wild, you actually feel like you’re connecting. They look at you. You look at them, and there’s some kind of connection. It’s actually very therapeutic watching them. And the infant gorillas are very playful, just like humans. When I see them playing, I think of my two children.”

Kalema-Zikusoka became Uganda’s chief veterinarian when she was 26. The BBC even made a documentary about her first year on the job. Nine months into her role as the country’s chief veterinarian, she was called to treat a family of gorillas that was suffering from a troubling new disease.

“Gorillas were losing hair and developing white, scaly skin. The baby gorilla had lost almost all its hair and was very thin. And the mother had also lost almost all of her hair where she was carrying the baby,” Kalema-Zikusoka recalls. “The baby was also making crying sounds, which is extremely abnormal for gorillas. I actually went and visited a human doctor friend of mine, because they could have picked it up from people. And she said it was scabies.”

Scabies is a minor skin infection for humans, but gorillas were new to the disease. For Kalema-Zikusoka, it was the first time she saw a human disease jump to mountain gorillas with fatal consequences. Recognizing this link between wildlife health and human health marked a turning point in her thinking.

“It made me realize that you can’t protect the gorillas if you don’t think about the people living around the park, who have very little health care,” she says. “And because we’re so closely related genetically, we can easily get diseases from each other. The only long-term and sustainable method to improve the gorillas’ health is by improving the health of the people living around the park. And not just the people, but their livestock as well.”

Dr. William Karesh heads the Global Health Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“When we say that there’s human health, or there’s livestock health, or there’s wildlife health, we just made that up. There’s only one health,” he says. “If animals are the source of a disease, we want to break the chain from people getting it. If people are the source of disease, we need to break the chain going in the animal direction.”

In 2002, Kalema-Zikusoka founded a nonprofit organization called Conservation Through Public Health, to tackle diseases that could be transmitted between humans, livestock and wildlife in the areas surrounding Uganda's national parks.

At a small village near the park, Kalema-Zikusoka works with the local community to teach hygiene -- in one case by showing a play about tuberculosis, a serious problem in Uganda.

“This is showing a good family and a bad family,” she explains. “The bad family threw rubbish next to the garden and defecated, and the [gorillas came and was] exposed to this. So then the good family, which is a man dressed as a woman, came in and cleared everything up. And told them off!”

Kalema-Zikusoka also volunteers to gather samples from villagers with chronic coughs, and makes sure that those who test positive for TB follow through with a full course of treatment. But there’s a problem with the local cattle as well -- they carry a strain of bovine tuberculosis that can sicken humans who drink infected cow’s milk.

“These cows could carry TB and pass it on to the humans, which would be a big shame in this community, because we are improving the overall health of the community,” Kalema-Zikusoka says. “So we’re going to carry out TB testing with the samples. And if there is any cow with TB, unfortunately it will have to be euthanized.”

She does all this because she knows how easily this disease could jump to gorillas.

“If the gorillas got TB, it would be a disaster,” she says. “TB requires treatment for eight months, especially in the forest setting. It’s easier for people to get that.”

What began a decade ago for Kalema-Zikusoka as an understanding that animal and human health are tethered together has become a new policy for organizations like the CDC.

“We think of one health as not just about human public health,” Dr. Ali Khan of the CDC says. “One health is about human and animal public health, and, increasingly, what the strategy is telling us is we need to be working more closely in an integrated manner with the animal public health field.”

In Bwindi, Kalema-Zikusoka remains worried -- diseases far worse than TB have caused major die-offs in other primate populations. In the Congo basin, wildlife experts estimate that more than 5,000 lowland gorillas have died of Ebola over the last decade.

“In Congo-Brazzaville, they’ve had people dying of Ebola who ate gorillas that died of Ebola,” she says. “They were very encouraged by what we’re doing in Uganda. And so now they’re trying to bring the wildlife authorities together with the public health authorities to address these issues.”

Health authorities are also concerned about the further spread of these emerging diseases.

“Once upon a time, it would have taken days, weeks, months to go from one continent to another,” Dr. Kahn says. “Nowadays, within 24 to 48 hours, you can travel from one place to the other place, and still be incubating the disease. So it’s very easy to transmit diseases worldwide.”

"Sometimes it gets frustrating when you’re trying to promote conservation," says Kalema-Zikusoka. “There are so many other pressing issues. But what gives me hope is that, by promoting conservation, we’re improving community public health around a very remote area of Uganda.”

http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/uganda901/video_index.html

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Posted : November 15, 2014 2:10 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

I apologize. I take Ebola very seriously. I did not mean to make light of this horrific disease and the tragic events taking place in Africa. My (attempt) at humor was directed towards the differences in British and American reporting on Ebola. What is happening in Africa is not funny in any way. Tammy

Tammy, we are very passionate about the Ebola situation in Africa as both of us have closely monitored the virus since June. We have presented no ill agenda; the nations media does and HAS done their fair share in inciting fear in the US. Our society is a fear-based society; since the days of "duck and cover" - after we dropped the 'bomb' - to 9/11! And our media gurus see to it that fear maintains its place in society. Perhaps if our media is poked fun at, as seen in the British video, then they will see that their 'intentions are showing' (garnering monies from advertisers), that we know it, and maybe they will begin to report more responsibly. You may feel that you shouldn't have posted and have regrets for doing so, but you have nothing to apologize for nor regret.

I believe a misunderstanding occurred, whereby the video, using humor, made obvious the differences between the British and US medias in how they present the news on the Ebola virus; no doubt, our media plays a vital role to maintain a healthy level of fear and apprehension in our society. The media owes the apology; not you.
Swan

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Topic starter Posted : November 15, 2014 3:35 pm
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

I apologize. I take Ebola very seriously. I did not mean to make light of this horrific disease and the tragic events taking place in Africa. My (attempt) at humor was directed towards the differences in British and American reporting on Ebola. What is happening in Africa is not funny in any way. Tammy

Tammy, we are very passionate about the Ebola situation in Africa as both of us have closely monitored the virus since June. We have presented no ill agenda; the nations media does and HAS done their fair share in inciting fear in the US. Our society is a fear-based society; since the days of "duck and cover" - after we dropped the 'bomb' - to 9/11! And our media gurus see to it that fear maintains its place in society. Perhaps if our media is poked fun at, as seen in the British video, then they will see that their 'intentions are showing' (garnering monies from advertisers), that we know it, and maybe they will begin to report more responsibly. You may feel that you shouldn't have posted and have regrets for doing so, but you have nothing to apologize for nor regret.

I believe a misunderstanding occurred, whereby the video, using humor, made obvious the differences between the British and US medias in how they present the news on the Ebola virus; no doubt, our media plays a vital role to maintain a healthy level of fear and apprehension in our society. The media owes the apology; not you.
Swan

Exactly Swans.

We on the other hand are reaponsible for the media as it is though. We don't complain when they merge and consolidate further eroding our chances at real news. Corporations own what we know. They own our politicians. They own us, as long as we all let them.. oooh look a new iPhone. Later

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Posted : November 15, 2014 6:57 pm
LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
Trusted Member

Measles killed 122,000 in 2012. Measles. That's two 61,000's! !

you owe me a keyboard and an apology to my dog... there is rum and coke EVERYWHERE after I read that..

hahaha, great callback!

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Posted : November 15, 2014 10:52 pm
aussie
(@aussie)
Trusted Member

My apology to your pup! LOL

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Posted : November 15, 2014 11:31 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

This article ( Oct. 29th) seems to be the latest of updates on the USVI hospitals preparedness efforts to address the possible event should Ebola Virus occur in the territories. It is pointed out by Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Justa "Tita" Encarnacion, that "early detection is critical," which leads to the question, are there any protocols and procedures being followed/ employed to screen passengers at the airports as they arrive in the islands? Is enough being done? Should more be done?

Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Justa "Tita" Encarnacion, described that hospital's preparations to date, and Schneider Regional Medical Center CEO Bernard Wheatley did the same for the Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.

"We have identified a temporary area within our Emergency Room Department, which meets CDC’s guidelines to segregate any patient presenting to the Emergency Department to reduce the risk of cross contamination," Encarnacion testified. The hospital has also identified a section within the hospital, outside of the general patient populace that meets CDC’s guidelines, for management of a longer stay and has identified an Ebola response team, including the critical care nursing staff and physicians who will be the patient’s first point of contact.

And the hospital is working with staff on practicing procedures.

“Some of the procedures include fitting and re-fitting staff for masks, working with staff to determine their ability to care for a high-risk Ebola patient and saturating hospital staff with Ebola preparedness information through the Intranet,” Encarnacion said.

She added that early detection of the virus is critical because JFL does not have the medical or human resources to manage a patient beyond 48 hours.

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2014/10/29/vi-agencies-prepping-ebola-risk-slight-officials-tell-senate

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Topic starter Posted : November 16, 2014 3:43 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

An Unexpected Ebola Infrastructure Problem: Waste

Daniel Bausch is an Ebola expert, and he’s got bad news for you: It’s time to start thinking about medical waste associated with Ebola care.

Patients with this debilitating virus produce 440 gallons of medical waste daily, including instruments, gowns, gloves, body fluids, sheets, mattresses and more. That’s a substantial amount of medical waste in any situation, but it’s especially daunting in this case because it needs to be disposed of extremely cautiously, to avoid the risk of spreading infection. What do you do with a problem like Ebola waste? Because you don’t want to toss it in the garbage.

Somewhat surprisingly, says Bausch, the United States actually faces bigger problems when it comes to safely disposing of Ebola waste, which is simply burned in large pits in Africa: “In the United States, of course, we are somewhat beholden to higher tech solutions, which in some ways are a little bit more problematic in terms of treating all that waste, and we need autoclaves or incinerators that can handle that sort of thing. It’s not the actual inactivation that’s particularly difficult; it’s just the process of getting the waste from, of course, the frontline of care and interaction with the patients safely to the place where it can be incinerated or autoclaved.”

The problem in the United States is ironically compounded by the increased access to medical care, and the higher quality of medical services, available. In the United States, patients are treated by medical teams with access to a huge volume of supplies they use for protection, including masks, gowns, booties, and gloves, along with sanitizers and other tools. Moreover, patients receive extensive medical interventions that generate waste like needles, tubing, medical tape, empty IV bags, and more. The very care that has helped most of the handful of Ebola patients in the United States conquer the disease has contributed to the huge amount of waste generated, highlighting a critical hole in U.S. medical infrastructure — while African hospitals may have lacked the supplies and personnel needed to supply aid to Ebola patients, they’re at least prepared to handle the waste.

The CDC just issued guidelines to help clinicians and administrators decide upon how to handle Ebola waste, but The New York Times notes that many facilities don’t have the autoclave, and incinerator, capacity to handle medical waste on this scale. Some states prohibit the burning of medical waste altogether, or have barred incineration of Ebola waste, leading to the transport of waste across state borders to facilities that can handle it, which poses its own risks; with every mile added to transport, there’s a greater risk of spreading disease to previously unexposed communities.

Surprisingly, defenders of burning the waste come from surprising corners. Environmentals like Allen Hershkowitz, National Resources Defense Council senior scientist, point out that: “There’s no pollutant that’s going to come out of a waste incinerator that’s more dangerous than the Ebola virus. When you’re dealing with pathogenic and biological hazards, sometimes the safest thing to do is combustion.”

The argument in defense of incineration can be bolstered by the fact that medical waste companies specialize in high-efficiency incineration with equipment designed to minimize and trap byproducts of combustion, reducing overall pollution considerably. Fears about Ebola, rather than genuine environmental or public health concerns, are driving the decision to push against incineration of ebola waste in many regions, but eventually, the United States is going to have to face facts: The mounting waste that accumulates in facilities where Ebola patients receive treatments needs to be disposed of safely, and promptly.

http://www.care2.com/causes/an-unexpected-ebola-infrastructure-problem-waste.html?onswipe_redirect=no&oswrr=4#comments

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Posted : November 17, 2014 2:30 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

An Unexpected Ebola Infrastructure Problem: Waste

Daniel Bausch is an Ebola expert, and he’s got bad news for you: It’s time to start thinking about medical waste associated with Ebola care.

Patients with this debilitating virus produce 440 gallons of medical waste daily, including instruments, gowns, gloves, body fluids, sheets, mattresses and more. That’s a substantial amount of medical waste in any situation, but it’s especially daunting in this case because it needs to be disposed of extremely cautiously, to avoid the risk of spreading infection. What do you do with a problem like Ebola waste? Because you don’t want to toss it in the garbage.

Somewhat surprisingly, says Bausch, the United States actually faces bigger problems when it comes to safely disposing of Ebola waste, which is simply burned in large pits in Africa: “In the United States, of course, we are somewhat beholden to higher tech solutions, which in some ways are a little bit more problematic in terms of treating all that waste, and we need autoclaves or incinerators that can handle that sort of thing. It’s not the actual inactivation that’s particularly difficult; it’s just the process of getting the waste from, of course, the frontline of care and interaction with the patients safely to the place where it can be incinerated or autoclaved.”

The problem in the United States is ironically compounded by the increased access to medical care, and the higher quality of medical services, available. In the United States, patients are treated by medical teams with access to a huge volume of supplies they use for protection, including masks, gowns, booties, and gloves, along with sanitizers and other tools. Moreover, patients receive extensive medical interventions that generate waste like needles, tubing, medical tape, empty IV bags, and more. The very care that has helped most of the handful of Ebola patients in the United States conquer the disease has contributed to the huge amount of waste generated, highlighting a critical hole in U.S. medical infrastructure — while African hospitals may have lacked the supplies and personnel needed to supply aid to Ebola patients, they’re at least prepared to handle the waste.

The CDC just issued guidelines to help clinicians and administrators decide upon how to handle Ebola waste, but The New York Times notes that many facilities don’t have the autoclave, and incinerator, capacity to handle medical waste on this scale. Some states prohibit the burning of medical waste altogether, or have barred incineration of Ebola waste, leading to the transport of waste across state borders to facilities that can handle it, which poses its own risks; with every mile added to transport, there’s a greater risk of spreading disease to previously unexposed communities.

Surprisingly, defenders of burning the waste come from surprising corners. Environmentals like Allen Hershkowitz, National Resources Defense Council senior scientist, point out that: “There’s no pollutant that’s going to come out of a waste incinerator that’s more dangerous than the Ebola virus. When you’re dealing with pathogenic and biological hazards, sometimes the safest thing to do is combustion.”

The argument in defense of incineration can be bolstered by the fact that medical waste companies specialize in high-efficiency incineration with equipment designed to minimize and trap byproducts of combustion, reducing overall pollution considerably. Fears about Ebola, rather than genuine environmental or public health concerns, are driving the decision to push against incineration of ebola waste in many regions, but eventually, the United States is going to have to face facts: The mounting waste that accumulates in facilities where Ebola patients receive treatments needs to be disposed of safely, and promptly.

http://www.care2.com/causes/an-unexpected-ebola-infrastructure-problem-waste.html?onswipe_redirect=no&oswrr=4#comments/blockquote >

Which leads to another question: Specifically, what is the protocol(s) for Ebola Virus Medical Waste Management for the hospitals on each of the Virgin Islands?

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/medical-waste-management.html

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Topic starter Posted : November 17, 2014 7:26 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Can you imagine VIWMA being responsible?

That was my thought when I read the article as both JFL and RLSH has had serious issues (and fines) in the past with their medical and toxic waste being improperly disposed of.

Hopefully, it'll never come to that but they should at least have a plan of action should it ever become necessary.

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Posted : November 17, 2014 8:46 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

CDC: Telephone Numbers for State/ Local Health Departments regarding
Ebola Virus:

Virgin Islands: If you are in St. Thomas call 1-340-774-9000
Virgin Islands: If you are in St. Croix call 1-340-773-1311

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/state-local-health-department-contacts.html

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Topic starter Posted : November 20, 2014 3:40 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

I watched a program that aired on Angry Planet (DISHTV/197/PIVOT) relating to the Kitum Cave/Kenya that elephants carved out in search of salt rich volcanic deposits.

It is considered the possible home of the Marberg Hemorrhagic Fever the badder cousin to Ebola but with a 60 to 90% fatality rate. It has many of the same symptoms as Ebola but causes bleed out due to turning internal organs to mush bringing about total organ failure.

There's a huge bat roost in the very back of this huge cavern.
They are considered the source of this virus. The program while interesting lacked depth and detail.

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Posted : November 23, 2014 4:17 pm
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

That mortality rate depends again on where virus is. In Ugandan and Angolan outbreaks the mortality rate was over 80% Where the virus was first identified in West Germany the dearth rate was 7/31.. Again, cultural practises and health care systems play a huge role in mortality rates

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Posted : November 23, 2014 7:24 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

https://www.gov.uk/marburg-virus-disease-origins-reservoirs-transmission-and-guidelines

Pretty impressive viruses, all in all.

You're right about the level of care received in initial stages as to it relates to mortality rates.

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Posted : November 23, 2014 7:44 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Are We Closing in on an Ebola Vaccine?

http://os.care2.com/all/are-we-closing-in-on-an-ebola-vaccine#

In what may go down as one of the most rapid deployments of a vaccine in history, we appear to be poised on the brink of an Ebola vaccine that will be ready to roll out to vulnerable populations in the hopes of halting the West African epidemic of the devastating disease.

In a world where biomedical research and testing can be painstakingly slow in the interests of consumer safety, this rapid deployment is a testimony to the hard work of doctors, biomedical researchers and others involved in the complicated process that goes behind producing commercial vaccines. It’s also an instructive lesson: In the event of future outbreaks of dangerous infectious diseases, we have a framework of experience to draw upon for developing effective vaccines quickly and safely.

While the presence of Ebola in Western Africa has been a known issue for decades, most outbreaks have remained small and contained, controllable with medical care and quarantines if necessary. As this year’s outbreak has shown, however, sometimes Ebola can rage out of control, killing thousands and showing signs of spilling over into neighboring communities. With Africa on edge over the spread of the disease and the world watching, pharmaceutical companies jumped on the case, picking up the vaccine development baton at the requests of world leaders, health organizations and aid workers.

One issue with vaccine development is that it’s extremely expensive. Researchers have to isolate specific viral strains, find good targets for triggering immune responses, and develop a carrier protein for those targets. In the case of the vaccine under the scrutiny of the media, the compound is made from an adenovirus that has been bioengineered to express proteins associated with the Zaire and Sudan strains of Ebola. (Ebola, like many viruses and bacteria, comes in a range of subtypes.) Notably, the virus causing the current lethal outbreak is actually the Zaire-Guinea strain, but with the groundwork laid in laboratories in Germany and the United States, African researchers can develop their own vaccine.

Many pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to develop vaccines for obscure diseases with a low incidence of occurrence because the payoff isn’t worth the risks — vaccine development can take months or years, the compounds may need to be periodically adjusted and reformulated as viruses evolve, and clinical trials can be extremely time consuming. Prior to this year, had an Ebola vaccine been developed, even with help from regional governments, the doses would still have cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, which is not terribly practical.

By dedicating significant funds to vaccine development to create an incentive, and encouraging government agencies like the National Institutes of Health to work with pharmaceutical companies like GlaxoSmithKline, Western governments were able to speed the process of developing an effective and affordable Ebola vaccine. In addition to providing funding and promising more if needed, governments also agreed to fast-track clinical trials and testing, ensuring that a vaccine could be put into use more quickly than usual as long as it met safety standards.
his ensured that the vaccine would be distributed quickly once tested, protecting as many West Africans as possible, while also allowing the researchers to share their knowledge with African biomedical research facilities so they could work on developing their own vaccines.

In this case, after being tested as safe, the vaccine was put quickly into Phase One trials, where a small number of healthy individuals who are not in at-risk populations are given the vaccine and evaluated. Testing includes checks for side effects, as well as blood tests to determine whether the vaccine has actually generated an immune response that would protect the recipient from infection. With Phase One trials complete, and promising signs of infection resistance in trial subjects, researchers can start deploying the vaccine on a small scale in West Africa to see what happens in communities where the virus is currently active. If it proves to be effective, they can start manufacturing it on a large scale to get it distributed as quickly as possible.

GSK and the NIH aren’t the only ones working on a vaccine. Merck and Newlink have also teamed up with a vaccine option, and other companies are investigating the possibility as well. The West African epidemic has generated a market for the Ebola vaccine, which has been backed by substantial investment from global health agencies and individual national governments.

While the the idea of a vaccine might have been unthinkable a year ago, it’s likely that patients in West Africa will be receiving test vaccinations as early as January, with a wider rollout in coming months. Furthermore, the competition between firms racing to produce the best vaccine will result in a range of options, and better end products, which bodes well for this and future outbreaks.

The rapid development is a testimony to the cooperative efforts of numerous forces, including regulatory agencies, public health organizations, pharmaceutical companies, governments and international aid agencies. It’s also a promising sign for the future: If we were able to act so quickly on Ebola, we may be better prepared for future viral outbreaks. Sadly, we can’t prepare in advance; the costs of investing in vaccine development on the off chance a virus gets out of control are just too high.

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Posted : December 4, 2014 7:15 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

0 December 2014 Last updated at 00:12 ET Share this pageFacebookTwitterPrint
Ebola outbreak: Virus still 'running ahead of us', says WHO
By Tulip Mazumdar
Global health reporter

WHO's Dr Margaret Chan: "We need to guard against complacency"
Continue reading the main story
Ebola outbreak

How disease spread
Search for cure
Into Ebola heartland
The basics
The Ebola virus that has killed thousands in West Africa is still "running ahead" of efforts to contain it, the head of the World Health Organization has said.

Director General Margaret Chan said the situation had improved in some parts of the worst-affected countries, but she warned against complacency.

The risk to the world "is always there" while the outbreak continues, she said.

She said the WHO and the international community failed to act quickly enough.

The death toll in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, stands at 6,331. More than 17,800 people have been infected, according to the WHO.

"In Liberia we are beginning to see some good progress. Especially in Lofa county (close to where the outbreak first started) and the capital," said Dr Chan.

Cases in Guinea and Sierra Leone were "less severe" than a couple of months ago, but she said "we are still seeing large numbers of cases".

'Hunting the virus'
Dr Chan said: "It's not as bad as it was in September. But going forward we are now hunting the virus, chasing after the virus. Hopefully we can bring [the number of cases] down to zero."

The official figures do not show the entire picture of the outbreak. In August, the WHO said the numbers were "vastly under-estimated", due to people not reporting illnesses and deaths from Ebola.

Etienne Ouamouno, whose wife and children are the first known victims of the outbreak, speaks to Tulip Mazumdar
Dr Chan said the quality of data had improved since then, but there was still further work to be done.

She said a key part of bringing the outbreak under control was ensuring communities understood Ebola. She said teams going into some areas were still being attacked by frightened communities.

"When they see people in space suits coming into their village to take away their loved ones, they were very fearful. They hide their sick relatives at home, they hide dead bodies.

"[This is] extremely dangerous in terms of spreading disease. So we must bring the community on our side to fight the Ebola outbreak. Community participation is a critical success factor for Ebola control.

"In all the outbreaks that WHO were able to manage successfully - that was a success element and this [is] not happening in this current situation."

Benefit of hindsight
The WHO faced criticism over its handling of the crisis at the start of the outbreak. An internal document which was leaked in October said those involved "failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall".

The first Ebola victim in West Africa has been retrospectively traced back to a two-year-old boy called Emile. He died in south-east Guinea in December 2013. No-one knew it was Ebola at the time.

The virus had never been seen in West Africa. The first cases started emerging in a remote part of the country with almost non-existent health facilities, and nobody spotted what it was in the first couple of months.

An outbreak was eventually declared at the end of March after 50 people had died. The WHO announced a global health emergency on 8 August.

"It is fair to say the whole world, including WHO, failed to see what was unfolding, what was going to happen in front of our eyes" said Dr Chan.

"Of course, with the benefit of hindsight, if you ask me now... we could have mounted a much more robust response".

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Ebola timeline

December 2013: Emile Ouamouno, two, becomes first Ebola victim
22nd March: Ebola outbreak declared in Guinea
April 1: MSF warns of "unprecedented" outbreak
April 8: WHO says outbreak is "difficult" and "very challenging"
June 23: MSF says outbreak is "out of control"
Aug 8: WHO declares "international public health emergency"
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The charity Medicines Sans Frontieres set up the first treatment centres when the outbreak began.

Andre Heller Perache from the charity said: "There was a series of press statements in June when we were talking about the magnitude of the crisis [saying] it was much worse then people had recognised and we made a desperate cry for help at that point.

"The WHO rebuffed that and said that's not accurate. They later reconsidered their position and agreed with ours and shortly after that declared an emergency."

The WHO is not an aid agency like MSF but does provide advice and technical support and is supposed to co-ordinate help.

The WHO says a full review and analysis of global responses to the crisis will be completed and made public once the outbreak is under control.

Dr Chan said: "As the director general of the WHO, this happened on my watch and I have a duty and responsibility to see it through and to learn lessons and to make changes in the organisation to make it stronger."

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Posted : December 10, 2014 6:35 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Ebola's Other Victim - West Africa's Economy

http://mobile.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/12/30/world/africa/20141231-FREETOWN.html

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Posted : January 5, 2015 2:53 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

Ebola's Other Victim - West Africa's Economy

http://mobile.nytimes.com/slideshow/2014/12/30/world/africa/20141231-FREETOWN.html/blockquote >

In slide number 3 of 8: What chance is it that these trees were harvested from the rainforests? The cycle continues: Nature is furiously upset, and yet her trees from the deforestation of her rainforests could very well be those obviously displayed within the center of Ebola chaos. Can anyone heed her warning?
Swan

ReplyQuote
Topic starter Posted : January 5, 2015 6:12 pm
swans
(@swans)
Trusted Member

Hymn To The Rainforest(s) - everywhere...
Swan

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Topic starter Posted : January 17, 2015 2:38 am
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