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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:02 am 
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WHO 6 minute video on collection of samples in Guinea

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDicsP3 ... e=youtu.be

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:17 am 
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15 August 2014 Last updated at 07:34 ET

Ebola crisis vastly underestimated, says WHO

The scale of the Ebola outbreak appears to be "vastly underestimated", the UN's health agency says, as the death toll from the disease reaches 1,069.

The World Health Organization said its staff had seen evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths do not reflect the scale of the crisis.

It said in a statement that "extraordinary measures" were needed.

The outbreak began in Guinea in February and has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

The Ebola outbreak is taking its toll on regional economies
However, the WHO said the risk of transmission of Ebola during air travel remained low, as the disease is not airborne.

As a consequence, Kenya Airways has rejected pressure to suspend its flights to the Ebola-hit states of West Africa.

Meanwhile, the international ratings agency Moody's says the Ebola outbreak - the world's deadliest so far - may have significant economic ramifications on the affected countries because commercial and transport disruptions are expected to last at least another month.

'Rampant fear'
The WHO said the outbreak was expected to continue "for some time".

"Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak," its statement said.

A Liberian health department burial team disinfects their protective clothing after retrieving the body of a woman suspected of dying of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, 14 August 2014
The Ebola disease is spread by contact with the bodily fluids of those infected
"WHO is co-ordinating a massive scaling up of the international response."

Part of the challenge was the fact that the outbreak was in "settings characterised by extreme poverty, dysfunctional health systems, a severe shortage of doctors and rampant fear", the WHO added.

i
Symptoms include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage
Fatality rate can reach 90% - but the current outbreak is about 55%
Incubation period is two to 21 days
There is no vaccine or cure
Supportive care such as rehydrating patients who have diarrhoea and vomiting can help recovery
Fruit bats are considered to be virus' natural host
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In Nigeria - where four people have now died of Ebola - the residency training programme for doctors who work in government-run hospitals has been halted amid a nationwide doctors' strike that began in July.

BBC Africa's Chris Ewokor says the termination of the scheme - affecting an estimated 16,000 doctors - is likely to be linked to the ongoing strike as constitutionally other personnel are not allowed to be brought in to do their work.

With fears about the spread of Ebola, the authorities want to be able to bring military doctors into hospitals as part of contingency plans, he says.

The Ebola cases in Nigeria are linked to the late Liberian government employee, Patrick Sawyer, who brought the disease to the city of Lagos in July.

The outbreak is affecting the Youth Olympic Games about to start in China, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has ruled that athletes from Ebola-hit countries will not be allowed to compete in combat sports or in the pool, and Sierra Leone and Nigeria have withdrawn from the Games.

Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with the body fluids of a person who is infected.

Initial flu-like symptoms can lead to external haemorrhaging from areas such as eyes and gums, and internal bleeding which can lead to organ failure.
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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28798542

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 8:24 am 
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Ebola outbreak: Size of problem has been 'vastly' underestimated, says WHO

Bodies left to lie in the street are actually more infectious than living people with the disease
IAN JOHNSTON Friday 15 August 2014

The size of the deadly Ebola outbreak appears to have been “vastly” underestimated, the World Health Organisation has warned.

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However it added in a statement issued on Thursday: “Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.

“WHO is coordinating a massive scaling up of the international response, marshaling support from individual countries, disease control agencies, agencies within the United Nations system, and others.”

The body said that there was “extraordinary measures… on a massive scale” were required “to contain the outbreak in settings characterized by extreme poverty, dysfunctional health systems, a severe shortage of doctors, and rampant fear”.

In some places affected by the disease, bodies have been left to lie in the street as they are actually more infectious than living people with the disease.

The WHO statement added that no new cases had been found in Nigeria “following the importation of a case in an air traveller last month”.

Meanwhile the World Bank said on Thursday that international agencies were considering emergency food drops to help starving people in parts of Liberia and Sierra Leone that have been cordoned off to help stop the spread of the disease.

Deaths of farmers have meant crops have rotted in the fields, while shops have closed and lorry drivers have refused to take deliveries to affected areas.

Tim Evans, senior director for health at the World Bank, said the Mano River region, home to about 1 million people and an epicenter for the deadly disease, was a major concern.

“There has been a lot of inflation in food prices and a lot of difficulty in getting food to the quarantined population,” he said.

“We are looking at exactly what the needs are and where, and then looking at how we contribute to making sure that food gets to the right places.”

The UN's World Food Programme (WFP) has declared a Level Three food emergency, its highest threat rating, in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon.

It is urgently mobilising teams to get food into the area and prevent widespread hunger and deaths.

“We are pulling out all the stops,” said Steve Taravella, WFP spokesman in Washington.

Additional reporting by agencies
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 70432.html

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:40 am 
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6 minute AUDIO

Has An Ebola Corner Been Turned? One Perspective: 'No, No, No, No'
by NPR STAFF
August 15, 2014 5:00 AM ET
Listen to the Story
Morning Edition 6 min 38 sec

Emily Veltus, a health educator working in Sierra Leone, says her organization, Doctors Without Borders, is "maxed out" in dealing with Ebola and that more help is needed to control an outbreak that is still raging.

Speaking with NPR's David Greene, she said that the outbreak continues to pose enormous risks. Asked if a corner had been turned in managing the disease, she answered, "No. No, no, no, no. Not at all. Absolutely not. The number of cases is spreading throughout the country now. Liberia is also really out of control. It's not under control here at all. We're managing. We see small improvements. But this outbreak is far from over, unfortunately."
Image
Health educator Emily Veltus shares a thumbs up with a 12-year-old who's an Ebola survivor. The girl was treated at the Doctors Without Borders center in Kailahun.i
Courtesy of Doctors Without Borders

What would help? "It would be great if there was more response," she says. "Really the response needs to improve. MSF is managing the treatment center here, the health promotion outreach, but we're at max capacity and a lot more needs to happen." (MSF is the acronym for Medecins Sans Frontieres, the French name for Doctors Without Borders.)

There are many pressing needs, she says. More people are needed to bury the dead quickly. Better ambulance service is needed, as are health workers who can do "contact tracing — if someone's infected, seeing who they were in contact with."

Another critical need, she says, is for staff to monitor and care for children orphaned after their parents succumb to Ebola.

Veltus spoke about the situation in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, at the heart of the Ebola outbreak. MSF runs an 80-bed hospital that has admitted 320 patients in recent weeks. Of the hospital's 204 confirmed Ebola cases, 53 have survived, Veltus says.

Working daily with small primary health clinics in far-flung villages, Veltus has had to overcome rumors, confusion and fears about Ebola as she explains the disease's sources, transmission and treatment. In that arena she has seen progress.

"There's been an amazing transformation in the last month," she says. "Health workers have been trained to go back and spread the message to communities and people are really starting to understand."

The Sierra Leone military has placed the Kailahun region under a military quarantine in an attempt to thwart the spread of disease. "We've seen an increasing number of checkpoints in the region," Veltus says, "and they're taking the temperatures of people passing through, and blood pressure. The military is in Kailahun but it is still pretty similar to what it was a couple of weeks ago."

The 53 Ebola survivors treated in MSF's hospital provide a glimmer of hope in an otherwise grim landscape. Veltus accompanies survivors back home after they've recovered from the disease. "It's incredible when people realize there's a survivor inside the vehicle. It's very special," she says. "Each time we bring a survivor home, we hug the person in front of their family and friends to show they're not a risk. And we like to get the family together and take a photo with them. We have a wall of survivors in our office."

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2 ... o-no-no-no

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:56 am 
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Radio In Liberia Seems Like It's All Ebola, All The Time
by MARC SILVER
August 15, 2014 8:21 AM ET
Image
Radio, TV and newspapers aren't the only media used in Liberia to keep the public informed about Ebola. In the capital city of Monrovia, a chalkboard features the latest news about the virus.

Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA /LANDOV

If you're in a taxi or walking past an open-air market in Monrovia, the radio is blaring. And right now, Ebola is the number one topic on the air waves, says NPR's Jason Beaubien, who's in Liberia's capital this week, covering the outbreak there. "It's become all Ebola, all the time," he says. "It really is dominating the airwaves."

How is the radio covering Ebola?

Today they ran a live press conference on the radio with the the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and someone from the Liberia's Ministry of Health. Agencies like the Teachers' Union are buying time on the radio to say, "Ebola is real." There are songs about Ebola. And the deejays talk about it constantly.

What do the deejays say?

They're saying that "Ebola is real" and reminding people to wash their hands and particularly don't touch dead bodies. And they're giving out numbers for Ebola hotlines.

They make these comments in between the songs they play?

Yeah. And then a deejay was talking today, as we were driving around, about a show he had gone to. He was saying how great it was that the deejay at the show kept "sensitizing" the crowd about Ebola.

Does the radio, or for that matter newspapers or TV, give any voice to people who deny that Ebola exists.

We're not really seeing that in any of the mainstream media. At the press conference today, someone from the Liberian government said that anyone caught spreading false rumors would be arrested and, in his words, "the book thrown at him." So there is a fair amount of fear about publishing or publicizing that perspective.

And then there are the songs. Are there a lot of them?


YouTube
I don't know if there are enough for a Grammy category. But there are several songs about Ebola.

Some are just about "wash your hands" and stuff like that. But my driver was telling me about this song by Quincy B. It's a cool hip hop song that's better than some of the other songs. It's called "State of Emergency," and the lyrics have a bit more depth: "Pull the alarm, turn on the siren, people are dyin' but nobody's firin' ... It started in Lofa, which is my home town. Elizabeth tried to save her people. She's gone now."

Who is Elizabeth?

One deejay is saying that Elizabeth is a nurse who died.

I know you tried to get a copy of the song so we could share it with our readers.

I bought a CD of it on the street but when I tried to play it, it was blank.

To Goats and Soda Readers: If any of you can help us find Quincy B's song "State of Emergency," we'd be grateful — and we would work to get permission to share it with our readers.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2 ... l-the-time

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:54 pm 
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Ebola Virus: Outbreak Could Last Six More Months
Flood of Patients Indicates Outbreak Far More Severe Than Numbers Show, Says WHO

Associated Press
Updated Aug. 15, 2014 11:14 a.m. ET
The magnitude of the Ebola virus outbreak may be vastly underestimated, the World Health Organization said Thursday. More than 1,000 people have died and nearly 2,000 have been sickened. Photo: Getty Images
DAKAR, Senegal—The Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people has turned parts of West Africa into a medical battle zone and could last up to six more months, Doctors Without Borders warned Friday as a worker on the front lines in Liberia acknowledged that the true death toll is unknown.

Tarnue Karbbar, who works for the aid group Plan International in northern Liberia, said response teams simply aren't able to document all the cases erupting. Many of the sick are still being hidden at home by their relatives, too fearful of going to an Ebola treatment center.

Others are buried before the teams can get to the area, he said. In the last several days, some 75 cases have emerged in a single district.

"Our challenge now is to quarantine the area to successfully break the transmission," he said, referring to the Voinjama area.

(Ebola virus: Nigerian patients to be given experimental drug)

Beds in Ebola treatment centers are filling up faster than they can be provided, evidence that the outbreak in West Africa is far more severe than the numbers show, an official with the World Health Organization said Friday.

On Friday, Doctors Without Borders likened the situation to a state of war and said the outbreak could last six more months.

"We're running behind a train that is going forward," Joanne Liu, the medical charity's international president, told reporters in Geneva on Friday. "And it literally is faster than what we're bringing in terms of a response."

The U.N. health agency warned Thursday that the official counts of 1,069 dead and 1,975 infected may still "vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak."

It said extraordinary measures are needed "on a massive scale to contain the outbreak in settings characterized by extreme poverty, dysfunctional health systems, a severe shortage of doctors, and rampant fear."

The flood of patients into every newly opened treatment center is evidence that the official tolls aren't keeping up, Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for WHO, said from Geneva.

Image
A Liberian health worker disinfects a corpse Friday after the man died in a classroom now used as Ebola isolation ward in Monrovia. John Moore/Getty Images
Mr. Hartl said that an 80-bed treatment center opened in Liberia's capital in recent days filled up immediately. The next day, dozens more people showed up to be treated.

Ebola causes a high fever, bleeding and vomiting. It has no cure and no licensed treatment and has been fatal in at least 50% of the cases, health experts say. The disease is usually found in eastern or central Africa, typically in rural, isolated communities, where outbreaks tend to be "self-limiting," Mr. Hartl said.

By contrast, the current outbreak spread quickly to cities and the capitals of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, making it difficult to stop.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/ebola-vi ... 1408107358

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 6:46 pm 
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The World Health Organization said the scale of the epidemic had been vastly underestimated and that "extraordinary measures" were needed to contain the killer disease.

The UN health agency said the death toll from the worst outbreak of Ebola in four decades had now climbed to 1145 in the four afflicted West African countries - Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

"It is deteriorating faster, and moving faster, than we can respond to," Joanne Liu, the chief of Doctors without Borders, known by its French acronym MSF, told reporters in Geneva.

She added that it could take six months to get the upper hand.

The WHO said it was coordinating "a massive scaling up of the international response" to the epidemic.

"Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak," it said.

Outbreak could take 'six months to bring under control'
The warning comes as medical charity MSF says tje Ebola epidemic is moving faster than the authorities can handle and could take six months to bring under control.

Elhadj As Sy, the new head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, painted a similarly bleak picture after he too returned from west Africa.

"In Sierra Leone, we've already lost some of the best doctors, including one of the best virologists of the country - and not only of the country, but of the region," he said.

As Sy added that he agreed with MSF's six-month timeline for bringing the outbreak under control.

The epidemic erupted in the forested zone straddling the borders of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia earlier this year, and later spread to Nigeria.

As countries around the world stepped up measures to contain the disease, the International Olympics Committee said athletes from Ebola-hit countries had been barred from competing in pool events and combat sports at the Youth Olympics opening in China on Saturday.

No cure or vaccine is currently available for Ebola, with the WHO authorising the use of largely untested treatments in efforts to combat the disease.

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014 ... d-who-says?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 7:50 pm 
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West Africa Ebola outbreak tops 2,000 infections
Filed Under: Ebola
Lisa Schnirring | Staff Writer | CIDRAP News | Aug 15, 2014

The Ebola virus disease (EVD) illness total in West Africa's outbreak has pushed past 2,000, as the World Health Organization (WHO) tempered expectations that experimental drugs and vaccines will play a role in ending the event and providing a bird's eye view of response activities, including food drops in quarantined areas.

In a statement late yesterday on the overall status of the outbreak, the WHO said the outbreak continues to escalate and that it expects the event to continue for some time. It offered a sobering assessment of the impact the disease has had on the region: "Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak."

Infections ebb in Nigeria, food and aid activities ramp up elsewhere
The WHO said one encouraging sign is that no new cases have been detected in Nigeria following detection of an EVD infection in an air traveler at the end of July that led to a chain of transmission in Lagos, the country's capital. Among the case-patients there were health workers who cared for the man, who had flown in from Liberia.

Intensive contact tracing, implemented with key help from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has helped limit Nigeria's case numbers, according to the WHO.

About 1 million people, the WHO estimates, are locked down in quarantine zones in the area where Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia borders meet, which global health officials have called the outbreak's main hot spot. It said the World Food Program is using its logistics to deliver food to the area and that several countries have stepped forward to provide rations.

Efforts are under way to map the outbreak and to pinpoint areas of transmission and where supplies, isolation facilities, and health workers are needed, the group added. It said the CDC is providing the hardest hit countries with computer hardware and software to allow real-time reporting and surveillance analysis.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, MD, MPH, met with a group of United Nations ambassadors yesterday to match the most urgent needs with rapid international support.

Cooling expectations about experimental treatments
In a separate statement today, the WHO sought to scale back high expectations for experimental drugs and vaccines. Intense media coverage of the agents has fueled what are likely unrealistic hopes in the emotional climate of fear surrounding the outbreak.

The WHO emphasized that the effectiveness of the new drugs and treatments isn't yet backed by solid scientific evidence nor have they been approved by regulators. In addition, some of the experimental medicines are difficult to administer and facilities where they can be given safety are rare in West Africa's outbreak area, the agency said.

Though a WHO panel concluded that using experimental drugs in the outbreak is ethically acceptable, supplies are limited or exhausted, and even if companies can boost production, supplies will be too small to have a significant impact on the outbreak, the group warned.

It welcomed the Canadian government's donation of several hundred doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine, but the WHO said a fully tested and licensed product isn't expected before 2015.

Warning about fraudulent products and practices
The WHO also warned of fraudulent claims about products and practices that can prevent or cure EVD. It said the claims are mainly circulating on social media, especially in the outbreak areas.

Use of such products and methods can be dangerous, it warned. For example, at least two people in Nigeria have died from drinking salt water, which has been rumored to protect against Ebola.

Meanwhile, West African outbreak countries reported 152 new EVD infections and 76 more deaths between Aug 12 and 13, the WHO said today in its latest outbreak report. The new developments lift the overall case count to 2,127 illnesses and push the fatality count to 1,145.

Of the latest cases, Liberia reported 116 illnesses and 58 deaths, Sierra Leone reported 27 infections and 14 deaths, and Guinea notified the WHO of 9 more cases and 3 more deaths. Nigeria reported one more death.

The pace of new infections in Liberia puts it within a breath of replacing Sierra Leone as the country with the most EVD cases. So far, Sierra Leone has reported 810 cases, and Liberia's total has grown to 786.

With today's update, Liberia has replaced Guinea as the country with the most deaths from EVD. Liberia now has 413 deaths.

See also:

Aug 14 WHO statement on status of Ebola outbreak response

Aug 15 WHO statement on experimental Ebola drugs

Aug 15 WHO Ebola outbreak update

http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspect ... infections

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