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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:23 am 
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WHO will hold a presser today on high level Ebola discussions.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:24 am 
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From: <WorldHealthOrganizationNews@who.int>
Date: August 21, 2014 at 11:59:34 AM EDT
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: invitation to a press conference ( in Monrovia) : WHO HIGH-LEVEL TEAM TO REPORT ON RESULTS OF LIBERIA MISSION ON EBOLA RESPONSE

Media Advisory WHO/ Liberia
21 August 2014



Dear journalists

Please be informed that a press conference will take place in Monrovia ( Liberia) tomorrow.

Please see below the details of the press conference, as sent from WHO office in Liberia.





WHO HIGH-LEVEL TEAM TO REPORT ON RESULTS OF LIBERIA MISSION ON EBOLA RESPONSE



WHAT: At the end of two days of high-level talks with the Liberian Government and other partners on how to respond best to the on-going Ebola outbreak, a high level delegation of WHO and UN partners will report about the objectives and the results of the mission in the country. The programme will have included visits to treatment centers and meetings with national authorities, partners and UN agencies to agree on measures to reinforce the national response.

WHO:

Mr. Tolbert Nyeswah, Assistant Minister of Health / Incidence Manager
Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO Assistant Director-General, Health Security
Dr David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola
Dr Nestor Ndayimirije, Representative of WHO in Liberia



WHEN: Friday, 22 Aug 2014

TIME: 17.30 (Monrovia time)

WHERE: Ministry of Health & Social Welfare of Liberia


To join the press conference, dial +41 22 79 11 741 (international callers).


For further information please contact:

Maricel Seeger, Communications / Media, WHO Liberia, +231 880 048 865

Aphaluck Bhatiasevi, Risk Communications / Social Mobilization, WHO Liberia, +231 775 281 125

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:45 pm 
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UN vows to radically scale up Ebola fight as ‘invisible’ caseloads are escaping detection
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Senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola David Nabarro (centre) flanked by WHO Assistant Director-General for Health Security, Keiji Fukuda (left) and Special Representative Karin Landgren at a press conference in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: UNMIL/Emmanuel Tobey

22 August 2014 – Dr. David Nabarro, Senior United Nations System Coordinator for Ebola who was appointed by the Secretary-General to establish how best the UN can support affected communities, was wrapping up the first leg of a visit to all Ebola-effected countries in West Africa.

In the Liberian capital, Monrovia, this afternoon, he told reporters at the end of his two-day visit that more health workers will be brought to the country to deal with the outbreak, saying “The United Nations is looking at ways to radically scale up support to fight Ebola.”

Dr. Keiji Fukuda, UN World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director-General for Health Security, who is travelling with Dr. Nabarro, said at the press conference: “This is not a hopeless situation.”

Also at the same press conference, Karin Landgren, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Coordinator of UN Operations in Liberia, said that UN peacekeepers were not involved in quarantining people due to Ebola.

Meanwhile, the Geneva-based WHO said in its latest update that the magnitude of the Ebola outbreak, especially in Liberia and Sierra Leone, has been underestimated for a number of reasons.

In parts of Liberia, WHO said, a phenomenon is occurring that has never before been seen in an Ebola outbreak. As soon as a new treatment facility is opened, it is immediately filled with patients, many of whom were not previously identified.

For example in Monrovia, it said, an Ebola treatment centre with 20 beds, which opened last week, was immediately overwhelmed with more than 70 patients.

“This phenomenon strongly suggests the existence of an invisible caseload of patients who are not being detected by the surveillance system,” the UN health agency said.

WHO said: “Many families hide infected loved ones in their homes. As Ebola has no cure, some believe infected loved ones will be more comfortable dying at home. Others deny that a patient has Ebola and believe that care in an isolation ward – viewed as an incubator of the disease – will lead to infection and certain death.”

The health agency went on to say that in rural villages, corpses are buried without notifying health officials and with no investigation of the cause of death. In some areas, most notably Monrovia, virtually all health services have shut down.

Meanwhile, WHO reiterated that it does not recommend any ban on international travel or trade. It stresses that closing borders doesn’t work and is detrimental, as affected countries will be pushed towards a humanitarian crisis and the international community’s ability to fight and reverse the Ebola outbreak will be hampered.

WHO and the rest of the UN system also continue to highlight that the virus is not airborne and that becoming infected requires direct physical contact with body fluids of people who have been infected or died from Ebola.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?N ... _erO_ldWGc

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:26 pm 
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WHO: Ebola outbreak in Africa likely underestimated
Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY 5:20 p.m. EDT August 22, 2014

As Ebola cases continued to climb, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization admitted Friday that it probably isn't capturing the full scope of the outbreak.

The WHO and the United Nations promised a redoubled effort to bring the epidemic under control.

Between Aug. 19 and 20, 142 new cases of Ebola and 77 deaths were reported from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. The current outbreak has lead to 2,615 total cases and 1,427 deaths, but those numbers don't tell the whole story.

In a news release Friday, the WHO conceded that it has likely been undercounting cases of Ebola because families are in denial or afraid to admit their loved ones might have the dreaded disease.

"In parts of Liberia, a phenomenon is occurring that has never before been seen in an Ebola outbreak. As soon as a new treatment facility is opened, it is immediately filled with patients, many of whom were not previously identified," according to the statement. "This phenomenon strongly suggests the existence of an invisible caseload of patients who are not being detected by the surveillance system."

Keiji Fukuda, WHO's assistant director-general, said he hopes to reduce the number of new cases in the near future, but he estimated that it will take six to nine months to bring the outbreak under control. "We expect several months of very hard work," he said.

The WHO promised to add 500 treatment beds to Liberia's capital of Monrovia within the next six weeks to address the surge in cases.

Fukuda and a United Nations official also said they would be stepping up efforts to provide other medical care to people in Liberia, where the already-shaky medical systems have collapsed in the face of Ebola, and to support the nation's economy.

"We want to make sure it happens as quickly as possible. That's our mission," said David Nabarro, senior United Nations system coordinator for Ebola, who has been in Liberia for the past week.

Sophie Delaunay, executive director of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, which has led the medical fight against Ebola, said the international community has been slow to address the crisis in West Africa, but she welcomed a more robust response.

"Humanitarian action alone is not going to solve this problem," she said by phone.

Delaunay also called on all countries that have expertise in the type of infection control needed to fight Ebola — including the United States, Australia, Japan and European nations — to figure out how they can best support the effort.

The need is particularly acute for people trained to work under strict infection controls. People without such training are a hazard, she said, because they risk spreading the infection.

"We don't expect to have people with Ebola experience, because there are few in the world, but people with long-term experience in dealing with highly infectious environments can be a good resource," she said.

Despite the dangers of the assignment, Delaunay said she has been happily surprised that health care providers from around the world continue to volunteer for the work.

In a Friday news conference, Fukuda emphasized that Ebola is a treatable disease, with more than half of patients surviving if they get proper care early. Many Liberians have been reluctant to go to health care centers or bring their sick loved ones there, because they assume there is no chance of survival.

"This is not a hopeless situation," he said.

In addition to direct medical care, more education is sorely needed to adequately fight Ebola, said Stephen Morse an infectious-disease expert at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York.

"We really need a public education effort at the village level to explain to people not only how to understand Ebola, but what they should do so they can protect themselves while they're caring for their loved ones before they are able to get medical care," Morse said.

In figures released Friday, the WHO said there has been one new Ebola case and death in Nigeria, bringing the total to 16, including five deaths. All of those cases are tied to Liberian-American Patrick Sawyer, who traveled to Nigeria in late July, getting very ill along the way.

In Guinea, the WHO reported 28 new cases and 10 deaths. In Sierra Leone, three new cases have been reported and 18 deaths; and in Liberia, there were 110 new cases and 48 deaths. Although Ebola is reported to kill as many as 90% of its victims, the death rate has varied widely by country, so far, with Guinea reporting that roughly 31% of its patients have died and 58% of Liberians dying.

It is not clear how those figures would change if the reports of the disease were more accurate.

John Brownstein, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and director of the Computational Epidemiology Group at Boston Children's Hospital, said he is not surprised that the WHO is undercounting cases of Ebola; most infectious diseases are undercounted. With diseases that are well understood, such as the flu, epidemiologists can adjust counts to cover for undercounting. But Ebola is so rare and little-understood that it is very hard to do in this case, he said.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/worl ... topstories

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:31 pm 
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WHO: Ebola outbreak underestimated
AAP AUGUST 23, 2014 2:35AM SHARE


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THE magnitude of the Ebola outbreak has been underestimated because families hide infected relatives in their homes, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.

BECAUSE Ebola has no cure, some people infected with the virus preferred to die at home, the WHO said on Friday in a statement.

This was especially the case in Liberia and Sierra Leone, where stigma and social rejection related to Ebola are massive.
Some West Africans continue to deny Ebola exists, while others believe isolations wards are incubators of the disease, according to the WHO.
In addition, Ebola-affected countries lacked staff, supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, the WHO said.
Hospital and diagnostic capacities in the region had been overwhelmed.
Numerous treatment centres and clinics had closed because medical staff had fled out of fear of being infected. In Liberia's capital, Monrovia, and other areas virtually all health services had shut down, the WHO said.
New treatment facilities immediately fill with patients, which suggests that many more people have symptoms than are being detected by health workers, according to the WHO.
In Monrovia, an Ebola treatment centre with 20 beds, which opened last week, was immediately overwhelmed with more than 70 patients, the WHO said.
There were also "shadow-zones," the WHO said, villages where residents resist health workers' investigations or that cannot be accessed due to lack of staff and vehicles. Many rural villages continued to bury corpses without notifying health officials.
Senegal on Friday became the latest African country to restrict travel as a result of the Ebola outbreak, closing its borders to neighbouring Guinea.
"This measure also applies to air and maritime borders, to planes and ships coming from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia," Interior Minister Abdoulaye Daouda Diallo was quoted by the Senegalese Press Agency as saying.
Many African countries have restricted air, land and water travel in the region, causing a significant impact on the economy and on food security, according to the World Food Programme.
Senegal's decision comes shortly after South Africa issued a travel ban for non-citizens arriving from Ebola-hit countries.
In West Africa, 1350 people have died from the outbreak so far, according the WHO, and 2473 suspected or confirmed cases have been reported in the region.
Ebola causes massive haemorrhaging and has a fatality rate of up to 90 per cent. It is transmitted through contact with blood and other body fluids.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaki ... 9b08c6db31

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:53 pm 
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As Ebola outbreak grows, WHO notes case-count difficulties
Filed Under: Ebola; VHF
Robert Roos | News Editor | CIDRAP News | Aug 22, 2014

Image
Ebola treatment center
CDC
As West Africa's Ebola toll climbed by another 142 cases and 77 deaths today, the World Health Organization (WHO) conceded that the size of the epidemic has been underestimated and cited a list of reasons for that, from concealment and denial of cases to the closing of treatment centers and clinics.

Also today, the WHO's Keiji Fukuda, MD, MPH, speaking at a press conference in Monrovia, Liberia, estimated it will take 6 to 9 months to bring the outbreak under control. He and a United Nations (UN) official promised to scale up WHO support for the Ebola-stricken countries.

Death toll tops 1,400
With the latest cases, reported on Aug 19 and 20, the WHO's Ebola virus disease (EVD) count reached 2,615, including 1,427 deaths. The numbers include confirmed, probable, and suspected cases.

Liberia accounted for most of the increase, with 110 new cases and 48 deaths, for a total of 1,082 cases and 624 fatalities, the WHO reported. Guinea cited 28 cases and 10 deaths, raising its totals to 607 and 406, while 3 new cases and 18 deaths in Sierra Leone raised the country's count to 910 cases and 392 deaths.

A report from Liberia's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare said today that EVD has hit 117 healthcare workers in the country, killing 63 of them.

The WHO report showed just one new case and one death in Nigeria, for a total there of 16 illnesses and 5 deaths.

Nigerian cases spark concern
Meanwhile, the media today reported two newly confirmed cases in Nigeria. A Reuters story said cases were confirmed in the spouses of a man and a woman who died of the disease after helping to care for the country's first Ebola case-patient, Patrick Sawyer, who died of EVD after flying to Nigeria from Liberia in July.

The story called the two new cases "an alarming development," because the patients are outside the group of caregivers who had direct contact with Sawyer. On Aug 19 the WHO said the 12 confirmed cases in Nigeria at that point all involved individuals who had contact with Sawyer.

The Reuters story said the new illnesses raise Nigeria's tally of confirmed cases to 14. Today's WHO update says that 12 of the 16 cases in Nigeria have been confirmed. Of the 14 confirmed cases, 5 patients have died, 5 have recovered, and 4 are still being treated, according to Reuters.

The WHO noted that it continues to hear of rumored and suspected Ebola cases around the world and that "systematic verification" of them is ongoing. No new EVD cases have been confirmed outside Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

In that vein, California officials announced late yesterday that a hospital patient in Sacramento tested negative for the disease. The patient had an illness that raised suspicion of EVD, but he or she was regarded as low risk on the basis of history and symptoms, officials said 2 days ago.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested a sample from the patient, with negative results, the California Department of Public Health said in a statement. The agency gave no details about the patient or his or her illness.

Why the epidemic has been underestimated
In a separate statement today, the WHO acknowledged that the scale of the Ebola epidemic has been underestimated and listed a number of factors that have made it hard to get an accurate assessment. The agency, which declared the epidemic an international public health emergency on Aug 8, has been accused of responding too slowly to the epidemic.

Some of the items the agency listed are not new. For example, it said many families hide sick loved ones at home, believing they can't be helped and will be more comfortable dying at home. Other families deny that a person has Ebola and fear that care in an isolation ward will lead to infection and death.

Other factors cited by the WHO:

Many treatment centers and general clinics have closed, as fear keeps patients away and causes staff members to flee
"In rural villages, corpses are buried without notifying health officials and with no investigation of the cause of death."
There are many villages with rumors of Ebola cases and deaths, but they can't be investigated because of community resistance or a lack of personnel vehicles. The WHO referred to these as "shadow zones."
The WHO also said that in parts of Liberia, newly opened treatment facilities have been immediately flooded with patients, many of whom were not previously identified. "This phenomenon strongly suggests the existence of an invisible caseload of patients who are not being detected by the surveillance system."

For example, a 20-bed Ebola treatment center in Monrovia opened last week and was immediately overwhelmed with more than 70 patients, the agency said.

WHO, UN promise more help
At the Monrovia press conference today, Fukuda of the WHO and David Nabarro, MD, of the UN sought to provide reassurance and promised more aid to West Africa. The two were wrapping up the first leg of a visit to all the affected West African countries, according to a UN statement.

Nabarro, senior UN System Coordinator for Ebola, told reporters at the end of his 2-day visit that more health workers will be brought to the country to deal with the outbreak, saying, "The United Nations is looking at ways to radically scale up support to fight Ebola," according to the UN statement.

The two officials promised that the WHO will provide 500 more treatment beds for Ebola patients in Monrovia within the next 6 weeks, according to a USA Today story today.

Fukuda, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security and environment, told reporters, "This is not a hopeless situation," the UN statement said. But he estimated it will take 6 to 9 months to tame the epidemic, according to USA Today. "We expect several months of very hard work," he said.

The two officials also said they would be increasing efforts to provide other medical care to Liberians and to support the nation's economy, the newspaper reported.

At the same press conference, Karin Landgren, special representative of the UN secretary-general and coordinator of UN operations in Liberia, said that UN peacekeepers were not involved in quarantining people because of Ebola, according to the UN statement.

CDC chief to visit West Africa
In other developments, the Associated Press (AP) reported that CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, plans to visit West Africa to get a firsthand look at the Ebola situation. He will visit Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea next week.

Frieden wants to meet African and international health leaders fighting the epidemic and to hear what help they need, the story said. He also plans to visit hospitals treating Ebola patients.

See also:

Aug 22 WHO update

Aug 22 Liberian health ministry report

Aug 22 Reuters story on Nigerian cases

Aug 21 CDPH statement

Aug 22 WHO statement on factors in underestimation of epidemic

Aug 22 UN statement on press conference

Aug 22USA Today story

Aug 22 AP story on Frieden visit

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

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