Category Archives: Class

Commodified labor: The Internet ate your job


A deft deconstruction from the Guardian:

The internet is after your job

Program notes:

New technology can destroy jobs. In the past, this has mainly affected unskilled jobs, but now it’s hitting the middle classes – cutting a swathe across the creative industries and ‘professions’.

Within a generation we may find that there are no such things as a ‘career’ or ‘job security’. What’s driving this disruption to our working lives – and what can you do about it?

Chart of the day: America’s growing wealth divide


From the Urban Institute via the Washington Post:

BLOG Racial divide

Joel Pett: Now that’s really creative


From the editorial cartoonist of the Lexington Herald-Leader:

BLOG Creative

Chart of the day: Brutal costs of Greek austerity


From the just-released Statistics on Income and Living Conditions 2013 [PDF] from the Hellenic Statistical Authority [Elstat], dramatic evidence of the cost of Troika-imposed austerity on the Greek people:

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EbolaWatch: Crisis, Pols, Scares, & Africa


And please do read the African coverage after the jump, featuring stories from newspapers in the Hot Zone. . .

First up, from BuzzFeed, alarms shrieking:

WHO Says Ebola Is The Worst Modern Health Emergency

The World Health Organization calls Ebola “unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times” and says “the world is ill-prepared to respond to any severe, sustained, and threatening public health emergency.”

In a statement emailed to reporters on Monday, the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed Ebola “unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times,” saying that most countries where Ebola has spread have failed “to put basic public health infrastructures in place.”

Encouraging people and health officials to get informed about how to prevent Ebola, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan explained that 90% of economic losses during the outbreak of any disease comes from “the uncoordinated and irrational efforts of the public to avoid infection.”

“We are seeing, right now, how this virus can disrupt economies and societies around the world,” she said.

More from the New York Times:

W.H.O. Chief Calls Ebola Outbreak a ‘Crisis for International Peace’

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is “unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times,” Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, said Monday.

Dr. Chan, who dealt with the 2009 avian flu pandemic and the SARS outbreaks of 2002-3, said the Ebola outbreak had progressed from a public health crisis to “a crisis for international peace and security.”

“I have never seen a health event threaten the very survival of societies and governments in already very poor countries,” she said in a statement delivered on her behalf to a conference in Manila and released by her office in Geneva. “I have never seen an infectious disease contribute so strongly to potential state failure.”

More from BBC News:

Ebola epidemic ‘could lead to failed states’, warns WHO

The Ebola epidemic threatens the “very survival” of societies and could lead to failed states, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

The outbreak, which has killed some 4,000 people in West Africa, has led to a “crisis for international peace and security”, WHO head Margaret Chan said.

She also warned of the cost of panic “spreading faster than the virus”.

The Nation goes for context:

How the World Let the Ebola Epidemic Spiral Out of Control

  • A swift international response could have contained the outbreak

Despite its frightening virulence, Ebola can be contained through robust public health efforts. It thrives in chaotic and impoverished environments where public health systems are frayed and international assistance weak. Though experts will debate the roots of this current crisis for years, one point on which many agree is that local poverty and global indifference played starring roles. “This isn’t a natural disaster,” international health crusader Paul Farmer told The Washington Post. “This is the terrorism of poverty.”

Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are among the poorest countries on the planet, with health systems that have been shattered by years of neglect and conflict. As many as 90 percent of Liberia’s healthcare workers fled the country during its long civil war, and some 80 percent of its health facilities were closed. By the time the Ebola outbreak was declared an international emergency, Liberia had less than 250 doctors. Scientists could not have devised a more nurturing environment for a deadly virus if they had designed it in a laboratory.

But if local conditions created the opening for the epidemic, it was global inaction that helped it to flourish. For months, organizations like Doctors Without Borders begged the World Health Organization to begin marshaling resources to fight the crisis. But after years of budget cuts and the gutting of its epidemic-response unit, WHO failed to act with anything approaching the necessary speed and competence. Nor was it alone: governments around the world have stalled, unwilling to recognize this outbreak as the global humanitarian crisis it is. Even now, far too few have stepped up to provide the medical resources and technical expertise that are so desperately needed.

And the perspective on the handling of the outbreak from a German specialist on tropical diseases from Deutsche Welle:

The Global Fight against Ebola

Program notes:

Dr. Peter Tinnemann, head of the global health sciences unit at the Institute for Social Medicine, Epidemiology and Health Economics at the Charité University Medical Center in Berlin, offers insights into the global fight against Ebola and explains what the World Health Summit can do to help solve global health problems.

The New York Times raises questions:

New Questions of Risk and Vigilance After Dallas Nurse Contracts Ebola

Dr. Joseph McCormick, regional dean of the University of Texas School of Public Health in Brownsville, said he was shocked that none of those monitored by officials were hospital workers caring for Mr. Duncan after he was put in isolation. Dr. McCormick worked for the C.D.C. in 1976, when he helped investigate the first epidemic of Ebola in central Africa.

“You know that once this guy is really ill and he’s hospitalized, there’s going to be a lot of contact, manipulation of blood specimens, cleaning up if he’s vomiting or if he’s got diarrhea,” Dr. McCormick said. “You certainly can’t assume that because he’s hospitalized and in this unit that everything is fine and everything that goes on will be without any risk. I mean that’s just ludicrous to think that.”

State and federal health officials seemed to be, in a sense, starting over, two weeks after Mr. Duncan’s diagnosis of Ebola on Sept. 30. They spoke of stepping up precautions and of conducting a new investigation, in order to evaluate and learn more about a group of health-care workers they had initially failed to regard as potentially at risk.

“So in light of this case, we’re looking at the ongoing monitoring of all health care workers and looking at going forward having an epidemiologist see them and more active surveillance for these individuals,” Dr. David L. Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, told reporters Sunday.

The Washington Post assesses:

U.S. hospitals not prepared for Ebola threat

With reports that a nurse who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas has been infected, one thing urgently needs to be made clear: Our hospitals are not prepared to confront the deadly virus.

It is long past time to stop relying on a business-as-usual approach to a virus that has killed thousands in West Africa and has such a frighteningly high mortality rate. There is no margin for error. That means there can be no standard short of optimal in the protective equipment, such as hazmat suits, given to nurses and other personnel who are the first to engage patients with Ebola-like symptoms. All nurses must have access to the same state-of-the-art equipment used by Emory University Hospital personnel when they transported Ebola patients from Africa, but too many hospitals are trying to get by on the cheap.

In addition, hospitals and other front-line providers should immediately conduct hands-on training and drills so that personnel can practice, in teams, such vital safety procedures as the proper way to put on and remove protective equipment. Hospitals must also maintain properly equipped isolation rooms to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff and harden their procedures for disposal of medical waste and linens.

The Associated Press sets the healthcare frame:

CDC urges all US hospitals to ‘think Ebola’

The government is telling the nation’s hospitals to “think Ebola.”

Every hospital must know how to diagnose Ebola in people who have been in West Africa and be ready to isolate a suspected case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

He said the CDC is working to improve protections for hospital workers after a nurse caring for an Ebola patient in Dallas became the first person to become infected with the disease inside the U.S.

“We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control,” Frieden said, “because even a single infection is unacceptable.”

Fears from the Los Angeles Times:

Louisiana A.G. opposes burial of burned items linked to Ebola victim

Burned items associated with a Liberian man who died from Ebola in a Dallas hospital last week could be barred from a Louisiana landfill if the state’s attorney general gets his way.

Atty. Gen. Buddy Caldwell said he plans to ask for a temporary restraining order to keep the incinerated items out of Louisiana. The request could be filed as early as Monday, said a spokesman for Caldwell.

In a statement late Sunday, Caldwell cited reports that “six truckloads” of items from the Texas apartment where Thomas Eric Duncan was staying are set to be dumped at a Louisiana landfill after being burned at a Veolia Environmental Services plant in Port Arthur, Texas. Duncan fell ill with Ebola in Texas and died Wednesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that incinerated Ebola-associated waste is no longer infectious.

More of the same from the Associated Press:

Company won’t take ash from Ebola victim apartment

A Louisiana waste disposal facility says it will not accept the ashes generated when a Texas Ebola victim’s belongings were incinerated, at least not until state officials agree that it would pose no threat to the public.

Chemical Waste Management Inc.-Lake Charles said in news release Monday that it is permitted to accept such material and that it poses no threat to the environment or human health.

But, the company says, “we do not want to make an already complicated situation, more complicated.”

The Hill covers troops dispatched:

‘Surge’ of Ebola personnel sent to Dallas

A “surge” of personnel and other resources has been sent to Dallas to help discover how a nurse was infected with Ebola, top health officials told President Obama during an Oval Office meeting on Monday.

The president stressed that the investigation into the second U.S. infection “should proceed as expeditiously as possible and that lessons learned should be integrated into future response plans and disseminated to hospitals and healthcare workers nationwide.” He said officials should move “as expeditiously as possible,” according to the White House.

Obama was briefed on the Ebola case by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of the Health and Human Services Department; Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, and Lisa Monaco, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participated via telephone.

From The Hill, but of course:

GOP amplifies calls for Ebola czar

At least six lawmakers, including one Democrat, are now calling for a single Ebola authority to oversee the government’s efforts at home and abroad. The U.S. plan to combat Ebola costs at least $1 billion and crosses multiple layers of government, from the Department of Defense to airport security staff to local health departments.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, who has worked closely with federal officials on the city’s Ebola cases, told reporters last week that the response had been “at best, disorganized.”

The White House maintains that it has a clear chain of command about how to confront Ebola, and it starts with Obama’s top homeland security adviser, Lisa Monaco. But Republicans believe the lack of a prominent point person who can focus solely on Ebola has slowed the nation’s response to the epidemic.

Salon lays some blame:

The right’s scary Ebola lesson: How anti-government mania is harming America

  • It’s time to admit the truth: People who cut health funding and don’t like government have not helped this crisis

If not for serial budget cuts to the National Institutes of Health, we would probably have an Ebola vaccine and we would certainly have better treatment, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins tells the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein. This comes on the heels of reporting that the Centers for Disease Control’s prevention budget has been cut by half since 2006, and new revelations about how botched protocols at the Dallas hospital that turned away Thomas Eric Duncan and then failed to treat him effectively also led to the infection of one of Duncan’s caregivers.

Yet most of the media coverage of the politics of Ebola to date has centered on whether President Obama has adequately and/or honestly dealt with the disease. “I remain concerned that we don’t see sufficient seriousness on the part of the federal government about protecting the American public,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told reporters. Cruz is probably the wrong guy to talk about seriousness: his government shutdown forced the NIH to delay clinical trials and made the CDC cut back on disease outbreak detection programs this time last year.

I find myself wondering: When, if ever, will the political debate over Ebola center on the way the right-wing libertarian approach to government has made us less safe?

A Dallas patient update from Sky News:

Ebola Infected Dallas Nurse Nina Pham ‘Stable’

  • Barack Obama urges health officials to quickly investigate how Dallas nurse Nina Pham became infected despite precautions

An American nurse who contracted ebola while treating a dying patient is in “clinically stable” condition, US health officials have said.

The healthcare worker, identified as 26-year-old Nina Pham, has been in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas since Friday.

Ms Pham was one of several caregivers who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who succumbed to ebola on 8 October.

The White House said that the president wants an update on steps under way to ensure the national health system is prepared to deal with the disease, which has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa.

A video report from Reuters:

CDC: Infected nurse “clinically stable,” others possibly at risk

Program note:

Dr. Thomas Frieden says CDC doesn’t know how nurse became infected with Ebola, and says staff are assessing care protocols, and materials used for protective suits and equipment.

Reconsideration from the New York Times:

C.D.C. Reviewing Procedures After New Case of Ebola in Dallas

Health authorities have expanded the number of health care workers who were part of a group that may have had contact with Mr. Duncan to at least 50 people, which doubles the number of those being monitored to more than 100.

The action comes as questions were being raised about why the hospital workers who had been caring for Mr. Duncan from Sept. 28 until his death last Wednesday had not been on the initial list.

Officials had previously never made it clear that the 48 people being evaluated did not include those treating him after his admission to the hospital.

On Monday, health authorities said they were conducting interviews with employees at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to try to determine who might have come into contact with Mr. Duncan and were monitoring their health to ensure that they had not contracted the virus.

Unlike Spain, where the dog of a nurse who contracted from a patient was put down, via Reuters:

Dog of Ebola-infected Dallas nurse to be cared for, officials say

The dog of the Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola when treating a patient infected with the virus is still in the woman’s apartment and will be kept safe while its owner is in isolation at a local hospital, officials said on Monday.

The 1-year-old King Charles Spaniel will be moved to an undisclosed location where its health can be checked, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins’ office said in a statement.

“We are working to remove the dog from the apartment this afternoon,” the office said. Jenkins, the chief executive for Dallas County, is working to share photos of the patient’s dog with her family, it added.

American network talking head goes AWOL, gets whole crew confined, via News Corp Australia:

NBC News crew under quarantine after correspondent Dr Nancy Snyderman snuck out for soup

AN NBC News crew was ordered under mandatory quarantine for possible Ebola infection after the network’s chief medical correspondent was allegedly spotted on a food run to a New Jersey restaurant, according to a report.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her crew had agreed to a voluntary quarantine when they returned to the United States from West Africa last week following their exposure to a cameraman who contracted the deadly virus, The New York Post reports.

But Snyderman, who lives in Princeton, New Jersey, was spotted outside the Peasant Grill in nearby Hopewell on Thursday afternoon, according to Planet Princeton.

A screening update from The Hill:

CDC: 91 passengers at JFK airport flagged for Ebola screenings

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden said Monday that 91 passengers had been flagged for additional Ebola screening at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“Ninety-one such individuals were identified, none of them had fever,” Frieden said during a press briefing. “Five of them were referred for additional evaluation for CDC. None were deemed to have exposure to Ebola.”

Kennedy airport is one of five in the U.S. where passengers arriving from West African countries battling the deadly disease receive extra checks for symptoms. The Obama administration has also implemented the additional screenings at Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, O’Hare in Chicago and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

From RT, vaccine hopes:

70-90% efficiency: Russia to send Ebola vaccine to W. Africa in 2 months

In two months, Russia is planning to send a new experimental vaccine against Ebola to Africa, according to the country’s health minister. The efficiency of the drug, which is to be tested on the ground, is about 70-90 percent.

“Today we are discussing that we will have enough of Triazoverin vaccine in two months so that we can send them to our personnel in Guinea and test its efficiency in clinical conditions,” Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova said.

The vaccine has so far proved efficient against various hemorrhagic fevers, including the Marburg virus which is very similar to Ebola. “The efficiency ranges between 70 and 90 percent and this is a very good indicator,” Skvortsova said.

Russia’ Virology Institute is preparing a whole group of drugs.”They are basically genetically engineered drugs which can work both for disease treatment and prevention,” Skvortsova said.

Another vaccine, via the Guardian:

Canadian-made Ebola vaccine begins human trials in US

  • Experimental vaccine has shown to be ‘100% effective’ in preventing spread of Ebola when tested on animals

An experimental Canadian-made Ebola vaccine that has shown promise in tests on primates is beginning clinical trials on humans in the US.

The vaccine will be tested on healthy individuals Monday to see how well it works, whether there are side effects and what the proper dosage is, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said.

“The Canadian vaccine provides great hope and promise because it has shown to be 100% effective in preventing the spread of the Ebola virus when tested on animals,” she said.

From the Guardian again, a defense:

Spain defends Ebola repatriations

  • We did what we had to do, says foreign minister, despite nurse becoming first person to contract virus outside of west Africa

Spain’s foreign affairs minister has defended the government’s decision to repatriate two Spanish nationals with Ebola, despite a nurse who treated them becoming the first person to contract the virus outside of west Africa.

“The government did what it had to do,” José Manuel García-Margallo told El País newspaper. “The duty of a state is to protect its citizens – and even more so when they are in difficult circumstances far from Spain. All the developed countries who have had this problem have done the same.”

The two missionaries, Miguel Pajares, 75, and Manuel García Viejo, 69, died in August and September, days after being evacuated to Madrid for treatment. Spanish nurse Teresa Romero Ramos tested positive for the Ebola virus shortly after. She remains in a stable but serious condition.

An Aussie nurse returns to Africa after a false alarm, via the Guardian:

Cairns nurse in Ebola scare urges volunteers to fight virus in West Africa

  • Sue Ellen Kovack says medical professionals thinking of travelling to West Africa to help in public health crisis should not be deterred

The nurse at the centre of the Australian Ebola scare has urged other health professionals to travel to West Africa to help fight the virus.

Sue Ellen Kovack, 57, was released from Cairns hospital on Monday after returning a second negative result for the virus. Kovack returned from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone last Tuesday and was taken to hospital on Thursday after developing a low-grade fever, sparking fears she could have brought the virus to Australia.

In her first public statement since being admitted to hospital Kovack urged Australians to donate to the Red Cross to send more help to West Africa.

“It has been so inspiring and it has really kept me going in the past few days to know there’s growing public support for action to help people affected by Ebola in West Africa,” she said.

The British numbers, via the Independent:

Jeremy Hunt: UK Ebola victims won’t exceed ‘a handful’

The Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt defended Britain’s response to the Ebola crisis which was described by the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the biggest danger posed by a disease in modern times.

Unveiling new measures designed to halt the spread of the deadly virus from arriving in the UK and to identify those in the early stages of infection, Mr Hunt told MPs that he did not expect the number of victims to exceed a “handful of cases” – fewer than 10.

He was challenged by Labour to describe the “worst-case scenario” and sought to reassure the public that the risk posed by the disease was low. However he said it was possible that the number of infections could rise and the situation was likely to get worse before it improves.

Screens up, via BBC News:

Heathrow Ebola screening from Tuesday

Ebola screening will begin at London’s Heathrow Airport on Tuesday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt says.

Passengers from at-risk countries will have their temperature taken, complete a risk questionnaire and have contact details recorded.

Mr Hunt said screening at Gatwick and Eurostar terminals would start in the coming week.

The Chief Medical Officer says the risk to the UK is low, but expects a “handful” of cases.

Aerial Ebolaphobia, via the Guardian:

Ebola: UK cancels resumption of direct flights to Sierra Leone

  • Department of Transport cites deteriorating public health for revoking Gambia Bird’s licence to fly to Ebola-hit country

The first direct flights to resume from the UK to Sierra Leone have been cancelled after the British government revoked Gambia Bird’s recently granted permit because of fears over Ebola.

The Department of Transport cited the deteriorating public health situation for the revocation when it notified the German-owned airline on Friday evening.

The airline said it would appeal against the decision, especially as its licence was only granted on 26 September.

Spanish reassurance from El País:

Ebola outbreak is under control, says government spokesman

  • Scientific committee confirms that only nursing assistant can now transmit virus in Spain

“The patient is still in a very serious condition.” That was the latest news from the authorities on the health of Teresa Romero, the Spanish nursing assistant who was diagnosed with Ebola last week and has been receiving treatment in Carlos III Hospital in Madrid ever since.

The person delivering the message was Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, a member of the scientific committee put in place by the government late last week, during a press conference at midday on Monday at La Moncloa prime ministerial palace.

Rodríguez went on to confirm that none of the people with whom Romero had come into contact, and who have been voluntarily put into isolation at Carlos III for monitoring, are showing any symptoms of the virus.

“Right now there is no other person in Spain who is capable of transmitting the virus other than the patient,” he said in reference to Romero, who contracted Ebola while caring for a Spanish missionary who had been repatriated from west Africa after becoming infected. “We are in a situation of total calm,” Rodríguez added.

TheLocal.es gives the date:

‘Spain Ebola-free in two weeks if no new cases’

Spain will be free from the threat of further contagion from Ebola on October 27th if all those who had close contact with an infected nurse remain without symptoms by then, a hospital director said on Monday.

Concerns that Ebola could spread in Spain have been high since the nurse, Teresa Romero, on October 6th became the first person diagnosed as having caught the deadly haemorrhagic fever outside of Africa.

A Czech Ebola alarm from RT:

Suspected Ebola carrier wrapped in plastic after Czech police seal off rail station

Czech police and hazmat suit-wearing doctors have seized a traveler from Ghana at Prague’s main railway station. The man, suspected of suffering from the Ebola virus, was wrapped in black plastic by the authorities and taken away.

The police dispatched some 15 officers from the capital’s rapid response squad to cordon off the station’s lobby, iDNES.cz news website reported. The operation didn’t interrupt the normal operation of the railway station, but probably scared passengers who were in the vicinity.

Footage from the scene showed a man wearing biohazard suit pushing a luggage cart with a person sitting on it almost completely covered by black plastic.

The target of the police operation was a student from Ghana, who arrived in Prague earlier Saturday evening. He managed to get through medical screening at the airport and was caught later at the railway station.

Here’s the raw footage, via Media News:

After the jump, on to Africa with a bankster’s alarm and a regional economic alert, on to Sierra Leone and football affected, Liberia next, with journalistic accusations, a strike averted — or was it?, an account from one facility, a protest over dismissals, clinic expansions, a new outbreak reported, an innovative clinic covered, justices pledge salaries to the Ebola fight, And a warning against healthcare worker abuse, then on to Nigeria and anti-Ebola measures in schools, and an Ebola drugs medical trial, plus high praise in Gambia. . . Continue reading

EbolaWatch: Alarms, caregivers, African woes


First up yet another alarm on the day America learned of its first domestically contracted case, via the Boston Globe:

Braintree facility is quarantined amid possible Ebola case

A Braintree medical center is being quarantined and a patient has been isolated outside the facility with a possible case of Ebola, officials said.

The patient at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates recently traveled to West Africa, and is being isolated because of his medical complaints, fire officials said Sunday.

“Ebola protocol is in place,” said Joe Zanca of Braintree Fire Department. “We don’t know if he actually has Ebola.”

Outside Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, police cruisers, fire trucks, and ambulances lined Grossman Drive, and the parking lot was cordoned off by yellow police tape.

William Cash, a Braintree firefighter, said “no one is leaving.”

On to Dallas and that first confirmed domestic originase, via the Associated Press:

CDC: Protocol breach in treating Ebola patient

A top federal health official says a health worker diagnosed with Ebola has been unable to identify a breach in procedures that might have led to her infection.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says the Texas hospital worker had extensive contact with Thomas Eric Duncan before Duncan died Wednesday from Ebola.

Frieden says the worker has a low level of virus and is being monitored.

He says the diagnosis of the worker — who’s not identified — clearly shows that there was a breach of protocol.

More from the Washington Post:

Dallas health worker who tested positive for Ebola wore ‘full’ protective gear

The CDC did not consider the nurse to be “high risk,” said Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer for Texas Health Resources, which operates Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. She treated Duncan, the Ebola patient, after his second visit to the ER, on Sept. 28 and was “following full CDC precautions,” including wearing a gown, gloves, a mask and a protective face shield.

“We’re very concerned,” Varga said, though he added that the hospital is “confident that the precautions that we have in place are protecting our health-care workers.”

Taking off personal protective equipment—gowns, gloves, face masks, goggles—is also one of the biggest areas of contamination and risk, Frieden said. According to CDC guidelines, protective equipment must be removed in a particular order, without any of the material touching the wearer’s skin, mucus membranes, or the exterior of the clothing.

The Hill conveys a warning:

CDC director: More Ebola cases possible

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday said more Ebola cases are possible after a healthcare worker at a Dallas hospital tested positive for the deadly virus.

The female worker, who cared for the first U.S. patient with the disease, began showing symptoms on Friday, Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters on Sunday. As of Sunday morning, the patient only had “mild symptoms,” he said, including a “low-grade fever.”

The hospital employee, who has not yet been identified, had “extensive contact” with Thomas Duncan, the Ebola patent who died last week from the illness, according to the CDC. Duncan had contracted the disease in Liberia.

“Unfortunately, it is possible that we will see additional cases of Ebola” because of potential breaches in the use of safety gear, Frieden said.

A screening hole, via the Los Angeles Times:

Ebola research: Fever not a surefire sign of infection

For public health workers screening more than 1,000 air travelers who arrive each week in the United States from Ebola-stricken West Africa, one symptom above all others is supposed to signal danger: fever.

So long as an individual’s temperature does not exceed 101.5 degrees and there are no visible symptoms of Ebola, health authorities say it should be assumed the person is not infectious.

Yet the largest study of the current outbreak found that in nearly 13% of “confirmed and probable” cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and elsewhere, those infected did not have fevers.

Via the Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a word from the White House:

Obama asks CDC to speed investigation of new Ebola case

The first known case of Ebola contracted or transmitted in the U.S. was confirmed Sunday in a Dallas healthcare worker, prompting authorities including President Barack Obama to call for an investigation — and better preparation at the nation’s hospitals.

The worker, who was in stable condition Sunday, was wearing full protective gear when she was caring for Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Sunday in Atlanta that he “is deeply concerned” to learn that “a breach in protocol” at a the hospital resulted in the health worker becoming infected.

“This individual was following full CDC precautions,” said Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources, which oversees Texas Health Presbyterian. “Gown, glove, mask and shield.” Asked how concerned he was that even after those precautions, the worker tested positive, he replied, “We’re very concerned.”

From the Guardian, a bottom line consideration:

Challenge of keeping frontline Ebola healthcare workers alive

  • Better conditions for health workers in Africa are vital, so it is inexcusable counterparts in Spain and Texas contracted virus

Health workers on the Ebola frontline are and always have been at the highest risk of contracting the disease. Ebola becomes more contagious the sicker patients get. By the time they are in the care of doctors and nurses, patients have become a serious danger to the lives of those treating, washing and attempting to rehydrate them.

But in countries such as the US and Spain, which have sophisticated healthcare systems and well-equipped hospitals, healthcare workers should be safe. It is shocking that workers in Spain and now Texas have contracted Ebola from patients they were treating.

As Médecins sans Frontières has proved, it is possible to keep health workers safe even in the difficult setting of west Africa, where an isolation ward can be no more than an area behind a canvas tent flap. The vital elements are vigilance and strict adherence to the rules.

The Texas health worker was reportedly wearing full protective gear – gown, gloves, mask and shield – while providing care for the patient who later died. Either that equipment failed or correct procedures were not followed.

Thumbs down on bans from the CDC, via The Hill:

Health official: Ebola travel bans would be ‘counterproductive’

A top U.S. medical official warned Sunday that barring travel from countries facing an Ebola outbreak could do more harm than good.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the push to isolate those countries could worsen the outbreak, which in turn could cause it to spill to neighboring regions and make it that much harder to control.

“You diminish greatly their ability to handle their own epidemic. If that happens, it very likely will spread to other African countries,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “To isolate them, maybe with good intentions, actually can be counterproductive and make things worse.”

And from The Hill again, but of course:

McCain calls for Ebola ‘czar’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday called for President Obama to nominate an Ebola “czar” to coordinate the administration’s response to the deadly virus.

“I’d like to know who’s in charge,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

The senator’s appearance followed news from Dallas early Sunday that a second Ebola patient had been identified – a healthcare worker who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. Ebola patient who died last week.

McCain said his constituents in Arizona are “not comforted” and “need more reassurance.”

A warning for London, via the Guardian:

Ebola will come to UK and probably to London, says Boris Johnson

  • London mayor admits health checks at UK airports are ‘far from perfect solution’ but says capital is well-prepared for outbreak
  • Ebola will come to UK and probably to London, says Boris Johnson

London mayor admits health checks at UK airports are ‘far from perfect solution’ but says capital is well-prepared for outbreaks.

The Guardian again with healthcare screening:

NHS 111 calls to be screened for potential Ebola cases

  • Call handlers will ask anyone ringing up with possible symptoms about their recent travel history

Calls to the NHS’s non-emergency 111 phoneline are to be screened for possible Ebola sufferers, health secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced.

Call handlers on the service are to question anyone ringing up with possible symptoms of the disease about their recent travel history, to see if they have been to west Africa, where the death toll has passed 4,000 people, Hunt said.

The announcement comes as the United States announced its second case of the disease, in a Texas hospital worker who was in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from the virus on Wednesday.

From RT, working for a cure:

Scientists in Russia developing three Ebola vaccines – Health Ministry

Russian scientists are working on three potential Ebola vaccines which they expect to introduce as soon as in the next six months. One of the vaccines is “already ready for clinical trials,” Russia’s health minister Veronika Skvortsova has announced.

“We have created three vaccines,” Skvortsova announced in an interview with Rossiya-1 TV. “One vaccine is based on a strain of Ebola, and the other two have been created by means of genetic engineering.”

Russian virologists have also created an anti-virus drug that, they believe, could be successfully used for treating Ebola as tests have showed that that it is effective in curing Ebola-related diseases.

On a parallel note, via the New York Times:

Ebola Virus Outbreak 2014: Three Hopes for a Treatment

Program notes:

With thousands infected with the Ebola virus, millions of dollars are being pledged to develop treatment options. Three avenues that have potential but are a long way from being viable treatments.

The Guardian covers Aussie reluctance:

Ebola crisis: Australia won’t send doctors into harm’s way, says Abbott

  • International health organisations have criticised Australia’s ‘underwhelming’ response to the outbreak in west Africa

The Australian government will not send doctors or nurses to west Africa to help contain the Ebola crisis until it is certain “all of the risks are being properly managed”, the prime minister, Tony Abbott, has said.

Figures released on Saturday by the World Health Organisation show that more than 4,000 people have died in the Ebola epidemic that broke out in west Africa in March, out of a total of 8,399 registered cases. The death toll includes 233 health workers.

International health organisations such as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) have criticised the Abbott government’s “underwhelming” response to the outbreak, which has included cash grants to MSF, the World Health Organisation and British front line efforts in Sierra Leone – but no Australian medical personnel.

Save the Children has called on the government to follow the lead of the Obama administration and send troops to help manage the response to the epidemic, which has claimed over 2,300 lives in Liberia alone.

But Abbott said on Sunday that the latest death toll would not change the government’s view on sending Australian health workers.

After the jump, on to Africa and an Ebola-sparked soccer match cancellation call, the regional economic bloc tackles organizational basics, the regional development bank sounds an aid warning, on to Sierra Leone and a note of desperation, a grave diggers’ strike reconsidered, a serious problem with medical aid, Ebola and class divisions, another front line strike threatened, more American aid arrives, coflkict over an assertion of pwoer, and Ebola used to polish the Liberian army’s image, Nigerian troops quarantined after service in Liberia, and from Gambia, anxiety over flights to Liberia. . . Continue reading

Chart of the day: Global inequality concerns


From a new report [PDF] from the Pew Research Center:

BLOG Inequality