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
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