Again, always Africa, and we hope you read today’s compendium of reports from African news media [along with much, much more] after the jump.
We begin today’s compendium with grim numbers from United Press International:
Yale study predicts huge increase in Ebola cases in Liberia
- It projected over 170,000 new cases in the country that includes the city of Monrovia by Dec. 15.
A study by the Yale University School of Public Health suggests a massive increase in Ebola virus cases will affect Liberia within weeks.
A mathematical model of the disease by a group from Yale, working with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare in Liberia, was applied to Liberia’s most populous county, Montserrado, which includes the capital city of Monrovia. As many as 170,996 cases of the disease, with 90,122 deaths in Montserrado alone, were projected by Dec. 15. Those figures reported and unreported cases. Of those figures, researchers expect that only 42,669 cases and 27,175 deaths will be officially reported by Dec. 15.
The report, published in the scholarly magazine The Lancet Infectious Disease, said the international response to the Ebola virus thus far is “grossly inadequate,” that the window of opportunity for “timely control of the outbreak” has closed and that the “risk for catastrophic devastation both in West Africa and beyond might have only just begun.”
And via Voice of America, the staggering casualties anticipated in just one city:
Yale Researchers Project 90,000 Ebola Deaths In Monrovia Alone
The latest figures from the World Health Organization show that Ebola epidemic has claimed nearly 5,000 lives, mostly in West Africa. But as we hear from VOA’s Carol Pearson, that number could be 18 times greater in just one county in Liberia within two months.
Next, Ebola invades yet another African nation, via he Los Angeles Times:
Mali monitors 43 people as it tackles its first case of Ebola
Health authorities in Mali are monitoring 43 people known to have been in contact with a 2-year-old girl, the West African nation’s first Ebola case.
As Malian officials scrambled to head off the threat, authorities in neighboring Ivory Coast were hunting for a Guinean health worker believed to have fled his country, possibly carrying the disease.
The 2-year-old girl, who was not identified, was brought by her grandmother to relatives in the Mali town of Kayes after the child’s mother died of Ebola in Guinea. On the way, she spent 10 days in the neighborhood of Bagadadji. Ten health workers who treated the child are among the 43
And a sober assessment from the Associated Press:
WHO: Mali case may have infected many people
The World Health Organization says a toddler who brought Ebola to Mali was bleeding from her nose during her journey on public transport and may have infected many people.
WHO said it is treating the situation in Mali as an emergency.
This is the first Ebola case in Mali and may expand to many more. The case highlights how quickly the virus can hop borders and even oceans, just as questions are being asked about what precautions health care workers who treat Ebola patients should take when they return home from the hot zone. Doctors Without Borders insisted Friday, after one of its doctors who worked in Guinea came down with Ebola in New York, that quarantines of returning health workers are not necessary when they do not show symptoms of the disease.
In the Mali case, however, the girl was visibly sick, WHO said, and an initial investigation has identified 43 people, including 10 health workers, she came into close contact with who are being monitored for symptoms and held in isolation. The child was confirmed to have Ebola on Thursday.
“The child’s symptomatic state during the bus journey is especially concerning, as it presented multiple opportunities for exposures — including high-risk exposures — involving many people,” the agency said in a statement.
More from Reuters:
Mali isolates nurses amid alarm after first Ebola case
Nurses and other people who have come into contact with the first Ebola patient in Mali were isolated on Friday as concerns mounted that an epidemic that has killed 4,900 people in neighbouring West African states could take hold in the country.
Mali confirmed its first case of Ebola on Thursday and said the two-year-old girl was being treated in the western town of Kayes. She was brought by relatives from neighbouring Guinea, where the epidemic was detected in March, after her mother died of the disease.
On the dusty streets of the capital Bamako, residents voiced alarm after health officials said the girl had spent 10 days in the city’s Bagadadji district before travelling on Sunday to Kayes, some 400 km to the northwest near the Senegalese border.
“I am afraid because, with my job, I am in permanent contact with people but I can’t afford to just stop,” said taxi driver Hamidou Bamba, 46, in Bamako. “Today is Friday so let us pray to Allah that this disease will not spread in Mali.”
And the sad fate of the patient from the Independent:
Ebola outbreak: Two-year-old dies of virus in Mali
A two-year-old girl who was Mali’s first confirmed case of Ebola has died, according to a health official.
The official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that the toddler died in the western Malian town of Kayes at around 4pm (GMT), where she was being treated in isolation.
Next, a classic example of what we call “eugenics by capitalism” from the New York Times:
Without Lucrative Market, Potential Ebola Vaccine Was Shelved for Years
Almost a decade ago, scientists from Canada and the United States reported that they had created a vaccine that was 100 percent effective in protecting monkeys against the Ebola virus. The results were published in a respected journal, and health officials called them exciting. The researchers said tests in people might start within two years, and a product could potentially be ready for licensing by 2010 or 2011.
It never happened. The vaccine sat on a shelf. Only now, with nearly 5,000 people dead from Ebola and an epidemic raging out of control in West Africa, is the vaccine undergoing the most basic safety tests in humans.
Its development stalled in part because Ebola was rare, and until now outbreaks had infected only a few hundred people at a time. But experts also acknowledge that the lack of follow-up on such a promising candidate reflects a broader failure to produce medicines and vaccines for diseases that afflict poor countries. Most drug companies have resisted spending the enormous sums needed to to develop products useful mostly to poor countries with little ability to pay for them.
Next, now that the North is threatened by an invisible invasion from the South, mobilization is amazing fast, via the Associated Press:
Millions of Ebola vaccine doses ready in 2015
The World Health Organization says millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines will start being tested in March.
Still, the agency warned it’s not clear whether any of these will work against the deadly virus that has already killed at least 4,877 people this year in West Africa.
Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny from the U.N. health agency told reporters that those doses could be available in 2015 if early tests proved that the two leading experimental vaccines are safe and provoke enough of an immune response to protect people from being infected with Ebola.
Trials of those two most advanced vaccines —one developed by GlaxoSmithKline in cooperation with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the other developed by the Canadian Public Health Agency and licensed to the U.S. company NewLink Genetics — have already begun in the U.S., U.K. and Mali.
And follow with a headline from the Associated Press of the sort you’ll never see in a paper in, say, Sierra Leone:
Dallas nurse’s dog tests negative for Ebola
The first Ebola test for the quarantined King Charles Spaniel belonging to a Dallas nurse hospitalized with the virus has come back negative.
The city of Dallas said Wednesday that one-year-old Bentley will be tested again before his 21-day quarantine period ends Nov. 1.
Bentley was quarantined after his owner, Nina Pham, was diagnosed with Ebola. She was the first of two Texas nurses infected after treating an Ebola patient at a Dallas hospital. She’s being treated at the National Institutes of Health, where her condition was upgraded to good.
And the scare-of-the-moment on this side of the Atlantic, albeit one with more grounds for suspicion than most, via the Washington Post:
New York physician who worked in Guinea tests positive for Ebola
A New York physician who recently returned from the front lines of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa tested positive Thursday for the deadly virus after falling ill, days after his arriving back in the United States.
Craig Spencer, 33, remained in isolation late Thursday at Bellevue Hospital, officials said. He was taken to the hospital earlier in the day after reporting a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. Spencer, who had been treating Ebola patients in Guinea, becomes the fourth person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States — and the first diagnosed outside Texas.
“We were hoping that it didn’t happen, but we were also realistic,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) said in a news conference Thursday night. “This is New York. People come through New York. People come through New York’s airports, so we can’t say this is an unexpected circumstance. We are as ready as one could be for this circumstance.”
City health commissioner Mary Bassett said that Spencer had completed his work in Guinea on Oct. 12 and departed the country on Oct. 14. He arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 17, after a stop in Brussels.
More from the Guardian:
Ebola: New York officials urge calm as cleanup begins at patient’s home
- Hazardous materials team clean Craig Spencer’s apartment
- Officials monitor four people who may have had contact
- New York governor: ‘Ebola is not an airborne illness’
Specialist medical teams were on Friday decontaminating the New York apartment of a doctor confirmed to have Ebola, as the city’s top officials urged a calm response to the diagnosis.
A privately contracted crew of environmental and hazardous material cleaners arrived at the apartment that Craig Spencer, 33, shared with his fiancee Morgan Dixon.
Spencer, who had worked for Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, was being treated in an isolation unit at Bellevue hospital in the city, where he was taken after displaying symptoms consistent with those caused by Ebola, including a fever of 100.3F (38C).
Officials are monitoring four people with whom Spencer had contact. His fiancee and two friends have been quarantined, while the fourth person, a taxi driver, was not considered to be at risk.
And from the McClatchy Washington Bureau, plaudits:
World Bank head calls New York doctor a ‘hero,’ says only more volunteers can stop Ebola
The president of the World Bank on Friday praised a New York doctor who became that city’s first Ebola victim, saying the doctor’s decision to volunteer in West Africa was “exactly what is needed to stop this epidemic.”
“Dr. Spencer is a hero,” Dr. Jim Kim, who’s headed the World Bank for the past two years, said, referring to Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old physician who returned to the United States last week from Guinea, where he’d been treating Ebola victims on behalf of the global medical charity Doctors Without Borders.
Praise for a medical volunteer from the president of a global financial institution may seem like an odd way to begin a breakfast with a group of reporters in Washington. But Kim is an unusual World Bank president, the only leader of that institution not to be a career banker or financier. Instead, Kim is an epidemiologist by trade, a noted researcher of infectious diseases who earned renown for developing ways of treating multidrug resistant tuberculosis in the slums of Peru, and who once worked for the World Health Organization, the U.N.’s global health agency. Better health care, he argues, is the path to economic growth. In low to middle income countries, he says, 25 percent of economic growth can be attributed to better health outcomes.
Angry lawmaker tells HHS ‘preparedness’ chief to quit over Ebola as he frets about flying home in case someone ‘barfed on the plane’
- A rambling Florida Rep. John Mica ripped into HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Nicole Lurie during an Ebola hearing
‘Are you in charge of being prepared?’ Mica demanded, dropping references to a 1950s parody song about ‘the Boy Scout’s marching song’
He insisted on knowing if the US has a plan in place to sterilize airplanes like it had during the global bird flu panic
Ebola sufferers ‘might have barfed on the plane, there might be excrement, there may be vomit, there may be body fluids,’ he said
After a breathless torrent of questions, Mica got up to go while the hearing continued, saying ‘I have a plane to catch’
And another Republican voice is heard, via United Press International:
Rep. Darrell Issa knocks Ebola czar and Obama’s response to the epidemic
- “When the head of the C.D.C. says you can’t get it with somebody on the bus next to you, that’s just not true,” claims Issa
And from the New York Times, another Obama retreat:
U.S. to Monitor Travelers From Ebola-Hit Nations for 21 Days
Federal health officials on Wednesday placed new restrictions on travelers from West African countries with Ebola outbreaks, requiring that they report their temperatures daily for three weeks, along with any other potential symptoms of the disease.
Beginning next Monday, under new rules issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all travelers who have visited Guinea, Sierra Leone or Liberia — and, presumably, any other country in which outbreaks might occur — will be required to provide home and email addresses, telephone numbers and other contact details for themselves and for at least one friend or relative.
Once a day for the next 21 days, they will have to check in with their state or local health department and report their morning and evening temperatures and list any other symptoms, such as nausea or diarrhea.
The Associated Press runs the numbers:
AP-GfK Poll: Public wants tighter Ebola screening
The AP-GfK poll found 9 out of 10 people — unusually high agreement on any issue — think it’s necessary to tighten screening procedures for people entering the U.S. from the outbreak zone in West Africa, including 69 percent who say it’s definitely needed.
Some would go even further: Almost half say it’s definitely necessary to prevent everyone traveling from places affected by Ebola from entering the U.S. Another 29 percent say it’s probably necessary to do so.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned since summer that an infected traveler eventually would arrive in the U.S., and it finally happened last month when Thomas Eric Duncan developed symptoms of Ebola a few days after arriving from Liberia. He died on Oct. 8.
More angst from the London Daily Mail:
‘Doctors Without Borders nurse’ is quarantined at Newark airport despite having no virus symptoms amid stricter screening for West Africa travelers
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the woman arrived at the airport on a flight on Friday from West Africa
- He said that the New Jersey Department of Health determined that a legal quarantine order should be issued due to tightened protocols
- Dr Seema Yasmin, a doctor in Dallas who is also a CDC ‘disease detective’, tweeted on Friday afternoon, that her friend, a nurse with Doctors Without Borders, was being quarantined at Newark
- A woman has been quarantined at Newark Airport due to stricter screening protocols on Friday after reporting contact with Ebola victims.
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said the woman arrived at the airport on a flight on Friday from West Africa. He earlier announced that additional screening protocols were being implemented at JFK and Newark International Airports.
- At a joint press conference with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Christie said a health care worker already has been quarantined even though she has no symptoms.
And a riposte, via the New York Times:
After Negative Ebola Test, Quarantined Nurse Criticizes Treatment at Newark Airport
A nurse who tested negative for the Ebola virus but remained under a 21-day quarantine in a Newark hospital on Saturday is angry and frustrated with how she was treated when she returned to the United States from West Africa.
A first-person account by the nurse, Kaci Hickox, of what happened when she landed at Newark Liberty International Airport about 1 p.m. Friday was published on Saturday on the website of The Dallas Morning News.
Ms. Hickox said that four hours after she landed at the airport, her fever registered 101 degrees when it was taken with a forehead scanner by a “smug”-looking female officer in a quarantine section. The above-normal reading, she said, was because she was upset and her face was flush with anxiety over being detained with no reason given. When her temperature was taken later with an oral thermometer at University Hospital in Newark, it registered a normal 98.6 degrees, Ms. Hickox said on the website.
And from the Associated Press, lockdown:
NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others
Alarmed by the case of an Ebola-infected New York doctor, the governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine of all medical workers and other arriving airline passengers who have had contact with victims of the deadly disease in West Africa.
The move came after a physician who returned to New York City a week ago from treating Ebola patients in Guinea fell ill with the virus. Many New Yorkers were dismayed to learn that in the days after he came home, Dr. Craig Spencer rode the subway, took a cab, went bowling, visited a coffee shop and ate at a restaurant in the city of 8 million.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the case led them to conclude that the two states need precautions more rigorous than those of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends monitoring of exposed people for 21 days but doesn’t require quarantine, in which they are kept away from others.
And the newest addition, via the Washington Post:
N.Y., N.J., Illinois to impose new Ebola quarantine rules
While the Los Angeles Times ponders an alternative:
With Ebola, it’s better to screen outbound flights, study suggests
The deceased Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan is unlikely to be the last person to carry the Ebola virus out of one of three West African countries, a new study suggests. Given current infection rates in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, a team of Canadian infectious disease specialists estimates that as many as three passengers a month are likely to board international flights from one of the three countries.
But the research concludes that screening air travelers in a bid to block the virus’ export would be far more effective if conducted in airports inside the three stricken countries than screening done in arrival destinations such as the United States.
The analysis, published online in the Lancet on Monday, suggests that on average every 10.5 days, a single person sick with Ebola is likely to carry the virus by air from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to another country.
From the Guardian, symbolic embrace:
Obama hugs Dallas nurse hours after she is declared free of Ebola
- White House spokesman says president is seeking to reassure public about medical protocols in place to combat disease
Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans over the risks of Ebola transmission on Friday by way of a hug in the Oval Office with Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who had been declared free of the virus only hours earlier.
White House officials said their invitation to Pham had been made to celebrate her full recovery from the illness at a National Institutes of Health facility in nearby Bethesda.
“This an opportunity for the president to thank her for her service,” said spokesman Josh Earnest. “This is someone who displayed the kind of selfless service to her fellow man that is worthy of some praise.”
But he acknowledged the photo opportunity – just hours after fourth US case was confirmed in New York – was also a way to demonstrate the president’s confidence in medical protocols amid growing political criticism of the administration’s handling of the crisis.
The McClatchy Washington Bureau covers the domestic front line response:
Feds consider tiered hospital system for Ebola patients
Hoping to avoid mistakes made in the treatment of Ebola patients in Texas, federal health officials are considering a plan to designate top-tier hospitals as referral centers for the treatment of potential Ebola cases.
That would limit the number of health care workers who must become expert at taking care of patients with the highly contagious and often deadly disease. Other hospitals still would need to be prepared to identify potential Ebola patients for transfer to the appropriate hospitals for treatment.
The push comes in the wake of mistakes at the Dallas hospital that treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan – and where two nurses subsequently became infected with the virus – and as several nurses’ unions across the country worry about the preparedness level of local medical centers.
While the Los Angeles Times revisits the initial domestic venue:
Texas hospitals prepare in case Ebola strikes again
With two Texas nurses diagnosed with Ebola still hospitalized, a newly formed state task force on infectious diseases met Thursday for the first time to review the state’s medical and public health preparedness to cope with the deadly virus.
The country’s first Ebola diagnosis in Dallas on Sept. 30 led Gov. Rick Perry to form the task force and two “bio containment” treatment centers near the state’s largest metro areas, Dallas and Houston.
Professor James LeDuc, director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch, said the facility there can treat up to three Ebola patients at a time. Thirty staffers who work there recently met voluntarily with experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
From the Washington Post, a troublesome undercurrent:
Ebola will make Americans more likely to give up civil liberties
The emerging reaction to America’s newest case of Ebola shows that many Americans are scared by serious contagious diseases.
Recent polling of Americans shows that public concern over Ebola has grown since the first cases arrived in the United States and since the death of the first Ebola patient — with 4 in 10 Americans saying that they are worried about family members contracting Ebola. The symptoms associated with Ebola, such as bleeding and weakness, are frightening, and the death rate in this current outbreak is very high, reaching 70 percent in certain places. Ebola anxiety, while potentially misplaced and harmful, is likely to have an affect on whom Americans trust to handle the disease and what kinds of policies they will support to fight it.
Based on work that we have done on other public health anxieties, such as smallpox and the H1N1 flu, we expect that Ebola anxiety will lead people to seek protection from diseases that may cause harm to them or their family. In seeking protection, we expect that Americans will, at least initially, put their trust in medical experts like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to tell them how to stay safe and will support state powers that may lead to quarantine or other civil liberties restrictions for those suspected of exposure.
After the jump, universities get restrictive, volunteer discouragement angst, France throws up screens, Japan amps up its screening while Rwanda drops one controversial portion of its screening mandate, Ebolaphobia leads to a mule’s demise, North Korea close the borders, quackery flourishes, Ebola lends its name to viruses of another sort and a software mogul coughs up more cash for the fight, China pledges more aid while Europe pledges more euros to the fight, WHO vaccine talks and a Japanese drug, crowdfunding research, dissent over Aussie aid, one nation leads assistance efforts [and it’s not the U.S.], on to Africa, first with help for the newest nation to join the Ebola list and a neighbor closes the border, more devastating regional consequences, a major commitment from other African nations, illegal immigrants targeted, next to Sierra Leone and victory for a few, and on to Liberia and a call for a regional strategy, cremation fears fuel an epidemic of hidden patients and secret burials while a politician blames the fears for spreading the disease [while Nigeria orders corpse confiscation], hunger in quarantine prompts escape fears, one county nears a victory while another suffers from a surge, and, finally, robots to the rescue. . . Continue reading