We begin with a number from the Associated Press:
UN: Fight against Ebola to cost $600 million
At least $600 million is needed to fight West Africa’s current Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization announced Wednesday, as the death toll shot up by about 400 in a week to more than 1,900 people.
Experts warn Ebola could spread beyond the five West African countries that are already hit: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone.
The top priority is providing protective gear to health workers in the affected areas and ensuring that they receive hazard pay, said Dr. David Nabarro, who is coordinating the U.N. response to the unprecedented outbreak.
More numbers from Reuters:
West Africa Ebola death toll accelerates to more than 1,900: WHO
More than 1,900 people have died in the world’s worst outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, the head of the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, marking a major acceleration in fatalities from just over 1,500 last week.
Margaret Chan told a news conference in Washington that 3,500 confirmed or probable cases of Ebola have been reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia as of this week. The death toll from this outbreak is now higher than in all the previous epidemics since the disease was first detected in 1976.
International Business Times questions:
Ebola Outbreak 2014: How Bad Could It Get?
The Ebola outbreak currently gripping West Africa has killed over 1,550 people out of 3,069 known cases in five countries – Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone – and could affect some 17,000 more before the epidemic is over, according to the World Health Organization. Riots have broken out in quarantined areas, isolation centers are overwhelmed, experimental vaccines are still far from ready and health workers who have not fled the region are either getting infected or are already sick.
“It is the world’s first Ebola epidemic, and it’s spiraling out of control,” Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday. A CDC spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
The fatality rate of the disease is, on average, just 50 percent, but some outbreaks of Ebola have had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent. Experts warn that the virus could spread beyond the handful of West African countries where it has already taken hold. A coordinated response to the historic Ebola outbreak – the largest and deadliest in human history – is underway, but health officials fear the ongoing effort to contain the virus is not enough.
Reuters charts expansion:
Guinea detects Ebola in new region as U.S. warns outbreak out of control
Guinea’s government said on Wednesday that Ebola had spread to a previously unaffected region of the country, as U.S. experts warned that the worst ever outbreak of the deadly virus was spiraling out of control in West Africa.
Guinea, the first country to detect the hemorrhagic fever in March, had said it was containing the outbreak but authorities announced that nine new cases had been found in the southeastern prefecture of Kerouane.
The area, some 750 km (470 miles) southeast of the capital Conakry, lies close to where the virus was first detected deep in Guinea’s forest region. The epidemic has since spread to four other West African countries and killed more than 1,500 people.
From Agence France-Presse, a first-person account:
In bed with Ebola
At 4:00am in an Ebola hot zone — when you feel flushed, a little run-down and itchy from the prickly rash developing on your ankle — paranoia can creep in.
Did that kid touch me on the arm? Did that old guy who was spitting everywhere look sick? Did I touch my face before washing my hands after that interview? Is this a headache coming on? Is this a fever?
“Hot zone” is a term virologists use for the centre of an outbreak of a maximum Level Four Biological Hazard — a “hot agent”, the kind of pathogen than can end civilisations.
Ebola is in exulted company in the “hot agent” category, along with weaponised anthrax and smallpox. It’s not much of a choice, but I’d rather be exposed to either of those.
From Al Jazeera America, a trial run:
A dummy run for deadly work: Bridging the Ebola care gap
- In Brussels, NGO staffers are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa
In a mocked-up isolation unit in the back of an empty industrial lot, a plastic dummy was sprayed with disinfecting chlorine, carefully lifted and placed in a body bag. Four health care workers shouldered the burden, each dressed head to toe in protective gear and taking a limb as they disposed of the body.
Such precautions may seem out of place in the Belgian capital, but for the volunteers tasked with removing the makeshift corpse at an Ebola training session last week, the dangers could become very real very soon. While a mistake here, during a mock scenario with a mannequin, would not mean much in terms of personal danger, out in the field in West Africa it could very well lead to death.
The Ebola outbreak ravaging parts of West Africa has taken a heavy toll on medical professionals. To date, more than 120 health care workers have died, and at least 240 have contracted the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, according to World Health Organization (WHO) figures.
Shortages of protective equipment and a lack of field-experienced medical practitioners deployed in the region have contributed to the high death rate, the United Nations’ health body said. But others have blamed the international community for a response to the crisis they deem inadequate.
The World Health Organization documents spread:
Ebola situation in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
The Minister of Health of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, has now reported 3 confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease in Port Harcourt, the country’s oil hub. Additional suspected cases are being investigated.
Ebola virus was imported into Nigeria via an infected air traveller, who entered Lagos on 20 July and died 5 days later. One close contact of the Lagos case fled the city, where he was under quarantine, to seek treatment in Port Harcourt.
The close contact was treated, from 1 to 3 August, at a Port Harcourt hotel, by what would turn out to be the city’s index case. This case was a male physician who developed symptoms of weakness and fever on 11 August and died of Ebola on 22 August. His infection was confirmed on 27 August by the virology laboratory at Lagos University Teaching Hospital.
The male physician in Port Harcourt is therefore indirectly linked to Nigeria’s first case.
Punch Nigeria indirect victims:
Orphans as newest victims
The latest outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease is driving up the number of orphans and vulnerable children around the world. But the statistics, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund, is worse in West Africa where the death rate is still rising.
Reports from international organisations say that more than 3000 people have been infected with more than 1,500 mortalities recorded so far. In countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone, the disease has been said to wipe out whole families. In other cases, however, majority of the deceased persons were also parents or people who leave one or more children behind.
Before the latest outbreak of the EVD, described as the worst occurrence since it was first discovered in 1976, the population of orphans and vulnerable children, according to UNICEF, stood at 163 million globally. That is more than the population of Nigeria.
And from Punch Nigeria, a reminder of other dangers:
Seven health workers abducted in Rivers
Gunmen suspected to be kidnappers have abducted seven health workers working for the Niger Delta Development Commission in Abua/Odual Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The health workers; four medical doctors, a pharmacist, one dentist and a nurse, were said to have been taken away by their captors at about 11pm on Saturday in Okolomade Community.
It was gathered that the gunmen, who stormed the community with AK-47 rifles, shot sporadically to scare away indigenes before going for their victims.
From TheLocal.at, another European alarm:
Suspected case of Ebola in Vienna
A 45-year-old woman with a suspected Ebola infection has been admitted to hospital in Vienna.
The Nigerian woman was suffering a high fever and headache and had recently returned to Austria from a trip to Nigeria.
She is currently being treated and tested in isolation. Blood samples have been sent to the Bernhard-Nocht Institute in Hamburg for diagnosis. Results should be available within the next 48 hours.
The New York Times discharges:
British Ebola Patient Discharged From Hospital
A British nurse who contracted Ebola in West Africa has fully recovered and was discharged on Wednesday, the Royal Free Hospital in London said.
The nurse, William Pooley, 29, contracted the disease in August while volunteering in Sierra Leone. He was flown to London for 10 days of treatment at the Royal Free Hospital, which has the only high-level isolation unit in Britain, the hospital said in a statement on its website.
Mr. Pooley was treated with the experimental drug ZMapp, although it is not known whether the drug contributed to his recovery.
From the Associated Press, another America afflicted:
Mission group identifies 3rd American with Ebola
The third American sickened with Ebola is a Boston-area doctor who decided to return to Liberia after the two others fell ill with the deadly virus, the president of his missionary group said Wednesday.
Dr. Rick Sacra went back to Liberia about a month ago and was not caring for Ebola patients, instead delivering babies at the missionary group’s hospital in Liberia, SIM President Bruce Johnson said at a news conference.
When a fellow SIM worker and another missionary doctor became sick, Sacra called and said, “I’m ready to go,” Johnson said.
Punch Nigeria documents an important link:
Late P’Harcourt doctor’s sister tests positive for Ebola
The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, has put the total number of confirmed cases of Ebola Virus Disease in Nigeria at 18. The 18th patient, according to the Federal Government, is the sister of the late Port Harcourt doctor who died of the EVD recently.
A statement issued on Wednesday night by his Special Assistant (Media and Communication), Mr. Dan Nwomeh, said the number of cases successfully managed and discharged was eight while the number of deaths from EVD was seven.
Chukwu also debunked rumours of EVD cases outside Lagos and Port Harcourt, adding that, “regarding the rumoured case in Zaria, the blood sample has been sent for Ebola testing.”
StarAfrica reports an outcome:
Senegal: Ebola tests on quarantined student still positive
The latest blood samples taken from the young Guinean student quarantined at the Fann Hospital in Dakar, Senegal continue to test positive for Ebola, the Ministry of Health and Social Action disclosed.
However, the ministry quickly added that the patient’s condition has greatly improved and that other samples would be tested in the next few days.
The Guinean student who contracted Ebola in his home country traveled to Senegal, where his health status was detected by the Service of Infectious Diseases at the Fann Hospital.
He was admitted and has been quarantined at the same hospital since August 29, 2014.
From the New York Times, panic on the ground:
Video Shows Panic in Liberia as Man Wanders Out of Ebola Clinic
As Liberia struggles to contain the deadliest Ebola outbreak on record, health workers say that fear of the disease, and the stigma of being identified as a possible carrier, is creating a hostile environment for those seeking treatment.
That terror was on display on Monday in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, where at least 270 people have already died of the illness, when a man suspected of having the disease wandered out of a treatment center and sowed panic in a nearby market.
The incident, which was captured on video by witnesses, showed the man, wearing a medical bracelet, being confronted by angry and worried bystanders. He was then surrounded by health workers in yellow protective suits from the international medical group Doctors Without Borders, who eventually bundled him into the back of a pickup truck and returned him to the clinic.
And the video, via euronews:
Ebola patient escapes quarantine, spreads panic in Monrovia
A patient suspected of suffering from the deadly Ebola virus left quarantine in Monrovia to search for food at a local market. The video shows him being chased and finally being caught by doctors. He is forced back into an ambulance while scared and angry crowds watched on.
One local woman said care for Ebola patients was so inadequate they were not even being fed. “The patients are hungry, they are starving. No food, no water. The government need to do more,” she said.
More than 1,550 people in four West African countries have died from the virus since the outbreak was first recorded in March. Liberia has the highest infection rate with around 700 deaths out of 1,327 suspected and confirmed cases.
He wasn’t the only runaway, as StarAfrica reports:
S/Leone: Manhunt for runaway Ebola patient
The military and Police in the eastern Sierra Leonean district of Kenema have mounted a manhunt for an Ebola patient who abandoned a treatment center.Health authorities at the Kenema treatment center said Wednesday that 36-year old Daniel Kamara, who was a resident of Makeni in the north of the country, eluded security by jumping over the fence of the facility where he was receiving treatment.
There are fears that his escape poses serious threat to the public in a district already grappling with one of the highest numbers of infections in the country.
Kenema is home to the only fully functional treatment centers in the whole country, meaning it has both a treatment center and a lab for testing for the Ebola virus.
The Hill poses a conundrum:
Who will volunteer to help fight Ebola?
Increasingly desperate health officials are asking for volunteers to help fight the Ebola epidemic that threatens to overwhelm several countries in West Africa.
The United Nations said Wednesday that the healthcare force currently on the ground must triple or quadruple in size very soon if there is any hope to contain Ebola’s spread.
Though officials declined to endorse sending military personnel, they said time was running out fast.
“We are not in a position where we can afford to lose one day,” said David Nabarro, senior U.N. coordinator for Ebola.
StarAfrica names a leader:
S/Leone: Media told to lead anti-Ebola crusade
The media has a leading role to help contain the ongoing Ebola epidemic, a senior presidential aide said in Freetown on Wednesday.Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo said journalists were needed not just to report on how people could ensure avoiding infection or getting timely treatment, but also sending “messages of hope” that there is a chance for survival for patients.
The media had come under criticism for failing to properly report on the outbreak which was detected in Sierra Leone in May.
The media have been blamed for raising fear among the people which saw the initial display of denial and distrust for health workers.
From Punch Nigeria, a con of the sort every crisis spawns:
Lagos warns Nigerians against fake Ebola test kit
The Lagos State Government on Wednesday warned Lagosians and other citizens in the country not to fall victims of suspected fraudsters who were selling a kit that could purportedly be used to test for Ebola Virus.
The government, in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the Governor, Mr Hakeem Bello, explained that the reality on ground was that there was nothing like that.
It added that the product, which was called Rapid Response Canada, was nothing but a hoax to rip-off unsuspecting Nigerians of their earned money.
Another continent, another disease, with Jiji Press:
Dengue Fever Cases Rise to 48
Twelve more people have been confirmed as infected with dengue virus in Japan, raising the total number of dengue fever cases to 48 since the first domestic infection was reported last week, the health ministry said Wednesday.
None of the 12 have traveled abroad recently, but all of them have visited Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park or nearby. Eleven went there last month although it is uncertain when the other person made such a visit.
The 12 people are men and women aged between 10 and 79. Nine live in Tokyo, one in Yamanashi Prefecture, west of Tokyo, another in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo, and the other one in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido.
Another health woe from South China Morning Post:
90 million pill capsules laced with toxic metal are sold in China; 11 arrested
Police in China are trying to trace 90 million drug capsules laced with the toxic metal chromium that have been sold on the open market, in the latest product safety scandal to hit the country.
Eleven people in Zhejiang province were arrested following the discovery that the capsules – which pharmaceutical companies use for their drugs – were tainted with the poison.
Police, along with food and drug authorities in Ninghai county, seized more than 440,000 chromium-laced capsules from an illegal workshop on July 22.
They also confiscated more than 100kg of semi-finished capsules and more than 700kg of capsule material made from industrial gelatin containing the toxin, according to a Zhejiang newspaper hosted by official news agency Xinhua.
Environmental Health News covers more toxic impacts:
Toxic gulls: Quebec’s contaminated bird colony offers clues about flame retardants
The gulls that inhabit Deslauriers Island every summer are the most contaminated colony in Canada when it comes to flame retardants, including one compound that has accumulated in their eggs at concentrations up to 44 times higher than elsewhere.
Although several of these flame retardants were banned a decade ago, they are still showing up in gulls, kestrels and other winged creatures from the Great Lakes to China, prompting scientists to examine where they are lingering, what hidden health effects they are having on birds and what this all might mean for humans.
Research on Deslauriers and in Canadian laboratories indicates that flame retardants are altering birds’ thyroid hormones, reducing their clutch sizes, damaging their eggs, changing their behavior, shifting their gender ratio toward males and weakening their bones.
“Unfortunately for birds they’re the sentinels,” said U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Director Linda Birnbaum, a toxicologist who specializes in the health effects of environmental contaminants.
Still more, via CBC News:
Canadian beekeepers sue Bayer, Syngenta over neonicotinoid pesticides
- Class action lawsuit seeks $400 million in damages
Canadian beekeepers are suing the makers of popular crop pesticides for more than $400 million in damages, alleging that their use is causing the deaths of bee colonies.
The class action lawsuit was filed Tuesday in the Ontario Superior Court on behalf of all Canadian beekeepers by Sun Parlor Honey Ltd. and Munro Honey, two of Ontario’s largest honey producers, the Ontario Beekeepers Association announced Wednesday.
The lawsuit alleges that Bayer Cropscience Inc. and Syngenta Canada Inc. and their parent companies were negligent in their design, manufacture, sale and distribution of neonicotinoid pesticides, specifically those containing imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiomethoxam.
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