We begin with a notable absence, via the Associated Press:
At 1 month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases
For three weeks, Dr. John Fankhauser and his family lived in two RVs in a meadow in North Carolina, watching movies, playing cards and huddling around a fire pit — with no other campers around.
But their isolation was interrupted each morning by a visit from a public health nurse, who came to ask Fankhauser how he was feeling and to watch him take his temperature.
The doctor is one of the more than 2,600 people who have undergone the 21-day ritual ordered by the federal government to guard against cases of Ebola from entering the country from West Africa. Now, anyone who has traveled from four West African nations is monitored for three weeks for fever and other signs of the disease.
The program reaches the one-month mark on Thursday, and so far, it hasn’t found any cases of Ebola.
On to the medical front with Punch Nigeria:
China approves new Ebola prevention drugs
China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has approved three home-grown Ebola test reagents to be used in prevention of the spread of the virus.
The three test reagent products are made by Daan Gene Co., Ltd of Sun Yat-Sen University, Shenzhen Puruikang and Shanghai ZJ Bio-Tech Co., Ltd respectively. The products will be reserved for contingency situations, said CFDA.
The statement did not detail how fast the reagent can diagnose the Ebola virus infection but according to a Friday report from China News Service, the product from Puruikang has high sensitivity and accuracy.
From Agence France-Presse, an etiological approach:
Research on bats could help develop drugs against Ebola
In Africa’s only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it.
From the Associated Press, a beneficiary of tragedy:
Ebola scare boosts business for Ala company
The Ebola scare has subsided in the United States, at least temporarily, but an Alabama manufacturer is still trying to catch up with a glut of orders for gear to protect against the disease.
Located in north Alabama, the family-owned Kappler Inc. of Guntersville typically gets only a few orders annually for the type of suit needed by health workers who are in contact with Ebola patients.
That changed once the disease showed up in Texas, Kappler vice president of marketing Dennis Sanders said. Quickly, orders were flooding in for thousands of the company’s Provent 10,000 coverall.
“It happened, literally, overnight,” he said. “We took orders in a couple of days that exceeded the orders we’ve had on that particular product in two or three years.”
And from the Japan Times, more of the same:
ASDF on mission to deliver Ebola suits to West Africa
The government decided on Friday to deliver 20,000 protective suits to West Africa via the Air Self-Defense Force next week, part of a donation of 700,000 suits to help Ebola-hit countries in the region.
The delivery will mark the first time an SDF plane has been dispatched as part of the international effort to combat the deadly disease, which is ravaging the region.
“We will supply about 700,000 sets of protective gear, based on requests from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Mali,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Friday at his regular news conference.
A clarion call from the U.N. Press Center:
‘The world is on the side of those who are involved in this fight’ against Ebola – UN envoy
The top United Nations officials leading the fight against Ebola have made an appeal for people who possess skills that are “quite rare” to join the global effort, such as those who can provide patient care, undertake contact tracing and analyze how the outbreak is evolving in remote areas of the virus-affected countries, saying that “deploying more people to the districts is our highest priority.”
“These skills are quite rare in our world today because there are not thousands and thousands of people who are really experienced in Ebola and its management,” Dr. David Nabarro, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy on Ebola, said in an interview with the Department of Public Information at the headquarters of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in Accra, Ghana.
“And so what we’re doing is looking very hard for the best people in the world and encouraging them to come and work with the governments of the affected countries,” Dr. Nabarro said.
Dr. Nabarro gave the interview together with UNMEER chief Anthony Banbury, in the lead-up to the 1 December target set by the mission, which aims to try to get 70 per cent of the cases isolated and treated, and 70 per cent of the deceased safely buried within 60 days from the beginning of October to 1 December.
And the ghost at the banquet, via RFI:
Ebola Casts Shadow Over French-Speaking Countries’ Summit in Dakar
The Ebola epidemic is casting a shadow over the 15th summit of French-speaking nations in the Dakar this weekend. The Senegalese capital has been a hive of activity in the runup to the event.
The 15th Sommet de la Francophonie was planned to mark a turning point in the life of the organisation with the election of a new secretary general and the definition of a new agenda for women’s and youth empowerment.
But the Ebola epidemic in west Africa is set to change the dynamics of the summit. Senegal has nothing in common with some of the spendthrift leaders it will be hosting.
On to Guinea, first with a notable visit, via the Associated Press:
French president cheered in Ebola-stricken Guinea
French President Francois Hollande brought a message of hope to Guinea on Friday, where thousands of residents lined the roads while clapping, drumming and dancing to catch a glimpse of the first Western leader to visit a country hard hit by Ebola.
Guinean President Alpha Conde greeted his French counterpart at the airport and said that if Hollande could visit the country, then anybody could.
“There is hope,” said Hollande, “The hope of those who have been cured. The hope that we can control this epidemic … The very fact that hope exists.”
From the Associated Press again, problems on the ground:
Ebola aid dogged by coordination lags in Guinea
Eight months into West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, aid efforts in Guinea still suffer from poor coordination, hampering deployments of international support to help quell a virus that has killed more than 1,200 people in the former French colony, officials and medical aid providers say.
With such a deadly and panic-inspiring health emergency, any aid project was bound to face hurdles. Millions of dollars in aid from the U.S., Europe, China, the U.N. and elsewhere have poured into a relatively poor West African region known for instability and poor governance. A frenzied public reaction— widened by fears of infection following the evacuation of patients to the U.S. and Europe — has increased international pressure for quick action.
The often discombobulated effort hasn’t only been seen in Guinea. The region-wide response has been criticized as slow and organizationally complicated. But Guinea’s outbreak has attracted less attention because its cases have come in smaller, unpredictable waves in contrast to explosive surges in nearby Liberia and Sierra Leone.
And the Guardian covers a trial run:
15-minute Ebola test trialled in Guinea
- Device can diagnose infection six times faster than methods currently used in west Africa
Trials of a device that can diagnose an Ebola infection within 15 minutes are about to start in Guinea.
The test, which can analyse blood or saliva samples, is six times faster than those being used in west Africa at the moment. Faster results mean those infected can be isolated more quickly and can receive earlier treatment, which may improve their chances of survival.
Dr Val Snewin, of the Wellcome Trust, which is funding the development and trials of the device, said: “A reliable 15-minute test that can confirm cases of Ebola would be a key tool for effective management of the Ebola outbreak, allowing patients to be identified, isolated and cared for as soon as possible. It not only gives patients a better chance of survival, but it prevents transmission of the virus to other people.
“This pilot study is particularly promising because researchers have considered how to make the test suitable for use in remote field hospitals, where resources – such as electricity and cold storage – are often in short supply.”
On to Sierra Leone with grim news from the New York Times:
Despite Aid Push, Ebola Is Raging in Sierra Leone
While health officials say they are making headway against the Ebola epidemic in neighboring Liberia, the disease is still raging in Sierra Leone, despite the big international push. In November alone, the World Health Organization has reported more than 1,800 new cases in this country, about three times as many as in Liberia, which until recently had been the center of the outbreak.
More than six weeks ago, international health officials conceded that they were overwhelmed in Sierra Leone and reluctantly announced a Plan B. Until enough hospital beds could be built here, they pledged to at least help families tend to their sick loved ones at home.
The health officials admitted Plan B was a major defeat, but said the approach would only be temporary and promised to supply basics like protective gloves, painkillers and rehydration salts.
A call provoked from the Guardian:
Boost Ebola aid to Sierra Leone, Justine Greening told
- Open letter calls on international development secretary to increase response to outbreak to avoid ‘catastrophic loss of life’
Justine Greening, the international development secretary, has been warned by senior medical professionals that Sierra Leone risks “a public health disaster” worse than Ebola unless UK efforts to contain the virus are significantly stepped up.
In an open letter signed by 53 doctors, charity representatives and a former British diplomat, Greening is told the government needs to quickly review operations in Sierra Leone to avert further crisis.
The signatories warn that, unless a comprehensive response to the crisis is adopted, “health services will collapse entirely”, resulting in a “public health disaster that will eclipse the Ebola outbreak itself and provide the perfect incubator for further outbreaks”.
The Guardian has posted the full text and signatories here.
From StarAfrica, professional anxiety:
S/Leone: Junior doctors express concern over high deaths among colleagues
An umbrella body representing junior doctors in Sierra Leone has expressed concern over frequent cases of doctors getting infected with the Ebola virus and demanded action from the government to limit, if not stop it.The junior Doctors Association of Sierra Leone (JUDASIL) says the number of health care workers getting infected and dying of the disease has become “very alarming”, especially among their colleague doctors.
As at Friday, a total of nine local doctors have been infected with seven of them dead. The latest two are struggling for their lives.
Dr Geraldine George, President of JUDASIL, said Friday that while they have resigned to what they had signed for – treating the sick “they want to see the government also play its part in limiting the risk in getting medics infected.”
After the jump, Australian medics dispatched, a break for street vendors, a mayor’s plea for diligence, and a study launched on the outbreak’s gender-specific impacts, then on to Liberia and a medical warning, government sets a deadline for the outbreak’s end, school reopening pondered, a warning and praise from the African Union, a market shutdown over Ebola worries, long overdue pay of healthcare workers provokes a sit-down, Then onto Nigeria for the troubled plight of a fatality’s family. . . Continue reading