We begin with the latest educational video from the World Health Organization, released today:
WHO-EMRO: Animated video on Ebol
This two minutes and forty seconds animated video provides basic information and precautions on how to protect self from Ebola virus disease. It also outlines modes of transmission, symptoms, as well as the top-listed frequently asked questions.
Next, improv, from the Associated Press:
Hospitals improvise Ebola defenses, at a cost
On Wednesday, a U.S. Senate committee will hold a hearing on Ebola preparedness. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $6.18 billion to fight Ebola globally, some of which could be used to strengthen domestic health defenses.
There is no tried-and-true way to build an Ebola ward, but the administrators cobbling them together have been guided by a few key principals gleaned from clinics in Africa and the few full biocontainment facilities in the U.S.
At a minimum, treatment units need a “hot” zone where patients can be isolated, a “cold” zone kept free of anything that might be tainted with the virus, and a “warm” zone where workers can peel off protective gear while spotters watch for any small break in protocol. Most hospitals have also preferred to locate their Ebola treatment areas far, far from other patients.
Global Times covers a potential breakthrough for development new treatments:
US research reports ‘weak spots’ in Ebola’s defenses
US researchers said Monday they have identified “weak spots” on the surface of the deadly Ebola virus that are targeted by the antibodies in ZMapp, the experimental drug cocktail administered to several patients during the recent Ebola outbreak.
The study, led by researchers at the Scripps Research Institute and published by the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provided a 3-D picture of how the ZMapp antibodies bind to the virus.
“The structural images of Ebola virus are like enemy reconnaissance,” said coauthor Erica Ollmann Saphire, a Scripps structural biologist. “They tell us exactly where to target antibodies or drugs.”
Using an imaging technique called electron microscopy, the new study found that two of the ZMapp antibodies bind near the base of virus, appearing to prevent the virus from entering cells.
From the New York Times, quarantined because of his. . .er:
Indian Ebola Survivor Is Under Quarantine at Delhi Airport
A 26-year-old Indian man who recovered from Ebola is being held at a quarantine facility at Delhi airport as a cautionary measure after his semen tested positive for the virus, health officials announced on Tuesday.
When he arrived at the airport on Nov. 10, the man volunteered that he had been successfully treated for Ebola in a Liberian hospital and had been released on Sept. 30.
Though tests of three blood samples came up negative, Indian officials opted to hold him because the virus can linger in other bodily fluids, like semen or urine, for as long as three months, according to a government statement carried by the Press Trust of India. Two samples of the man’s semen tested positive for the virus on Monday.
The Associated Press covers presidential caution:
Obama: West Africa not out of the woods on Ebola
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that West Africa is “nowhere near out of the woods” in its fight against Ebola despite some improvement in the three countries hardest hit by the virus. Obama said the disease remains a threat to the world, including the U.S., and he urged Congress to quickly approve his request for billions of dollars in emergency spending to combat the spread of Ebola at home and abroad.
Meeting at the White House with his Ebola response team, Obama also offered condolences to the family of Dr. Martin Salia. The surgeon contracted Ebola in his native Sierra Leone but died Monday at a Nebraska hospital after being rushed there over the weekend for specialized treatment.
Obama said it’s important to “continue to push forward until we stamp out this disease entirely in that region. Until we do, there are threats of additional outbreaks and, given the nature of international travel, it means that everybody has some measure of risk.”
“We are nowhere near out of the woods yet in West Africa,” Obama said.
Next, the latest Ebola curve from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control [PDF], which reports that as of Monday, 14.415 case have been recorded, with 5,177 ending in death:
On to Africa, starting with Mali and some questions from IRIN:
Questions over Mali’s Ebola response
The failure of a top Malian hospital to detect probable cases of Ebola has raised questions about whether the country’s health system is sufficiently prepared to tackle the disease.
“We have several confirmed cases,” Samba Sow, head of the Mali’s National Centre for Disease Control (CNAM), told IRIN. “Our goal is to prevent the virus from spreading.” But the government only released an Ebola emergency plan on 30 October, a week after the first Ebola case.
In Kayes, where a two-year-old girl tested positive for Ebola on 23 October, the hospital was caught off-guard. Only two of its 160 workers had received training on how to detect and treat Ebola patients and how to protect themselves while doing so, said hospital director Toumani Konaré. “The staff had the right protective gear, but they didn’t know how to use it,” he told IRIN.
Vanguard covers mobilization:
Conflict-scarred Mali pulls out the stops to beat Ebola
The leader of the war-torn west African nation of Mali has come in person to galvanise his people as they do battle with the most elusive foe they have ever faced.
On the country’s remote southern border with Guinea, the enemy is not the armed jihadists who wreak havoc elsewhere, but the Ebola virus, which has sparked a national crisis despite just four deaths.
On a strip of dusty asphalt a cavalcade of several dozen government vehicles comes to a halt in the southern frontier town of Kouremale, which is almost perfectly bisected by the border with Guinea.
While the U.N. News Center covers the WHO response:
Efforts by UN health agency under way to step up Ebola response in Mali
The United Nations is intensifying its efforts to keep the Ebola outbreak from spreading in Mali by working to identify all chains of transmission and stepping up social mobilization campaigns to include a range of actors, from religious leaders to truck and bus drivers.
According to the UN World Health Organization (WHO), Mali has officially reported a total of 6 cases of Ebola, with 5 deaths. The virus was re-introduced into the country last month.
WHO is currently assisting the Government of Mali to identify and monitor contacts, and prevent the outbreak from growing. To date, 554 contacts have been identified and nearly all have been placed under surveillance.
The health agency’s focus will be to work closely with the Government to identify all potential chains of transmission and monitor the contacts so that everybody could be monitored for 21 days, after which, the transmission would hopefully stop, said WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic.
On to Sierra Leone and another healer felled, via the Associated Press:
7th doctor dies of Ebola in Sierra Leone
A top health official says a seventh doctor in Sierra Leone has died of Ebola.
Dr. Moses Kargbo, who had been a retired medical officer in the Ministry of Health, died Tuesday at the Hastings Ebola Treatment Center east of the capital, Freetown, where he had been receiving treatment. He had been volunteering to help fight the spread of the virus at a government hospital in the central Tonkolili district.
Kargbo’s death was confirmed by Dr. Amara Jambai of the Health Ministry. It comes a day after that of Dr. Martin Salia, a surgeon who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone and was transported to a Nebraska hospital over the weekend for aggressive treatment.
From Reuters, still another healer stricken:
Cuban doctor in Sierra Leone tests positive for Ebola
A Cuban doctor treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone has tested positive for the disease and will be sent to Geneva for treatment, the official website Cubadebate reported on Tuesday, citing a Health Ministry statement.
The Guardian covers a critical clinical trial:
Sierra Leonean doctors to start clinical trial using blood of Ebola survivors
- Convalescent serum therapy trial will test whether antibodies from plasma of 200 survivors can help infected fight disease
Doctors in Sierra Leone are to start their own clinical trial, using the blood of Ebola survivors, to speed up the search for a cure for the disease, which has so far killed more than 5,000 people in west Africa.
The trial, organised by a global group of Sierra Leonean medics, will take place in parallel with similar trials announced last week by Médecins Sans Frontières to be run in Guinea in December.
The Sierra Leone Action Group has some 200 survivors registered as possible donors, and hopes to start banking their blood plasma in mid-December after receiving equipment donated by a US medical devices firm. Scientists hope that the antibodies in the blood of people who have recovered from the disease will help other patients fight the infection.
From Agence France-Presse, ancillary impacts:
Spike in pregnancies and abuse in Ebola-hit Sierra Leone
In Ebola-hit Sierra Leone aid workers and health professionals worry that the epidemic is giving rise to a darker trend — spiralling teenage pregnancies and violence against women.
While Vanguard covers action from the top:
S’ Leone leader punishes uncle for breaking Ebola laws
Sierra Leone’s president has suspended his uncle from a prestigious position as a tribal chief for flouting laws designed to contain Ebola, officials said on Tuesday.
Amadu Kamara, the head of the northern village of Yeli Sanda, is accused of covering up secret burials of victims who are supposed to be reported by their families to the authorities.
Bombali District Council, the local authority, said President Ernest Bai Koroma had handed his uncle an “indefinite suspension and fine of 500,000 leones ($115, 92 euros)”.
And on to Liberia, with good numbers from the capital via the NewDawn:
Monrovia’s Ebola cases drop to 25
The World Health Organization says while the number of Ebola cases appears to be declining, with reported cases in Monrovia falling from 75 to 25 daily, a mixed picture emerges in different counties across the country.
The head of the Ebola Response team at the WHO Dr. Bruce Aylward, paid a four- day visit to Liberia to get a better understanding of the Ebola response activities on the ground.
In a press statement, WHO says the transmission of Ebola virus disease is consistently high in Montserrado County while there are declines in Lofa County where zero cases have been reported for more than a week, according to Dr. Aylward. WHO report as of 8 November says Liberia reported a total of 6,822 cases including 2,836 deaths.
FrontPageAfrica voices some healthy skepticism:
Zero Ebola Cases by X-Mas? Complacency Compounds Reality
Amid the optimism many fear that the political atmosphere and people’s perception that the worst has passed Liberia is giving rise to complacency in some quarters, even as infections in Bong County remained stagnant for the past three weeks and Cape Mount and Montserrado report new cases.
Dr. Bruce Aylward, the World Health Organization (WHO) Assistant Director General for Polio and Emergencies who was in Liberia last week, urged Liberians not to begin relaxing the measures aimed at stopping the transmission of the Ebola virus disease that has ravaged Liberia and its two neighbors, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The reality, is according to Dr. Bruce Aylward, there are still traces of the virus popping up in a number of areas across the country and any change in attitude in relation to the Ebola fight could be devastating to the population.
According to the latest Ministry of Health and Social Welfare case tracker, new Ebola cases are springing up in Bong, Grand Cape Mount, and Rivercess Counties. Montserrado has seen at least 24 new cases, Rivercess 14, Grand Bassa 3, Bong 5 and 1 new cases in Cape Mount. In contrast, the rest of the country is seeing zero number of cases in the past weeks with Lofa, Sinoe, Grand Gedeh, Bomi, Sinoe, River Gee, Grand Kru, Maryland, Nimba, and Gbparpolu have all reported zero case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) for the past four weeks, a positive signal that the Christmas goal is within reach.
Dr. Aylward agrees that Liberia stands a good chance to record zero new case in the coming months, but this will only become a reality if Liberians maintain those measures put into place by health authorities to fight the Ebola virus disease. More importantly, person to person transmission has dropped from 45% to 18%.
While the NewDawn covers curious behavior by Asian helpers:
Chinese discriminate at SKD
A Chinese team building a hundred bed Ebola Treatment Unit in Paynesville has been complained to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for “shutting off” power and water supplies to counterparts that are also building another 200-bed capacity ETU at the SKD Sports Stadium in the same community.
But President Sirleaf has told Mr. Liangquan Fu, Managing Director for CICO’s West Africa Headquarters that the Chinese team should cooperate with its colleagues as one team because they are doing the same work for the same people.
During President Sirleaf visit at ETUs in Monrovia Tuesday, November 18, 2014, a local architect working on the World Food Program ETU that will be run by IRC and German Red Cross, Mr. Bennie D. Tickey, said UNICEF “is exploring digging another well” after being shut off by the Chinese.
“We want you to negotiate because they say you cut their water off; you cut the light off. They had people sleeping in an empty place; you say no they must move. You need to cooperate – one team because the same work you are doing for the same people; that are the same objective, so your need to work together,” the Liberian leader urged the Chinese.
From AllAfrica, a plea for days to come:
Liberia: Chief Karwor Requests Land for Post-Ebola Farming
The Chairman of the National Traditional Council of Liberia, Chief Zanzan Karwor, is urging the Ministry of Internal Affairs to request local officials in each county to provide 250 acres of land for farming after Ebola is kicked out of Liberia.
He said the Ministry should instruct County Superintendents to liaise with Statutory District Superintendents to prepare the land for citizens to grow food to avert any post-Ebola food shortages.
Chief Karwor observed that after Ebola is wiped out of Liberia, hunger will be the next to attack the country.
“The hunger that is in this country is too high and if we don’t do something now, after Ebola is gone, the next attack on the citizens will be hunger,” Karwor told the Liberia News Agency at the administration building in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County Tuesday.
While the Associated Press finds a hopeful symptom:
Liberian couples marry, a sign of less Ebola fear
“It is absolutely premature to start being optimistic,” Birte Hald of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Monday in Brussels. She noted that the virus “is flaring up in new villages, in new locations.”
In Monrovia, though, ordinary life is resuming and there are some signs of normalcy that were all but absent during the height of the crisis here. Washing hands before entering is no longer enforced in many shops. Radio stations are not playing anti-Ebola jingles as often as they did two months ago.
And on Sunday, a small park near the Ministry of Health was full of cameramen jostling for space to get the best shots of the newly wedded.
Jordan Jackson, 36, and his bride Jacquelyn, 33, were married on Sunday after more than a decade together. The couple already has three children — 10, 7 and 5 years old — who took part in the ceremony along with them.
“The feeling I am leaving this park with this afternoon is that Liberia is returning to normalcy and things are getting better,” the groom said.
And from AllAfrica, another cautionary note:
Liberia: Unchecked Migration of Ebola Patients Troubling MoH
An official of the Ministry of Health has expressed concern that the migration of Ebola patients from Monrovia to other parts of Liberia is leading to the rapid spread of the virus.
Assistant Health Minister for Preventive Services Tolbert Nyenswah blamed the recent emergence of few hotspots of the Ebola virus in Grand Bassa and Bong counties on the movement of Ebola patients to those areas.
He made the statement Tuesday at the Ministry of Information daily Ebola press conference held at the ministry in Monrovia.