First up, the reality, via Al Jazeera English:
WHO: no control over spread of Ebola
- UN health authority says almost half of Ebola patients have died, and warns disease will spread to other countries
The Ebola outbreak shows no signs of abating, has killed 3,879 people and threatens more Western African nations poorly equipped to deal with the disease, the World Health Organisation has said in a grim update.
The UN’s health authority said on Wednesday that a total of 8,033 people had caught the infection up to October 5, and 3,879 of those had died. Liberia and Sierra Leone, the two worst-hit nations, had less than a quarter of the beds needed.
“The situation in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone continues to deteriorate, with widespread and persistent transmission of Ebola,” it said. “There is no evidence that the EVD epidemic in West Africa is being brought under control.”
It said a reported fall in the number of new cases in Liberia was “unlikely to be genuine” and rather reflected how responders were being overwhelmed by data.
From CNN, a remarkable look at the African frontline reality by way of a forehead-mounted camera:
Ebola battle through nurse’s eyes
CNN’s Nima Elbagir reports on the desperate effort to save Ebola patients from the viewpoint of those taking care of them.
And a parallel alarm from the Guardian:
Ebola outbreak could cost West African economy $32.6bn, World Bank warns
- Bank says failure to adequately contain the virus would have potentially catastrophic consequences for the economy
The outbreak of Ebola could cost the West African economy $32.6bn (£20.3bn) by the end of 2015 unless the epidemic is quickly contained,the World Bank has warned.
The Bank said the future path of Ebola was highly uncertain and failure to adequately contain the virus would have potentially catastrophic consequences for the economy.
More than 3,400 people have died after contracting Ebola in the three most greatly affected countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Jim Yong Kim, the president of the World Bank, said the virus posed a global threat and urged the international community to respond decisively.
And the shrieking alarm from [where else?] the London Daily Mail:
‘It’s literally, “Katie bar the door”’: Marine Corps four-star general warns of ‘mass migration into the US’ if Ebola epidemic hits Central America
- Gen. John Kelly said Ebola in countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras would bring a new human flood to the US-Mexico border
- ‘Katie bar the door’ refers to a frantic effort to stop a threat from reaching its target
- Kelly recalled seeing a line of people waiting to cross a Central American border, all of whom said they were from Liberia
- Illegal immigrants have poured into the US from those countries this year, including tens of thousands of unaccompanied children
- Kelly predicted that the deadly disease can’t be prevented from spreading: ‘There is no way we can keep Ebola in West Africa’
The Marine Corps general who leads America’s Southern Command warned Tuesday that the U.S. could face an unprecedented flood of immigrants from the south if the Ebola virus epidemic hits Central America.
‘If it breaks out, it’s literally, “Katie bar the door”,’ Gen John Kelly told said during a public discussion at the National Defense University. ‘And there will be mass migration into the United States.’
And a situation report, via CCTV Africa:
Ebola: Fresh concerns as the virus outpaces mitigation efforts
Health experts in the United States say the Ebola outbreak is unlikely to be eradicated unless a vaccine or other drug treatment is successfully developed. Up until now, the emphasis has been on halting the spread of Ebola by rapidly scaling up public health care facilities. But, experts now say those efforts are unlikely to keep pace with the disease. Daniel Ryntjes reports.
From the New York Times, in case you hadn’t read it before:
Dallas Ebola Patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, Dies
Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, the patient with the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States and the Liberian man at the center of a widening public health scare, died in isolation at a hospital here on Wednesday, hospital authorities said.
Mr. Duncan died at 7:51 a.m. at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, more than a week after the virus was detected in him on Sept. 30. His condition had worsened in recent days to critical from serious as medical personnel worked to support his fluid and electrolyte levels, crucial to recovery in a disease that causes bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea. Mr. Duncan was also treated with an experimental antiviral drug, brincidofovir, after the Food and Drug Administration approved its use on an emergency basis.
“The past week has been an enormous test of our health system, but for one family it has been far more personal,” Dr. David Lakey, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement. “Today they lost a dear member of their family. They have our sincere condolences, and we are keeping them in our thoughts.”
CNBC posits the inevitable:
Could Dallas hospital be liable for Ebola death?
Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient in Dallas who died Wednesday, may have been sent home while ill with the disease, and the doctors and nurses treating him may have failed to act on his report of coming from West Africa.
But will those health-care providers or their hospital be legally liable? Not likely, Texas legal experts say.
Tort reform and other legal changes in Texas since 2003 have made it one of the most difficult states in which to bring a medical malpractice suit, said Charles Silver, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
“I doubt that you could find a plaintiff’s attorney to even take this case unless it was solely for the publicity value,” Silver said. “I can’t see why somebody would take this case for just strictly a contingent fee.
Meanwhile in California, this from the Los Angeles Times:
8th person tested for Ebola in L.A. County, 8th negative result
A man who was admitted to Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood with Ebola-like symptoms has tested negative for the deadly virus, hospital officials confirmed Wednesday.
The unidentified man, who officials said was admitted to the hospital Tuesday night, is the latest such case in the U.S. amid heightened screening and other measures put in place to prevent the virus from spreading.
Since the Ebola outbreak began in West Africa in December, there have been seven other instances in Los Angeles County in which patients were initially deemed to potentially have Ebola. Patients are quarantined until tests are completed.
Reuters covers belated preparations:
Dallas hospitals set up Ebola wards as city watches for spread
Hospitals in Dallas have set up Ebola isolation wards and revamped procedures to deal with new patients, as the sprawling Texas city waits to see if the deadly virus spreads following the first case diagnosed on U.S. soil.
Some 48 people are being monitored by health officials in Dallas after Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian visiting family in Dallas, came down with the disease in late September. He died early on Wednesday, hospital officials said.
Ebola’s incubation period can last as long as three weeks, but victims typically start showing symptoms within 10-14 days, making this week crucial, according to state officials.
From the Guardian, help in vein:
Ebola survivor gives blood for transfusion with Nebraska patient
- Journalist Ashoka Mukpo, the most recent patient to arrive in the US for treatment, will receive blood of Dr Kent Brantley
The first American flown back to the US for treatment of Ebola this summer has donated blood to the most recent one to return from west Africa with the disease.
The Nebraska Medical Center said Wednesday that it called Dr Kent Brantly on Tuesday to tell him his blood type matches that of Ashoka Mukpo, a freelance video journalist who arrived at the medical center Monday.
The hospital says Brantly was driving through Kansas City, Missouri, and was able to give blood locally that was flown to Omaha. It says Mukpo will receive the transfusion Wednesday.
The Los Angeles Times watches the airports:
Ebola screening of travelers to U.S. may begin this weekend at 5 airports
Officials hope to begin screening air passengers entering the United States for Ebola as soon as this weekend, the White House confirmed Wednesday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest confirmed at a press briefing Wednesday that the stepped-up screening is planned for John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark Liberty, Dulles International, Chicago O’Hare, and Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta.
Earnest said 94% of air travelers from the three affected West African countries — Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — pass through those five ports of entry, which he said amounts to about 150 passengers at all five airports daily.
More from the Associated Press:
Obama: New Ebola measures add layer of protection
President Barack Obama describes says new screening measures at key international airports are “just belt-and-suspenders” to add a layer of protection to measures already employed.
He says the new measures will include more screening questions for passengers arriving from the countries worst hit by the outbreak — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. He says the procedures will allow United States officials to isolate, evaluate and monitor travelers and collect any information about their contacts.
He says the case of Ebola in the U.S. — a patient who died Wednesday in Dallas — illustrates that “we don’t have a lot of margin for error.” But he said chance of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. “remains extremely low.
A white Southerner says old school white Southerner, via The Hill:
Vitter: Block Ebola funds until Obama details plan
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) is urging his colleagues to block any additional funding to combat Ebola until the Obama administration more clearly details its plans to stop the deadly outbreak.
In a letter Wednesday to the leaders of two congressional panels, Vitter questioned the administration’s request to shift $1 billion in funds toward Ebola prevention.
“I strongly support addressing this crisis with the full force of the government to help bring the epidemic under control,” he wrote. “However, I ask you to oppose fully allowing the additional $1 billion in reprogramming requests until previously requested additional information is available for members of Congress to be fully briefed.”
But Vitter said more should be done, suggesting the administration should bar foreign nationals from countries dealing with Ebola from entering the U.S.
“Instead of using powers given to him, the President is requesting $1 billion for a plan that has not been presented to members of Congress, focuses on Africa, and largely ignores our own borders,” he wrote.
The Verge makes a point familiar for esnl readers:
Ebola panic is getting pretty racist
- The real culprit in Ebola’s spread has been cuts to public health budgets
The first time a reporter asked a CDC representative whether Thomas Duncan — the first patient to receive an Ebola diagnosis in the US — was an American citizen, the question seemed pretty tame. One could excuse it as a general inquiry about the Duncan’s nationality during the first press conference announcing his diagnosis. But after the CDC declined to answer, the question kept coming. “Is he a citizen?” reporters repeatedly asked. “Is he one of us?” they meant.
The current Ebola crisis has been tinged with racism and xenophobia. The disease rages in West Africa, and has therefore largely infected people of color. But somehow Americans were among the first to get a dose of Zmapp — the experimental anti-Ebola drug — this summer, despite the fact that Africans have been dying from the current Ebola epidemic since its emergence in Guinea in December. There are a lot of reasons for that, of course. The drug is potentially dangerous and only exists in short supply. It’s also extremely costly. And it originated in Canada, so it’s unsurprising that North America controls its use.
And now that Ebola has “reached” the US, American privilege — white privilege, especially — is floating to the surface, in even less subtle ways.
On a related note, from Public Radio International:
Why doubling down on aid to West Africa will do more to halt Ebola than increased airport screening
Although many treatment centers in Liberia are at capacity, local and international staff at most facilities are soldiering on, according to physician Sheri Fink, who is reporting on the outbreak for the New York Times. Fink is now in Suakoko, Liberia, at an Ebola clinic run by the International Medical Corps.
She says Liberians in that rural outpost fear that [Dalla fatality Tomas] Duncan’s death, along with increased screenings at airports worldwide, might mean fewer international volunteers will step forward to work in Ebola wards.
“They’re really worried that this will have a dampening effect on getting volunteers to come over here, where you really need to fight this disease at its source, and help the people out which is going to contribute to the US protection as well,” Fink says. “The fear is that if volunteers think that they might not be able to get back to their countries of origin, or have difficulty with that, that could be a problem.”
Another shrieker from the London Daily Mail:
BREAKING: Texas sheriff’s deputy rushed to hospital with Ebola symptoms after attending apartment of ‘patient zero’ who died today
- Dallas County Sheriff Deputy Michael Monning went to an urgent care clinic in Frisco, Texas with his wife on Wednesday
- A witness at the clinic described him as ‘hunched over and flushed’
- The deputy was inside the apartment where Ebola patient Thomas Duncan fell ill – the officer wasn’t wearing protective clothing
- The CDC said the person is not one of the 48 contacts being monitored
- The CareNow clinic was placed in lock-down
- Liberian national Mr Duncan, 42, died from Ebola on Wednesday morning
- Sgt Monning’s family said today the CDC had told them that their loved one was not at risk and they were just taking precautions
United Press International sounds a softer note:
Officials: Dallas sheriff’s deputy unlikely to have Ebola
The son of Texas Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Monnig said there is “almost no chance” his father is infected with the Ebola virus.
A Dallas sheriff’s deputy who visited the apartment occupied by Ebola patient Thomas Duncan is unlikely to have been infected with the deadly disease, officials said.
Michael Monnig’s son said Wednesday his father decided to visit a clinic because he had stomach pains and felt tired. Monnig had been monitoring his temperature since a visit to Duncan’s apartment last week, but Logan Monnig said his father spent very little time there and did not come into direct contact with Duncan.
“We don’t want to cause a panic,” Logan Monnig told the Dallas Morning News. “There is almost no chance my dad would have Ebola.” Mark Piland, the fire chief in Frisco, where Monnig lives, concurred. He described Monnig’s illness as a “low-risk event.”
Another false alarm, this one in the Big Apple, via the New York Post:
NYC man cleared after being hospitalized for symptoms of Ebola
A Harlem man showing Ebola-like symptoms was taken to Bellevue Hospital on Wednesday, sources told The Post.
The 31-year-old, who had recently visited Nigeria, was later cleared by doctors after a battery of tests, sources said.
The FDNY confirmed that an ambulance responded to a call for a patient who was feeling sick at the Center for Urban Community Services and took the person to the city hospital around 12:42 p.m. His symptoms included fever, vomiting and diarrhea, the sources said.
On to Spain and the latest alarm from El País:
Second nursing assistant admitted to hospital with a fever
- The woman formed part of the team that cared for the Spanish missionaries with Ebola
A second nursing assistant was admitted to hospital in Madrid on Tuesday night showing symptoms that could correspond to infection with the Ebola virus. The woman formed part of the medical team that treated two Spanish missionaries with Ebola, who were repatriated from Africa and later died in care. Another nursing assistant from the same team, Teresa Romero, was confirmed to have contracted Ebola on Monday and is being treated in Madrid’s Carlos III hospital, where this second woman has also been admitted.
According to a spokesperson from the La Paz and Carlos III hospitals, the suspected victim is running a fever, and is under observation. No further information was given, and it is not known whether the nursing assistant advised the medical authorities of her temperature, or whether she is one of the 50 or so people being monitored by doctors. Most of these formed part of the team who took care of the missionaries, and the remainder are medical staff who came into contact with Romero on Monday before she was placed in isolation.
The second potential victim was “very frightened” given that she is “a friend” of Romero, said hospital sources. The woman worked the morning shift on the team that cared for missionaries Miguel Pajares and Manuel García Viejo, who both died several days after being brought back to Spain. “They have told us that she is fine, but they have admitted her just in case,” the same sources added.
From the Guardian, the first of a barrage of allegations:
Spanish nurse reported Ebola symptoms many times before being quarantined
- Teresa Romero Ramos says when she first told health authorities of her symptoms she was given only paracetamol
Her first contact with health authorities was on 30 September when she complained of a slight fever and fatigue. Romero Ramos called a specialised service dedicated to occupational risk at the Carlos III hospital where she worked and had treated an Ebola patient, said Antonio Alemany from the regional government of Madrid. But as the nurse’s fever had not reached 38.6C, she was advised to visit her local clinic where she was reportedly prescribed paracetamol.
Days later, according to El País newspaper, Romero Ramos called the hospital again to complain about her fever. No action was taken.
On Monday, she called the Carlos III hospital again, this time saying she felt terrible. Rather than transport her to the hospital that had treated the two missionaries who had been repatriated with Ebola, Romero Ramos was instructed to call emergency services and head to the hospital closest to her home. She was transported to the Alcorcón hospital by paramedics who were not wearing protective gear, El País reported.
On arrival at the hospital, Romero Ramos warned staff that she feared she had contracted Ebola. Despite the warning, she remained in a bed in the emergency room while she waited for her test results. She was separated from other patients only by curtains, hospital staff said on Tuesday.
More from the Guardian:
Ebola crisis: Spanish health workers attack poor training for combating virus
- Doctor treating Spanish nurse says she might have become accidentally infected with Ebola when taking off her protective equipment
Spanish health professionals have taken aim at the scant amount of training offered to those on the frontline fighting the Ebola virus as the investigation continues into how a Spanish nurse became the first known person to contract the disease outside of west Africa.
On Wednesday, the doctor treating Ebola patient Teresa Romero Ramos said the infection might have been caused by “an accident” when the 44-year-old was taking off her protective equipment.
Germán Ramírez said he had spoken to the nurse three times in an effort to home in how she got infected. Romero Ramos, he said, believes she might have touched her face with her gloves while she was taking off her protective equipment.
In an interview from her hospital bed, Romero Ramos told Spanish broadcaster Cuatro that while she had been given training on how to put on and take off the protective equipment, it was “little training”. She refused to give more details.
Still more from RT:
Spain’s Ebola-infected nurse not immediately isolated, treated in cuts-hit hospital
Healthcare activists report that Madrid’s authorities decided to “dismantle” the infectious diseases center at the Carlos III hospital just months before the Ebola patients were brought there.
The “dismantling” has led to Ebola being “treated in a place that did not meet adequate security conditions,” according to a spokesman for the Public Health Service Defense Federation, Dr Marciano Sánchez Bayle.
“The whole section devoted to infectious illnesses has been closed,” he explained in an interview with Euronews. “The professionals who worked there have been moved to other positions. The laboratory was closed, and so was the intensive care unit. It’s just to say that, one way or another, its capacity to take care of illnesses with these characteristics has been most remarkably reduced.”
Sky News adds insult to injury:
Spanish Nurse Found Out She Had Ebola Online
- The 40-year-old says doctors failed to tell her she had the deadly disease and she only realised after reading it on her phone
And some other notable headlines from El País:
Madrid health chief accuses Ebola victim of lying to doctors
- Francisco José Rodríguez denies any failures regarding training of medical teams
Health workers demand resignations over Ebola infection
- “We did not have the infrastructure to deal with a virus of this importance,” says labor union
Neighbors of woman with Ebola left in dark by authorities
- No attempt made on Tuesday to seal off building or apartment of Teresa Romero
From the New York Times, a canine excess:
Spain, Amid Protests, Kills Dog of Ebola-Infected Nurse
A dog named Excalibur who belonged to an Ebola-infected nurse was put down on Wednesday, even as protesters and animal rights activists surrounded the Madrid home of the nurse and her husband. A online petition calling for the dog’s life to be spared had drawn hundreds of thousands of signatures.
The furor came amid questions about whether dogs can get and transmit the disease.
In the United States, a spokesman for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Thomas Skinner, said Wednesday that studies had shown that dogs can have an immune response to Ebola, meaning that they can become infected. But he said there have been no reports of dogs or cats developing Ebola symptoms or passing the disease to other animals or to people.
And from the Associated Press, a sobering pronouncement:
WHO: Spain’s Ebola case won’t be last in Europe
“What happened in Spain is unfortunate, but given the size of the outbreak in West Africa, we can expect to see more cases in different countries, including in Europe,” said Dr. Isabelle Nuttall, a director at the World Health Organization tasked with helping countries prepare for Ebola. West Africa is currently battling the biggest-ever outbreak of Ebola, which doubles in size roughly every three weeks.
WHO earlier issued guidelines for all countries on how to prepare for the arrival of suspected and confirmed cases, and the agency doesn’t see any reason to change that advice in the aftermath of the Spanish infection, Nuttall said.
“At the top of the priority list is good training and infection-control practices before any Ebola cases arrive,” Nuttall said. She said the agency’s efforts were focused on helping countries in Africa. “We’re not too worried about preparations in Europe,” she said.
And from News Corp Australia:
Sydney Airport health scare sparks panic
A HEALTH scare has thrown Sydney Airport into chaos with a sick passenger who was vomiting blood causing a flight to be grounded and quarantine officials called to the scene.
The Sydney to Darwin flight JQ 672 was turned around overnight when the man in his 50s fell seriously ill while on board a Jetstar flight. Fears his condition is highly contagious were evident as he was treated by paramedics wearing protective hazmat suits.
A Jetstar spokesman told news.com.au the man had been vomiting and the crew were advised the best course of action was to turn the fight around so the man could be treated in Sydney.
Hospital sources have also confirmed the man was not suffering from a contagious disease, Today has reported.
After the jump, on to the real front lines in Africa, starting with that American military presence and a hands-on retraction, Marines added to the mix, and British troops on the way, an EU-organized airlift, a U.N. medic stricken in Liberia, the heavy price paid by health workers, another tragic consequence for mothers and children, a walkout by burial squads and its rapid end in Sierra Leone, angry Liberians take vehicular retribution, the president takes aim at more civil liberties while another politician fires back, survivors rejected on coming home, tangible good news in Nigeria and an African countries outreach to still-stricken countries, while the country remains on alert in the schools and alarm spreads at airports over possible contagion from passengers arriving from the U.S. and Europe, a computing-for-Ebola computer challenge, and Big Pharma prepares to gamble. . . Continue reading