Long compendium today, so we open right up with this from the Associated Press:
Senegal monitors contacts of 1st Ebola patient
Senegalese authorities on Monday were monitoring everyone who was in contact with a student infected with Ebola who crossed into the country, and who has lost three family members to the disease.
An Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 1,500 people in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The university student is Senegal’s first case of the dreaded disease.
The 21-year-old left Guinea on Aug. 15, just days after his brother died of the disease, according to Guinea’s Health Ministry. It said that the brother apparently caught Ebola in Sierra Leone.
We thought we’d look at local papers for a better sense of what the epidemic feels like to journalists there. First this from Punch in Lagos, Nigeria:
Ebola: Three new suspected cases in Port Harcourt
Three people have been taken to the Ebola Virus Disease quarantine centre at Oduoha, Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The State Commissioner for Health, Sampson Parker, made this known on Sunday just as the Federal Government said another emergency meeting of the National Council of Health over the EVD would hold in Abuja today. The last meeting took place on August 11, 2014.
Parker, who addressed journalists, said those quarantined were a doctor, a pharmacist and a woman who came into contact with Dr. Iyke Enemuo, who died of the virus in Port Harcourt on August 22.
A related story from Leadership, another Nigerian paper:
Rivers Doctor: 60 Ebola Contacts Yet To Be Found
The Rivers State government has said about 60 people, out of close to 200 that had primary and secondary contacts with the late Dr Ikechukwu Sam Enemuo, who died of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Port Harcourt, the state capital, are yet to be found.
Also, the state government has placed a ban on the movement of corpses within and outside the state without death certificates and explanations on the cause of such deaths, and has directed the police to demand such documents from ambulances conveying such corpses in the state.
This is as the state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, will today meet with leaders of churches in the state, while a meeting with the traditional rulers will hold tomorrow, Tuesday, over the spread of the Ebola virus in the state.
The Associated Press covers another side-effect:
9 African wrestlers barred from worlds championships
The governing body of wrestling says nine athletes cannot compete at the upcoming world championships because of travel restrictions imposed since the Ebola virus outbreak in west Africa.
FILA says the ruling by the Uzbekistan health ministry affects seven wrestlers from Nigeria and two from Sierra Leone.
The decision follows similar travel bans imposed by China and Russia ahead of the recent Youth Olympic Games and judo worlds.
From International Business Times, another border closes:
Saudi Arabia Stops Issuing Visas To Workers From Ebola-Stricken Nations
Saudi Arabia announced Monday it has temporarily stopped granting visas to workers from the countries most ravaged by the Ebola outbreak. The decision follows repeated incidents in the past month that raised fears the hemorrhagic fever could spread to the Middle Eastern nation.
Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry has temporarily stopped issuing visas to laborers from the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Agence France-Presse reported. The three nations have seen the highest death tolls in the current Ebola outbreak, which was first detected in Guinea in March.
The visa ban was described as a “preventative measure,” the official Saudi Press Agency reported. Saudi Arabia had already instituted a ban in April on Muslim pilgrims visiting from the three nations because of concern the disease could spread as thousands of people descend on Mecca for early October’s hajj.
From StarAfrica, a blackout imposed:
Sudan bans reporting on Ebola
The Sudanese authorities have prohibited local media from covering any news related to the Ebola virus.Press sources who asked not to be mentioned for security reasons confirmed to APA on Saturday that the security authorities have circulated warning to all media outlets not to publish any news or articles related to the transmission of the Ebola virus in Sudan.
The prohibition came after local media reported on some suspected cases of Ebola in the west of Sudan.
The Minister of Health Affairs for the Darfur Regional Authority, Firdos Abdel Rahman Yousif denied reports of the deadly Ebola virus disease in El Geneina, capital of West Darfur State.
From New Dawn in Monrovia, another lack:
Ebola Survivors Lack Clothes
Health authorities at the Eternal Love Wins Africa or (ELWA) Hospital have disclosed that Ebola survivors leaving the treatment center do not have clothes to wear. Medical Director Dr. Jerry Brown, said nurses usually dress survivors in veils as they leave the hospital compound due to lack of clothes. Dr. Brown made the disclosure when the Citizens Organized for Transparency and Accountability (COPTA) presented items valued over US$5,000 to the ELWA Isolation Unit 2.
He appealed to well-meaning Liberians and NGOs to assist the unit with clothes for survivors to wear when leaving the hospital. But a non-governmental organization, Smile Liberia International, has promised to provide clothes for survivals returning home. An executive of the group, Ms. Fasiah Harris, said Smile Liberia in collaboration with COPTA will continue to provide needed services for Liberians.
COPTA is a local partner to Smile Liberia International and some Liberians working with the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC. The project coordinator Christine Brooks-Jarrett said COPTA is an organization working to ensure a better Liberia in which leaders can be held accountable to the people in the discharge of their services.
National Geographic offers a reminder:
Doctors and Nurses Risk Everything to Fight Ebola in West Africa
- Foreign and local caregivers are essential to stopping the virus’s deadly spread
In two Land Rovers, one fitted out as an ambulance, a small team of humanitarian workers last week headed deep into Sierra Leone’s jungle. After hours on deeply rutted paths that could barely be called roads, they stopped at a village that had seen ten reported cases of Ebola.
With the consent of the village chief, the team fanned out across the community, asking at each hut if anyone was feeling ill or had made contact with the earlier patients. At one, they found a mother nursing a seven-month-old, even though she had experienced bouts of bloody diarrhea and a fever of 102°F—possible signs of Ebola. A quick conversation revealed that the mother had recently attended the same funeral as the ten patients.
The aid workers knew right away they had to get the woman away from her village. It would improve her chances of recovery, even though those chances hovered at only about 30 percent. And it would protect her baby and husband, and the entire community, because Ebola is easily passed through bodily fluids such as diarrhea, vomit, and blood.
BBC News updates:
British Ebola patient ‘pretty well’
The parents of the first British person to contract Ebola during the outbreak in West Africa say he is recovering well.
William Pooley, 29, has spent the last week in a special isolation unit at Royal Free Hospital in London.
His parents, Robin and Jackie, say they knew he was improving when he ordered a “bacon butty” and praised the “world class” care at the hospital.
More than 1,500 people have died since the outbreak started in Guinea.
From the Wall Street Journal, a clearance:
Stockholm Patient Does Not Have Ebola
But Test Results Awaited on Another Suspected Case in Spain
Tests results have shown that a man who was hospitalized in Sweden on Sunday as a suspected Ebola case isn’t carrying the potentially deadly virus, Stockholm County Council health officials said in a news release on Monday.
An unidentified young man sought treatment for high fever and stomach pains at a local health clinic in Stockholm on Sunday evening.
After medical staff learned that he had recently visited a West African country affected by the Ebola virus, he was transferred to medical isolation at Stockholm’s Karolinska University Hospital.
ABC News initiates:
Human Trial for Ebola Vaccine to Begin This Week
The first human trial for an investigational Ebola vaccine is set to begin this week.
The ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa prompted the National Institutes of Health to expedite safety testing for several vaccines already in the works. Since March, the deadly virus has killed 1,552 people, according to the World Health Organization, which predicted last week that the virus could infect 20,000 people in the next six months.
An Ebola vaccine is different from the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which two Americans received last month and is designed to treat an existing Ebola infection rather than prevent one.
“There is an urgent need for a protective Ebola vaccine, and it is important to establish that a vaccine is safe and spurs the immune system to react in a way necessary to protect against infection,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said in a statement.
From StarAfrica, getting ready:
Malawi MPs to table Ebola preparedness
Members of the Malawi Parliament are expected to discuss and look at the country’s preparedness for containing the Ebola disease which is rampaging across West Africa.Parliament’s Health Committee Chairperson Juliana Lunguzi said on Monday in Lilongwe that the parliamentarians need to look at measures which government through the Ministry of Health have put in place to prepare for any eventuality.
“We need to know what has been put in place as a country in terms of preventive measures in entry points, border districts and capacity-building for caregivers” she declared.
She said that Malawi needs to be alert because the disease is gradually spreading across the borders of the region.
Reuters notes the obvious but often uncommented upon:
Poor response to Ebola causing needless deaths: World Bank head
The world’s “disastrously inadequate response” to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak means many people are dying needlessly, the head of the World Bank said on Monday, as Nigeria confirmed another case of the virus.
In a newspaper editorial, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Western healthcare facilities would easily be able to contain the disease, and urged wealthy nations to share the knowledge and resources to help African countries tackle it.
“The crisis we are watching unfold derives less from the virus itself and more from deadly and misinformed biases that have led to a disastrously inadequate response to the outbreak,” Kim wrote in the Washington Post.
Off to another continue and the update on another outbreak via the Asahi Shimbun:
19 new cases of dengue fever reported
Health ministry officials on Sept. 1 confirmed 19 new cases of dengue fever, bringing the total to 22 in a country that had not seen domestic infections of the disease for about 70 years.
The disease was found in individuals living in Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Niigata prefectures. None of the patients has ever been abroad, but all had recently visited Yoyogi Park in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward.
Officials said the outbreak was likely caused by mosquitoes carrying the virus in the vicinity of the park.
We begin today’s water woes with the South China Morning Post:
Toxic waste mountains threaten Southeast Asia’s booming megacities
From Jakarta’s Bantar Gebang dump to Manila’s “smoky mountain”, open landfills blight Southeast Asia’s booming megacities, as urban planners labour to keep pace with rapid urbanisation and industrial growth.
Experts warn those dumps are an environmental and health time bomb.
Open dumping “offers a quick and easy solution in the short run”, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific says in a study, warning of severe environmental problems and long-term health issues caused by contaminated water and land.
Of Thailand’s 2,500 open rubbish pits, just a fifth are properly managed, according to its Pollution Control Department. The rest are at the mercy of illegal dumping – including of hazardous waste – fires and seepage into nearby land and water systems.
TheLocal.de covers a warm water invader up north:
Vacationer killed by Baltic Sea bacteria
- Six people were infected with a bacteria from the Caribbean which has made itself at home in the popular German vacation destination. One of them is now in a coma.
The bacterium, Vibrio vulnificus, is found in parts of the Baltic Sea and other regions of the world, though most-concentrated in the Gulf of Mexico. It spreads best in brackish waters with temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius.
“This could be found anywhere as long as the conditions are right,” Dr. Heiko Will, the first director of State Office of Health and Welfare (LAGuS) of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, told The Local. “It is just as prevalent in Denmark, Poland, and all along the German coast.”
The victim had been holidaying on the island of Usedom at the end of July, according (LAGuS). He passed away at the beginning of August. Another pensioner has been in a coma for three weeks and there is a possibility he will lose a leg. He went swimming near Ahrenshoop with a small open wound on his leg. He went to the hospital after noticing on the drive home that his leg had turned blue. Doctors diagnosed blood poisoning caused by Vibrio vulnificus.
From Al Jazeera America, another invader off the Golden State:
On Calif. coast, biotoxins cause deadly sea lion seizures, seafood scare
- An outbreak of algae-produced biotoxins that attack animals’?? brains also poses a grave risk to humans
The culprit? Domoic acid, a deadly neurotoxin produced by algae, that appeared at record high levels along California’s Central Coast this spring and summer, closing fisheries and taking the lives of many marine mammals. But toxic algae isn’t just limited to California– this summer various toxic blooms have poisoned coastlines across America, including Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico.
While the algae in Monterey, produced by the Pseudo-nitzschia genus of phytoplankton, are a common occurrence along the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines and around the world, its production of domoic acid is not.
First discovered in 1987 when 107 people on Prince Edward Island fell ill after eating mussels harboring domoic acid, the algae occasionally produce this deadly toxin, which scientists believe is triggered by changing ocean conditions and surges of nitrogen into bodies of water.
Another California water woe from the University of California Newsroom:
Drying Sierra meadows could worsen California drought
Carpeting the high valleys of Yosemite and other parts of the Sierra Nevada, mountain meadows are more than an iconic part of the California landscape. The roughly 17,000 high altitude meadows help regulate the release of Sierra snow melt into rivers and streams.
But climate change and California’s severe drought threaten to permanently alter these fragile and important ecosystems, according to research by Chelsea Arnold, who was awarded a doctorate in environmental systems from UC Merced in May. Her findings reveal that soil changes already are taking place that could have long-term implications for California’s water supply.
Impact of extreme weather
Arnold’s research found that meadows in the Central Sierra near Yosemite are drying out as a result of several years of unusual variation in climate and snowfall.
“What we’re seeing is that all kinds of extreme weather, including one dry winter like the one we just had, can totally change the structure of the soil,” Arnold said. “Part of that is an irreversible change.”
Under normal conditions, a mountain meadow acts like a sponge. Organic material in the soil allows the meadow to hold water, which is filtered and slowly released to mountain streams. Samples collected by Arnold and her colleagues found that the larger pores which trap and hold moisture are disappearing, to be replaced with smaller, more compact pores through which water doesn’t easily flow.
As meadows dry out, flooding in wet years is likely to increase. And in drought years, parched meadows could result in less snowmelt reaching streams, exacerbating the state’s already precarious water situation.
And another from the New York Times:
Desperately Dry California Tries to Curb Private Drilling for Water
California’s vicious, prolonged drought, which has radically curtailed most natural surface water supplies, is making farmers look deeper and deeper underground to slake their thirst. This means the drought is a short-term bonanza for firms like Arthur & Orum, which expects to gross as much as $3 million this year.
But in a drought as long and severe as the current one, over-reliance on groundwater means that land sinks, old wells go dry, and saltwater invades coastal aquifers. Aquifers are natural savings accounts, a place to go when the streams run dry. Exhaust them, and the $45 billion annual agricultural economy will take a severe hit, while small towns run dry.
Yet for a century, farmers believed that the law put control of groundwater in the hands of landowners, who could drill as many wells as deeply as they wanted, and court challenges were few.
That just changed. The California Legislature, in its closing hours on Friday, passed new and sweeping groundwater controls. The measures do not eliminate private ownership, but they do establish a framework for managing withdrawals through local agencies.
After jump, water woes in Mexico, ice caps on both poles in epic retreat, a decade-long drought looms in the American Southwest, Mediterranean tsunami dangers, Japanese dolphin slaughter, branding environmentalists as terrorists, volcanic eruptions in both hemisphere, a species extinction commemorated, and the latest chapter of Fukushimapocalypse Now! Continue reading