And a whole lot more, given the pace at which the outbreak is moving.
We begin with this from JapanToday:
World fears mount that Ebola battle being lost
The World Bank warned Friday the fight to stop Ebola was being lost, as the U.N. pleaded for more money to combat the escalating epidemic and global travel fears mounted.
As the death toll from the world’s worst-ever outbreak of the virus shot past 4,500, a glimmer of hope came from Senegal, which was declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization.
The United States, meanwhile, named an “Ebola czar” to coordinate its response, after criticism of how a Texas hospital handled a Liberian victim, with two nurses who treated him now infected.
And a researcher at British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline said a vaccine may not be ready for commercial use until late 2016.
“We are losing the battle,” World Bank chief Jim Yong Kim warned, blaming a lack of international solidarity in efforts to stem the epidemic. “Certain countries are only worried about their own borders,” he told reporters in Paris.
And a continuing alarm from BBC News:
Ebola crisis: No impact from pledges of help, MSF says
International pledges of deployments and aid for Africa’s Ebola-hit regions have not yet had any impact on the epidemic, a major medical charity says.
Christopher Stokes of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said the disease was still out of control. He said it was “ridiculous” that volunteers working for his charity were bearing the brunt of care in the worst-affected countries.
The disease has killed about 4,500 people so far, mostly in West Africa.
MSF runs about 700 out of the 1,000 beds available in treatment facilities Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The BBC’s Mark Doyle, at the UN Ebola logistics base in Ghana, says it is generally agreed that at least three times that number are needed.
Shanghai Daily covers a concession:
WHO admits it botched response to Ebola outbreak in West Africa
THE World Health Organization has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.
“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document, noting that experts should have realized traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.
The UN health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are “politically motivated appointments” made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency’s chief in Geneva, Dr Margaret Chan.
Dr Peter Piot, co-discoverer of the Ebola virus, said WHO acted far too slowly, largely because of its Africa office. “It’s the regional office in Africa that’s the frontline,” he said. “And they didn’t do anything. That office is really not competent.”
Piot also questioned why it took WHO five months and 1,000 deaths before the agency declared Ebola an international health emergency in August.
And Kyodo News covers a summit:
Asian, European leaders pledge at Milan summit to stop Ebola
Asian and European leaders wrapped up a two-day summit Friday, highlighting in the chair’s statement their determination to stop the Ebola virus from spreading.
“The spread of the Ebola virus constitutes a serious threat to global health and security,” the leaders of 51 countries attending the Asia-Europe Meeting, or ASEM, said in the statement released after the 10th biennial summit in Milan, Italy.
“They acknowledged the efforts by ASEM partners in providing aid to affected areas and called for further urgent action and greater national, regional and international collaboration to end the Ebola outbreak in a comprehensive and coordinated manner including an exchange of best practices,” the statement said.
From Britain comes another alarm, this one from the Tory-in-chief, via the London Telegraph:
Ebola is the ‘biggest health threat to our world in a generation’ – David Cameron
Prime Minister tells other world leaders to ‘look to their responsibilities’” in fighting ebola as Royal Navy sets sail for West Africa
Ebola is the “biggest health problem facing our world in a generation”, David Cameron has said, as he urged foreign leaders to “step forward” with more resources to fight the crisis.
The Prime Minister urged other leaders to “look to their responsibilities” to help tackle the Ebola epidemic ravaging parts of West Africa.
Britain, he said, was “leading the way” in providing assistance to the region as he backed a call by United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon for other countries to deliver more funding.
Speaking as he arrived at the Asia Europe summit in Milan, Italy, he said: “This is the biggest health problem facing our world in a generation. It is very likely to affect a number of the countries here today.”
The New York Times crowns a czar:
Ron Klain, Chief of Staff to 2 Vice Presidents, Is Named Ebola Czar
President Obama on Friday named Ron Klain, a seasoned Democratic crisis-response operative and White House veteran, to manage the government’s response to the deadly virus as public anxiety grows over its possible spread.
Mr. Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joseph R. Biden Jr., is known for his ability to handle high-stakes and fast-moving political challenges. He was the lead Democratic lawyer for Mr. Gore during the 2000 election recount, and was later played by Kevin Spacey in the HBO drama “Recount” about the disputed contest.
“Obviously right now, the news is dominated by Ebola, and we’ve got an all-hands-on-deck approach across government to make sure that we’re keeping the American people safe,” Mr. Obama said on Friday at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he was announcing new antifraud measures for government-issued debit cards.
The McClatchy Washington Bureau backgrounds:
Obama’s Ebola czar is a government insider with no medical background
“He is a brilliant strategist and is known for his ability to manage large, complex operations,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs.
But Klain’s lack of medical expertise also drew complaints.
“I think it’s a pretty pathetic gesture to appoint a non-medical person to be in charge of this response, which has already been dangerously futile,” said Richard Amerling, president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons and associate clinical professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
“This guy knows nothing about Ebola,” said Robert Murphy, director of the Center for Global Health and a professor of medical and biomedical engineering at Northwestern University. “He’s probably a smart insider political guy. He has no credibility in the field of public health and he has no credibility in Africa, where the Ebola crisis began. . . . I really think that this is a very inappropriate choice.”
From the Guardian, presidential backtracking:
Obama not ruling out travel bans as experts watch for more cases
President considers further interventions and appointing crisis leader, while concern grows over infected woman’s air travel
Barack Obama has hinted at possible policy shifts in US efforts to contain Ebola, revealing he is considering fresh leadership to co-ordinate the federal response and is open to implementing travel bans if expert advice on its merits were to shift.
Speaking to reporters at the White House after his second two-hour meeting with advisers in as many days, the president also said extra disease control specialists were being sent to Ohio amid fears that a second nurse infected with the disease may have been contagious for longer than originally suspected.
“It is very important that we are monitoring and tracking anyone who was in close proximity to this second nurse,” said Obama, who earlier spoke with the Ohio governor about sending more experts from the Centers for Disease Control to the Cleveland area.
Others disagree, via the New York Times:
Experts Oppose Ebola Travel Ban, Saying It Would Cut Off Worst-Hit Countries
Fear of Ebola is spreading faster than the disease itself, and the growing paranoia in the United States is fueling calls to impose a travel ban on people coming from the three West African nations struggling with the outbreak.
In a politically tense climate, with the Nov. 4 elections just weeks away, the issue is being supercharged by partisan considerations with prominent Republicans calling for a ban, including John Boehner, the House speaker.
But public health officials say a travel ban would be ineffective and difficult to carry out and would not entirely prevent people in Ebola-hit countries from entering the United States.
Ultimately, health specialists said, a ban would do more harm than good because it would isolate impoverished nations that are barely able to cope with the outbreak, and possibly cut them off from the international aid workers who provide critical help to contain the disease.
Bans legislation tabled from The Hill:
Texas lawmakers to introduce Ebola travel ban legislation
Two Texas Republican lawmakers plan to introduce legislation banning travel between the U.S. and Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa.
The Friday announcement from Reps. Kenny Marchant and Sam Johnson was made the same day the White House disclosed President Obama would appoint Democratic operative Ron Klain to oversee the interagency response to Ebola.
Marchant said the U.S. is “behind the curve” for combatting the spread of the deadly virus and called the pair’s bill, dubbed the Stop Ebola Act, a “proactive approach” to preventing more cases of Ebola in the U.S.
From Science, another surprise Obama move:
U.S. halts funding for new risky virus studies, calls for voluntary moratorium
The White House today stepped into an ongoing debate about controversial virus experiments with a startling announcement: It is halting all federal funding for so-called gain-of-function (GOF) studies that alter a pathogen to make it more transmissible or deadly so that experts can work out a U.S. government-wide policy for weighing the risks. Federal officials are also asking the handful of researchers doing ongoing work in this area to agree to a voluntary moratorium.
The “pause on funding,” a White House blog states, applies to “any new studies … that may be reasonably anticipated to confer attributes to influenza, MERS, or SARS viruses such that the virus would have enhanced pathogenicity and/or transmissibility in mammals via the respiratory route.” The government also “encourages those currently conducting this type of work—whether federally funded or not—to voluntarily pause their research while risks and benefits are being reassessed.” Research and testing of naturally occurring forms of these pathogens will continue.
An accompanying document describes plans for a two-stage “deliberative process” to determine the risks and benefits of GOF experiments and to develop a U.S. policy for approving new studies. It will begin next week when the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), an advisory group that has not meet for 2 years, convenes on 22 October to begin designing a study to assess the risks and benefits of GOF research. The National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM) will also hold a symposium to discuss the scientific issues, then later review the NSABB’s recommendations, which are due within 6 months.
And from the New York Times, the fury:
Amid Assurances on Ebola, Obama Is Said to Seethe
Beneath the calming reassurance that President Obama has repeatedly offered during the Ebola crisis, there is a deepening frustration, even anger, with how the government has handled key elements of the response.
Those frustrations spilled over when Mr. Obama convened his top aides in the Cabinet room after canceling his schedule on Wednesday. Medical officials were providing information that later turned out to be wrong. Guidance to local health teams was not adequate. It was unclear which Ebola patients belonged in which threat categories.
“It’s not tight,” a visibly angry Mr. Obama said of the response, according to people briefed on the meeting. He told aides they needed to get ahead of events and demanded a more hands-on approach, particularly from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “He was not satisfied with the response,” a senior official said.
From The Hill, a false alarm in Washington on sensitive ground:
Woman rushed to hospital from Pentagon does not have Ebola
A woman who was rushed to the hospital Friday after vomiting in a Pentagon parking lot has been cleared for Ebola, Arlington Country official Mary Curtius confirmed Friday.
The hospitalization of the woman, whom officials believe had recently traveled to Africa, set off a chain reaction of preventive measures by Pentagon and Arlington County officials.
Pentagon officials confirmed reports that the woman, a civilian, had briefly boarded a bus with Marines on their way to a change-of-command ceremony for the Marine Corps commandant, where Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was expected to be in attendance.
From ABC News 2 in Baltimore, a condition report on America’s first homegrown Ebola patient:
Condition of nurse treated in Maryland for Ebola updated to ‘fair but stable’
The Ebola patient recovering here in Maryland was downgraded to fair condition today.
Nina Pham is a nurse from Dallas. Overnight, she was flown to Frederick Airport and driven to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda.
When Pham left Texas, she was listed in good condition. Now, she’s in fair but stable condition.
And from USA Today, more allegations about the hospital where she contracted the disease:
Dallas nurse blasts her hospital’s Ebola response
A Dallas nurse is coming forward to describe the “extreme chaos” following the death of her hospital’s first Ebola patient. She’s now monitoring herself for Ebola symptoms and worried for her colleagues.
A denial from the Washington Post:
Mexico fails to grant access to cruise ship carrying Texas health worker
The cruise ship carrying a Texas health-care worker who “may have” handled lab specimens from Dallas Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan is headed back to the United States after Mexican authorities failed to grant permission for the ship to dock off the coast of Cozumel, according to a Carnival spokeswoman.
The Carnival Magic had been waiting off the Mexican coast since Friday morning for its scheduled port visit. Mexican authorities still hadn’t given clearance by noon, so the ship continued to its home port of Galveston, Tex., where it was due back on Sunday, according to Carnival.
The health worker, a lab supervisor who has not been named, has shown no symptoms of the disease but remains on board and in voluntary isolation, according to Carnival. “We greatly regret that this situation, which was completely beyond our control, precluded the ship from making its scheduled visit to Cozumel and the resulting disappointment it has caused our guests,” read a statement from Carnival.
From the Los Angeles Times, the American Ebola watch list:
Ebola in the U.S.: 1,000 people under some level of watch
Whether by land, sea or air, the fear of Ebola has been spreading at a pace far faster than the growth in the number of people diagnosed with the disease.
In recent days, the number of people who have been asked to monitor themselves for symptoms has been steadily growing, especially among healthcare workers who were involved in the original treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who died from Ebola on Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
As of Friday, a pool of about 1,000 people are being watched for symptoms, have been asked to monitor themselves or have been urged to check with a counselor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The group includes a handful of people who have been ordered into quarantine, a larger group that is being closely watched with temperatures taken at least daily and a much larger group of travelers who may haven flown on a Frontier Airlines jetliner used at some point by an Ebola patient traveling with a low-grade fever.
The Guardian covers a condolence call:
Ebola: Liberian president phones Dallas mayor about infected nurses
Exclusive: Mike Rawlings said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had said she felt accountable for the situation in the Texan city
The president of Liberia telephoned the mayor of Dallas and apologised for the fact that the Ebola virus had transferred from her country to his city and infected Americans, the mayor said during a conference call with religious leaders in Texas on Friday.
The mayor, Mike Rawlings, said President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had said she felt accountable for the situation in the Texan city, where a man who had recently returned from Liberia infected two nurses who treated him before he died, according to two people on the conference call.
“The mayor said that there was a call to him personally, and that the Liberian president had mentioned apologies, and, in his words, a little bit of responsibility that this was even happening,” Rex Howe, a pastor at Scofield Memorial church, told the Guardian.
And right here on San Francisco Bay, via the Oakland Tribune, the nurses who cared for esnl are marching over perceived lack of training and equipment at the same hospital where we lost bladder and prostate to cancer:
Nurses march in Oakland to demand greater safety for treating Ebola
Kaiser Permanente nurses marched Thursday morning in downtown Oakland to call for increased resources and training to treat Ebola patients.
Zenei Cortez, co-president of the California Nurses Association, said nurses are asking for the same kind of safety and training provided to hazardous materials workers who treat Ebola infected homes.
Following recent reports of nurses who became infected with ebola after treating a patient, nurses are asking for hands-on interactive training in how to handle possible Ebola cases, rather than the classroom training Kaiser is currently offering, Cortez said. They want to learn how to safely put on and take off gear, and the protocol to properly dispose of contaminated gear.
And if a hospital gets a patient, nurses want enough staff to be present to monitor the nurses to keep them safe, Cortez said.
The Washington Post covers a surprising case of Ebolaphobia:
Syracuse University disinvites Washington Post photographer because he was in Liberia 3 weeks ago
Washington Post photojournalist Michel du Cille, who returned from covering the Ebola epidemic in Liberia 21 days ago, has been disinvited by Syracuse University from participation in a journalism workshop this weekend.
Du Cille and his wife, Nikki Kahn, both Pulitzer prize-winning Post photojournalists, were scheduled to take part in portfolio reviews and critique sessions at the university’s Newhouse School of Public Communications. The school’s dean, Lorraine Branham, said a student who was researching du Cille prior to the workshop found out he had recently returned from Liberia and expressed concern. Provost Eric Spina spoke with health officials and made the call.
“It’s a disappointment to me,” du Cille said. “I’m pissed off and embarrassed and completely weirded out that a journalism institution that should be seeking out facts and details is basically pandering to hysteria.”
CBC News covers another one:
Ebola outbreak: diagnosis delayed after Air Canada refuses to transport blood sample
Lab tests were not completed for more than 24 hours after being collected in Edmonton
Air Canada refused to fly a blood specimen from a patient suspected of Ebola from Edmonton to Winnipeg last weekend, CBC News has learned.
Officials are blaming poor communication and unclear protocols for the delay of more than 24 hours between when the sample was collected in Edmonton and when it finally arrived in Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Lab.
Sources tell CBC News the patient in question came in to the emergency room of an Edmonton-area hospital midday last Saturday.
A British extension from BBC News:
Ebola screening extended to Manchester and Birmingham airports
Passenger screening for Ebola is to be extended to Manchester and Birmingham airports, Public Health England says.
Staff at the two airports will begin checking passengers from at-risk countries after it is introduced at Gatwick and Eurostar next week.
Screening of arrivals from West Africa, where 4,500 have died in the outbreak, started at Heathrow on Tuesday.
And the Russian screens are nearly up, via RT:
Russian govt orders extra airport facilities to prevent Ebola
Airports in Russia will be equipped with extra facilities to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading, the government’s press service reported on Friday. Over a thousand African students are already under special medical control.
Cabinet discussed the Ebola outbreak with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday. As the result of the meeting, Russian airports will soon receive special equipment to be installed, to prevent any possible spread of the deadly virus in the country.
According to press service, Russia’s top officials also discussed the vaccine development and medicine for extreme preventive care. Head of Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor health watchdog reported on the work of its special team in Guinea.
After jump, a Canadian vaccine heads for trials, a production push [assisted by Bill Gates] for another drug, a stark prognosis for India, false alarms in Costa Rica and Spain, on to Africa and a celebrity video campaign, a grim food warning for the hot zone, a Rwandan medical assist, East Africa promises medics and money, more Latin American assistance promised, medical staff recruitment problems remain, hot zone religious succor sought, South Sudan takes precautions, WHO outlines plans for African countries thus far spared, the plight of hot zone children, athletes stigmatized, on to Liberia and a stricken family, American/Liberian military bonding as the opening all promised treatment centers is delayed, numbers for one treatment unit, and heightened political divisions. . .
Vaccine news from CBC News:
Ebola vaccine to be sent to WHO on Monday for clinical trials
Clinical trials to begin in Switzerland, Germany, Gabon and Kenya
The experimental Canadian Ebola vaccine that has been donated to the World Health Organization will be shipped to Geneva on Monday, the agency said today.
The final legal agreement was signed earlier this week and now the WHO will take possession of the 800 to 1,000 vials of the vaccine. However, Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO’s assistant director general for health systems and innovation, says it is too difficult to ship it over the weekend.
“It is dangerous to ship it over the weekend because you don’t know if the customs — not everybody is there. The pharmacy at the hospital who will store the vaccine for us is closed on Sunday,” Kieny told CBC News.
And a push for production from CNBC:
US asks drug labs to plan for producing Ebola drug Zmapp
U.S. health officials have asked three advanced biology laboratories to submit plans for producing the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp, which ran out after it was given to a handful of medical workers who contracted the disease in West Africa, government and lab officials said on Friday.
Under the “task order” issued on Thursday by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a state-of-the-art manufacturing center in Texas will submit plans for manufacturing ZMapp, said Dr. Brett Giroir, chief executive officer of Texas A&M Health Science Center, which houses the lab. The lab works in conjunction with Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline.
One of three Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing established by U.S. health officials in 2012 with $440 million in seed money, the Texas lab “is swiftly responding” to the request, Giroir said in a statement, and will submit detailed proposals for scaling up production of ZMapp.
More from the Los Angeles Times:
Amgen to join Gates Foundation in effort to produce Ebola drug
Amgen Inc. said it would work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups to come up with an alternative production method for ZMapp, the promising experimental drug to treat Ebola whose supply ran out in August.
ZMapp, from Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. in San Diego, is currently made using tobacco plants, which can be induced to grow the three antibodies in the drug. The Gates Foundation is exploring other options amid the worst Ebola outbreak on record, and last week gave Mapp a $150,000 grant to see whether large-scale production is possible with more traditional methods.
Toward the effort, Thousand Oaks-based Amgen will detail 12 to 14 staff members to see whether the drug can be made in Chinese hamster ovary cells, said Kristen Davis, an Amgen spokeswoman. While the technique offers a slower route than plant production, the infrastructure for manufacturing drugs in these cells is well established, which means production can be scaled up rapidly. Among other drugs, the cells are used to produce Amgen’s rheumatoid arthritis treatment Enbrel and anemia therapy Epogen.
From Tico Times, another Latin American scare:
Costa Rican health officials rule out suspected case of Ebola
Doctors at the Tomás Casas Hospital in Costa Rica’s southern region on Wednesday evening dismissed rumors of an alleged case of Ebola at their medical facility as false.
Rumors regarding a hospital patient “presented Ebola symptoms” spread among Ciudad Cortés residents at midday on Wednesday. Emergency dispatchers received several calls to 9-1-1 from concerned residents asking about a possible outbreak of the deadly virus in the country’s Southern Zone.
Eugenia María Villalta, medical manager of the Social Security System, or Caja, in a press release confirmed a Costa Rican man whose identity was not disclosed, with suspected symptoms had been admitted to the Ciudad Cortés Hospital, but health officials said they “had already ruled out the possibility that he was carrying the Ebola virus.”
And from the same issue of Tico Times, editorial cartoonist Arcadio depicts an austerian pattern familiar in the U.S. repeating itself to the South:
More false alarms this time in Spain, via El País:
All four new suspected Ebola cases test negative for virus
Patients in Madrid and Tenerife must now await second check before receiving the all-clear
Four people who were admitted to hospital in Madrid and Tenerife on Thursday over fears they may have contracted Ebola have all tested negative for the virus after initial blood tests.
Two people were put in isolation in Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital on Thursday, while a third arrived shortly after midnight. The three new patients in Madrid are a person who was transported in the same ambulance as Spain’s only confirmed Ebola case, Teresa Romero; a Nigerian man who arrived in Madrid on a flight from Paris yesterday, having started his journey from Lagos; and a Spanish missionary who had been working in Liberia.
According to government sources cited by news agency EFE, the first tests have come back negative, although the patients will remain at the hospital for a 72-hour period under observation. José Manuel Echevarría, the head of virology at the National Microbiology Center at the Carlos III Health Institute, reported that the Nigerian man has tested positive for malaria.
Via the Hindu, a grim Indian outlook:
Ebola risk high for India: Expert
An infectious diseases and public health systems expert at Harvard Medical School has warned that the risk of India seeing an Ebola patient is “very, very high,” and predicted that India may well have “at least a few cases before the calendar year is over”.
In an exclusive email interview with The Hindu Ashish Jha, Professor of International Health at Harvard’s School of Public Health and Director of Harvard Global Health Institute, said, “As long as the outbreak continues in West Africa, the chances that someone will end up in India and then, develop symptoms is very high.”
His remarks came even as India’s Health Ministry announced its plan to conduct mock drills simulating treatment for a potentially infected patient, and World Health Organisation Director-General Margaret Chan said, “The whole world is put at risk” by the deadly virus spiralling out of control. WHO’s India office, in a statement, underscored India’s “active screening of passengers at international airports and hospital preparedness in major cities for referral of potential suspected Ebola cases for investigation,” noting the Health Ministry’s screening of 21,799 passengers between August 1 and October 12, of whom 55 were deemed high risk but no positive cases had emerged so far.
We begin our African covers with a video report from CCTV Africa:
Animations Used to Promote Ebola Awareness
Since the outbreak began, the world has come up with alternative Ebola awareness campaigns. CCTV’s Susan Mwongeli takes a look at a new UNICEF campaign fronted by David Beckham, and an animation put together by a company called Chocolate Moose Media.
The Los Angeles Times covers a victory:
WHO declares Ebola over in Senegal
The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak over in Senegal, saying the country’s response is a good example of what to do when faced with an imported case of the deadly disease.
Senegal had only one patient, a man who contracted the virus in neighboring Guinea and arrived in the West African country by road in August.
Ebola deaths and cases
The Senegalese government reacted quickly, identifying and monitoring 74 people who had close contact with the man, testing all suspected cases, stepping up surveillance at the country’s many entry points and conducting nationwide public awareness campaigns, the WHO said in a statement Friday.
A grim side effect from Voice of America:
Food Prices Jump in Ebola-Hit Countries
Food prices have climbed by an average of 24 percent across the three countries worst hit by the Ebola outbreak, forcing some families to reduce their intake to one meal a day, a World Food Program spokeswoman said Friday.
The food-producing regions of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa have been severely affected by the worst outbreak on record of the virus has killed nearly 4,500 people.
Infection rates in the food-producing zones of Kenema and Kailahun in Sierra Leone, Lofa and Bong County in Liberia and GuDeckDedou in Guinea are among the highest in the region. Hundreds of farmers have died.
The three governments quarantined districts and restricted movements to contain the virus’ spread. But those measures also disrupted markets and led to food scarcity and panic buying, further pushing up prices, WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization have said.
A Rwandan medical assist from StarAfrica:
Rwanda to deploy medics to Ebola-hit W/Africa
A Rwandan medical team comprising seven doctors and seven other healthcare workers is set to join a task force intervention from five member countries of the East African Community (EAC) to help battle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
A statement released by the Health ministry in Kigali on Friday said a total of 41 medical doctors and 578 other healthcare workers from five member countries of the EAC region will join international efforts to rein in the disease.
According to the statement, a fourteen-man strong Rwandan medical team will deploy in the West African region to provide medical care to local patients.
In a related development, the Ministry in Kigali claimed the lack of adequate protective measures and medical knowledge and failure to enforce quarantine measures are to blame for the severity of the epidemic.
For this particular reason, Rwandan officials have urged all citizens to avoid nonessential travel to some affected countries from the West Africa including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
East Africa promises medics and money, via the Star in Nairobi, Kenya:
EAC to provide monetary, personnel aid to fight Ebola in West Africa
The East African Community has resolved to contribute health workers and funds for the containment of the haemorrhagic Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa that has so far claimed over 4000 lives.
The resolution, was one of eight that was decided on during the recently concluded 10th ordinary meeting of the East African Community Sectoral Council of ministers of health, in Arusha, Tanzania.
A total of 41 doctors and 578 support health workers from the region, will be sent to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia which were the epicenters of the virus that has now spread to Senegal and Nigeria.
More Latin American assistance promised, via Associated Press:
Head of Cuba’s Ebola effort expects more aid soon
A leftist Latin American summit next week should generate more aid to fight Ebola, including additional Cuban doctors and support staff from other nations, the head of Cuba’s effort to slow the disease said Friday.
Jorge Perez, the head of Cuba’s top tropical medicine institute, said he expects the meeting of the socialist ALBA bloc hosted by Cuba and Venezuela in Havana on Monday to result in pledges of financial and human resources that can be sent to African nations trying to contain the Ebola outbreak.
Cuba has sent 165 doctors to Sierra Leone and plans to send 296 more to Liberia and Guinea, the largest commitment of medical personnel so far. Perez said Cuba is ready to send more doctors as long as there is enough funding and infrastructure to support them.
“What do I expect as a scientist from the summit? That the countries in attendance join the international effort against Ebola, for the protection not just of their countries but also to see how they can help those countries experiencing such difficult situations,” he said.
But recruitment complications remain, via United Press International:
Recruiting heathcare workers to fight Ebola a struggle
Charities report erroneous information is keeping qualified volunteers from going to West Africa.
Although over 800 British doctors, nurses and paramedics have applied to work in Sierra Leone to combat the Ebola virus, charities say rumors have dampened recruiting.
“There’s some serious fear and paranoia around that’s not based on facts, and they haven’t anything to worry about. If someone doesn’t have symptoms you can’t give someone Ebola,” said Sean Casey of the International Medical Corps’ response team in Liberia.
Casey added he has heard anecdotal stories of medical personnel returning home to Britain and being shunned by friends who fear they will contract the disease.
Hot zone religious succor sought, via the Guardian:
As Ebola epidemic tightens grip, west Africa turns to religion for succour
Fears evangelical churches that hold thousands and services promising ‘healing’ could ignite new chains of transmission
By any measure, West Africa is deeply religious and the region is home to some of the world’s fastest-growing Muslim and Christian populations. Posters and banners strewn across the city are constant reminders of the hope many find in spirituality amid a fearful and increasingly desperate situation. In one supermarket, a notice asking customers to pray for Ebola to end was taped on to a fridge full of butter. It urged Muslims to recite the alfathia; Christians, Our Father; and Hindus Namaste. “For non-believers, please believe in God. Amen, Amina,” it finished.
But officials have fretted about the impact of influential spiritual leaders, worrying that evangelical churches which sometimes hold thousands of faithful and services promising “healing” could ignite new chains of transmission.
As the outbreak races into its eleventh month, leaving behind almost 4,500 dead across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, experts have warned that an influx of international aid can only contain the epidemic alongside other measures in communities.
South Sudan takes precautions, via StarAfrica:
Juba announces precautions over Ebola
The government of South Sudan has announced new precautions to stave off the spread of the deadly Ebola virus from West Africa. The measures include avoiding traveling to the West African countries at the epicenter of the epidemic and shaking hands.
Information and broadcasting Minister Michael Makuei Lueth said Friday that people were being advised against handshakes, saying the decision is part of measures aimed at minimizing the chance of contracting the virus which has killed over 4, 400 people in West Africa.
In a statement broadcast on South Sudan Television (SSTV), Lueth also announced additional screening measures for travelers to and from West Africa.
“People should just wave or say hi instead of shaking hands,” the minister said.
And from Punch Nigeria, more about the WHO’s plans to prevent the disease’s spread in Africa:
Ebola: WHO working with 15 African countries
Isabelle Nuttall, an official of World Health Organisation, says the agency is reviewing Ebola preparedness in 15 African countries.
She said in Geneva on Friday that it was aimed at preventing the disease from spreading across the continent.
Nuttall said the agency was focusing mostly on countries bordering the three Ebola-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “They really need to be better prepared,” she said.
Reuters covers the plight of hot zone children:
Ebola upsets, puzzles children in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea
Children in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are deeply distressed and puzzled by the Ebola outbreak that has produced 3,700 orphans, closed schools for millions and seen sports discouraged to avoid contact, a U.N. official said on Friday.
Sarah Crowe, crisis communications chief for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), returned to New York last week after spending more than a month in Liberia where she said the hemorrhagic fever has “hijacked every aspect of life.”
A 6-year-old girl in Liberia asked her: “When is Ebola going to leave Liberia because I want to go back to school?”
More from the UN News Center:
Ebola: back from outbreak epicentre, UN official says survivors now helping with care
Survivors of Ebola who have developed immunity to the virus are being trained to care for children in Liberia and Sierra Leone, a United Nations official today announced.
People who survived Ebola at these “interim care centres” can give small children the love they need in a world where touching is feared.
“It’s strange, a very unhuman experience,” Sarah Crowe, Crisis Communications Chief at UNICEF told journalists in New York following a five-week mission to Liberia, where “fear of contagion, contamination has eroded that sense of compassion.” Liberia, along with hard-hit countries Sierra Leone and Guinea, is on the frontlines of efforts to stop the outbreak.
The virus has “hijacked” every aspect of life and “changed the way people live…and how people die,” said the UN official, beginning her presentation by disclosing her temperature and showing a bottle of hand sanitizer to the gathered reporters.
Athletes stigmatized from the Guardian:
African players starting to feel backlash of fears over Ebola outbreak
Ivory Coast’s Siaka Tiéné examined by Montpellier on return
Sierra Leone’s John Kamara told to stay away by Greek club
African footballers based at European clubs, especially those travelling back to the continent from international duty, began on Friday to feel the backlash from fears over the Ebola virus outbreak.
A Sierra Leone player has been asked to stay away from his Greek club after competing in African Nations Cup qualifiers while the former French champions Montpellier ordered a player to have medical tests on his return from the continent.
The Ivory Coast full-back Siaka Tiéné, who played in two matches against the Democratic Republic of Congo over the last week, was asked to undergo a medical examination on his return to Montpellier on Friday following trips to Kinshasa and Abidjan.
On to Liberia and a stricken family with the Sun in Lagos, Nigeria:
A family torn apart by Ebola
The heartbreaking moment grieving daughters watch as their mother’s body is carried away in Liberia
The devastated daughter of an Ebola victim cannot bear to watch as the body of her mother is pulled from her home in Monrovia, after the woman succumbed to the deadly virus.
A Red Cross burial team wearing protective suits and masks carries the body of 40-year-old Mary Nyanforh from the family’s house while the young girl holds her face in her hands.
The heartbreaking scenes in the Liberian capital show the tragic reality of living in a city ravaged by Ebola and the terrible impact on victims’ loved ones.
The worst-ever Ebola epidemic has already claimed more than 4,400 lives, with the vast majority of the victims living in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
More than half the dead have been in Liberia, where the healthcare system is still reeling from a devastating 1989-2003 civil war.
Military bonding with FrontPageAfrica:
Bonding Against Ebola: US Military, AFL Building ETUs Together
In Tubmanburg, Bomi County, Western Liberia, the United States Military is collaborating with the Armed Forces of Liberia in putting up a 100-bed Ebola treatment Unit to be ready in a few weeks. The United States military is providing logistical support and supervision to members of the AFL for the construction of the ETU through support from the United States Agency for International Development, which is funding the construction of a total of 17 ETUs in the country.
Members of the AFL were seen actively engaged in construction work at the facility. They worked around the clock to put up the tents needed for the facility to go online. Ben Hemingway is Deputy Team Leader US Disaster Assistance Response Team; DART. He says the facility will be fully operational in two weeks and that the U.S. government is giving funding for the construction of other facilities in Liberia to help contain the deadly Ebola virus.
“With the full support of the government of Liberia and in cooperation with the Armed Forces of Liberia, we’re building 17 ETUs; we’re supporting ETUs throughout the country,” he says. “It is not only creating ETUs but also community care centers, training, improving laboratory capabilities and the major logistics and material support to make sure that there is safe access to care throughout the health centers.”
As the opening all promised treatment centers is delayed, via the Washington Post:
U.S. military will need until December to complete Ebola treatment units in Liberia
The U.S. military continues to grow the force it is deploying to western Africa to assist with the Ebola virus crisis, but it will take until late November or early December to complete all 17 treatment units it has planned, a two-star general said.
Army Maj. Gen. Darryl A. Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa, told reporters in a phone conference from Liberia on Tuesday that the “lion’s share” of the treatment units will be complete by late November, with a few lagging into December. That exceeds an estimate provided by his commanding officer, Gen. David Rodriguez, who said Oct. 7 that the effort would likely take until mid-November.
Williams has been on the ground about 30 days in Liberia, working from a headquarters in the capital of Monrovia. The Pentagon has said that up to 4,000 U.S. personnel could deploy, primarily from the U.S. Army. A force that includes soldiers, U.S. Marines from a crisis-response unit based in Spain and Navy Seabees already has deployed, and will grow in coming days.
Numbers for one treatment unit from StarAfrica:
Liberia: 13 Ebola patients treated, discharged
The Bong County Ebola Treatment Unit has successfully treated and discharged 13 confirmed patients admitted at the center.The number constitutes 14.56 percent of the 112 patients admitted at the unit between Monday September 15 and October 15.
The International Medical Corps (IMC) Liberia Program Coordinator, Sambhavi Cheemalapati told reporters Friday that despite starting on a low scale, the center is now operating at full capacity and has 33 patients, 20 of whom are suspected, while 13 are confirmed.
She said 40 of the 112 people admitted in a month were tested negative, while 29 deaths were recorded during the period.
Finally, heightened political divisions from FrontPageAfrica:
Liberia Opposition Liberty Party Demands Health Minister’s Ouster
One of Liberia’s leading opposition, the Liberty Party has called for the immediate resignation of Dr. Walter Gwenigale, the country’s Minister of Health. In a statement issued in Monrovia Friday, the party said it strongly believes that keeping the current minister at the Ministry is a powder keg and everything must be done to avoid the undesirable.
“In our view the best possible remedy to the current standoff between the health workers and the Health Minister is the immediate resignation or dismissal of the controversial Minister of Health,” the statement said.
Dr. Gwenigale who has come under fire of late, has been at loggerheads with health workers, demanding the reinstatement of two of the association’s members. The minister has been defiant, vowing this week never to reinstate the two dismissed officials as being demanded by the health workers, opposition political leaders and Liberians far and wide.