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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

Ebola Again

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    Posted: May 08 2018 at 10:15am

New Ebola outbreak kills 17 people in Congo just two years after disease wiped out 11,000 in west Africa

The revelation has sparked fears the deadly virus could ravage the country once again after it swept across west Africa between 2014 and 2016, killing at least 11,000

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2018 at 12:15am
.....  'And already the hype begins.

Here are two reports published within hours of each other.  One reports 10 suspected cases and the other tells us that there have already been 17 deaths.  Decide for yourselves, here are the links:

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/ebola-outbreak-drc-10-cases-suspected-health-ministry/story?id=55014623

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/new-outbreak-of-ebola-kills-17-in-dr-congo


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Hey Ebola is really really nasty. I hope it never gets past Africa. If the people in Africa will just learn how to avoid spreading this disease it would be great but they are not educated or are too stuck to their traditions of cleaning the bodies of the dead. It spreads. Ebola just a bad actor.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 09 2018 at 9:16pm
Of course, we can always count on Pres. Trump to do the wrong thing:


Rear Adm. Tim Ziemer, the head of global health security on the White House’s National Security Council, left the Trump administration on Tuesday. The news was announced one day after an Ebola outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The departure comes amid a reshuffling of the NSC under newly named national security adviser John Bolton, which includes a change in organizational structure that eliminates the office Ziemer led. Ziemer’s staff has been placed under other NSC departments.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 10 2018 at 7:55am
[Well, against all expectations, he seems to be doing ok with north Korea.
But as far as Iran and global health security go, he seems to be failing draamatically.]


Ebola Returns Just as Trump Asks to Rescind Ebola Funds

Fortunately, the new outbreak is happening in the DRC, a country well versed in fighting the dreaded virus.

Ebola is back.

The infamous viral disease first made itself known to the world in 1976, in a small village called Yambuku in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Now, 42 years later, Ebola is causing another outbreak in the DRC—the ninth in the country’s history.

The new outbreak has hit the town of Bikoro in the northwestern part of the country. The nearby iIkoko Iponge health facility—picture a small building with no electricity and limited supplies—reported 21 suspected cases over the past 5 weeks. Seventeen have died, but it’s not clear how many of these people actually had Ebola. So far, just two cases were actually positive for the virus in laboratory tests, out of five samples that were sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB) in Kinshasa.

Some might wonder why lab tests are necessary. Isn’t Ebola so horrific that a case would be obvious? Actually: no. Ebola’s symptoms have been grossly exaggerated by The Hot Zone and other popular accounts. In reality, it is often indistinguishable from more common illnesses like malaria or typhoid. Only a minority of patients hemorrhage, and most do so lightly. The virus doesn’t liquefy its victims’ organs, nor cause blood to gush from every orifice. When Ebola kills, it’s usually through extreme dehydration.

For now, there is no reason for alarm. Despite the unprecedentedly large Ebola epidemic in West Africa, which infected 28,000 people and killed 11,000 between 2014 and 2016, most Ebola outbreaks have been small and contained affairs. Several have involved handfuls of cases. Already, experts from the World Health Organization, Doctors Without Borders, and local Congolese health institutes have traveled to Bikoro. The CDC is supporting local public health partners, and the WHO is planning to deploy more personnel and protective equipment, and has released $1 million from a contingency fund to help stop the outbreak.

A sense of geography is helpful. Look at the back of your right hand. Stick your thumb out and begin curling your fingertips in, stopping short of making a fist. That’s the DRC—a country one-quarter the size of the United States. The capital city, Kinshasa, sits on the knuckle of your thumb. Bikoro, the site of the new outbreak, is on the base of your index finger. Yambuku, the site of the first 1976 outbreak, is on your middle finger. Kikwit, where the next major one happened in 1995, is at the base of your thumb. That was the outbreak, documented by camera crews and chronicled by Laurie Garrett in Vanity Fair, which helped catapult Ebola to global infamy.

It could be more challenging. Unlike Likati, Bikoro lies close to the Congo River—a major trade route—and close to the border with the neighboring Republic of the Congo. These connections increase the risk that the outbreak will spread. Then again, it also makes it easier to mount a response.

The DRC has become very good at controlling Ebola. The INRB in Kinshasa is more than capable of doing diagnostic tests without having to ship samples out to the United States. Its director, Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, was the first scientist to encounter Ebola at a time when he was the DRC’s only virologist, and has been involved in every outbreak response since. He and his colleagues have also trained a crack-team of researchers and disease detectives. “We’re advanced in public health,” said Gisèle Mvumbi, a CDC-trained Congolese epidemiologist at the INRB, whom I met when I visited the DRC earlier this year. “If you compare us with Europe or the United States, eh, but here in Africa, we are high. We have experience.”

The country excels at spotting diseases early. In the wake of the Kikwit outbreak, scientists like Muyembe and Emile Okitolonda, who leads the Kinshasa School of Public Health, trained medical staff in all of the country’s 500-plus health zones to report potential symptoms. Now, even traditional healers and pastors know to do this. “Here, we have a surveillance system that works,” Okitolonda told me when I met him in the DRC. “Here, nurses know that if they see a suspected case, they report it.”

They might increasingly have cause to do so. “The last outbreak occurred approximately at the same time of year, and it appears that these outbreaks are occurring with greater frequency,” says Anne Rimoin from UCLA, who has worked in the Congo for 16 years. That could be because the Congolese are getting better at detecting the disease, “but there is some evidence that this outbreak appears to have been smoldering for a few months,” Rimoin adds. “Perhaps the ecology is changing, and it has something to do with the reservoir species.” She means the animals that harbor the Ebola virus—bats are likely candidates, but the exact species is still a mystery.

“More information is needed on the potential introduction of disease into the human population or whether animal die-offs have been reported,” says Rebecca Martin, Director of CDC’s Center for Global Health. Her team and others are working to support studies of the disease’s ecology as a priority.

The DRC’s main challenge is its lack of resources. Sure, they can detect Ebola cases quickly, but someone then has to investigate, usually without suits, masks, or even gloves. Such equipment was distributed after the Kikwit epidemic, but Okitolonda told me that within five years, they had all been used up. “It’ll be the same story in West Africa,” he lamented, now that the catastrophic outbreak of 2014 is over. “Resources will disappear and people will forget.”

The United States is already forgetting. Just as news of the Ebola outbreak broke, Donald Trump asked Congress to rescind $252 million that had been put aside to deal with Ebola, as part of a broader move to cut down on “excessive spending.” That pot of money is the leftover from a $5.4 billion sum that Congress appropriated for dealing with the West African Ebola epidemic in 2015.

That epidemic ended two years ago, but “having some money left over was intentional,” says Ron Klain, the former Ebola czar. It allows USAID to quickly deploy responders to the site of a future outbreak, to prevent it from metastasizing into an international disaster. It is not, as the Trump administration suggests, an example of “irresponsible federal spending.” Quite the opposite: It’s a savvy investment, since epidemics are always more expensive to deal with once they rage out of control.

Congress has 45 days from the time of Trump’s request to act, during which time the $252 million is frozen. If they vote it down, or simply ignore it, the funds will be spent as intended. But “if Congress accepts Trump’s proposal, USAID will have no funding for a response when the next crisis comes,” says Klain, “and it will have to wait until Congress passes new funding, or diverts funds from some other, then-existing disaster response.”

“It is crazily short-sighted to do this,” he adds.



Source:   https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/ebola-returns-to-the-congo-just-as-trump-decides-to-rescind-ebola-funds/560012/


[Well, one out of three aint all that bad.]

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2018 at 12:14am

11 additional cases of hemorrhagic fever in Congo including 1 death

By Susan Scutti, CNN


Updated 0402 GMT (1202 HKT) May 11, 201


(CNN)Eleven new cases of hemorrhagic fever, including one death, have been reported since Tuesday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Minister of Health Dr. Oly Ilunga said Thursday in Kinshasa. Two of those cases are confirmed to be Ebola. Lab results are pending on the other nine cases which are suspected to be Ebola.

Ebola virus disease, which most commonly affects people and nonhuman primates such as monkeys, gorillas and chimpanzees, is caused by one of five Ebola viruses. On average, about 50% of people who become ill with Ebola die.

The new outbreak was announced Tuesday. Sickness is occurring in the Bikoro health zone, 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) from Mbandaka, the capital of Equator province.

The World Health Organization reported Thursday that 27 total cases of fever with hemorrhagic symptoms were recorded in the Bikoro region between April 4 and May 5, including 17 deaths. Of these total cases, two tested positive for Ebola virus disease, according to the WHO.
The risk to public health is assessed as high at the local level, moderate at the regional level and low at the global level, according to the WHO.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. The affected area in Bikoro is remote, with limited communication and poor transportation infrastructure, the WHO said. Bikoro has a population of about 163,000 spread over an area of approximately 1,075 square kilometers (415 square miles).

On Tuesday, Ilunga requested support to strengthen the response to this outbreak. The ministry and the WHO have developed a plan to respond to the outbreak over the next three months. The full extent of the outbreak is not known, according to the WHO, and the location poses significant logistical challenges.

Three health care professionals are among the confirmed cases, Ilunga said: "As health professionals are the first actors in the government's response to Ebola, this situation is of concern to us and requires a response that is all the more immediate and energetic."

Ebola is endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this is the nation's ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease since the discovery of the virus in the country in 1976. The last outbreak occurred there in 2017 in the northern Bas Uele province. That outbreak was quickly contained due to joint efforts by the government, the WHO and other partners.
West Africa experienced the largest recorded outbreak of Ebola over a two-year period beginning in March 2014; a total of 28,616 confirmed, probable and suspected cases were reported in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, with 11,310 deaths, according to the WHO.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the new cases and death as confirmed rather than suspected.

Journalist Steve Wembi contributed to this report.


Source, video and annoying accompanying ads:   https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/10/health/drc-confirms-first-ebola-death/index.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2018 at 1:16pm
Update
May 10, 2018 / 10:18 AM / Updated an hour ago

Congo says another suspected death in latest Ebola outbreak

Source and article:   https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ebola-congo/congo-says-another-suspected-death-in-latest-ebola-outbreak-idUSKBN1IB13D

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 11 2018 at 3:08pm
[This is amazing timing!]

Top White House official in charge of pandemic response exits abruptly

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Rear Adm. R. Timothy Ziemer was the Trump administration's senior director for global health security and biodefense at the National Security Council. He left that post Tuesday as part of a reorganization under national security adviser John Bolton. (Khin Maung Win/AP)

The top White House official responsible for leading the U.S. response in the event of a deadly pandemic has left the administration, and the global health security team he oversaw has been disbanded under a reorganization by national security adviser John Bolton.

The abrupt departure of Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer from the National Security Council means no senior administration official is now focused solely on global health security. Ziemer’s departure, along with the breakup of his team, comes at a time when many experts say the country is already underprepared for the increasing risks of a pandemic or bioterrorism attack.

Ziemer’s last day was Tuesday, the same day a new Ebola outbreak was declared in Congo. He is not being replaced.

Pandemic preparedness and global health security are issues that require government-wide responses, experts say, as well as the leadership of a high-ranking official within the White House who is assigned only this role.

“Health security is very fragmented, with many different agencies,” said J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “It means coordination and direction from the White House is terribly important. ”

The personnel changes, which Morrison and others characterize as a downgrading of global health security, are part of Bolton’s previously announced plans to streamline the NSC. Two members of Ziemer's team have been merged into a unit in charge of weapons of mass destruction, and another official's position is now part of a unit responsible for international organizations. White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert, who had called for a comprehensive biodefense strategy against pandemics and biological attacks, is out completely. He left the day after Bolton took over last month.

NSC spokesman Robert Palladino said Wednesday the administration “remains committed to global health, global health security and biodefense, and will continue to address these issues with the same resolve under the new structure.”

Another administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, acknowledged it was only one of many administration priorities. “In a world of limited resources, you have to pick and choose,” he said. “We lost a little bit of the leadership, but the expertise remains.”

Ziemer is a well-respected public health leader who was considered highly effective leading the President’s Malaria Initiative under George W. Bush and Barack Obama before joining the NSC last year. While Palladino said he left “on the warmest terms,” an individual familiar with the specifics behind the reorganization said “he was basically pushed out. He struggled to preserve himself and the integrity of his team, and he failed.”

His exit comes against the backdrop of other administration actions critics say have weakened health security preparedness, including dwindling financing for early preventive action against infectious disease threats abroad.

The new Ebola outbreak is in northwest Congo. Only two cases have been confirmed, but the World Health Organization reported Thursday another 30 probable and suspected cases of the deadly hemorrhagic fever. Of those, 18 already have died.

Congolese and international health officials say they hope to control the outbreak quickly, but some health officials worry about its potential to become more serious and spread because of its location in a town upriver from the densely populated capital of Kinshasa.

This week, the administration released a list of $15 billion in spending cuts it wants Congress to approve. Among the targets is $252 million in unused funds remaining from the 2014-2015 Ebola epidemic in West Africa that killed more than 11,000 people, far exceeding the combined total cases reported in about 20 previous outbreaks since the 1970s.

The White House proposal “is threatening to claw back funding whose precise purpose is to help the United States be able to respond quickly in the event of a crisis,” said Carolyn Reynolds, a vice president at PATH, a global health technology nonprofit.

Collectively, warns Jeremy Konyndyk, who led foreign disaster assistance at the U.S. Agency for International Development during the Obama administration, “What this all adds up to is a potentially really concerning rollback of progress on U.S. health security preparedness.”

“It seems to actively unlearn the lessons we learned through very hard experience over the last 15 years,” said Konyndyk, now a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development. “These moves make us materially less safe. It’s inexplicable.”

The day before news of Ziemer’s exit became public, one of the officials on his team, Luciana Borio, director of medical and biodefense preparedness at the NSC, spoke at a symposium at Emory University to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1918 influenza pandemic. That event killed an estimated 50 million to 100 million people worldwide.

“The threat of pandemic flu is the number one health security concern,” she told the audience. “Are we ready to respond? I fear the answer is no.”

Karen DeYoung contributed to this report.

Source:   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/05/10/top-white-house-official-in-charge-of-pandemic-response-exits-abruptly/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e75bec5b67b3

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 12 2018 at 12:30pm
Saturday, May 12th 2018 

Health officials are preparing for the 'worst' Ebola outbreak yet: Warning comes days after the first death was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Published: 12:58, 11 May 2018 | Updated: 13:03, 11 May 2018


Health officials are preparing for the 'worst' Ebola outbreak yet. 

Peter Salama, head of emergency response at the World Health Organziation (WHO), said: 'We are very concerned, and we are planning for all scenarios, including the worst-case scenario.'

This comes days after the first confirmed death in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which also has 11 known sufferers.

Seventeen recent fatalities are thought to be linked to the Ebola outbreak, while 32 people are suspected to be infected with the virus in the northwestern area of Bikoro.

The outbreak, which was confirmed by the DRC's health minister last Tuesday, is the country's ninth epidemic since the virus was identified in 1976.

Scientists fear it may be a 'public-health emergency' after an Ebola pandemic killed at least 11,000 when it decimated West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

All nine countries that neighbour DRC have been put of high alert over the possible spread of Ebola and international aid teams have flown in to help.

Health officials are preparing for the worst Ebola outbreak yet (pictured, Red Cross workers carrying a corpse out of a house in Sierra Leone during the Ebola pandemic of 2014-16)

Three health professionals have died 

The Congo Health Ministry said last Tuesday: 'Our country is facing another epidemic of the Ebola virus, which constitutes an international public health emergency.' 

Three of the confirmed or suspected sufferers are healthcare workers, of which one has died.

Health Minister Oly Ilunga said: 'One of the defining features of this epidemic is the fact that three health professionals have been affected. 

'This situation worries us and requires an immediate and energetic response.'

What is being done to prevent more cases?

The affected region of Bikoro is very remote and difficult for emergency teams to reach.

Mr Salama said: 'Access is extremely difficult... It is basically 15 hours by motorbike from the closest town.'

In addition, to the health team that is already there, the WHO is preparing to send up to 40 specialists in the next week or so.

Mr Salama also stated the UN health organisation hopes to have a mobile lab up and running on site this weekend.

The WHO and World Food Programme are also working to set up an 'air-bridge' to help bring in supplies, however, only helicopters can be used until an airfield is cleared to allow larger planes to land, Mr Salama added.

The health body has released £738,000 ($1m) from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies to support response activities for the next three months. 

Where could the outbreak spread to? 

The WHO is thought to be particularly concerned about the spread of Ebola to Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province, which has around one million residents and is just a few hours away from Bikoro.

Mr Salama said: 'If we see a town of that size infected with Ebola, then we are going to have a major urban outbreak.'

Nigeria’s immigration service has increased screening tests at airports and other entry points as a precautionary measure. 

Similar measures helped the region contain the virus during the West African epidemic that began in 2013.

Officials in Guinea and Gambia both said they have heightened screening measures along their borders.      

This comes days after the first confirmed death in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which also has 11 known sufferers (a health worker is pictured spraying a colleague with disinfectant during a training session for Congolese health workers to deal with Ebola four years ago)
This comes days after the first confirmed death in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which also has 11 known sufferers (a health worker is pictured spraying a colleague with disinfectant during a training session for Congolese health workers to deal with Ebola four years ago)

How bad have previous outbreaks been?

DRC escaped the brutal Ebola pandemic, which was finally declared over in January 2016, but was struck by a smaller outbreak last year.

Four DRC residents died from the virus in 2017. The outbreak lasted just 42 days and international aid teams were praised for their prompt responses. 

Health experts credit an awareness of the disease among the DRC population and local medical staff's experience treating for past successes containing its spread.

The country's vast, remote geography also gives it an advantage, as outbreaks are often localised and relatively easy to isolate.

Bikoro, however, lies not far from the banks of the Congo River, which is considered to be an essential waterway for transport and commerce.

Further downstream, the river flows past Kinshasa and Brazzaville, the capital of Congo Republic. The two cities have a combined population of more than 12 million people. 

Neighbouring countries alerted

Angola, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Rwanda, Burundi and the Republic of Congo - which border the DRC - have all been alerted.

While Kenya, which does not border the country, has issued warnings over the possible spread of Ebola.

Thermal guns to detect anyone with a fever have been put in place along its border with Uganda and at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. 

Concerned health officials in Nigeria, which also does not border the DRC, have put similar measures in place to keep its population safe. 

Mass vaccination will not curb epidemics  

This comes after research released earlier this month suggested mass vaccinations will not stop Ebola outbreaks.   

Professor Martin Michaelis and colleagues examined the prospects of a major Ebola campaign to dole out jabs to at-risk patients by looking at 35 old studies. 

Writing in the Frontiers in Immunology, they revealed that controlling an outbreak of the virus depends entirely on surveillance and the isolation of cases.

At least 80 per cent of the population would have to receive the vaccine to establish herd immunity, as the average infected patient passes it onto four other people.

Yet, Professor Michaelis pointed to a trial during the Ebola pandemic, which showed less than half of patients were given a experimental jab.

Currently, there are no vaccines to protect patients against Ebola and scientists are unsure if any of the ones under investigation will work in the long term.

Doling out vaccines to populations would also be 'costly and impractical', Professor Michaelis claimed, due to many people at risk living in remote, rural areas.

WHAT IS EBOLA AND HOW DEADLY WAS IT?

Ebola, a haemorrhagic fever, killed at least 11,000 across the world after it decimated West Africa and spread rapidly over the space of two years.

The pandemic was officially declared over back in January 2016, when Liberia was announced to be Ebola-free by the WHO.

The country, rocked by back-to-back civil wars that ended in 2003, was hit the hardest by the fever, with 40 per cent of the deaths having occurred there.

Sierra Leone reported the highest number of Ebola cases, with nearly of all those infected having been residents of the nation.

WHERE DID IT BEGIN? 

An analysis, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found the outbreak began in Guinea - which neighbours Liberia and Sierra Leone.

A team of international researchers were able to trace the pandemic back to a two-year-old boy in Meliandou - about 400 miles (650km) from the capital, Conakry.

Emile Ouamouno, known more commonly as Patient Zero, may have contracted the deadly virus by playing with bats in a hollow tree, a study suggested.

HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE STRUCK DOWN? 

WHICH COUNTRIES WERE STRUCK DOWN BY EBOLA DURING THE 2014-16 PANDEMIC? (CDC figures)
COUNTRY                                               CASES  DEATHSDEATH RATE (%) 
GUINEA3,814 2,54466.7%
SIERRA LEONE 14,124 3,956 28.0% 
LIBERIA 10,678 4,810 45.0% 
NIGERIA 20 40.0% 
SENEGAL N/A 
SPAIN N/A 
US 25.0% 
MALI 75.0%
UK N/A
ITALY N/A 

Figures show nearly 29,000 people were infected from Ebola - meaning the virus killed around 40 per cent of those it struck.

Cases and deaths were also reported in Nigeria, Mali and the US - but on a much smaller scale, with 15 fatalities between the three nations.

Health officials in Guinea reported a mysterious bug in the south-eastern regions of the country before the WHO confirmed it was Ebola. 

Ebola was first identified by scientists in 1976, but the most recent outbreak dwarfed all other ones recorded in history, figures show.

HOW DID HUMANS CONTRACT THE VIRUS? 

Scientists believe Ebola is most often passed to humans by fruit bats, but antelope, porcupines, gorillas and chimpanzees could also be to blame.

It can be transmitted between humans through blood, secretions and other bodily fluids of people - and surfaces - that have been infected.

IS THERE A TREATMENT? 

The WHO warns that there is 'no proven treatment' for Ebola - but dozens of drugs and jabs are being tested in case of a similarly devastating outbreak.

Hope exists though, after an experimental vaccine, called rVSV-ZEBOV, protected nearly 6,000 people. The results were published in The Lancet journal.

Source and video:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5717795/Health-officials-preparing-worst-Ebola-outbreak-yet.html


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2018 at 8:24am

RML releases latest findings on Ebola in same week new outbreak reported in Congo

3 Hours ago

A study by scientists at Rocky Mountain Laboratories has quieted concerns the Ebola virus had become even deadlier to humans due to a mutation during an outbreak that claimed more than 10,000 lives in western Africa. 

Last week's release of the National Institutes of Health study coincided with news of a new Ebola virus outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo that reportedly has killed 18.

The Ebola virus causes a serious illness that is often fatal if not treated. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and then spreads through the human population when people come in contact with bodily fluids like saliva, vomit or urine.

First identified in 1976, the Ebola virus’s impact was limited to a few thousand people in central Africa before the disease swept through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2013 to 2016 in an outbreak that sickened more than 30,000 people and eventually killed more than 10,000.

Early on during that epidemic, scientists speculated the genetic diversity in the circulating Mokona strain of the virus would result in more severe disease and higher rates of transmissibility between humans than prior strains.

RML staff scientist Andrea Marzi was one of 16 National Institutes of Health researchers who traveled to Africa during the outbreak to help facilitate the treatment of people affected by the disease.

Marzi worked with NIAID’s Laboratory of Virology chief Dr. Heinz Feldmann  in a subsequent study to determine if mutations during the epidemic had made the disease more deadly to humans.

“At the end of 2016, there were some publications coming out hypothesizing that the Ebola virus Makona — which was the causative agent of the epidemic that devastated West Africa from 2013 to 2016 — might have over time adapted to humans and therefore spread so widely and caused this big epidemic,” Marzi said.

Since RML researchers were involved early on in the response to the outbreak, they had samples of the virus from the beginning in Guinea. They also had samples from Liberia and Mali that included the mutations that were associated with human adaptation of the virus.

The researchers in Hamilton wanted to test the theory that mutation made the disease more deadly to humans by using animal models that were often used in this type of research.

Specially bred mice that are very susceptible to all types of diseases and rhesus macaque monkeys were infected with the various virus isolates to both assess the disease progression and see how the virus would shed.

“We were unable to find any significant differences between early and late isolates lacking or carrying those mutations, suggesting that these mutations did not lead to alterations in the disease-causing ability in animal models,” the researchers’ study said.

While the test subjects weren’t human, they were as close as researchers can come in analyzing these types of research questions, Marzi said.

“Having said that, we were very surprised to see basically no difference,” she said. “The mutation does not seem to contribute to more severe disease of pathogenesis.

“Even though the virus might have adapted to humans by acquiring this mutation … it did not make the disease worse in humans,” Marzi said. “Also we do not think it made it spread more. The study did not show the virus is more easily transmitted via saliva, urine or feces or so (on). We didn’t see a difference between early isolates and later ones carrying the mutation.”

The take away message was that different reasons, other than changes in the virus, likely caused the outbreak to be so widespread and severe.

“Other factors, including socio-economic ones, may have contributed,” Marzi said. “Unlike other outbreaks that occurred in central Africa in small villages where there wasn’t a lot of traffic, western Africa is highly populated and people travel a lot between countries. There is a lot of trade.

“The cities that were infected were not small villages,” she said. “They were like the capitals of those countries with a million people living there. Once the virus gets there, it spreads faster. This may have contributed, too, not just that the virus mutated and adapted to humans. … Our data doesn’t support that hypothesis. Mutations in viruses are normal. It may have moved wider because there were a lot more targets.”

People in West Africa were also slow to react because the disease had not appeared there before.

“In central Africa, people are very aware that Ebola is around,” Marzi said. “If someone presents with symptoms, village elders isolate them. (They) know that it could spread and be devastating. In West Africa in the beginning, nobody believed Ebola was there. They had to raise awareness that something bad was going on.”

Marzi spent two months working in Africa during the outbreak in what she calls an opportunity of a lifetime.

“For me, as a researcher, for the first time I personally could contribute something on the ground level,” she said. “Even though my skills as a scientist are so abstract to many people, those skills actually helped people directly.

“I could determine which people were really sick from blood that was drawn,” Marzi said. “Health care workers could limit the contact from the people who were infected to those people who were not infected and hopefully ensure they didn’t get the virus.”

There was some fear that went along with going into a place where so many were sick and dying.

“I washed my hands in bleach so many times that I could smell it for months afterwards,” she said. “It was quite something, but it was also one of the best things that I did in my life.”

Source:   https://ravallirepublic.com/news/local/article_c8baec9f-b8ae-530f-a751-f033e9776c67.html

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 13 2018 at 2:39pm
some nutty terroist  group could could send a few people to somewhere they hate ,with a few vials of blood ,have a "friend" in the health industry and ....................

opps a Major out break in................

pick a country or three.................

then there's the Airbourne version fo Ebola.......NOT Fatal YET................

mind not a good virus ,

people have a tendency to avoid ,others bleeding out.....................
12 Monkeys...............
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2018 at 8:49am
Update: 

19 dead 
39 others sick.
393 known contacts



Ebola virus outbreak RAVAGES Congo as death toll rises to 19

EBOLA has claimed the lives of 19 people and left 39 fighting for survival in the latest outbreak of the killer virus in the Congo.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed the killer disease has reared its ugly head again in Africa between April 4 and May 13 in devastating figures released today.

They also said a staggering 393 people who had come into contact with the epidemic were being followed up after an outbreak in Bikoro, Iboko and Wangata was confirmed.

Though additional information on the outbreak is limited, the event did not trigger a public health warning, the organisation said.

News of the outbreak brings to mind the terror of the epidemic that killed 11,000 people and infected 28,000 in West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

The West African epidemic began in a small village in Guinea, with a two-year-old boy thought to be the first victim.

It became a plague when it spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The last outbreak also took place in the Congo and killed four people last year.

The illness spreads frighteningly quickly with symptoms including fever, severe headache, muscle pain weakness, fatigue, diarrhea and vomiting to name a few.

Ebola has been traced all the way back to 1976 when 151 people died in Nzura in South Sudan and 280 in Yambuku, near the Ebola river which is where the disease gets its name.

The disease is believed to be hosted by bats but the blood and bodily fluids of animals is how the disease is thought to have transmitted to humans.

As it is impossible to eradicate the animals infected with Ebola, it is also impossible to wipe the virus out entirely.

This means it it inevitable that it will return.

A quick response when the disease takes hold betters the chances of survival.

In 2014, Pauline Cafferkey, a British aid worker was diagnosed with Ebola at Glasgow’s Gartnaval General Hospital.

She had just returned to Scotland from Sierra Leonne and is thought to have caught the toxic bug wearing a visor instead of goggles while in Africa.

It took 11 months for Ms Cafferkey to be declared free of infection.


Source and photos:   https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/959733/ebola-virus-outbreak-2018-congo-africa-Bikoro-Iboko-Wangata

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2018 at 12:05am

1. Situation update:   15.05.2018

Grade 2
Cases 41
Deaths 20
CFR 48.8%

On 8 May 2018, the Ministry of Health (MoH) of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in Bikoro Health Zone, Equateur Province. This is the ninth outbreak of Ebola virus disease over the last four decades in the country, with the most recent one occurring in May 2017.

Context

On 3 May 2018, the Provincial Health Division of Equateur reported 21 cases of fever with haemorrhagic signs including 17 community deaths in the Ikoko-Impenge Health Area in this region. A team from the Ministry of Health, supported by WHO and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) visited the Ikoko-Impenge Health Area on 5 May 2018 and detected five (5) active cases, two of whom were admitted to Bikoro General Hospital and three who were admitted in the health centre in Ikoko-Impenge. Samples were taken from each of the five active cases and sent for analysis at the Institute National de Recherche Biomédicale (INRB), Kinshasa on 6 May 2018. Of these, two tested positive for Ebola virus, Zaire ebolavirus species, by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on 7 May 2018 and the outbreak was officially declared on 8 May 2018.

The index case has not yet been identified and investigations are underway.

Update

Since the last situation report, an additional Health Zone in Equateur Province reported EVD cases – Wangata Health Zone in the city of Mbandaka – with a total of three (3) affected Health Zones as of 14 May 2018.

Waganta Health Zone reported two probable cases on 11 May 2018 with both cases testing positive by Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT) – both their samples are awaiting PCR confirmation from INRB in Kinshasa. As of 13 May, there is a cumulative total of 41 cases, including 20 deaths (case fatality rate = 48.8%) and three healthcare workers from Bikoro (n=2) and Iboko (n=1). Of the 41 cases reported, two cases are confirmed, 17 are suspected and 22 are probable . A total of 432 contacts are being monitored in the health zones of Bikoro (n=274), Iboko (n=115) and Mbandaka (n=43) as of 14 May 2018.
With regards to case distribution, Bikoro Health Zone reported the highest number of cases (n=31), followed by Iboko (n=8) and Mbandaka (n=2) Health Zones. In the Bikoro Health Zone, 50% of the cases were reported from the Ikoko-Impenge health area, followed by Bikoro health area (35.3%), the health facility (14%) and the Moleti health area (7%). In the Iboko Health Zone, most cases were reported from the Mpangi health area (80%) with the remaining one case being reported from Itipo health area. In the Waganta Health Zone in Mbandaka city, the two cases were both from the Bongozo health area. They are the previously mentioned probable cases (RDT positive and awaiting PCR confirmation) and are brothers who had recently stayed in Bikoro for funerals.

Source:   http:///reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/democratic-republic-congo-ebola-virus-disease-external-situation-0


I can't help but notice the dates.  I did not manage to report this to you until the 8th, when the government first announced the outbreak, but the disease emerged in the human potulation on the 3rd, that is a whole week apart.  This is easily explainable by the remoteness of the outbreak.  But, what if it was another zoonosis, even more deadly, contagious and slightly slower to kill?  That kind of delay would be lethal on a massive scale.  I rather doubt that ebola will be the slate wiper, but it is interesting as a case study to prepare for the disease that is.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2018 at 6:32am
May 16, 2018 / 12:03 PM / Updated 37 minutes ago

Congo receives first doses of Ebola vaccine amid outbreak

KINSHASA (Reuters) - The first batch of 4,000 experimental Ebola vaccines to combat an outbreak suspected to have killed 20 people arrived in Congo’s capital Kinshasa on Wednesday, said a Reuters witness at the airport.

The Health Ministry said vaccinations would start on the weekend, the first time the vaccine would come into use since it was developed two years ago.

The vaccine, developed by Merck and sent from Europe by the World Health Organization, is still not licensed but proved effective during limited trials in West Africa in the biggest ever outbreak of Ebola, which killed 11,300 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone from 2014-2016.

Health officials hope they can use it to contain the latest outbreak in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo which the WHO believes has so far killed 20 people since April.

Health workers have recorded two confirmed cases, 22 probable cases and 17 suspected cases of Ebola in three health zones of Congo’s Equateur province, and identified 432 people who may have had contact with the disease.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said the vaccine will be reserved for people suspected of coming into contact with the disease, and that a second batch of 4,000 doses would be sent in the coming days.

“In our experience, for each confirmed case of Ebola there are about 100-150 contacts and contacts of contacts eligible for vaccination,” Jasarevic said. “So it means this first shipment would be probably enough for around 25-26 rings - each around one confirmed case.”

The WHO said it had sent 300 body bags for safe burials in affected communities.

The outbreak was first spotted in the Bikoro zone, which has 31 of the cases and 274 contacts. There have also been eight cases and 115 contacts in Iboko health zone.

The WHO is worried about the disease reaching the city of Mbandaka with a population of about 1 million people, which would make the outbreak far harder to tackle. Two brothers in Mbandaka who recently stayed in Bikoro for funerals are probable cases, with samples awaiting laboratory confirmation.

The WHO report said 1,500 sets of personal protective equipment and an emergency sanitary kit sufficient for 10,000 people for three months were being put in place.

Source: Reuters    http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-health-ebola/congo-receives-first-doses-of-ebola-vaccine-amid-outbreak-idUKKCN1IH1AV

To add to my previous point,  It has taken two weeks to decide to use the vaccine and get it to the appropriate area.  Impressive, but probably not fast enough in the case of disease X.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tiger_deF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2018 at 11:54am
While this outbreak is happening in a pretty rural area of Africa the lack of media coverage is almost as suprising as the total lack of updates. The only source of info we have is who updates every couple of days
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2018 at 1:01pm
I expect they just want to show off their new vaccine..............  Big smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 16 2018 at 2:43pm
in parts of Africa ,it is a custom ,when young woman are going to get married,the sleep with a man ,i think known as a leopard,he has sex with them to teach them how to please their new husband,(this might be at puberty not sure of the age yet will research it ),

a few years ago there was a case that the "Leopard"didnt use a condom and infected many young woman with HIV,
Ebola has been found in semen...............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

may be not zoonosis,just a dirty old man ,
12 Monkeys...............
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2018 at 1:12am
Update

23 deaths
42 known cases
The disease has spread to Mbandaka (a city of over a million people)

It transpires that the vaccine the WHO has been relying on to contain the virus by ring-vaccination has to be stored at between -60C to -80C which is almost impossible in the remote areas where emerging zoonosises like ebola appear.

As usual with ebola, there is some arguement about how bad things are so here are several links each with their own take on affairs.  The Telegraph, Reuters and the BBC all have great reputations for accuracy.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44150762

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-ebola-congo/congo-health-minister-says-ebola-outbreak-in-new-phase-after-urban-case-idUSKCN1IH38O

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/16/fear-ebola-spreads-city-12m-people/

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/960891/ebola-deadly-virus-Africa-democratic-republic-of-congo-Mbandaka-disease-death


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 17 2018 at 1:17am
The following are links published yesterday:

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/05/fresh-ebola-outbreak-ncaa-issues-guidelines-airlines-urges-vigilance/  gives the instructions to the local airlines and http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/05/15/611267872/can-the-new-ebola-vaccine-stop-the-latest-outbreak  gives details of the vaccine used and its effectiveness in the last outbreak.
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