President Obama outlines US plan to help countries impacted by #Ebola outbreak

Obama gave a speech today at the CDC about the threat posed by the West African Ebola Outbreak and what the US government is doing to help the affected countries.

“If the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people affected, with profound economic, political and security implications for all of us,” Obama said Tuesday after briefings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University.

“It’s a potential threat to global security if these countries break down,” Obama said, speaking of the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. At least 2,400 people have died, with Liberia bearing the brunt.

President Obama outlined multiple parts of the US plan to fight the outbreak. In the video of the speech (which CauseScience posted previously), Obama also commented on working to leave the affected countries better prepared to deal with outbreaks in the future, as well as asking congress to provide support for US research into treatments and vaccines.

—Send 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the stricken region

—Train as many as 500 health care workers a week.

—Erect 17 heath care facilities in Liberia of 100 beds each.

—Set up a joint command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to coordinate U.S. and international relief efforts.

—Provide home health care kits to hundreds of thousands, including 50,000 that the U.S. Agency for International Development will deliver to Liberia this week.

—Carry out a home- and community-based campaign to train local populations on handling exposed patients.

Good news on the #Ebola outbreak for September : New diagnostic test and 2 unrelated outbreaks

While it seems that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to spread, having now killed over 1500 people, there is some good news as September starts. First, a new non-PCR based diagnostic test for Ebola has been reported on Bloomberg News. Second, WHO reports that the Ebola cases that were assumed to have spread to the Democratic Republic of Congo, are actually part of a separate, unrelated Ebola outbreak (see on Forbes). This indicates that the virus has not spread quite as extensively.

PCRc

The method takes about 30 minutes or less and can be conducted in rural areas where there are no power cables, said Jiro Yasuda, professor of infectious diseases at Nagasaki University, today. The technique, initially reported in 2007 in Journal of Virological Methods by Yasuda and his colleagues, was modified to be used for the strain of Ebola that’s blamed for more than 1,550 deaths in West Africa.

unrelated

The World Health Organization has just confirmed that the newly-identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

A WHO collaborating research center in Franceville, Gabon, the Centre International de Recherches Médicales, had previously identified six Ebola positive samples sent to the laboratory. They report today that, “the virus in the Boende district is definitely not derived from the virus strain currently circulating in west Africa.”