Check out Time editor Nancy Gibbs explanation on the choice of this years Time person of the year: People fighting ebola.
There was little to stop the disease from spreading further. Governments weren’t equipped to respond; the World Health Organization was in denial and snarled in red tape. First responders were accused of crying wolf, even as the danger grew. But the people in the field, the special forces of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Christian medical-relief workers of Samaritan’s Purse and many others from all over the world fought side by side with local doctors and nurses, ambulance drivers and burial teams.
From the CDC website here.
The CDC (with WHO) has released updated case counts for the Ebola Virus outbreak in West Africa as of December 3, 2014. The total confirmed cases is now over 17,000, with over 6,000 deaths from the disease.
President Obama has urged the US Congress to pass additional funding to fight the Ebola outbreak:
President Obama on Tuesday hailed U.S. efforts to develop a vaccine for Ebola and pleaded with Congress to pass his $6.2 billion request to combat the virus at home and abroad, warning that while efforts in the West African hot zone have shown progress, the fight is “not even close to being over.”
The United States has designated 35 hospitals across the country as Ebola treatment centers, which will dramatically increase the number of hospital beds available for treating ebola patients.
A potential Ebola case in Boston has initially tested negative for the ebola virus and positive for malaria.
During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Dr. David Hooper, chief of the MGH Infection Control Unit, said initial tests for Ebola were negative, but did test positive for Malaria. While the patient will be retested over the next few days, the changes of a positive result were low.
The CDC has updated case counts for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and beyond. Link here to the World Health Organization’s most recent situation report (from Nov 21st).
Our efforts to identify, isolate, and then treat ebola patients can work. America has proven that it can handle the isolated cases that may occur here.
We are nowhere near out of the woods yet in West Africa.
The bottom line is, that we know how to treat this disease, given that it has emerged in such a large significant outbreak in these areas, and we recently saw some cases in Mali. It underscores how important it is to continue to push forward until we stamp out this disease entirely in that region. Until we do, there are threats if additional outbreaks, and given the nature of international travel, it means that everybody has some measure of risk
Here at home we have made great progress in preparing our healthcare system to deal with any possible threat. Our scientists continue to make progress with vaccines and treatments, but we have got plenty of work to do. All of this means that although we should feel optimistic about our capacity to solve the Ebola crisis, we cannot be complacent simply because the news attention on it has waned. We have to stay with it.– President Obama in a meeting on the virus with national security and public health officials
According to the University of Nebraska’s Medical Center’s Chancellor, Dr. Jeffrey Gold, treatment of 2 patients with ebola cost over 1 million dollars (Austin Powers anyone?). Apparently it is unclear who will pay for the patients care at the specialized center.
“I urge Congress to approve funding and policies supporting full reimbursement of the cost of care for these unique cases that are not recoverable from insurance policies. These are patients that federal government directed to UNMC and Emory,” Gold said.
A surgeon who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone died early on Monday of the disease at a Nebraska hospital, medical officials said, the second death from the virus out of 10 known cases treated in the United States.
‘the doctor’ was put on dialysis within hours of his arrival and required intubation and mechanical ventilation within 12 hours. He was given plasma from an Ebola survivor and the drug ZMapp provided by Mapp Biopharmaceutical on Saturday, said Dr. Chris Kratochvil, associate vice chancellor for clinical research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The CDC and WHO have updated the case counts for this week, with the total deaths in West Africa at 5,147.
The Liberian President has ended the state of emergency that was declared to control the ebola outbreak in that country.
Doctors Without Borders said it will host clinical trials starting next month in three Ebola treatment centers experimenting with drugs for off-label uses, shortening the usual lengthy process used to find treatments through study with animals and healthy people.
The trials’ protocols are in the final stages of development and are designed with a simple target of 14-day survival and with broad inclusion criteria. The protocols will ensure that disruption to patient care will be minimal, that internationally-accepted medical and research ethical standards are respected, and that sound scientific data will be produced and shared for public good. The main principles and designs have been shared with the respective countries’ ethical authorities, with the goal of starting the first trials during December 2014. Initial results could be available in February 2015.
The two drugs, brincidofovir and favipiravir, were selected from WHO’s shortlist of potential Ebola treatments after careful review of safety and efficacy profiles, product availability, and ease of administration to patients.
Join Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on November 13 at 8:00 PM EST for a special update on the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
The panel will include MSF aid workers recently returned from assignments in Guinea and Liberia, along with members of MSF headquarters staff. This wide-ranging discussion will include first-hand accounts of working with patients and communities, the ongoing problem of fear and stigma in West Africa and here in the US, and the challenges facing the international community going forward.
My recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols in place for health staff returning from west Africa at the time of my infection. I am a living example of how those protocols work, and of how early detection and isolation is critical to both surviving Ebola and ensuring that it is not transmitted to others.
While my case has garnered international attention, it is important to remember that my infection represents but a fraction of the more than 13,000 reported cases to date in west Africa – the center of the outbreak, where families are being torn apart and communities destroyed.
Please join me in turning our attention back to west Africa, and ensuring that medical volunteers and other aid workers do not face stigma and threats upon their return home. Volunteers need to be supported to help fight this outbreak at its source.
– Ebola survivor Dr. Craig Spencer upon release from hospital and in thanking his caregivers