End of the deadly #Ebola outbreak in West Africa?

The deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa may finally be over.  While the Ebola outbreak was only in US news for a brief period, it has continued to ravage affected countries until recently. Sierra Leone and Liberia have been declared ebola free, and with the last known ebola patient in recovery, Guinea may soon also be on that list.

A 3-week-old girl in Guinea believed to be last victim of Ebola has recovered, potentially signaling the end of an unprecedented two-year epidemic in West Africa that claimed more than 11,000 lives.

By global health standards, 42 days must pass without another case of Ebola for Guinea to be declared free of the disease. The incubation period for Ebola is 21 days and out of an abundance of caution, twice that period of time must pass before the WHO declares the disease is defeated in Guinea.

#Ebola update: First increase in ebola cases in 2015 in all 3 heavily impacted countries

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Despite the recent good news out of West Africa showing weeks of decreases in Ebola case incidences, last week showed increases in ebola cases in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone (graph above modified from WHO situation report showing cases from Guinea, recent case count tallies below from CDC). More info and graphs from the other affected countries can be found at CDC, WHO. A news article from Reuters here.

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The recent increases in ebola cases are a reminder that the outbreak is still ongoing, and that trials for ebola treatments and vaccines are still as important as ever!

The #Ebola Outbreak Continues in West Africa! New Case Counts and the safety trial for Merck-NewLink’s vaccine restarts

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Despite the dissipated interest by most media outlets in the US, the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa continues. The CDC and WHO have updated Ebola case counts for the West African countries impacted most by the outbreak. The number of deaths now exceeds 8,000.

201315A clinical trial testing the safety of an Ebola vaccine has had to undergo a change in dose. The trial in Geneva, is testing a vaccine made by Merck-NewLink, and was halted in early December.

The clinical trial of an Ebola vaccine developed by Merck and NewLink resumed on Monday at a lower dose after a pause to assess complaints of joint pains in some volunteers, the University of Geneva hospital said.

#Ebola Update: Case counts from CDC and WHO

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Above is the updated Ebola case counts from CDC and WHO for December 15th, 2014. Below are graphs from the WHO situation report from the 10th of December for Liberia, more graphs and info here.

#Ebola Update: Case counts, clinical trials, and live webcast about the ebola crisis in West Africa

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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 (MSF) has announced it will begin accelerated clinical trials next month.

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.

More info on the trials from MSF:

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.

Lastly, MSF will host a live webcast about the Ebola crisis in West Africa:

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.

#Ebola Quotable: Dr. Craig Spencer – Doctors without Borders hero and Ebola survivor!

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

#Ebola has caused a pandemic of FEAR-BOLA in USA – hopefully coming to an end! #EbolaInWestAfrica

[tweet https://twitter.com/ianbremmer/status/523572276017790976]

The ongoing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is unprecedented and continues to kill hundreds of people each week. Here in the US, the ‘spread’ of one case of Ebola to 2 nurses has caused mass hysteria and anxiety in Americans that have virtually NO risk of getting Ebola. CNN reports on this hysteria, which Mel Robbins, has termed FEAR-BOLA. FEAR-BOLA has resulted in a lot of embarrassing acts around America, which are listed in the CNN article.

Fear-bola attacks the part of the brain responsible for rational thinking. It starts with a low-grade concern about the two health care workers diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas and slowly builds into fear of a widespread epidemic in the United States.

Today’s news that 43 people on the CDC Ebola watch list are cleared of ebola risk (people in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan), highlights that even people in close contact with an infected individual are unlikely to become infected. It also hopefully signals the beginning of the end of FEAR-BOLA. This is a good thing! However, once Americans realize they are not at risk, hopefully some of their subsiding fear can be directed towards support of the ACTUAL ebola outbreak in West Africa. Until the world tackles the exploding number of ebola cases in West Africa, we will continue to see rare cases of Ebola outside the affected region.

#Ebola by the numbers = West Africa + Spain + USA

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In case you missed it, there have now been travel associated cases of Ebola in the United States and Spain. Hopefully with proper medical care and procedures, these will remain isolated cases. Or at worst, be limited to just a few cases.

On 9/30/2014, CDC confirmed, the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola within the United States. CDC is working with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners and has activated its Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate technical assistance and control activities with partners. CDC has also deployed teams of public health experts to West Africa and will continue to send experts to the affected countries.

 Info on the Spanish case from the Guardian:

Health authorities announced on Monday that a Spanish nurse at Madrid’s Carlos III hospital who treated a patient repatriated from Sierra Leone had twice tested positive for Ebola.

Her husband had also been admitted to hospital and was in isolation, and a second nurse from the same team that treated both repatriated Ebola victims was also being tested. In this case, the nurse contacted the authorities on Monday complaining of a fever. She was in isolation in the Carlos III Hospital while authorities waited for the test results, a spokesperson for the Madrid regional government said.

#Ebola Quotable: Bill Gates on fighting the West African Ebola outbreak

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I think it is quite impressive what’s being pulled together, and I do think well be able to get this under control. We need to make sure that it doesn’t spread to other parts of Africa. That’s a particular challenge, and then we need to get it under control in these three locations (West African countries with outbreaks).

The U.S., as usual on world problems, is stepping up both in terms of the science, the understanding, and now the U.S. military’s logistic ability to get supplies in and build hospitals that are critical.

Bill Gates on Politico.com after the Gates Foundation donated $50 million to fight the Ebola outbreak.

WHO assessment of #Ebola outbreak at 6 months – 9 essays

The World Health Organization has released an assessment of the West African Ebola outbreak 6 months after it began.

On 23 March, the World Health Organization published formal notification of an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in Guinea on its website. On 8 August, WHO declared the epidemic to be a “public health emergency of international concern.

The WHO assessment examines the beginning of the outbreak in different countries, how the outbreak spread, what WHO has done to combat the outbreak, and how the outbreak may progress in the future. Check out the 9 essays of the assessment.

Ebola at 6 months
  1 – Ground zero in Guinea: the outbreak smoulders – undetected – for more than 3 months
  2 – Liberia: misery and despair tempered by some good reasons for hope
  3 – Sierra Leone: a traditional healer and a funeral
  4 – Nigeria and Senegal: stable – for the moment
  5 – Democratic Republic of Congo: “classic” Ebola in a country experiencing its seventh outbreak
  6 – A fast-moving epidemic full of tragic surprises
  7 – What this – the largest Ebola outbreak in history – tells the world
  8 – How the four biggest outbreaks since the start of this century shattered some long-standing myths