Category Archives: Ebola

Ebola wipes out every mother in Liberian village

 

In Joeblow, Liberia, every mother has been killed by Ebola leaving a village full of confused and devastated children

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor

11:35AM GMT 05 Jan 2015

For 11-year-old Montgomery Philip, childhood is over. Six months ago he would have been playing football with his schoolmates, but now his job is to care for his 10-monthold baby brother Jenkie. The pair are both victims of the Ebola virus. Not because they caught the disease, but because they live in Joeblow, Liberia, where the devastating outbreak has killed every mother in the village.

The women died because social convention decrees it is they who tend to the sick and bury the dead.

When a man brought Ebola to the village and passed it on to his wife, it was 14 mothers who cared for her and eventually laid out her body. One by one they caught the disease and died, leaving 15 children orphaned.

Chloe Brett, 28, from Norwich, has been working with the British charity Street Child to try to find homes for the children left behind in the aftermath of the outbreak.

“Seeing Montgomery struggle to change the baby’s nappy without any guidance is something that made me realise just how devastating this disease can be on those left behind,” she said. “He was a helpless 11-year-old having to become a man well before his time.

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“Although it feels like Liberia is coming out of the end of the crisis, it is now dealing with the aftermath, and what it has left behind is huge groups of children who are on their own. When we visited Joeblow, it seemed normal at first, with children in the street, men, a couple of old women. But then we realised there were no other women anywhere.

“We talked to a man who had survived Ebola and he told us what had happened.

All of the women had caught the disease.

“It’s now a village of no mothers and very confused children with blank looks on their faces.”

Nearly 7,000 people have died from Ebola and more than 18,000 have caught the disease, mainly in West Africa. Liberia has been hit the hardest, with 3,290 deaths so far compared with 2,085 in Sierra Leone and 1,525 in Guinea.

Street Child been working in Liberia to find homes for orphaned children over the past five years, but the Ebola crisis has made the situation far worse.

The charity estimates that the disease has left 30,000 orphans in West Africa. So far, it has helped 8,000 find new homes with relations or neighbours. Many children are being looked after in two shelters in the country’s capital, Monrovia.

Children with sick parents also need to be quarantined for 21 days to make sure they have not contracted the illness.

The orphans are placed in groups of three, but if a child starts to show symptoms of Ebola, they are isolated immediately – a terrifying prospect for a youngster who has just lost their parents.

According to Unicef, just 800 children have been resettled in Liberia to date.

“The future for these children is bleak if they do not find new homes,” added Miss Brett, who is the Liberia programme director at Street Child.

“I saw Montgomery carrying his 10-month-old brother – that is life for him now. He won’t be able to go back to school if he is looking after his brother.

“All the children wear rags because all their clothes and possessions have had to be burnt as a precaution because of the disease.

“We try to find relatives or neighbours to take the children in, but the community is scared.

“We went to one slum where every home had been affected. Every door we knocked on, we found more children who needed homes.”

Chloe Brett has been working to find homes for children left behind in the aftermath of the outbreak

Miss Brett has come across households in the back streets of Monrovia where children have been sleeping with the dead body of their father for three days.

Neighbours had turned away the youngsters, fearing they could be infected.

Many simply cannot afford to feed another mouth. Ebola has caused the price of rice to increase by at least 20 per cent in Monrovia, and in some locations it has almost doubled.

Tom Dannatt, Street Child’s chief executive, said: “Thirty thousand children in West Africa will have spent this Christmas mourning the loss of a mother or father as a result of Ebola.

“They want for the most basic of human needs while the majority of us in the UK have been enjoying indulgence and celebration.”

He added: “I have no doubt that aid from larger organisations is coming, but there is an immediate need which we at Street Child can meet right now. We just need the financial support.

“On my last trip to Sierra Leone in November, when I spent time with Street Child teams visiting some of the hardest-hit communities, I learnt three things.

“Firstly, we know about Western aid and medical Ebola heroes, but the heroism of so many Sierra Leoneans at community level is inspiring – and underreported. We should invest more in these people.

“Secondly, the medical and military effort is impressive, but the pure humanitarian aid response appears to have hardly begun.

“Thirdly, not enough Sierra Leoneans know ‘enough’ about Ebola – especially in the most rural and poorest places.”

“Montgomery looks after his brother now. That is his life”.

Visit street-child.co.uk/ebolaresponse for more information

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It was nearly 100 years ago that an influenza pandemic led to sweeping quarantines in American cities

By BENJAMIN WEISER and J. DAVID GOODMANOCT. 26, 2014

    It was nearly 100 years ago that an influenza pandemic led to sweeping quarantines in American cities, and it was more than two decades ago that patients in New York were forced into isolation after an outbreak of tuberculosis.

    In modern America, public health actions of such gravity are remarkably rare. So the decisions by New York and New Jersey on Friday to quarantine some travelers returning from the Ebola zone in West Africa have taken public officials into unfamiliar legal and medical territory.

    From public health advocates and civil liberties lawyers has come sharp criticism, and the first person to be detained under the new protocol, a nurse who was quarantined in New Jersey upon returning from Sierra Leone, lashed out on Sunday at Gov. Chris Christie as her lawyer said he would mount a legal challenge to her confinement.

    Continue reading the main story

    But on Sunday night, barely two days after his joint announcement with Mr. Christie, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced his state would not go as far as New Jersey has.

    The nurse, Kaci Hickox, gave a critical interview to CNN on Sunday. Later, in an email to The New York Times, she wrote, “My human rights have been violated, and we must react in order to ensure that other health care workers do not endure such injustice.”

    Donna E. Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the most restrictive protocols are far too broad.

    “The current order is sweeping in individuals who are asymptomatic and who may never develop symptoms,” Ms. Lieberman said. “I think there is a serious question as to whether the governor has the authority to impose the broad quarantine that he has imposed,” she added.

    The quarantine by New Jersey of medical workers returning from Ebola-afflicted areas of West Africa is virtually without precedent in the modern history of the nation, public health and legal experts said on Sunday.

    “This is, I think, pushing the envelope quite a bit and is highly counterproductive,” Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, said. “I can’t think of a situation where any jurisdiction in the United States in modern times has simply quarantined a whole class of people.”

    In a new era of mass travel and global pandemics, public health officials have seen the utility of quarantines to rein in outbreaks that appear to be spiraling out of control. But the approach, experts said, is an extreme one.

    “It doesn’t seem like we’re to that stage yet,” Steven D. Gravely said, a lawyer who helped Virginia rewrite its laws on quarantine to make it easier for the state to respond quickly to disease outbreaks. Instead, he said, “there’s so much anxiety right now, that’s become the problem.”

    Government officials, he added, need to explain “why are you doing this, what do you hope to accomplish. Because otherwise people read into it things that are not there.”

    The power to impose quarantines derives from the general police power granted to states in the Constitution. But over the last century, state and federal authorities have moved away from broadly quarantining categories of people, said Mr. Gostin, adding that one would have to reach back to the influenza pandemic of 1918 to begin to find the sort of blanket approach being employed in response to Ebola in New Jersey.

    General quarantines, seen as having only limited effectiveness even when employed against the flu a century ago, fell out of favor as antibiotics and other treatments were developed to more directly address the contagious without affecting those who might have been exposed but display no sickness.

    At the height of the AIDS epidemic, quarantines were supported in some quarters, but no such measures were ever adopted. Similarly, there were no quarantines in the United States during recent pandemics of H1N1 or SARS.

    The last time patients in New York City were forced into isolation came with the outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the early 1990s, said Wendy E. Parmet, professor of health policy and law at Northeastern University School of Law. In those cases, officials targeted those recalcitrant patients who refused to take their medications, she said, rather than every person who tested positive, and even that practice faced court challenges. The approach resulted in the less restrictive “directly observed therapy,” in which patients were forced to take medications in front of officials, she said.

    Continue reading the main story

    Ebola nurse’s quarantine hell

    Ebola nurse’s quarantine hell

    By Frank Rosario and Joe Tacopino

    October 27, 2014 | 1:27am

    Modal Trigger

    Ebola nurse’s quarantine hell

    Kaci Hickox — who tested negative for Ebola twice — took a “quarantine selfie” while dealing with alleged “prison-like” conditions. Photo: Kaci Hickox

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    An Ebola nurse under mandatory quarantine in New Jersey fumed Sunday that she is being held in “inhumane” and “prison”-like conditions — and her lawyer vowed to file suit over her involuntary confinement.

    Kaci Hickox told CNN’s “State of the Union” that she was stuck inside a tent without a shower or flushable toilet, despite having no symptoms and twice testing negative for the deadly virus after caring for patients in Sierra Leone.

    Hickox, 33, also said she was being forced to wear paper scrubs, had no TV or reading materials, and was spending her time staring at the walls of the tent outside University Hospital in Newark,

    “I am sure that we, as the United States, can come up with a fair and just policy for returning aid workers from Ebola-affected areas,” she said in an e-mail to The Post.

    “But the policy enacted on me was no such policy. We must fix this now in order to ensure aid workers are protected so that this battle against Ebola in West Africa is won.”

    Hickox, who was quarantined Friday, also told CNN she hasn’t been told how long she’ll be locked up, and started to cry when she described having no temperature or other symptoms of Ebola.

    Modal Trigger

    Hickox was forced to use this no-flush toilet during her quarantine hell.Photo: Kaci Hickox

    Hickox said she felt “like my basic human rights have been violated,” adding: “To put me in prison is just inhumane.”

    She later sent The Post a selfie taken with her smartphone from inside the tent.

    Civil-rights lawyer Norman Siegel said holding Hickox against her will without any symptoms raised “serious constitutional and civil-liberties issues.

    “We’re not going to dispute that the government has, under certain circumstances, the right to issue a quarantine,” Siegel told Reuters.

    But, he added, “The policy is overly broad when applied to her.”

    Mayor de Blasio also ripped her treatment, saying that “heroes should not be treated this way.”

    “An individual who is a returning hero needs to be treated with deference and respect,” de Blasio said. “She should have been provided with an outpouring of support, and that obviously did not happen.”

    On Sunday, the hospital said Hickox “has computer access, use of her cellphone, reading material (magazines, newspaper) and requested and has received takeout food and drink,” CNN reported.

    Additional reporting by Bruce Golding

    CONTINUE READING…

    RMS Develops World’s First Probabilistic Model of West African Ebola Outbreak, Finds Current Outbreak Has Potential to be Deadliest Infectious Disease Event in a Century

    Current outbreak will worsen and could reach as many as 1,400 new cases per day within a month, according to pandemic risk experts

    October 23, 2014

    NEWARK, Calif. — According to a new report by RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk management firm, the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa has the potential to be the most deadly infectious disease event since the 1918 flu pandemic.

    The current outbreak will continue to worsen while the deployment of resources is ramped up to meet the caseload. According to RMS modeling, until a tipping point is reached where the number of new daily cases declines rather than increases, the severity of the outbreak will continue to multiply, with the total number of new cases approximately doubling each month.

    “Controlling the spread of this Ebola outbreak is more a question of logistics than virology,” said Dominic Smith, pandemic risk expert and senior manager of Life Risks at RMS. “The fight against the Ebola epidemic is a race against a moving target; more resources are required as the number of cases increases.”

    RMS modeling suggests that, based on current response efforts, the tipping point will not be reached until January 2015. Modeling further reveals a 55 percent chance that by the end of November, at least 1,000 new cases of Ebola will develop daily, and as many as 1,400 per day in a worst-case scenario. There have been more than 9,000 cases reported in total to date.

    Adding to the devastation of the Ebola outbreak, overwhelmed medical systems in West Africa have less resources to respond to other diseases and the mortality rate of malaria and yellow fever is on the rise. Malaria deaths are likely to continue rising as the seasonal height of malaria transmission is reached next month.

    RMS modeled the future paths of cases and deaths from the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, which were combined with a probabilistic assessment of various international medical and military response scenarios to estimate the timing of the tipping point where cases are controlled such that the disease tapers off.

    Reaching the Tipping Point

    If effective resources are deployed at a rate that outstrips the pace of increase in new cases, a tipping point can be reached where the number of new daily cases reaches a maximum, allowing response measures to kick in and prevent new infections at a rate that causes the epidemic to subside.

    “The way to stop this outbreak is simple in principle and has been demonstrated in Nigeria and in specific cities in the affected region: reduce contacts with infected people by more than half,” said Smith. “The scale and pace of the international response will define how long it takes to reach the tipping point.”

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that, even in the absence of treatments and vaccines, the epidemic would be brought under control and eventually come to an end if approximately 70 to 75 percent of cases are in medical care or treatment units, or in environments where there is a reduced risk of disease transmission.

    In a realistic scenario based on current response efforts, RMS analysis projects the tipping point will be reached at the end of January 2015, with the outbreak subsiding by June 2015.

    Modeling the West African Ebola Outbreak

    When modeling a disease, RMS first looks at the reported virulence and the transmissibility of the pathogen responsible for causing Ebola. This virus is extremely deadly, with an estimated case fatality rate of 69 to 73 percent. This range of estimates for transmissibility, as measured by R0, is between 1.5 and 2.2, which means on average an infected individual will transmit the virus to approximately two other people in a susceptible population.

    RMS then takes into account mitigating criteria, including medical and non-medical interventions. In its modeling, RMS evaluated the current response resources in place in impacted countries, further resources already pledged and a range of estimates of potential additional resources that will be deployed. For each country, RMS used these factors to formulate five scenarios, ranging from very optimistic to very pessimistic, and their associated probabilities.

    The number of beds for Ebola treatment currently in use is far below what is needed to reverse the outbreak in any of the three effected countries. To reach the tipping point sooner, faster ramp up of mitigating efforts is essential, but subsequently, fewer total beds and resources in general will be required.

    For example, in order to reach the tipping point in Sierra Leone, the current number of beds in use needs to be approximately tripled by the end of November to halt the outbreak with the smallest total number of cases and at the lowest overall cost. If that fails, the number will need to increase to six times today’s number by the end of December to halt the outbreak.

    A large degree of reliance will be placed on beds being rolled out in Ebola treatment centers (ETCs), which cost $5.7 million to set up and run a fifty-bed center for one month. Ebola community care units (ECUs) staffed by rapidly trained non-experts rather than medical workers are being set up in some areas, but there is larger uncertainty surrounding their effectiveness.

    Treatments might help reduce the case fatality rate, but are very unlikely to have a significant role in halting the spread of the Ebola epidemic. An Ebola vaccine might be available in time to shorten the epidemic, but will not be produced in sufficient quantities to have an active role in halting the spread of the epidemic in the next few months.

    Ebola Outside of West Africa

    RMS does not expect this outbreak of Ebola to become a significant mortality threat in other parts of the world. It is possible that it could spread to neighboring countries in West Africa. This risk can be reduced by appropriate screening of people leaving the impacted region and could be contained with rapid implementation of effective control measures.

    In the situation where there are potentially 10,000 new cases per week in West Africa, there will be more cases exported into other countries. This is possible via two routes:

    • Foreign workers combating the spread of the virus are likely to be repatriated to their home countries. Currently the United States, United Kingdom, France and Cuba have delivered personnel in significant numbers. RMS does not consider this to be a probable source of escalation as such cases will be monitored and isolated by the public health systems already in place in those countries.
    • Infected people travelling to other regions unchecked could transmit Ebola outside of West Africa. However, the capability of most countries to trace contacts is higher than in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and stronger travel control measures could be implemented if case numbers exceeded a prudent limit.

    RMS will be updating the model with new numbers every few weeks, projecting the course of the event in near real-time.

    About RMS

    RMS models and software help financial institutions and public agencies evaluate and manage catastrophe risks throughout the world, promoting resilient societies and a sustainable global economy.

    Learn more at www.rms.com and follow us @RMS.

    Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/2014/10/23/6449160_rms-develops-worlds-first-probabilistic.html?sp=/100/773/385/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

    Obama Sponsored Suicide: US Troops Get Just 4 Hours of Ebola Training

    Socialism is not the Answer

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    Gateway Pundit

    Government Sponsored Suicide–
    The US troops heading over to the Ebola stricken countries in West Africa are reportedly receiving just four hours of Ebola training.
    The Daily Beast reported:

    As the U.S. military rushes to combat Ebola in West Africa, soldiers are receiving on-the-fly instructions on how to protect themselves against the deadly virus.
    American military operations to fight Ebola in Africa are unfolding quickly—forcing the military to come up with some procedures and protocols on the fly.

    Soldiers preparing for deployment to West Africa are given just four hours of Ebola-related training before leaving to combat the epidemic. And the first 500 soldiers to arrive have been holing up in Liberian hotels and government facilities while the military builds longer-term infrastructure on the ground.

    For soldiers at Fort Campbell and Fort Bragg preparing for their deployments to West…

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    World fears mount that Ebola battle being lost in West Africa

    The Extinction Protocol

    October 2014HEALTHThe World Bank warned Friday the fight to stop Ebola was being lost, as the UN 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…

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    $39,643,352 worth of NIH funding that could have gone to the Ebola vaccine

    By Elizabeth Harrington Published October 17, 2014 Washington Free Beacon

    Ebola_transport_AP_660.jpg

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has spent more than $39 million on obese lesbians, origami condoms, texting drunks, and dozens of other projects that could have been scrapped in favor of developing an Ebola vaccine.

    “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready,” said NIH Director Francis Collins, blaming budget cuts for his agency’s failure to develop a vaccine for the deadly virus.

    However, the Washington Free Beacon has uncovered $39,643,352 worth of NIH studies within the past several years that have gone to questionable research.

    For instance, the agency has spent $2,873,440 trying to figure out why lesbians are obese, and $466,642 on why fat girls have a tough time getting dates. Another $2,075,611 was spent encouraging old people to join choirs.

    Millions have gone to “text message interventions,” including a study where researchers sent texts to drunks at the bar to try to get them to stop drinking. The project received an additional grant this year, for a total of $674,590.

    The NIH is also texting older African Americans with HIV ($372,460), HIV and drug users in rural areas ($693,000), HIV smokers ($763,519), pregnant smokers ($380,145), teen moms ($243,839), and meth addicts ($360,113). Text message interventions to try to get obese people to lose weight have cost $2,707,067.

    The NIH’s research on obesity has led to spending $2,101,064 on wearable insoles and buttons that can track a person’s weight, and $374,670 to put on fruit and vegetable puppet shows for preschoolers.

    Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon