THE OUTBREAK

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With West Africa’s Ebola epidemic passing the 1-year mark, two new reports yielded details about factors that fueled the event, including bats in a hollow tree that may have infected the index patient, a young Guinean child, and a silent chain of transmission that caused the disease to flare again in May after cases had sharply dropped off. Also today, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated its Ebola numbers, saying there have… Read More

From The New York Times, Friday, October 31st, 2014: For six years, Mayra Martinez had been going to the same beautician in Queens, and considered her a friend. On Saturday, while getting her hair done, Ms. Martinez, 45, mentioned she had just gotten a new job. “Where?” the beautician asked. “Bellevue,” Ms. Martinez said. “She just froze and asked, ‘Are you anywhere near him?’ ” Ms. Martinez recalled. Then the beautician asked her… Read More

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — The rate of new Ebola infections in Liberia appears to be declining and could represent a genuine trend, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, but the epidemic is far from over. The disease is still raging in parts of Sierra Leone and there is still a risk that the decline in Liberia won’t be sustained, Dr. Bruce Aylward, an assistant director-general for WHO, warned reporters. Several times in… Read More

(Reuters) – Nine cases of Ebola have been seen in the United States since the beginning of August. A Liberian man who died Oct. 8 in a Dallas, Texas, hospital was the first person diagnosed with the virus on U.S. soil. The latest case is a doctor in New York City who was diagnosed on Oct. 23 within a week of returning from treating people in Guinea, one of the three worst-hit… Read More

In the fight against Ebola, mapping fruit bat habitats could be one important step, says a geoinformatics researcher at Sweden’s Royal Institute of Technology. Like the Black Death that ravaged medieval Europe, the Ebola virus’ progress through remote areas of West Africa is enabled by lack of understanding about the disease, including its causes and transmission. Mapping technology however will give responders to the crisis in Africa the upper hand in stopping… Read More

West Africa’s worsening Ebola outbreak prompted announcements today that the World Health Organization and its partners, including the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are stepping up efforts to battle the disease. The CDC also issued a travel warning for Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia that advises against nonessential travel to the area, based on the deteriorating outbreak situation. In its latest update yesterday, the WHO said new cases and… Read More

Amid the growing Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in three West African nations, two new developments are fanning concerns about the international spread of the disease: a fatal infection in a Liberian air passenger who traveled to Nigeria and cases in two American medical workers in Liberia. The air traveler was a 40-year-old Liberian man who had flown to Lagos, Nigeria, on Jul 20, having arrived on a connecting flight from Lome,… Read More

After leveling off over the past few weeks, Ebola virus activity in West Africa sparked up again on two fronts, in a newly affected area of Guinea and in Sierra Leone, which had not had a previous outbreak case, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest updates. In Guinea, eight new cases and three more deaths were reported from three districts. Three of the infections were reported from Telimele prefecture,… Read More

Only one prefecture in Guinea—Gueckedou—has reported continued community transmission  and deaths in the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak there as of May 18, says an update from the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa. Gueckedou is the prefecture that has seen the most clinical cases (168, with 123 deaths) during the outbreak, which began earlier this spring. The cumulative total for clinical cases stands at 253, with 176 deaths. Confirmed… Read More

In an invited perspective article on the Ebola outbreak under way in West Africa, Heinz Feldmann, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) emphasizes the need for scientists to make their data available to colleagues in real-time to improve the public health response to outbreaks. He cites past responses to influenza and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreaks as successful examples of global information sharing. Rapid diagnoses are key to… Read More