Scientists at Washington University have concluded by a study of mice that genetics could play a role in how you respond to the Ebola Virus Disease. Scientists noticed that mice which survived showed higher genetic activity at the alleles responsible for the manufacture of antibodies. Here is a round-up of the day’s news:
- Kaci Hickox, the nurse who fought against isolation, has been temporarily ordered by the state of Maine to maintain a 3-feet distance from people when she goes out. She has also been ordered to submit herself to active monitoring and has to coordinate all travel with health authorities, ABC News reported. Furthermore she may not be present in public places. Kaci said earlier this week that she would go to court if the state of Maine tried enforcing isolation in the same way as the state of New Jersey.
- Russia and Guinea have signed memoranda to establish a legal framework to benefit the Guinean health system to better fight Ebola but also improve care in the future according to Guinéenews. Guinea’s Health Minister also announced further expansion of treatment facilities and protocols as well as the buying of new equipment and widespread distribution of essentials to help fight the virus.
- The Liberian Observer reports that Japan has contributed 7 ambulances worth more than US $ 400 000 to the Government of Liberia to aid the fight against the virus. International and local stakeholders have made progress as noted by the World Health Organization Assistant Director-General, Bruce Aylward, who earlier this week said that the outbreak in Liberia appears to be slowing.
- In Sierra Leone the virus continues to spread as two villages near Freetown-Lungi International Airport have had twenty bodies buried over two days. One of the villages saw a major rise in cases after burial clearance was allegedly given to an untrained person based on misinformation. All Ebola victims must be buried by Officials. How this misinformation occurred is unclear but a dispute has arisen regarding the details. Officials in the nation also called for a change in attitude to help fight the virus. Sierra Leone’s Foreign Minister has also said that no citizen from his country has been diagnosed outside its borders.
- A US couple has pranked their son by taking his temperature and declaring that he has Ebola. In two days the video on Youtube has garnered more than 2 million views with mixed reaction to its appropriateness.
While facilities are struggling to cope with the number of affected individuals in West Africa, the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy has contributed by sending Argus, a hospital ship, to help manage the virus. The ship has one hundred beds aboard and will aim lighten the load on treatment facilities in Sierra Leone as well as deliver crucial supplies. Here is a summary of the day’s stories:
- The American Nurse, Kaci Hickox, who questioned the implication on human rights of a mandatory isolation period in New Jersey, and was later let go under conditions of the policy, threatened to go to court if the State of Maine attempted to do the same. It was noted by an official that health care workers who fight the disease in other countries, should be willing to take necessary steps to prevent spreading the virus. Hickox defied all arguments she claims are not founded in science and took a bike ride. Police were unable to detain her because there wasn’t a valid court order. Her 21-day incubation period is scheduled to end on the 10th of November 2014.
- Over one hundred thousand people have signed a petition requesting the Spanish Health Minister to resign. The demand comes after the poor handling of Maria Romero’s Ebola infection which led to a court order for her dog, Excalibur, to be euthanized. The Nurse, upon making a full recovery, said she was disappointed with the decision but would get a new puppy. All contacts have been cleared of the virus.
- The Czech Republic is currently on the hunt for a group of people who threatened to spread Ebola if they are not paid the equivalent of €1 million in Bitcoin (±3700BTC). The first payment was meant to be made on Monday. The Czech government has said that while the individuals cover their tracks and are difficult to find, the citizens have nothing to worry about. The perpetrators could face up to 12 years in prison if caught and convicted.
The five year old boy who was hospitalized in New York after a family trip to Guinea has tested negative for the virus. At the same medical center, Bellevue Hospital, Dr. Craig Spencer is reported to be in a serious but stable condition. Here is a round-up of the day’s news:
- The Texas nurse, Amber Vinson, whose family spoke to media last week declaring that Doctors could no longer detect Ebola has been given the official all clear and will be released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Reuters reports.
- The United States which sent military and financial aid to Liberia has announced that 12 out of 17 Ebola treatment units are near completion or have already been completed. The Liberian House of Representatives also approved loan agreements totaling US $62.31 million for the fight against Ebola, the Liberian Observer reports. The People’s Republic of China has also announced a US $82 million investment for the fight against the virus.
- President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said 5000 health care workers are needed to address the outbreak in the three worst affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Kim spoke from the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The United Nations has set the target of 70% of all cases being treated in medical facilities as well as 70% of all burials being in line with Ebola protocols. There was also concern that excessive isolation policies could deter people from volunteering.
- A potential Ebola patient who had been taken to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore has tested negative for the virus.
- In Japan, a Canadian journalist who showed symptoms of Ebola when he arrived at Haneda Airport yesterday afternoon has also tested negative for the virus. Japan recently implemented a policy to check recent travel histories of all international travelers.
Ebola is not the only virus known to cause hemorrhagic fever and it is certainly not the most common. This page serves to list many of the common viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF) in a table with brief descriptions for reference. The diseases listed are those commonly found in humans and excludes those which effect animals such as rabbit hemorrhagic disease.
All forms of VHF share similar symptoms including generalized flu-like symptoms in the early stages of infection with rapid progression into the defining symptoms. The general symptoms of VHF related disease include high fever, bleeding disorders, shock and in many cases results in death. Five families of RNA viruses are considered responsible for all VHF cases with the most recent identified in 2012. The viral families are Arenaviridae, Bunyaviridae, Filoviridae (Ebola), Flaviviridae and Rhabdoviridae.
|Viral hemorrhagic fever
||Generic terms for typically life threatening fevers including Ebola and Marburg
|Argentine hemorrhagic fever
||Caused by an arenavirus carried by corn mice
|Bolivian hemorrhagic fever
||Caused by the Machupo virus with mortality rates between 5 and 30%
|Brazilian hemorrhagic fever
||The Sabiá virus is responsible for the fever
|Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever
||Spread by a Tick-borne Virus
|Kyasanur forest disease
||Caused by Tick-borne virus from the same family as yellow fever
||Caused by the Lassa Virus
|Marburg virus disease
||The Marburg virus is a close relative of Ebola
|Omsk hemorrhagic fever
||Found in Siberia caused by a Flavivirus
|Venezuelan hemorrhagic fever
||Caused by the Guanarito virus
As you can see there are several known hemorrhagic fevers and although Ebola gets highlighted every few years during an outbreak it is certainly not the only virus to consider when a fever presents itself in a patient. Many of the diseases belonging to this category are endemic to certain areas around the world and all share the symptoms noted in late stage Ebola infections.
The two year old toddler, Fanta Kone, who is believed to have contracted Ebola from her late father, has died in Mali. While the country works to trace contacts and isolate those considered most at risk, questions around the ethics of isolation have arisen in other parts of the world. Here is a summary of the day’s stories:
- The NBC cameraman, Asoko Mukpo, who recovered from Ebola has described his battle with the virus to the Associated Press as being “at war” with his body. Meanwhile a nurse who was quarantined after she returned from Sierra Leone criticized the New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie, for the mandatory isolation implemented for all volunteers returning from affected countries in the state, as well as the State of New York after Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed last week. Kaci Hickox said to Candy Crowley of CNN that she felt like her “basic human rights have been violated.” A civil rights lawyer, Norman Siegel, planned to represent the nurse and said the isolation was against her “constitutional liberty.” However, it was announced earlier today that she will be released. Hickox was kept in a tent at the back of the hospital which lacked a television, reading material, flushable toilet and shower facilities. The Nurse has tested negative for the virus to date.
- Dr. Craig Spencer, the fourth person diagnosed with the virus in the United States, has moved into the next phase of the disease which includes gastrointestinal symptoms. He has been treated with antiviral drugs since arriving at Bellevue Hospital and has now also received plasma therapy. His fiancée will be sent home but remain under quarantine. At the same hospital a five year old is currently being tested for the virus after arriving home from a family trip to Guinea. The boy’s family is in isolation at their apartment. It is also believed that Bellevue Hospital employees are now being refused service from local stores and restaurants.
- American soldiers who were sent to Liberia to aid in the fight against Ebola have been isolated in Vicenza, Italy. CNN, CBS and Reuters all report that 11 soldiers have been placed in quarantine, but none have shown symptoms. The pentagon described the isolation as ‘controlled monitoring’ and said that they would not be allowed to return to the United States until the 21-day period was over.
- Australia’s Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced new restrictions on people trying to enter the country on humanitarian grounds from affected nations. He said that applications will temporarily cease to be processed but added that all visa applications that have been processed prior to the change will be honored provided applicants submit themselves to a 21-day isolation before departing their home countries. Today an 18 year old who moved from West Africa to the country tested negative after being admitted for what was suspected to be the virus. The teenager will be retested on Wednesday.
- The Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Mrs. Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, has said in a press conference over the weekend that revenue collection has been negatively impacted by the Ebola outbreak. Liberia exceeded its target in the first quarter but has seen a decline as the virus has become more widespread in the nation.
- The impact of the West African Outbreak in Sierra Leone has been widespread. It was reported that over 700 bodies have been buried in the outskirts of Freetown in the Western Rural Area since the beginning of September. Many healthcare workers have also been affected by the virus often leaving behind families who are now without income and opportunity. In response, Sierra Leone has launched the Foundation for Children of Ebola Affected Medical Workers to help aid in bringing a sense of normalcy and new education opportunities to hard hit communities.