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Mon Jul 28, 2014, 07:44 AM

 

Ebola outbreak: Liberia shuts most border points

Source: BBC News

28 July 2014 Last updated at 11:12

Most border crossings in Liberia have been closed and communities hit by an Ebola outbreak face quarantine to try to halt the spread of the virus.

Screening centres are also being set up at the few major entry points that will remain open, such as the main airport.

Meanwhile, Nigeria largest's airline, Arik Air, has suspended all flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone after a man with Ebola flew to Nigeria last week.

The virus has killed at least 660 people in West Africa since February.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28522824



This...is getting scary
Also, there's a video report at the link

55 replies, 7337 views

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Arrow 55 replies Author Time Post
Reply Ebola outbreak: Liberia shuts most border points (Original post)
Roy Serohz Jul 2014 OP
ReRe Jul 2014 #1
Divernan Jul 2014 #3
ReRe Jul 2014 #14
Divernan Jul 2014 #16
ReRe Jul 2014 #18
Divernan Jul 2014 #19
ReRe Jul 2014 #21
Divernan Jul 2014 #23
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #29
ReRe Jul 2014 #31
herding cats Jul 2014 #38
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #24
Divernan Jul 2014 #25
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #27
Divernan Jul 2014 #20
ReRe Jul 2014 #22
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #26
ReRe Jul 2014 #30
hedgehog Jul 2014 #44
happyslug Jul 2014 #42
ReRe Jul 2014 #46
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #11
ReRe Jul 2014 #15
Aerows Jul 2014 #50
Aerows Jul 2014 #49
ReRe Jul 2014 #53
Aerows Jul 2014 #54
Warpy Jul 2014 #55
Divernan Jul 2014 #2
tblue37 Jul 2014 #5
Divernan Jul 2014 #7
Hugabear Jul 2014 #17
pinto Jul 2014 #32
Divernan Jul 2014 #34
herding cats Jul 2014 #40
eShirl Jul 2014 #6
Divernan Jul 2014 #8
eShirl Jul 2014 #9
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #13
Aerows Jul 2014 #52
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #12
herding cats Jul 2014 #39
Divernan Jul 2014 #4
Hugabear Jul 2014 #43
Divernan Jul 2014 #45
DhhD Jul 2014 #10
Marrah_G Jul 2014 #28
ReRe Jul 2014 #33
Mojorabbit Jul 2014 #47
McCamy Taylor Jul 2014 #35
eShirl Jul 2014 #36
Aerows Jul 2014 #51
Zorra Jul 2014 #37
DeSwiss Jul 2014 #41
Aerows Jul 2014 #48

Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 08:32 AM

1. The WHO and CDC...

... crickets. This has got to be stopped in it's tracks. They had better get very serious about quarantining the pts. They say 600 dead, but how many are now infected and still living with it? I don't think the gov'ts really know what they are dealing with. It's really getting out of hand. I just hope to God it doesn't get shipped over here. We have enough to cope with, what with the super-bug which we haven't an antibiotic for.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 08:44 AM

3. One problelm: locals associate hospitals with dying, so don't take people there.

Another problem - people who die at home, i.e., have not been quarantined. Relatives prepare the body for funerals, and in doing so contact Ebola from touching the bodies.

I've seen both these problems discussed in articles on Ebola, and will look for some links.
On edit: Here's info from research on the cultural context of Ebola.
Funerals and Burials

National and international healthcare workers were concerned that burial practices contributed to the amplification of EHF. A brief study indicated that once a person died, his or her paternal aunt (father’s sister) was called to wash and prepare the body for burial. If the father did not have a sister, an older woman in the victim’s patriline was asked to prepare the body. Generally, the woman removed the clothes from the body, washed the body, and dressed the deceased in a favorite outfit. At the funeral, all family members ritually washed their hands in a common bowl, and during open casket all were welcome to come up to deceased person and give a final touch on the face or elsewhere (called a love touch). The body was then wrapped in a white cloth or sheet and buried. The person was buried next to or near their household. This practice is the normal system of burial.

However, when disease is classified as gemo, burial practices change. The body is not touched and is buried outside or at the edge of the village. The designated caregiver, someone who has survived the outbreak or an older woman, is responsible for washing and preparing the body for burial.

Various activities associated with burial practices contributed to transmission of EHF (Table 2). Washing the body was a possible means of infection for women only, while a touch was a more common means of infection among men. The fact that 63% of the survivors in this study had their first symptoms in October implies that they probably became infected before laboratory tests confirmed EHF and before the disease was designated as a type of gemo in many communities. Caregiving, especially by women, contributed substantially to many cases, which explains, in part, why 67% of all presumptive EHF cases in Uganda were in women.


WHO was also concerned that local persons were not coming to the hospital when symptoms first emerged. Healthcare workers theorized that patients were afraid of being buried at the airfield if they died. Persons were running and hiding when the ambulance arrived to take them to hospital. Later interviews indicated, however, that the airfield burial was not the problem. As described in the protocol, once an illness is identified as a killer epidemic, burial at the edge of the village is expected. Rather, sources indicated, many persons ran from the ambulance and did not seek treatment quickly because they feared they would never see their family once they were admitted to the hospital. This fear is common in many parts of central Africa but was especially pronounced in Gulu hospitals because bodies were placed in body bags and taken to the airfield to be buried without relatives being notified. Relatives were not always around at the time of death, and healthcare workers were required to dispose of the body as quickly as possible. The anger and bad feelings about not being informed were directed toward healthcare workers in the isolation unit. This fear could have been averted by allowing family members to see the body in the bag and allowing family members to escort the body to the burial
ground. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/9/10/02-0493_article

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Response to Divernan (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:22 AM

14. Thanks so much for this info!

I had many more questions that I didn't mention in my post, which are answered in your reply. This may very well prove to be the 21st century version of the Black Death. Exactly... people don't bring their family member(s) to the hospital, then they die, then the entire family is contaminated, then they bury them in a shallow grave, then the dogs, then the water table, then more family members fall ill. It looks like a total effing nightmare. Doctors and health workers are becoming infected and and are dying. I used to work in microbiology, so this scares the bajesus out of me.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #14)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:28 AM

16. Given the precautions Drs. take, I'm concerned it may have gone airborne.

If doctors, and other medical care providers,acting on the belief that Ebola is spread through physical contact, and taking precautions based on that belief, are contracting the disease, then it should be considered that perhaps the disease has mutated to an airborne one.

The first Liberian doctor to die of the disease was identified as Samuel Brisbane. He was working as a consultant with the internal medicine unit at the country’s largest hospital, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Medical Center in Monrovia.

Brisbane, who once was a medical adviser to former Liberian President Charles Taylor, was taken to a treatment center on the outskirts of the capital after falling ill with Ebola and died there, said Tolbert Nyenswah, an assistant health minister.

He said another doctor who had been working in Liberia’s central Bong County also was being treated for Ebola at the same center where Brisbane died.


Then we have the two Americans working with aid organization, Samaritan's Purse who are receiving intensive care for Ebola
:
Kent Brantly, 33, an American doctor who has been working in Liberia since October for the North Carolina-based aid organization Samaritan’s Purse, is receiving intensive medical treatment after he was infected with Ebola, according to a spokeswoman for the group.

Melissa Strickland said Brantly, who is married and has two children, was talking with his doctors and working on his computer while being treated.

A second U.S. citizen, Nancy Writebol, also has tested positive for Ebola, Samaritan’s Purse said. Writebol is employed by mission group SIM in Liberia and was helping a joint SIM/Samaritan’s Purse team treating Ebola patients in Monrovia. Writebol is married with two children, the organization said.


On Friday, he said, Samaritan’s Purse staff saw 12 new Ebola cases; of those, eight were medical providers. He is urging the U.S., Canada and the European Union to pour resources into those countries to help them educate health care workers. “If Ebola is not fought and contained in West Africa, it will be fought somewhere else,” he said.

A Ugandan doctor working in Liberia, where an Ebola outbreak has killed 129 people, died earlier this month. The current outbreak has claimed the lives of 319 in Guinea and 224 in Sierra Leone.

Last week, the medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders announced that the chief doctor leading the fight against the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Sheik Umar Khan, had contracted the disease. Three nurses who worked in the same Ebola treatment Center as Khan, 39, are believed to have died from the disease.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/religion/doctor-from-samaritans-purse-catches-lethal-ebola-virus/2014/07/28/de15a986-1667-11e4-88f7-96ed767bb747_story.html

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Response to Divernan (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:44 AM

18. Airborne...

... my thoughts, exactly.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #18)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:46 AM

19. I just edited my post to add info re a lot more medical personnel being treated/died

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Response to Divernan (Reply #19)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:08 PM

21. Oh yes...

... this also crossed my mind while ago, i.e., will we be told if it does reach our shore? And are they actually telling us the truth about the number of health workers who have died during THIS outbreak. Again, I'm reading as fast as I can, but haven't seen what you refer to here yet. Will go look for it now. Wow, I just heard Andrea Mitchell say more than 100 have been infected.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:29 PM

23. Over 100 medical care providers!?!?

Or 100 doctors? I just want to be clear on that. And you are absolutely right that we cannot trust that we will be told the truth by various govt. agencies. They would use the traditional, "The public cannot be trusted to react appropriately and not to panic" rationale. I sat in on state legislative closed sessions when Pennsylvania was worried about the spread of mad cow disease, and heard how the state police would be armed and running road blocks to enforce quarantines. It was pretty harsh - no body and no vehicles would be allowed to cross the quarantine lines for any reason - not even emergency medical care.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:55 PM

29. In that you have to understand that the staff and facilities are not what we are used to here

It's not even close.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 01:40 PM

31. Will have to try to go listen to...

... a replay of Andrea Mitchell to get exactly what she said. She was talking about the ebola outbreak in Africa and I could swear I heard her say 100 healthcare workers had died. My TV is right here by me. I was typing and listening at the same time so maybe my fingers were winning out over my ears.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #23)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 12:31 AM

38. 100 medical workers of all types, including volunteers.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #16)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:29 PM

24. They often have crappy equipment and mistakes do happen

it's not airborne.. Health workers have often been the hardest hit group when combating an outbreak.

I hate to see people get into to much of a panic over this. Yes, it is a scary virus, but bird/swine type flu viruses do far more damage and spread more easily.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #24)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:34 PM

25. I certainly hope you are correct.

And it makes sense that third world countries have crappy equipment and not enough of that. I'd much rather that $300 million a year that goes from American taxpayers to arm Israel go to Africa to "arm" health care workers.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:49 PM

27. I am in total agreement with that :)

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Response to ReRe (Reply #14)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:54 AM

20. What about the possibility of a new vector, i.e, mosquito?

Wish I could call up my old professor and ask about this. As you know, but other DUers may not, In epidemiology, a vector is any agent (person, animal or microorganism) that carries and transmits an infectious pathogen into another living organism. Right now ebola is considered basically person-to-person, but some research shows pigs to be carriers (cross-species to monkeys). There won't be pigs around the medical care personnel of course, but I'm wondering about mosquitos as well. Any thoughts?

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Response to Divernan (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:24 PM

22. That question is way...

... above my pay grade. Looks logical. Check "entomology of?"

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Response to Divernan (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:43 PM

26. I don't think there is a new vector or that it's airborne

Health workers have always been at most risk and the facilities and equipment they have make it hard.

Poverty is what is spreading this and making it harder to quarantine the clusters.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #20)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 01:11 PM

30. I just found the answer to the...

... mosquito question... NO. Not transmitted by mosquito.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #30)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 01:38 PM

44. I think if Ebola was carried by mosquitoes,

it would have become an endemic disease like malaria.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #20)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 01:22 PM

42. Ebola is a virus, and as such hard to adapt to mutiple creatures, as needed with a vector.

 

Now Mosquito do spread some Viruses, such as yellow fever, dengue fever and chikungunya. but as a rule it is hard for a virus to shift between different types of animals.

Present theory is that inside the Mosquito, the Mosquito isolate the virus so it causes no harm to the Mosquito, but when a human is bitten it is transmitted to the Human..

Being a Virus that needs a dual host to spread, such viruses had to spread in an area with both creatures it needs exists. In the case of the above three viruses that does not only include Humans but other primates, thus a co-evolution over millions of years.

Ebola has NEVER been transmitted by Mosquito and thus not considered a canidate for such transmissions. To better understand this concept here is a paper on how AIDS can NOT be transmitted by Mosquitoes. The reason given would also apply to Ebola:

http://www-rci.rutgers.edu/~insects/aids.htm

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Response to happyslug (Reply #42)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 05:15 PM

46. Thank you!

Great report on the subject from Rutgers. There's one statement they made though, that I don't agree with: Mosquitoes are NOT flying hypodermic needles.

Bats, however, do.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:08 AM

11. WHO, CDC and MSF have been working hard at containing this.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:25 AM

15. I know they have.

But looks like they need more help. And now workers are jumping ship out of fear. I just haven't heard any news and I panicked.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #11)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:42 PM

50. The difficulty in containing it

 

is partially because if you survive it, you still remain contagious for up to 7 weeks. Thus, you feel better, but still pass it on to others via contact with bodily fluids. It's my understanding that this is ALL bodily fluids, too, like sweat and spit.

Thank heavens it isn't airborne, but still, it's ability to remain active for so long in the body is alarming.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:38 PM

49. Worse problem

 

Those that actually survive it remain contagious for up to seven weeks afterwards, and don't realize it.

Not to mention a doctor specifically dedicated to treating it contracted it, and so did a bunch of nurses. Plain horrifying.

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Response to Aerows (Reply #49)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:05 PM

53. I read a new report...

Last edited Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:53 PM - Edit history (1)

...right here on DU late this afternoon, that a young Sierra Leone Doctor (age 39) died today or yesterday. There have been allot more medical practitioners dying, I suspect, than we've not heard of yet. I heard on NPR that the US was sending over a group of Drs today. Also, I seen a report somewhere on TV that showed the decontamination tent. It didn't look too secure to me, as the sides were bulging way out. This was caused no doubt by the high-ressure hose they were spraying on workers
who were being decontaminated.

Edited: to correct Sierra Leone Doctor!

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Response to ReRe (Reply #53)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:06 PM

54. Ugly.

 

My heart goes out to those who would be brave enough to venture there to treat those afflicted!

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Response to ReRe (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 11:23 PM

55. They're quarantining only the sick

Quarantining family members and other people who were exposed to the patient is a little more problematic in areas that have no running water and houses with little fuel and no refrigeration. Supplies have to be purchased daily and they don't have the resources to deliver them door to door while the families remain inside.

Eventually it will probably burn itself out but whole countries need to be quarantined, and this is what the region is starting to come to grips with.

If there is not another case in Lagos or among the plane passengers, the main fear will be calmed in Nigeria (and from there, the world).

This is one thing that can be stopped only if the world unites to stop it. I don't see that happening until it's out in the world, not just in a few impoverished countries in Africa.

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 08:41 AM

2. Survival rates vary among the different strains of Ebola.

I haven't been able to find any reference to which strain is involved in the current outbreak, but here's some facts for background:

Strains of Ebola

The virus takes its name from the Ebola River in the northern Congo basin of central Africa, where it first emerged in 1976. Ebola is closely related to the Marburg virus, which was discovered in 1967, and the two are the only members of the Filoviridae that cause epidemic human disease. Five strains of Ebola virus, known as Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Côte d’Ivoire, Ebola-Reston, and Ebola-Bundibugyo, named for their outbreak locations, have been described.

Ebola-Zaire causes death in 80 to 90 percent of cases, and Ebola-Sudan causes death in 50 percent of cases. Ebola-Côte d’Ivoire, found in dead chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in southwestern Côte d’Ivoire, can infect humans, although only two human cases have been documented, and both individuals survived. Ebola-Reston, which was originally discovered in laboratory monkeys in Reston, Virginia, in 1989, was also detected in laboratory monkeys in other locations in the United States in 1990 and 1996, as well as in Siena, Italy, in 1992. All the monkeys infected with Ebola-Reston have been traced to one export facility located in the Philippines, although the origin of the strain has not been identified. Similar to Ebola-Côte d’Ivoire, Ebola-Reston does not appear to cause death in humans. The fifth strain, Ebola-Bundibugyo, was discovered in November 2007 in an outbreak in Bundibugyo district, near the border of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; it causes death in about 25 percent of cases.
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/177623/Ebola

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Response to Divernan (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 09:20 AM

5. I know that there is no vaccine, but do you

know whether or not those who have survived one strain end up being protected against the others, or whether reinfection, even with the same strain, is possible in a person who has survived?

I am thinking about how the less virulent cowpox infection protected milkmaids from a much more dangerous smallpox infection. (BTW, that is why milkmaids are traditionally believed to have smooth, clear complexions.)

I wonder whether those who contract and survive the less virulent Ebola strains might end up being safe from the more deadly ones.

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 10:09 AM

7. Excellent questions which need to be thoroughly researched.

I also wonder whether Big Pharma is investing any of its huge profits into researching vaccines or treatments for Ebola. The reason Big Pharma gives to justify huge markups is that, you know, they have to invest so much into research. What I've observed is that the research goes into treatments, not cures or vaccines, because they want lifelong customers. Big Pharma is notorious for avoiding diseases, like malaria, which are typically found in third world countries because there's no profit to be had. With global warming and the movement of tropical diseases up into North America, we need some hefty government grants to university research facilities.

In googling Ebola/immunity, I did find this one article from 2010:
Ebola Survivors In Gulu Undergo Tests for Immunity ...

http://ugandaradionetwork.com/a/story.php?s=28420
Survivors of the deadly Ebola virus that struck Gulu in 2000, are undergoing medical tests to establish their level of immunity.

The tests are part of the measures intended to provide clues on how control future outbreaks of the disease.

An official on the team from the Virus Research Institute, says the tests would ascertain the level of anti-bodies that the survivors have maintained since they recovered from the disease. He says that the results of the tests would help them to determine the method of response should another outbreak occur in future.

In October 2000, Ebola broke out in Gulu and killed about 173 people among the over 400 who got infected.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:31 AM

17. Don't expect Big Pharma to get involved, no profits to be made here

Just like many sub-tropical diseases in Africa, there just isn't enough profit to be made for Big Pharma to get involved.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 01:54 PM

32. Roll Back Malaria program (RBM)

http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/rbmmandate.html

http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/mechanisms/constituencies.html

The RBM Partnership has grown to include a wide range of constituencies who bring a formidable assembly of expertise, infrastructure and funds to the fight against the disease.

Today, the Partnership brings together hundreds of partners from malariaendemic countries, multilateral and donor organizations, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, foundations and the research and academic community.

The force of this public-private partnership lies in the diversity of its partners and in its ability to rally all sectors of society towards the common goal of reducing cases of malaria, saving lives and alleviating the poverty caused by malaria.


(aside) There a many research projects working on an effective malaria vaccine. One major barrier to a vaccine is that malaria is caused by a parasitic protozoan, not a bacterium or virus. Protozoa are more variable, exist in different forms over their life cycle and are harder to "target" broadly and effectively.



The life cycle of malaria parasites. A mosquito causes an infection by a bite. First, sporozoites enter the bloodstream, and migrate to the liver. They infect liver cells, where they multiply into merozoites, rupture the liver cells, and return to the bloodstream. Then, the merozoites infect red blood cells, where they develop into ring forms, trophozoites and schizonts that in turn produce further merozoites. Sexual forms are also produced, which, if taken up by a mosquito, will infect the insect and continue the life cycle.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria

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Response to pinto (Reply #32)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 02:39 PM

34. Very interesting and encouraging program

I'll read about it in detail later. At first glance, I couldn't find a list of members of the Private Sector - wondering if any of the Big US Pharma are represented. I did note that the subregional networks covered were all in Africa, and nothing re Mexico, Central or South America. About 10-12 years ago when I was scuba diving in Central America and Mexico, I checked out if I needed any inoculations. I learned about taking preventive medication re malaria. At that time there were 2 such prophylactic drugs available and the type taken depended on which country, or which side of said country one was visiting. I think the drug I took was chloroquine (spelling). At that time there was discussion about mosquitoes developing resistance to these drugs and that Big Pharma was not interested in developing more effective drugs because malaria was not a problem in first world countries. I just googled it again and see that there are 5 such "regimens" available, several of which are a combination of drugs.

Taking Anti-Malaria Tablets

It should be noted that no prophylactic regimen is 100% effective and advice on malaria prophylaxis changes frequently. There are currently five prophylactic regimens used (A,B,C,D & E), due to the differing resistance that exists by the malaria parasites to the various drugs used. (See the above map of Malaria Endemic Areas).
http://www.traveldoctor.co.uk/malaria.htm

The tablets you require depend on the country to which you are travelling (see the table page). Start taking the tablets before travel take them absolutely regularly during your stay, preferably with or after a meal and continue to take them after you have returned. This is extremely important to cover the incubation period of the disease.


I really do hate mosquitoes!

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Response to tblue37 (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 12:38 AM

40. There are experimental vaccines.

They're very close to having a vaccine. Which is very good news.

Geisbert said one of the most difficult things about this outbreak is that he and other scientists believe vaccines and treatments for Ebola already exist, but more time is needed to make sure they're completely safe and approved. So far, doctors and nurses can only treat Ebola's symptoms with approved medicines.

"Sometimes it gets frustrating because we have these experimental vaccines that we know are effective," Geisbert said. "The people that are at most risk - health care workers - we'd like to be able to protect them."

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ebola-outbreak-spreads-confusion-fear-in-medical-community/


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Response to Divernan (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 09:48 AM

6. They *think* this falls within the Zaire Ebola

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_West_Africa_Ebola_outbreak#Virology

Researchers performed full-length genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis of samples from 20 patients. Results suggest that the Zaire ebolavirus (EBOV) in Guinea is a different clade than the strains from outbreaks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon.[50]

However, this was contradicted by two subsequent reports.

A subsequent analysis reached the conclusion that the outbreak "is likely caused by a Zaire ebolavirus lineage that has spread from Central Africa into Guinea and West Africa in recent decades, and does not represent the emergence of a divergent and endemic virus".[51]

A further report published in June 2014 supported the latter view, determining that it was "extremely unlikely that this virus falls outside the genetic diversity of the Zaïre lineage" and that their analysis "unambiguously supports Guinea 2014 EBOV as a member of the Zaïre lineage".[52]

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Response to eShirl (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 10:17 AM

8. In other words, similar but not identical?

Not very reassuring statements from scientists hedging with words like "likely" and "suggests" and "extremely unlikely". Like I posted earlier, nature survives through mutation, which is a constantly ongoing process - that is, for those of us who believe in Darwin.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 10:35 AM

9. not "similar," but a subset of

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Response to Divernan (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:09 AM

13. Each strain has variations

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #13)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:55 PM

52. And contracting one strain

 

and surviving it doesn't provide immunity to a different one.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #2)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:08 AM

12. It's the Ebola Zaire strain

The most lethal form.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 12:34 AM

39. The CDC on the strain

Genetic analysis of the virus indicates that it is closely related (97% identical) to variants of Ebola virus (species Zaire ebolavirus) identified earlier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon (Baize et al. 2014External Web Site Icon).
http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 09:01 AM

4. Big fear is if Ebola mutates from bodily contact to airborne infection.

The big fear is possible mutation of Ebola to airborne infection.

Currently, the various strains of ebola spread only through direct bodily contact. I took a class from a biologist a few years ago on infectious diseases. As to ebola, he said mutation of this disease to airborne is a nightmare scenario. He explained the process of mutation and how nature is constantly evolving to survive.

Here's an explanation of how diseases can mutate to become airborne:
http://www.skyalgae.info/Home/how-do-virusese-mutate-and-become-airborne

Meanwhile, research in Canada has established that at least one Ebola strain can be transferred between species via droplets in the air.
http://www.activebeat.com/health-news/ebola-virus-could-mutate-and-become-airborne-danger-for-cross-species-transmission/

New research out of Canada has found a scary possibility: Ebola could become airborne. The testing was done by The Public Health Agency of Canada, together with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and led by Dr. Gary Kobinger.

The researchers used an experiment with pigs and monkeys. The pigs carried the virus and were placed in a room with wire mesh separating them from the monkeys. The animals were not able to touch each other. After eight days, a selection of the monkeys showed signs of Ebola infection.

This result shows that the Ebola virus was able to be passed through the air and that it was capable of cross species transmission. The Ebola virus was passed from the pigs via liquid particles through the air. The virus would not be able to through the air in long distances.

The airborne transmission possibility would explain the spreading rates in certain parts of Africa. In addition, it would explain why some pig farmers test positive for Ebola antibodies without contact with pig blood. It was previously thought that Ebola was only able to infect humans via bodily fluid contact.

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Response to Divernan (Reply #4)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 01:26 PM

43. How likely is that to happen?

Couldn't HIV just as easily mutate into an airborne contagion?

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Response to Hugabear (Reply #43)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 02:08 PM

45. For ebola, possible but not likely; HIV is a different story.

If you google Ebola, mutate and airborne, you'll get a lot of links, some of them pure speculation, others more science-based. Since HIV is a retrovirus, it mutates more frequently than ebola.
Based on my ONE course from a very good microbiologist, I think it's unlikely but possible. I'm no scientist - just a layman trying to understand the situation for this and other deadly diseases.

Here's one piece I found well-written:
http://www.skyalgae.info/Home/how-do-virusese-mutate-and-become-airborne
(excerpt)
In general, most viruses don't mutate that often. Notable exceptions are the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and the Influenza Virus (Flu). HIV is a retrovirus (it has a "reverse transcriptase" enzyme that enables it to convert its RNA into a complimentary DNA that can "integrate" into the host genes. This is often a situation that results in frequent mutations due to gene sequence "reading errors." The Flu virus also mutates frequently. However, virologists and epidemiologists have found that this RNA virus changes by two mechanisms. One mechanism is by reassorting or recombining. There are many flu viruses and each has a host range specificity. That there are flu viruses that only infect animals of a given species like pigs, ducks and humans. However, passage of a duck flu virus through a pig or vice versa sometimes results in genetic adaptation through reassortment or recombination genes so it becomes infectious in humans. Therefore, monitoring duck and pig flu viruses in addition to human cases are some of the things the CDC does to determine what antigens should be in the next vaccine. In addition to these kinds of big changes in flu virus genes, there are also minor point mutation changes that cause "antigenic drift" so the virus of the same type is slightly different antigenically and can escape elimination by the body's immune response to that type's vaccine.
(It then goes on to discuss airborne)


The ostensibly responsible media are not immune to the temptation to stir these fears. In a May 12 editorial, the New York Times declared: "A modest genetic change might enable Ebola to spread rapidly through the air..."

That very same day, in the news section, Times reporter Lawrence K. Altman, M.D., handled the matter more soberly. Reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, he wrote, "The deadly Ebola virus continues to spread in Zaire, chiefly affecting health care workers... [It] apparently spread initially among [doctors] and nurses who operated on a patient in Kikwit." Dr. Altman, an infectious-disease specialist who once worked at the CDC, added, "Transmission presumably was through contaminated blood..."

Can a bloodborne or body fluid-borne virus be transformed by a single mutation into an airborne agent (a "flyer", as the scare scenarios imply? It's conceivable. But it's "probably unlikely," according to virologist Beth Levine, M.D., director of virology research in the infectious diseases division at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. "Single amino acid mutations can change the tropism [the residential preference] of a virus" in some experimental situations, Dr. Levine says, "but there haven't been any examples of such mutations actually occurring in nature, changing a virus from a bloodborne or bodily fluid route of transmission to a respiratory route."

So, says Dr. Levine, "The media's claim is not totally without scientific basis. But there are no precedents for it, and it's unlikely.

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/21stC/issue-1.2/Ebola.htm

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 11:06 AM

10. Monclonal antibodies taken from survivors could provide vaccinations for strain variants.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3251097/

Enhanced potency of a fucose-free monoclonal antibody being developed as an Ebola virus immunoprotectant.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-03-tobacco-therapeutics-effective-west-nile.html

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 12:52 PM

28. I highly suggest the book Spillover

It's on audio and in print and is excellent at explaining viruses that we get from animals.

I think I have every audiobook on the topic. Wierd, I know.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #28)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 01:57 PM

33. Thanks for that title...

... I am reading The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History, by Molly Caldwell Crosby, pub 2006. Tells the story of Dr.Walter Reed.

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Response to Marrah_G (Reply #28)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:34 PM

47. Not weird! It is one of my interests also! :) nt

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 06:20 PM

35. Relatively long incubation and ease of airtravel make this very scary.

Anyone who has been exposed will be tempted to fly to an industrialized country (if they have the money) knowing that a better ICU means a better chance of survival. And no one who is coming here in hopes of getting better medical care if/when they get sick will tell immigration "Yeah, someone with Ebola vomited blood on me."

We may have to start quarantining people who come to the US from certain regions.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #35)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 07:47 PM

36. on the bright side,

they're supposedly not contagious until they start having symptoms

so there's that...

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #35)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:46 PM

51. The part I found most alarming

 

is that even if you survive it, you are contagious for a stupidly long time.

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Mon Jul 28, 2014, 10:11 PM

37. Serious stuff. An average of 20 new *reported* cases per day between 6/24 and 7/23.

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 02:09 AM

41. As if Ebola, MERS, SARS and Biological Hazards of Unkown Origins......

 

...weren't enough, we have to add some environmental hazards of our own to the mix.

- Pretty soon there won't be anywhere to turn. Literally.....

K&R

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Response to Roy Serohz (Original post)

Tue Jul 29, 2014, 10:35 PM

48. Horrible news!

 

And frightening, too. Sending good thoughts to those afflicted and those with loved ones afflicted .

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