The Kaiser Famly Foundation noted: “As of August 14, 2014, the Ebola virus has infected an estimated 1,975 individuals across four countries in West Africa, leading to 1,069 deaths (including three Americans). The official reported numbers, frightening as they are, likely vastly underestimate the true magnitude of the outbreak. Ebola has severely impacted the daily life of affected communities, and raised concerns across the globe about its ongoing spread. The fact that this outbreak has led to so many cases and deaths (approximately 45% of all cases of Ebola ever reported have come since March of this year) is concerning for the individuals and families struggling with the disease, and leads to questions regarding the global capacity to detect and respond to such events. It also brings up four key policy questions for the U.S. concerning its engagement with the international community’s efforts to combat Ebola and other emerging infectious disease outbreaks.”
NPR reported: “On Monday, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrived in Liberia to assess the Ebola outbreak. The situation “is overwhelming,” he said.
The outbreak “really is a crisis and is affecting most if not all the counties in Liberia already,” he told NPR from Monrovia, the capital city and first stop on a three-country visit. “This is absolutely unprecedented.”
The CDC, Frieden said, “is working flat out on this, but this is huge and needs a global response … They need a lot of help from the world.”
The New York Times reported: “Hospitals nationwide are hustling to prepare for the first traveler from West Africa who arrives in the emergency room with symptoms of infection with the Ebola virus.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said such a case is inevitable in the United States, and the agency this month issued the first extensive guidelines for hospitals on how recognize and treat Ebola patients.
The recommendations touch on everything from the safe handling of lab specimens to effective isolation of suspected Ebola patients …
ABC News reported: “American hospitals and state labs have handled at least 68 Ebola scares over the last three weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hospitals in 27 states alerted the CDC of the possible Ebola cases out of an abundance of caution amid the growing outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Fifty-eight cases were deemed false alarms after CDC officials spoke with medical professions about patient exposures and symptoms, but blood samples for the remaining 10 were sent to the CDC for testing, the agency told ABC News today.
“One of the three clinically oriented contributions describes the World Health Organization’s declaration of a public health emergency and its implications.”
“Another offers information on drugs that have shown activity against the virus; it describes the problem (and ethics) of collecting efficacy data on these treatments mid-epidemic.”
A CNN story reported: “The first two doses of an experimental serum created to treat Ebola went to American missionaries.Then the drug was sent to treat a Spanish priest.The two Americans, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, appear to be recovering. The priest, Miguel Pajares, died Tuesday morning.That’s the problem with experimental drugs that have never been clinically tested in humans: No one knows whether they’ll work — and if they do, in whom.”
“This week, the World Health Organization gathered a group of ethicists to decide whether proven medications and vaccines should be used in the current Ebola outbreak. As the death toll from the epidemic soared over 1,000, the WHO panel unanimously concluded that it is ethical to offer medications to fight the Ebola virus, even if their effectiveness or adverse effects are unknown.”
The New York Times reported: “An experimental drug has completely protected monkeys from lethal doses of a virus related to Ebola, bolstering confidence that a similar medicine might be effective if deployed in the current outbreak in Africa, researchers reported on Wednesday.
The researchers said that the drug, which is being developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, kept all monkeys alive in a study, even if given as late as three days after exposure to the Marburg virus, when the virus was already detectable in the animals’ blood.
NPR reported: “The latest numbers on the Ebola outbreak are grim: 2,473 people infected and 1,350 deaths.
That’s the World Health Organization’s official tally of confirmed, probable and suspect cases across Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. But the WHO has previously warned that its official figures may vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.
A New York Times editorial stated: “Misinformation about politics may often seem silly — the immigration bill will give out free cars! — but the consequences of false beliefs in public health can be deadly.
In the developed world, myths about the risks of vaccines have enabled the resurgence of communicable diseases like measles and pertussis. And in developing countries, false beliefs have hindered efforts to fight H.I.V./AIDS and eradicate polio in countries like Nigeria and Pakistan.
The Huffington Post reported: “Ebola has never been transmitted in the United States (and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that it “does not pose a significant risk to the U.S. public”). Yet, four in 10 adults in the U.S. are afraid that there will be a large outbreak in this country, according to a recent survey from the Harvard School of Public Health.
The survey, conducted along with independent research company SSRS, also showed that one in four U.S. adults is worried that a member of their immediate family will become sick with Ebola sometime in the next year.