New Research Refutes Long-Held Antiviral Theory

A long-standing belief that mammals use the same potent antiviral molecules deployed by plants and invertebrates is being challenged by researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Their findings, published in the July 10, 2014, issue of Cell Reports, surprised many scientists who assumed that antiviral RNA Interference (RNAi) exists in humans as a natural result of evolution.

Scientists know that human cells, like cells in every living organism with a nucleus, encode and generate small RNAs, which influence our genetics. It is also known that mammals combat viruses with interferons—proteins manufactured by immune cells in response to pathogens.

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20 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak

Becker Hospital Review reported “What hospitals need to know about the current Ebola outbreak.”

Guidelines for hospitals

“According to the CDC guidelines, healthcare providers should evaluate patients for EVD if they have the following risk factors:

  • Clinical criteria of a fever greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, hemorrhage
  • Epidemiologic risk factors like contact with an infected person, travel to an area where EVD is active or direct contact with bats, rodents or primates in an area where Ebola is endemic.”

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Tracing Ebola’s Breakout To An African 2-Year-Old

The New York Times reported: “Patient Zero in the Ebola outbreak, researchers suspect, was a 2-year-old boy who died on Dec. 6, just a few days after falling ill in a village in Guéckédou, in southeastern Guinea. Bordering Sierra Leone and Liberia, Guéckédou is at the intersection of three nations, where the disease found an easy entry point to the region.”

“A week later, it killed the boy’s mother, then his 3-year-old sister, then his grandmother. All had fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but no one knew what had sickened them.”

“Two mourners at the grandmother’s funeral took the virus home to their village. A health worker carried it to still another, where he died, as did his doctor. They both infected relatives from other towns. By the time Ebola was recognized, in March, dozens of people had died in eight Guinean communities, and suspected cases were popping up in Liberia and Sierra Leone — three of the world’s poorest countries, recovering from years of political dysfunction and civil war.”

““Early on in the outbreak, we had at least 26 villages or little towns that would not cooperate with responders in terms of letting people into the village, even,” said Gregory Hartl, a spokesman for the World Health Organization.”

Click here to read the full NYTs article “Tracing Ebola’s Breakout to an African 2-Year-Old” by Denise Grady and Sheri Finkaug.

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Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands? ™ provides information to consumers on understanding, managing and navigating health care options.

Jonathan M. Metsch, Dr.P.H., is Clinical Professor, Preventive Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; and Adjunct Professor, Baruch College ( C.U.N.Y.), Rutgers School of Public Health, and Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration.

This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

APHA Releases Ebola Resource During Global Outbreak

Since the first report of Ebola in March, the World Health Organization has confirmed 1,603 cases and 887 deaths resulting from the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. In light of the ongoing outbreak, called the “largest in history” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the APHA Bookstore has made the Ebola-Marburg virus chapter of its forthcoming Control of Communicable Diseases Manual (CCDM), 20th Edition, available online as a free download to aid public health workers responding to the disease.

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“Every Patient… Who Has Fever, Headache And Other Symptoms Associated With Ebola… Is Asked Two New Questions.”

The New York Times reported: “Following the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every patient entering one of the city’s hospitals who has fever, headache and other symptoms associated with Ebola (as well as countless other ailments), is asked two new questions.”

“Have you traveled to or from West African countries in the last 10 days? Have you been in contact with an Ebola patient or with anyone who has been in contact with an Ebola patient?”

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If Ebola Arrives In The U.S., Stopping It May Rely On Controversial Tools

Forbes reported: “Given the scope of the Ebola outbreak unfolding in Western Africa, it seems possible that a case will eventually emerge in the U.S. We could even see an isolated cluster of infections in an American city.”

“Considering the nature of the Ebola virus, and the medical infrastructure we have to combat its spread, the diagnosis of some cases on American soil shouldn’t be reason to panic. We have a plethora of tools and public health practices to readily combat its spread. Yet because the virus is so dangerous, and feared, its arrival in America would likely to trigger a robust response from our public health establishment.”

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Opting Against Ebola Drug For Ill African Doctor

The New York Times reported: “The doctor who had been leading Sierra Leone’s battle against the Ebola outbreak was now fighting for his own life, and his international colleagues faced a fateful decision: whether to give him a drug that had never before been tested on people.

Would the drug, known as ZMapp, help the stricken doctor? Or would it perhaps harm or even kill one of the country’s most prominent physicians, a man considered a national hero, shattering the already fragile public trust in international efforts to contain the world’s worst Ebola outbreak?

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