Boston.com reported: “The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that the death toll from the West Africa Ebola outbreak has risen to 1,350. The Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) hosted a media briefing Wednesday morning with various leaders of the city’s public health branches to outline the plans for the “very low” likelihood that the deadly Ebola virus disease (EVD) would make it to Massachusetts.
“While the risk to our residents is very low, it is always better to prepare so that we can appropriately identify and care for suspect cases and work with the community to prevent further illness,” said Dr. Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) at the briefing. “We want a well-coordinated plan in place in the event a case of EVD is found in the city.”
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.
The New England Journal of Medicine noted: “Four brief NEJM perspectives examine the current Ebola epidemic, which is the largest and longest-lived on record.”
“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.
Public Health Newswire reported: “In a House of Representatives hearing Thursday, U.S. and world health leaders explained that the outbreak can be stopped — in three steps:
- finding active cases,
- responding appropriately and
- preventing future cases.”
Newsday reported: “An experimental medication with no discernible track record was administered last week to two Americans who were whisked home from the epicenter of the West African Ebola outbreak.”
“The drug, developed through a technologically advanced technique, was identified only in January as a potential treatment for the viral infection now sweeping through four African nations.”
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.”
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.”