A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive for the Ebola virus Thursday, becoming the city’s first diagnosed case. From the New York Times:
The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital on Thursday and placed in isolation while health care workers spread out across the city to trace anyone he might have come into contact with in recent days. A further test will be conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control to confirm the initial test.
While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges surrounding containment of the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis.
Even as the authorities worked to confirm that Mr. Spencer was infected with Ebola, it emerged that he traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway on Wednesday night, when he went to a bowling alley and then took a taxi home.
The next morning, he reported having a temperature of 103 degrees, raising questions about his health while he was out in public.
A person infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until they begin to display symptoms, and it cannot be spread through the air. As the person becomes sicker, the viral load in the body builds, and they become more and more contagious.
Global Health and Development Beat
Europe is to plough $250 million into the development of Ebola vaccines, as well as drugs and diagnostic tests, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.
One major difficulty in the fight against infectious diseases is to identify the right interventions and the best way to combine them. Mathematical models allow predictions to be made about the likely impact of various strategies before funds are committed, SciDevNet reports.
C–section rates vary significantly among US hospitals — and researchers can’t attribute the difference to maternal health, according to a new study in PLOS Medicine.
Nigeria’s Minister of National Planning, Dr Abubakar Suleiman, has called on developing nations to address high rate of maternal mortality in order to benefit more from women’s contributions to economic growth.
Substandard mental health care for pregnant women and new mothers in the UK is creating long-term costs of more than £8bn every year, according to a pioneering study of the effects of maternal depression, anxiety and other illnesses.
The U.S. government urged a federal judge on Thursday to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the United Nations by a group of Haitians who claim peacekeepers caused the devastating cholera epidemic that followed their country’s 2010 earthquake.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called on the scientific community to invest more talent and resources to research that would contribute to UN’ s Millennium Development Goals.
The New York Times profiled Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, head of the President’s Malaria Initiative.
A clinical drug trial conducted in five Sub-Sahara African countries shows that a shortened (four month) treatment for tuberculosis is well tolerated and may work well in subsets of TB patients, but overall could not be considered as an alternative to the current six month standard treatment.
Every day, a thousand or so children have been protected from disability during a 26-year global effort to eradicate polio. The worldwide campaign has immunised millions of previously-unreached children across the globe, UNICEF said on the eve of World Polio Day.
Buzzing in the Blogs
The Defeat DD blog highlights how oral rehydration salts (ORS), crucial for responding to diarrhea, are saving the lives of people infected with Ebola. An excerpt:
According to the Associated Press story, aggressive use of ORS is being credited with significantly reducing the mortality rate among those who contracted the disease in Nigeria. (Nigeria Declared Ebola-free; “Spectacular Success”). From the story:
“Officials are crediting strong tracking and isolation of people exposed to the virus, and aggressive rehydration of infected patients to counter the effects of vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms.”
“Dr. Simon Mardel, one of the world’s leading experts on viral hemorrhagic fevers, said the number of deaths could be cut in half if infected people were taught to properly hydrate themselves and do not take anti-inflammatory drugs, which can actually harm Ebola victims… [He] called rehydration a low-tech approach that has been neglected by a medical system focused on groundbreaking research.”
ORS has been around for 40 years. Its cheap, easy to prepare, and highly effective.
Its important, though, that we message ORS use correctly. It does not stop diarrhea. It rehydrates or prevents dehydrationcaused by diarrhea and hemorraghic infections like Ebola. Those who understand the importance of “water out, water in” fully appreciate the value of ORS. Ebola, like cholera, requires aggressive and sustained use of ORS, which can be challenging for those who are really sick, but clearly it can save their lives.
Countries that have had long histories battling cholera tend to have higher coverage or ORS because they have come to understand the importance of rehydration. During outbreaks, ORS is often distributed widely, and people in these countries now appreciate its simple, lifesaving power.
12:00 PM – Beyond Great Places to Work: The Business Case for Investing in Front-Line Workers – Aspen Institute
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
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