So It Turns Out There’s A Lot We Don’t Know About Ebola – RAE ELLEN BICHELL OCTOBER 17, 2015 7:03 AM ET


Dr. Ian Crozier survived Ebola, only to have his normally blue left eye turn green because of inflammation. Though the rest of his body was Ebola-free, his eye was teeming with the virus.

Dr. Ian Crozier survived Ebola, only to have his normally blue left eye turn green because of inflammation. Though the rest of his body was Ebola-free, his eye was teeming with the virus.

Emory Eye Center

“If there’s anything that this outbreak has taught me, it’s that I’m often wrong,” says Dr. Daniel Bausch.

He’s talking about Ebola. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the virus — an infectious disease specialist at Tulane University and a senior consultant to the World Health Organization.

And as he makes clear, he’s still got a lot to learn.

The virus came roaring back into headlines this past week. A Scottish nurse who survived Ebola is back in isolation in London, being “treated for Ebola,” according tothe Royal Free Hospital. The hospital says the patient’s “condition has deteriorated and she is now critically ill.”

And two new research papers found that the virus can live in a male survivor’s semen for up to nine months, and that one man passed it to his sexual partner months after he was released from the Ebola ward.

“If you look back at the classic teaching about Ebola and survivors, it was that once you get better from this disease, even though it may take a while to recover, you made a full recovery and that kind of was the end of it,” says Bausch.

And now, with an estimated 17,000 survivors, researchers are discovering all kinds of twists and turns. The semen study is particularly puzzling to Ilhem Messaoudi.

“It’s an explosive virus. It replicates like crazy … and it destroys everything in its path,” says Messaoudi, a viral immunologist and professor of biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside, who is studying how the virus works in the human body. “So, how is it just hanging out in the testes for like nine months?”

There hasn’t been much research — in animals or humans — about what happens after survival. What we do know is mostly from past outbreaks of the virus, in particular, two studies looking at past survivors of the disease and comparing their health to Ebola-free friends and family.

Research on 19 survivors of a 1995 outbreak in Kikwit in the Democratic Republic of the Congo found that most had joint pain and vision problems after the virus. One lost sight. Studies from the 1970s and 1980s had, like recent research, found the virus persisting in the semen and eyes of survivors.

Researchers following 49 survivors of a 2007 Ebola outbreak in Uganda found that— even two years after the illness — they had eye problems like inflammation and blurred vision as well as joint pain, difficulty sleeping, difficulty swallowing and even hearing loss, memory loss and confusion.

A third study examining 105 survivors of the 2014-15 outbreak in Guinea found that about 90 percent had chronic joint pain and 98 percent had poor appetites or an aversion to food. They also reported difficulty with short-term memory, headaches, sleeplessness, insomnia, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, sexual dysfunction, and decreased libido and exercise tolerance.

Bausch says, aside from arthritis and eye inflammation, it’s still unclear which issues are directly related to the Ebola virus and which could be caused by the physical and emotional toll on the body. But something is going on.

“It’s clear that there is a post-Ebola syndrome,” he says.

 

Article continues:

http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/10/17/448380921/so-it-turns-out-theres-a-lot-we-dont-know-about-ebola

VICE News Daily: Stampede Kills Dozens in India- Vice News Published on Jul 15, 2015


The VICE News Capsule is a news roundup that looks beyond the headlines. Today: Pro-government forces in Yemen recapture areas held by Houthi rebels, Hindu festival turns deadly in southern India, local efforts to fight desertification in Morocco, and the UN’s good news on HIV.

YEMEN
Government Loyalists Seize Territory From Houthi Rebels
Airstrikes forced them to retreat from Aden airport and the surrounding areas.

INDIA
Stampede Leaves Dozens Dead and Injured
The incident occurred during a Hindu bathing festival in Andhra Pradesh.

MOROCCO
Conservation Projects Fight Deforestation in Eastern Regions
Farmers and cattle grazers have been tasked with planting trees and other initiatives aimed at restoring damaged ecosystems.

HEALTH
UN Study Showcases Improved Outlook For HIV-Positive
Infection rates have decreased since the late 1990s, and life expectancy is 19 years higher than in 2001.

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Do no harm – by Sarah Kliff on July 2015


There’s an infection hospitals can nearly always prevent. Why don’t they?

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at Jul 12, 2015 2.14

Nora Boström died in a hospital room, her arms clenched around her mother’s neck, on November 22, 2013. It was 22 days before her fourth birthday.

Nora had blonde, curly hair and a big laugh, and seemed to hate wearing pants — pictures of her as a toddler show her wiggling right out of them. Nora was also born prematurely with underdeveloped lungs. A few months before her third birthday, she underwent a small surgical procedure that placed a thin, snakelike tube running through her chest to her heart. Doctors used it to pump medicine into her bloodstream that would help her lungs grow.

central line

The tube is called a central line catheter, and doctors insert millions of them into patients each year. Because they run straight to the heart, central lines are the fastest, most effective method of delivering often lifesaving medication. But if bacteria manages to get into the central line — when a nurse changes a dressing or injects a medication — it can quickly become a bloodstream infection. At best, these infections cause suffering for already-sick patients. At worst, they kill them.

Nora had four central line infections in her last year of life. “Every line infection just took more out of her, and more out of her, because it weakened her heart,” Claire McCormack, Nora’s mother, says. “It just weakened that perfect heart.”

Table of contents

I. Plane crash hospitals vs. car crash hospitals
II. A death — and a revolution — in Baltimore
III. “She just kind of slipped away”
IV. Four central line infections and two tragedies
V. Hope in Roseville

Article continues:

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong TEDGlobalLondon · 14:42 · Filmed Jun 2015


What really causes addiction — to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do — and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem.

EBOLA SURVIVORS MAY BE THE KEY TO TREATMENT—FOR ALMOST ANY DISEASE – ERIKA CHECK HAYDEN: 06.30.15. 6:30 AM


A group of volunteer medical workers carry the bodies of Ebola victims to a car in order to bury them in Kptema graveyard in Kenema, Sierra Leone, on August 24, 2014. MOHAMMED ELSHAMY/ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES

Lina Moses sensed the ghost of Ebola as soon as her Land Cruiser entered the gate at Kenema Government Hospital. More than a hundred people had died in the treatment center here, an epicenter of the epidemic in Sierra Leone. A doctor who had treated them was buried on a hill overlooking the compound. When Ebola erupted in Kenema in May 2014, Moses was working here as an epidemiologist. She had never seen an Ebola patient. She could have fled home to New Orleans. Instead she stayed, fighting the outbreak and watching patients and friends die one by one.

Eventually Moses returned to the US. But now, two months later, she and one of the people she’d worked with, a physician named John Schieffelin, were back. Moses’ driver eased the Land Cruiser up to her old lab, a single-story building tucked in the corner of the hospital compound. Workers appeared and started to help unload supplies. Moses, meanwhile, stepped out into the searing midday heat and stretched her legs. She saw six people sitting on the concrete steps of an office across from her lab. Some had been nurses and researchers at Kenema; a couple were part of a newly formed survivors’ union. That’s how they’d heard about Moses’ mission.

All six had been infected with Ebola and survived. Hypothetically, that made them immune to the disease. That’s why Moses had returned—to harness that immunity to try to ensure Ebola never killed anyone again.

LINA MOSES | An epidemiologist working in Sierra Leone, Moses was one of the first Western researchers to encounter the outbreak. She later returned to find a way to fight it.

LINA MOSES | An epidemiologist working in Sierra Leone, Moses was one of the first Western researchers to encounter the outbreak. She later returned to find a way to fight it. Daymon Gardner

After getting set up, Moses beckoned the survivors into the lab. A technician slid needles into their veins. The survivors’ blood flowed dark red into purple-topped tubes. Moses watched in silence. Once that fluid had been a mortal danger; now it was a valuable commodity.

When the blood collection was over, Schieffelin passed a survivor outside who didn’t recognize his doctor. Schieffelin covered most of his face with his hand, imitating the mask he’d worn in the wards. “Do you remember me now?” he asked, smiling behind his palm.

Later, Moses’ boss, a virologist named Robert Garry, separated the cells they needed from the blood, washed them, and added a pink buffering liquid to each tube. Garry printed the date—January 12—and an ID number on each tube, then put the tubes into a Mr. Frosty-brand insulated container. Mr. Frosty, in turn, went into a portable freezer. Tucked safely inside, the samples chilled over the next four hours; it was crucial that they cooled slowly, so ice crystals wouldn’t destroy the cells.

Finally, at 11 that night, Moses and Garry donned purple disposable gloves, popped open the lid on Mr. Frosty, and loaded the little labeled tubes into metal cases cooled with liquid nitrogen. She handled each tube for no more than a few seconds. Even the tiny bit of heat from her fingers could warm the cells inside enough to kill them and destroy the knowledge they contained. She shut the case, ready for a journey to the United States.

 

Article continues:

http://www.wired.com/2015/06/ebola-treatment/

U.S. bird flu causing egg squeeze, emergency measures – | Fri May 22, 2015 8:21am EDT


Eggs sit on a shelf at a store in Wheaton, Maryland February 13, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

As a virulent avian influenza outbreak continues to spread across the Midwestern United States, some egg-dependent companies are contemplating drastic steps: importing eggs from overseas or looking to egg alternatives.

A spokeswoman for grain giant Archer Daniels Midland Co said that, as egg supplies have tightened and prices risen, the company has received numerous inquiries from manufacturers about the plant-based egg substitutes it makes.

And with a strong dollar bolstering the buying power of U.S. importers, some companies are scouting for egg supplies abroad.

“The U.S. has never imported any significant amount of eggs, because we’ve always been a very low-cost producer,” said Tom Elam of FarmEcon, an agricultural consulting company. “Now, that’s no longer the case.”

Still, companies wanting to import eggs may have to look far afield.

“Canada is short on eggs and has been buying heavily from the U.S. for the last several years,” said Rick Brown, a senior vice-president of Urner Barry, a commodity market analysis firm. “Mexico has been dealing with its own outbreaks of avian influenza, so they’re banned from importing into the U.S. The logical place people will be looking now would be Europe.”

Avril, a farmer-controlled agri-food group that owns France’s largest egg brand, Matines, said it has seen an increase recently in demand from the United States and elsewhere in the Americas and plans to start making shipments in June.

ECONOMIC BITE

Meanwhile, companies sticking with egg suppliers closer to home are facing sharply higher prices as a result of the outbreak, which has so far affected some 39 million birds. Nearly one-quarter of the hens that lay “breaker eggs” – which include liquid, dried or frozen eggs used by food manufacturers – have either died or are slated to be euthanized.

The outbreak has led to a sharp uptick in the wholesale price of such eggs, from 63-cents a dozen in late April, when the first egg-laying flock was reported infected, to $1.83 a dozen this week, Brown said.

Article continues:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/22/us-health-birdflu-egg-shortages-idUSKBN0O70AY20150522

SEEDS FOR DRINKING WATER – by Bob Koigi MAY 14TH, 2015


Claudia Dewald Vetta Getty Images

Claudia Dewald Vetta Getty Images

Rural families in Kenya have few or no sources of clean water, with studies by Water Link International showing that half of the population in Kenya, and a majority in the rural areas, use contaminated water for drinking and cooking.

Unlike their urban counterparts, the rural people do not have access to piped water, which is treated at water plants. In the Nyeri area of Central Kenya, one of Kenya’s largest rivers, River Chania, runs through the area with a majority of the rural residents relying on it for consumption. The water is contaminated as a result of the dumping of chemicals, washing away of fertilizer-laden soils through soil erosions, fecal matter from animals grazing near the river source and open defecation.

But the menace of unsafe drinking is not confined to Central Kenya alone. Just recently an outbreak kilometers away in Western Kenya suspected to be as a result of drinking untreated water, claimed seven lives with 80 people hospitalized in critical condition.

It is a regrettable cycle that has gone unchecked for years and in its wake claimed incomes and livelihoods. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way. For every dollar spent on clean water systems in Africa, about $8 in health care costs are avoided according to Dr. Barry Otoyo from Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenya’s largest hospital. “It is regrettable that mothers and children in the 21st century have to succumb to such avoidable diseases. There definitely has to be a mind shift,” he said.

But it is easier said than done. Rural households with pressing needs do not see the need for water treating techniques which they deem expensive. The cheapest is around $0.50, liquid chlorine packaged in miniature bottles which experts have advocated for as the quickest and most convenient water treatment solution, especially for those living in rural areas.

Article continues:

http://www.fairplanet.org/story/seeds-for-drinking-water/