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Ebola, what you're not being told

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I am much more worried about the drug resistant super-bugs living in many hospitals right now. MRSA and Pseudomonas , both of which my father got while in for other treatments. He survived them both but it weakened his immune system and he passed from pneumonia four months later.

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  • Elders (Admins)

Yes, hospital-acquired infections are another kind of epidemic. And they probably directly kill or contribute to the deaths of more people than diseases such as Ebola. Ebola is a terrifying disease, but the risk to people in "Western" countries is quite low, because there are containment/isolation protocols in place. But hospital-acquired infections shouldn't happen if standard hygiene practices are followed.

When I was in hospital last year, I was in a standard 6-bed ward, and there were no hand-washing facilities in that ward. There were several other 6-bed wards in that section of the hospital, and I'm pretty sure there were no hand-washing facilities in any of them. Goodness only knows where the staff went to wash their hands

I've just googled for hospital-acquired infections in the UK and found this:

Health care associated infection: key facts

15-30% of hospital acquired infection could be prevented by better application of knowledge and implementation of realistic infection control policies;
Hand hygiene is possibly the most important factor in preventing hospital acquired infection but compliance is poor;
Around 9% of hospital in-patients acquire an infection while in hospital;
There are at least 100,000 hospital infections a year;
Around 5,000 deaths each year might be primarily attributable to hospital acquired infection and in a further 15,000 cases it might be a substantial contributor;
They impact on the quality of care; can cause a deterioration in a patient's condition; and sometimes contribute to or cause a patient's death;
Between 50 and 70% of surgical wound infections occur after discharge from hospital.

Sources: House of Commons. Committee of Public Accounts. Forty-second report: the management and control of hospital acquired infection in acute NHS trusts in England, together with the proceedings of the Committee relating to the report, the minutes of evidence and appendices. Session 1999-2000. London: The Stationery Office, 2000. Chairman: David Davis. (HC 306). The National Audit Office.

(Note that the "50 to 70% of surgical wound infections occur after discharge" is probably influenced by the need to discharge people from hospital a.s.a.p - because the number of beds have been cut in recent times.)

It is appalling that patients' lives are put at risk, not from some disease we don't have a cure or vaccine for, but solely because basic hygiene principles are not still being followed.

There has been a "health scare" today in London. A number of people, illegal immigrants, were discovered in a shipping container that was offloaded from a ship in one of London's docks. They were taken to two London hospitals who immediately put into operation their isolation/decontamination protocols. Some people have panicked, thinking that it's Ebola. But the greatest risk from those people is that they might be carrying tuberculosis.

PS: I put "Western" in quotes, because it's a descriptor, rather than a geographical term. China and Japan, amongst others, have a very good record of disease containment.

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Well, as expected, things are getting worse.


Attack on Liberia isolation clinic highlights Ebola denial

Monrovia (AFP) - Seventeen Ebola patients are missing after fleeing an attack on an isolation ward in Monrovia by armed youths claiming the epidemic does not exist, training the spotlight on the struggle to raise awareness in the fight against the deadly virus.
"They broke down the door and looted the place. The patients have all gone," said Rebecca Wesseh, who witnessed the attack in a badly hit area on the outskirts of the Liberian capital.

The attackers, mostly young men armed with clubs, shouted that President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf "is broke" and "there's no Ebola", she said.

The head of Health Workers Association of Liberia, George Williams, said the unit housed 29 patients who "had all tested positive for Ebola" and were receiving preliminary treatment before being taken to hospital.

"Of the 29 patients, 17 fled last night (after the assault). Nine died four days ago and three others were yesterday taken by force by their relatives" from the centre, he said.

The raid is a dramatic illustration of aid workers' warnings about denial of Ebola in some of the worst-affected areas in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Last month thousands tried to storm Sierra Leone's main Ebola hospital in Kenema and threatened to burn it down and remove patients.

-- 'Cannibalistic rituals' --

Local police chief Alfred Karrow-Kamara said the panic was caused by a former nurse who reportedly told people in the nearby fish market that Ebola was a pretence for "carrying out cannibalistic rituals".

In Monrovia, residents had opposed the creation of the attacked quarantine centre, set up by health authorities in an part of the Liberian capital seen as an epicentre of the Ebola outbreak.

"We told them not to (build) their camp here. They didn't listen to us," said a young resident, who declined to give his name. "We don't believe in this Ebola outbreak."

By snatching infected loved ones from clinics, relatives further spread the disease.

Some 1,500 police and soldiers have been deployed in the worst-hit areas of Sierra Leone to prevent raids, but they are powerless in the face of the suspicion and fear of poorly educated traditional communities.

Health workers pleas that relatives stop bathing of the dead -- who are highly contagious -- has also increased suspicions, as in many traditional communities see ritual bathing as a way of honouring the dead.

Doctors and nurses are fighting not just the disease, but also the distrust of communities often in the thrall of wild rumours that the virus was invented by whites in the West to keep Africans down.

Former Sierra Leone youth and education minister Lansana Nyallah, who lost nine of his family to the virus, tried to address the myth head on, saying, "To those who still believe that Ebola does not exist, please take heed."

Hare-brained and folk cures for the disease have proliferated. In Nigeria two people died and about 20 were hospitalised after they ingested an excessive amount of salt which they believed could prevent Ebola.

There have also been reports in Liberia of people drinking chlorine in the hope that it will keep the disease at bay.

The Ebola outbreak, the worst since the virus first appeared in 1976, has claimed 1,145 lives in five months, according to the UN World Health Organization's latest figures as of August 13: 413 in Liberia, 380 in Guinea, 348 in Sierra Leone and four in Nigeria.

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Another Ebola problem: Finding its natural source
" A scary problem lurks beyond the frenzied efforts to keep people from spreading Ebola: No one knows exactly where the virus comes from or how to stop it from seeding new outbreaks.
That has had to wait until they can tame the current outbreak, which has claimed more than 1,100 lives in four countries — the worst toll from Ebola in history.

"First and foremost get the outbreak under control. Once that piece is resolved, then go back and find what the source is," said Jonathan Towner, a scientist who helped find the bat source of another Ebola-like disease called Marburg. Towner works for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Others say finding Ebola's origins is more than a down-the-road scientific curiosity.
"Confirming the source would definitely be important," said Dr. Richard Wenzel, a Virginia Commonwealth University scientist who formerly led the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
Throughout history, some of the biggest wins against infectious diseases have involved not just limiting person-to-person spread but also finding and controlling the sources in nature fueling new cases.
Plague was halted after the germ was tied to rat-riding fleas. With the respiratory disease SARS, civet cats played a role. With typhus it was lice, and with bird flu, live poultry markets. Efforts to control MERS, a virus causing sporadic outbreaks in the Middle East, include exploring the role of camels.
In the case of Ebola, health experts think the initial cases in each outbreak get it from eating or handling infected animals. They think the virus may come from certain bats, and in parts of Africa, bats are considered a delicacy.
But bats may not be the whole story or the creature that spread it to humans.
The World Health Organization lists chimpanzees, gorillas, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines as possibly playing a role. Even pig farms may amplify infection because of fruit bats on the farms, the WHO says.
"It's not clear what the animal is. It's going to take a lot of testing," said Dr. Robert Gaynes, an Emory University infectious disease specialist who worked for the CDC for more than 20 years.
Part of the puzzle is how long the virus has been in West Africa. Previous outbreaks have been in the east and central regions of the continent.
The current outbreak began in rural Guinea, and the first suspected first case was a 2-year-old child who died in Gueckedou prefecture in December, researchers wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine in April. They did not speculate on how the child may have become infected.
Some scientists think the virus has been lurking in the area for years. They point to the case of a lone scientist who got sick in 1994 after doing an autopsy on a wild chimpanzee in Ivory Coast and to a recent study that explored the possibility that past Ebola cases in the region have gone undiagnosed.
Scientists in the United States and Sierra Leone looked back at hundreds of blood samples that were sent to a testing laboratory in eastern Sierra Leone from 2006 through 2008. The samples initially were checked only for Lassa fever, which is common in West Africa. But when the scientists recently went back and tested for other infections, they found nearly 9 percent was Ebola.
One or more types of Ebola virus have "probably been there in the mix" for some time but for some reason didn't explode into a widespread epidemic in West Africa until this year, said Stephen Morse, a Columbia University infectious disease expert.
Ebola's jump from animals to people is thought to be rare. Experts say there may be a large degree of bad luck in becoming infected — in a cave associated with a Marburg outbreak, Towner found the virus in only 3 percent of bats he tested. Even if an animal source is clearly identified and people are warned, "there is always likely to be an occasional exposure — someone who drives off the highway, in essence," Morse said.
But with other diseases, control measures have paid off.
In 2003, when civet cats were tied to SARS, "you could just see the potential for animal-to-human spread" in live animal markets where they were sold and butchered for food, and control of those markets in southern China helped limit the outbreak, said Dr. Jeffrey Koplan, an Emory University professor and former head of the CDC.
"If you can eliminate the market either by providing substitute protein sources" or outlawing the sale of that meat, "you can have an impact," Koplan said.
That's tough unless you can provide other food, Towner said.
"It can be a hard sell" to convince people trying to feed families to stay away from something possibly dangerous, he said. "
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Ebola Patient Reunites with Husband Through Isolation Glass at Emory
ancy Writebol, one of two American Ebola patients, was reunited with her husband Sunday, sharing a tender moment through the isolation glass at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
“We both placed our hands on opposite sides of the glass, moved with tears to look at each other again,” David Writebol said in a statement. “She was standing with her radiant smile, happy beyond words.”
Ebola Outbreak Full Coverage
American Doctor With Ebola Is 'Recovering in Every Way'
Nancy Writebol was working for the aid group SIM in Liberia when she contracted the virus, which has killed 1,145 people in West Africa. She was evacuated to Atlanta Aug. 5, shortly after the other American Ebola patient, Dr. Kent Brantly.
David Writebol returned from Liberia a week ago but was placed under quarantine in North Carolina out of an abundance of caution. Since he has not shown any symptoms of the virus since his wife’s diagnosis three weeks ago, he was cleared to visit her in Atlanta.
“She is continuing to slowly gain strength, eager for the day when the barriers separating us are set aside, and we can simply hold each other,” he said.
Brantly, who is also recovering at Emory University Hospital, said he is “continuing to heal.”
“I hold on to the hope of a sweet reunion with my wife, children and family in the near future,” he said in a statement Friday.
Both Brantly and Writebol received the experimental serum known as ZMapp.
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  • Elders (Admins)

I really do hope that both of them recover completely. It must be such a worrying time for them and their families. People who go into challenging situations are heroes and deserve all good luck there is.

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I tried fixing the quote and couldn't, plus, I lost the first letter of the woman's name. So, I will post quotes with a " from now on till we can figure out what is going wrong. Here's a couple more stories, now in California ~

Patient Checked For Ebola Virus At Kaiser Hospital In Sacramento - SFGate


Patient isolated in California hospital for Ebola testing


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