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New vaccine may end the biggest Ebola outbreak in history | Daily Maverick

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New vaccine may end the biggest Ebola outbreak in history | Daily Maverick.

Over a year – and 11,279 reported deaths – since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, the first effective ‘armour’ against the virus has been developed. The VSV-ZEBOV vaccine showed 100% efficacy in offering protection from Ebola virus, according to preliminary results published in the Lancet on Friday. The vaccine is the result of a massive collaborative effort between the Guinean Government, World Health Organization (WHO), Doctors without Borders and others.

Beginning in March, the trial involved over 4,000 volunteers, all of whom had come into contact with Ebola patients. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. The first – the intervention group – immediately received the vaccine. To test the protection conferred by the vaccine, those in the second, or control, group were given the vaccine three weeks later. (Usually the control group is only given a placebo; however, this was decided against for ethical reasons).

Within 10 days of receiving the vaccine, both groups developed protection against Ebola…

Is this the beginning of the end for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa? | GlobalPost

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Is this the beginning of the end for the Ebola outbreak in West Africa? | GlobalPost.

Schools reopened in Guinea this week, just as Mali became the region’s latest country to be declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organization, following Nigeria and Senegal.

The two developments are signs that life is slowly returning to normal as West Africa recovers from the world’s worst-ever Ebola epidemic.

It is far from over yet. But there is, at last, hope that the end of the outbreak may be within sight.

There have been 21,614 cases of Ebola in this epidemic, and 8,594 deaths, according to the latest WHO figures. But crucially, the number of new cases is declining in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the countries worst affected.

Last week Sierra Leone and Guinea both recorded their lowest weekly totals of confirmed cases since August, while Liberia had its lowest weekly total since June.

Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, has said he is “confident” the outbreak can be ended, provided “nothing unexpected happens.”…

U.S.-built Ebola treatment centers in Liberia are nearly empty as outbreak fades – The Washington Post

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U.S.-built Ebola treatment centers in Liberia are nearly empty as outbreak fades – The Washington Post.

Near the hillside shelter where dozens of men and women died of Ebola, a row of green U.S. military tents sit atop a vast expanse of imported gravel. The generators hum; chlorinated water churns in brand-new containers; surveillance cameras send a live feed to a large-screen television.

There’s only one thing missing from this state-of-the-art Ebola treatment center: Ebola patients.

The U.S. military sent about 3,000 troops to West Africa to build centers like this one in recent months. They were intended as a crucial safeguard against an epidemic that flared in unpredictable, deadly waves. But as the outbreak fades in Liberia, it has become clear that the disease had already drastically subsided before the first American centers were completed. Several of the U.S.-built units haven’t seen a single patient infected with Ebola.

It now appears that the alarming epidemiological predictions that in large part prompted the U.S. aid effort here were far too bleak. Although future flare-ups of the disease are possible, the near-empty Ebola centers tell the story of an aggressive American military and civilian response that occurred too late to help the bulk of the more than 8,300 Liberians who became infected. Last week, even as international aid organizations built yet more Ebola centers, there was an average of less than one new case reported in Liberia per day…

Braving Ebola – NYTimes.com

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Braving Ebola – NYTimes.com.

Portraits of those who labor and those who survived at an Ebola treatment center in rural Liberia.

Africa in Transition » Maybe Better News on Ebola?

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Africa in Transition » Maybe Better News on Ebola?.

The New York Times and other media are reporting a drop in Ebola infection rates and empty beds in the emergency field hospitals set up by the U.S. military in Monrovia. While there is Ebola all along the border between Liberia and Ivory Coast, Abidjan has not reported any cases. The World Health Organization has stated that Nigeria and Senegal are Ebola free. Perhaps even more important, no new Nigerian cases have been announced since the WHO’s declaration. Especially in Liberia, a public communications campaign on Ebola has taken off.

But, it is too soon to break out the champagne…

Ebola takes toll on the Gambia from beyond its borders | World news | The Guardian

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Ebola takes toll on the Gambia from beyond its borders | World news | The Guardian.

Omar Jarju looks out across a row of empty sunbeds around the Djeliba hotel’s perfectly maintained pool, a few steps from the palm-fringed Kololi beach on the Gambia’s Atlantic coast. “Every day in my inbox I get emails from clients, who tell me they’ve been warned not to come,” he says, despondently. “They say ‘Omar do you have Ebola?’ and I say ‘Oh for God’s sake, no!’. Ebola is killing us, whether we have it or not.”

This week is only the start of the Gambia’s tourist season but Jarju, manager at the Djeliba, says the hotel is only 47% full, compared with 67% last year. Headlines about the rapid spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are having a serious knock-on effect for other countries in the continent, according to the Gambia’s ministry of tourism…

Ebola: Misinformation can spread like virus

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Ebola: Misinformation can spread like virus.

Much of the reporting around ebola is rife with rumours and misconceptions. In my experience, there seem to be three main popular misconceptions around the viral outbreak.The first is that it is easy to contract ebola. Due to the gruesome nature in which the virus manifests itself in humans, people are understandably terrified of contracting ebola. Anecdotes abound about how people are scared of being on an airplane in the same confined space as anyone travelling from West Africa.  However, ebola is not airborne and cannot be contracted by simply sitting beside someone and breathing the same air. Concern Worldwide have dedicated staff on the ground in both Sierra Leone and Liberia, none of whom have contracted the virus or come even close….

 

Ebola: Eight facts about American perception and West African reality – The Washington Post

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Ebola: Eight facts about American perception and West African reality – The Washington Post.

The Washington Post’s Todd C. Frankel writes about what it takes to leave some West African airports: a normal temperature. The cold calculation of health is many travelers’ ticket out of the Ebola-ravaged region

Here’s more about the epidemic, our perception of Ebola in the United States and the reality abroad:

1.  The current Ebola epidemic has claimed more lives than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined.

As of last week, the number of suspected deaths (1,552) surpassed the number of confirmed deaths (1,548) from every outbreak since the disease was discovered in 1976, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention...

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