REPORT: At least one Ebola patient is headed to an Atlanta hospital – American infected with virus condition worsening

July 2014 AFRICA - A patient with the deadly Ebola virus will arrive at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment “within the next several days,” according to a statement from the university. There is no word yet on exactly when the patient will arrive, but it is expected that he or she will be treated in the hospital’s wards that are specifically set up to treat highly infectious diseases. The “hospital has a specially-built isolation unit to treat patients exposed to certain serious infectious diseases,” Misty Williams wrote in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Set up in collaboration with the Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the unit is physically separate from other patient areas and is one of only four such facilities in the country.” Doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff who work on such dangerous cases are “specially trained,” and a statement from Emory indicated that the hospital and its staff “are fully prepared for this type of situation.” According to Vaughn Sterling of CNN, Medevac will actually be picking up more than one American Ebola patient in Liberia. It is not known whether the Ebola patient headed to Atlanta is one of the Americans with Ebola, both of them, or another patient entirely. A CBS/Associated Press report from earlier in the day noted that “the U.S. is looking into Medevac options to bring two American aid workers diagnosed with Ebola back to the U.S.,” citing White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest as the source. That approach would be consistent with previous outbreaks, such as SARS, when infected Americans have been brought home so that they can receive treatment in the U.S. healthcare system.
A statement released today by SIM, a Christian mission working with Ebola patients in Liberia, indicated that the condition of healthcare worker Nancy Writebol, an American infected with Ebola, had taken a turn for the worse. Dr. Kent Brantly, an American doctor with Samaritan’s Purse who works with Writebol, is also battling the virus. Here’s the full statement from Emory: Emory University Hospital has been informed that there are plans to transfer a patient with Ebola virus infection to its special facility containment unit within the next several days. We do not know at this time when the patient will arrive. Emory University Hospital has a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases. It is physically separate from other patient areas and has unique equipment and infrastructure that provide an extraordinarily high level of clinical isolation. It is one of only four such facilities in the country. Emory University Hospital physicians, nurses and staff are highly trained in the specific and unique protocols and procedures necessary to treat and care for this type of patient. For this specially trained staff, these procedures are practiced on a regular basis throughout the year so we are fully prepared for this type of situation. An Emory University spokesperson declined to provide additional details. –Business Insider
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Death toll from Ebola outbreak rises to 729: WHO

July 2014AFRICA - The death toll from an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has risen to 729, the World Health Organization said on Thursday, after 57 deaths were reported between July 24 and 27 in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The WHO also said Nigerian authorities had so far identified 59 people who had come into contact with a U.S. citizen who died in Lagos last week after traveling from Liberia, via Togo and Ghana. The virus is now out of control and is in danger of spreading beyond Africa.
It said 122 new cases were detected over those four days, taking the total number of confirmed and likely infected cases from the outbreak so far to 1,323. WHO said the trend in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone “remains precarious with ongoing…transmission of infection.” Guinea is suffering the worst from the disease, which causes often fatal bleeding and has no vaccine. The country’s authorities reported 20 more deaths apparently from Ebola in the last four days of last week, taking its national fatality figure to 339. Liberia saw 27 more deaths, for a total national death toll of 156. Sierra Leone reported nine more deaths for a total 233 dead. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, reported its first death from Ebola in that period. WHO said the medical sample taken from the patient who died in Nigeria shortly after arriving by air had still not been analyzed by its regional lab because courier companies were refusing to transport it. The UN agency added that it “does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions” be applied to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, or Sierra Leone at this time. -HP Yahoo
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Death toll rises to 21 in western India mudslide

July 2014INDIA - The confirmed death toll from Wednesday’s mudslide in western India has reached 21, with a further 129 people feared trapped in the wreckage of houses flattened during the incident. Seven teams of 42 rescue workers each worked through the night at Malin village, 35 miles (60km) from the city of Pune in Maharashtra state. However, their efforts were hampered by incessant rain, mud and poor communications in the remote area. Four earth-moving machines scooped out mud spread over an area the size of a football pitch. The frame of a motorbike floated by on a torrent of mud, a suggestion bodies could well be underneath. Small streams flowed into the area from surrounding hills. The hillside above the village collapsed on Wednesday and heavy rain raised fears of another landslide. The head of rescue operations at the national disaster response force said 21 bodies had so far been recovered, with 129 people feared trapped under the mud that covered dozens of houses. “We have mapped the 46 houses and are trying to remove the mud from the most densely populated areas,” said operations Chief Alok Avasthy.
The local school, one of the only roofed buildings to survive, was put into service as a makeshift shelter for rescue workers, while police were stationed in trucks to provide backup. Rainy season downpours, though vital for India’s agriculture, can often bring disaster. Unprecedented rain in June last year wreaked havoc across Uttarakhand state in the Himalayas, causing rivers and lakes to burst their banks, inundating towns and villages and killing thousands. Environmentalists say construction of hydro-electric dams, involving blasting tunnels through mountains to carry diverted flows of water, deforestation and the spread of unregulated buildings along river banks magnify the impact of heavy rains. -Guardian
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If Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, two-thirds of America will be left uninhabitable

July 2014 MONTANA - Deep in America’s northwest, there lies a supervolcano that, if erupted, has the potential to wipe out the majority of the United States. What is a supervolcano exactly? I think the name says it all, but officially, scientists define it as a volcano capable of an eruption thousands of times greater than any ordinary volcanic explosion. These supervolcanoes burst when a growing pressure of molten rock, or magma, rises up from the Earth’s mantle. When the crust can’t contain the buildup anymore — boom. In historic times, we luckily haven’t experienced a supervolcano explosion. The most recent eruption occurred 27,000 years ago in New Zealand. But, mankind isn’t out of the woods yet. Deep below Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming lies a supervolcano that is very much alive.
A volcanic winter: A massive underground chamber filled with magma sits miles below the surface in America’s oldest national park. Though scientists are mixed as to whether the place could blow anytime soon, there is one thing they do agree on — if it did, it would push much of Earth to the verge of extinction. Its immediate effects would be deadly enough, with some estimates saying that 87,000 people would be killed instantly. A 10-foot layer of ash would spread up to 1,000 miles away, leaving two-thirds of the country completely uninhabitable. Once the plume rises high into the stratosphere, the released sulfuric gases would mix with the Earth’s water vapor, which National Geographic reports could launch the country and other parts of the globe into a “volcanic winter.” Essentially, the United States and much of the world would be brought to its knees.
Storm is ComingBut the carnage doesn’t stop there. The spread of volcanic ash, rocks and gas would immediately cease any sort of air transportation in much of the world. Just take into account the traffic shutdown following the 2010 Eyjafjallajökull eruption in Iceland. The relatively small explosion caused the closure of large swaths of European airspace, as well as a six-day travel ban in the impacted area. Those who do survive would be left with a big bill too. Doug Bausch, a senior scientist at FEMA, told WND that such a scenario would cause an estimated $3 trillion in damage for North America. The last time Yellowstone erupted — roughly 640,000 years ago — the American continent was devastated, with volcanic materials reaching as far as Louisiana, over 1,500 miles away. In the past decade, there has been some increased activity at the site. Since 2004, the supervolcano has been rising and just this month, roads were closed in Yellowstone after extreme heat from below was melting the asphalt on roads up above.
An explosion of “volcanic winter” magnitude; however doesn’t seem likely according the U.S. Geological Survey. They say that the chances of a large-scale eruption at Yellowstone “are exceedingly small in the next few thousand years.” However other geologists told the Huffington Post in a 2014 interview: “The bulging pocket of magma swishing around beneath Old Faithful might never blow its lid again. Or, it might put on a surprise fireworks show next Independence Day. Scientists just don’t know.”  -RYOT
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6.3 magnitude earthquake strikes near Veracruz, the second major quake to strike Mexico in 22 days

Veracruz Mexico 6.3 July 29
July 2014 MEXICO - A magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit southwest of Juan Rodriguez Clara, in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz on Tuesday at a depth of 95 km (60 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or major damages. The quake was felt in Mexico City, Reuters witnesses said, where it rattled doors and light fixtures. Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said in a tweet that there were evacuations in the capital, but that after inspection, no damages or injuries were reported. “We felt it very hard,” said a spokesman for Veracruz state emergency services. “But up until now, we’ve had no news of damages or injuries.” State oil giant Pemex [PEMX.UL] said in a tweet that none of its installations had been affected by the quake. This is the second major earthquake to strike a region of Mexico in 22 days. On July 7th, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck a region near Chiapas, Mexico.  –Reuters
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Two more mysterious holes have opened up in Siberia, and scientists have no idea what’s causing them

July 2014RUSSIA – Two more mysterious holes have opened up in Siberia after the original crater appeared in the Yamal Peninsula earlier this month. “Yamal” is a name that literally translates to “end of the land.” Both new craters were discovered by reindeer herders, who thankfully didn’t fall the estimated 300 feet to the bottom. In case the thought of bottomless black holes isn’t already conjuring up images of an apocalyptic doomsday, then here are some videos and pictures to ensure you don’t sleep at all tonight. What are they, and why are portions of Siberia now beginning to collapse in huge holes?
Scientists are still unsure as to what exactly is causing their appearance. Theories range from meteorites to stray missiles, a man-made prank or even aliens. However, The Siberian Times reports that the most common belief is that they’re the result of “melting permafrost due to climate change, causing a release of methane gas, which then forces an eruption.” So basically, these things might keep popping up if humans continue to treat the planet like their own personal trash can. One of the craters is on the same peninsula as the first one, while the other is on the Taymyr Peninsula. The first is 98 feet in diameter, the second is 49 feet, and the third is 13 feet.
Marina Leibman, chief scientist of the Earth Cryosphere Institute, told URA.RU, “Undoubtedly, we need to study all such formations. It is necessary to be able to predict their occurrence. Each new funnel provides additional information for scientists.”A researcher at the Russian Scientific Centre of Arctic Research, Dr. Andrey Plekhanov claims that more studies will need to take place in order to determine if climate change is to blame.  –RYOT
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Even with extreme precautions doctor contracted Ebola – what will ordinary citizens do if virus goes pandemic?

July 2014AFRICA - Since March of this year, Liberia and its partners have been working assiduously to contain one of the world’s deadly viruses, Ebola, but to no avail, as it effects have now reached an alarming proportion, putting the country in an undeniable squeeze. Having been criticized in the initial stage of the emergence of the virus and in view of the growing number of deaths as a result of the virus, the Liberian government has intensified life-saving measures including the declaration of national emergency, the setting up of a national task force, the closure of entry border points and other noteworthy. The taking of these actions, according to analysts, shows how risky the nation has become to the plague of the Ebola virus, and also means that it is at ‘war.’ The virus which emerged here in March of this year, having decimated a huge chunk of the population of Guinea, is tearing the nation apart, destroying every life in its reach and path. Regrettably, according to analysts, all of this is occurring after an experience of years of fratricidal bush war that pulverized the nation almost beyond reach and recognition. In spite of national and international fusion of efforts to combat its threat, it is proving difficult to contain, thus sending deep-seated apprehension down the spines of all Liberians. The emergence of Ebola in Liberia having caused unbearable toll on a good portion of the population of Guinea, the virus surfaced in Lofa County and then started to cascade downward Montserrado and Margibi Counties through human contacts.
A woman who interacted with her sister killed by Ebola also fell ill and unknowingly brought to Monrovia via a taxi cab and landed in Chicken Soup Factory, on the outskirt of Monrovia. Because of their late arrival in Monrovia, driver of the Taxi cab lodged the woman in a house of plenty occupants. At the break of dawn, her husband who works at Firestone picked her up and took her to Firestone where she was admitted at a local hospital there. That was the beginning of the spread of the virus which has now become a pandemic. An American doctor is in grave condition after contracting the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa. Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, who works with Ebola patients is now fighting for his own survival in an isolation unit on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia. “I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email Monday. Brantly’s prognosis is grave and efforts to evacuate him to Europe for treatment have been thwarted as Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has closed border crossings. A second American aid worker, Nancy Writebol, tested positive for the Ebola virus at the same hospital, a relief group official said Sunday. Brantly also asked that prayers be extended for Writebol, who worked as the personnel coordinator for Serving in Mission, or SIM, in Monrovia, CNN reports. She is reportedly in stable and serious condition. There is no treatment, cure, or vaccine for Ebola. The virus is now out of control and is now a serious threat to Africa’s largest city, Lagos Nigeria.
 To date, according to a health ministry daily statistics, over 126 Liberians and foreign nationals have lost their lives to the virus which has stretched its tentacles beyond other borders. Worst of all, it is not sparing anyone, not even the doctors and nurses that are attending to people affected by the virus, which to date does not have any cure. Besides the number of people already killed, there are 249 cases with most of them completely quarantined. The number of deaths and those affected is likely to soar as more and more Liberians are falling prey to the virus. The threat of the virus is such that even foreign medical practitioners that have been reaching out to victims of the virus are themselves being victimized. About two weeks ago, a Ugandan Dr. Sam Mutooro Muhumuza assigned by the Redemption Hospital lost his life, having contracted the virus from an affected nurse whose life he attempted saving. –All Africa
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