The Extinction Protocol Radio – Ebola: Special Report 2

“The problem with Ebola is that it is not over until the last patient is either dead or has recovered,” Prof Piot says. “Actually, I thought this outbreak was dying out in May, in Guinea. Then a famous woman, a traditional healer, died, and at her funeral hundreds of people touched the body. Then there was this explosion in three countries…Can it be stopped? It will be a bumpy ride. I am worried for West Africa. We will see a decline in cases eventually, but without a vaccine I am not sure we can stop it.” Prof Piot insists that it is still impossible to predict how bad the African epidemic will become. –Telegraph, featuring Peter Piot, Microbiologist Professor, co-discoverer of the Ebola virus

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Thousands break quarantine to find food in Sierra Leone

Ebola Quarantine TEP
November 2014SIERRA LEONEThousands of people in Sierra Leone are being forced to violate Ebola quarantines to find food because deliveries are not reaching them, aid agencies said. Large swaths of the West African country have been sealed off to prevent the spread of Ebola, and within those areas many people have been ordered to stay in their homes. The government, with help from the U.N.’s World Food Program, is tasked with delivering food and other services to those people. But there are many “nooks and crannies” in the country that are being missed, Jeanne Kamara, Christian Aid’s Sierra Leone representative, said Tuesday. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed nearly 5,000 people, and authorities have gone to extreme lengths to bring it under control, including the quarantines in Sierra Leone. Similar restrictions have also been used in Liberia and Guinea, the two other countries hardest hit by the epidemic. Some efforts have begun to show progress. The situation is Guinea is improving, as is the quality of care for Ebola patients, thanks to international aid, said Aboubakar Sidiki Diakite, an official with the country’s Health Ministry, who was visiting Paris on Tuesday. But more treatment centers and medical teams are still needed, the World Health Organization said at a news conference in Geneva on Tuesday. There are currently 16 treatment centers up and running and 58 more planned. To staff those centers, 500 foreign health care workers and 4,000 national ones are still needed.
In an address to political leaders in Sierra Leone, President Ernest Bai Koroma said ordinary people also have to do more. He defended the stringent measures he has imposed and called on all citizens to stop dangerous behavior that has fueled Ebola’s spread, such as secret burials where corpses are washed or even people touching the sick. “We have to take the sick out and take the responsibility with firmness,” he said. “We must end Ebola now.” While public health authorities have said heavy restrictions may be necessary to bring under control an Ebola outbreak unlike any other, the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organization for aid organizations, warned on Monday that they were cutting off food to thousands of people. “The quarantine of Kenema, the third largest town in Sierra Leone, is having a devastating impact on trade — travel is restricted so trucks carrying food cannot freely drive around,” the committee said in a statement. “Food is becoming scarce, which has led to prices increasing beyond the reach of ordinary people.” Because services are not reaching them, people who are being monitored for signs of Ebola — and should be staying at home — are venturing out to markets to look for food, potentially contaminating many others, said Kamara of Christian Aid.
When houses are put under quarantine, teams are supposed to go to them to identify their needs, she said: How many people are living there? Are there pregnant women or sick people with special needs? But Kamara said that with the infections still increasing quickly, it was difficult for the government to keep up with the number of people being monitored for the disease. The outbreak in Sierra Leone has been shifting in recent weeks, with the number of new cases ballooning in the country’s western and northern districts, far from where the outbreak began, in the country’s east. In October, the World Food Program fed more than 450,000 people in Sierra Leone, including people who are under quarantine or being treated for Ebola, said Alexis Masciarelli, a spokesman for the agency in Dakar, Senegal. The distribution of food has been difficult, he said, since it has required bringing food to remote areas by poor roads. He acknowledged that getting good information about where people need help is difficult, but he said WFP asks smaller organizations, with deep connections to the communities, to help them keep track of a fast-moving situation.  
Also as part of the effort to control the epidemic, Liberia has ordered that the bodies of all Ebola victims in and around the capital be cremated. Ebola is transmitted through the bodily fluids of infected people, and secretions from dead bodies are among the most infectious. But the neighborhood around the crematorium on the outskirts of Monrovia, called Boys Town, is now demanding that the government move the facility elsewhere. Residents say the ash is polluting the area and the stigma surrounding Ebola is rubbing off on them, with people pointing them out in the market. The residents are threatening to hold a protest Thursday that would block cremations if the government doesn’t move the facility. Breitbart
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Yellowstone Volcano: 98 earthquakes revealed in latest report by USGS

November 2014YELLOWSTONEIn the latest update of the Yellowstone volcano by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), October registered 98 total earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region. This seismic activity shows 21 more earthquakes than those reported in September. Although there was more activity in October, the highest magnitude was lower than the one reported in September. The volcano’s current alert level is “normal” and current aviation color code is “green.” This is clear indication that no massive eruption of the supervolcano is imminent. According to the USGS, their information comes from the University of Utah Seismograph Stations and is responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network. “During October 2014, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, reports 98 earthquakes were located in the Yellowstone National Park (YNP) region. The largest event was a small earthquake of magnitude 2.7 on October 29, at 3:55 PM MDT, located about 17.5 km (11 miles) south-southwest of West Thumb, YNP. This earthquake is part of a small swarm of 15 earthquakes that occurred over six hours.
“Yellowstone earthquake activity in October is at low background levels.” As the Inquisitr reported for September, nearly half the earthquakes were registered for the Yellowstone volcano in September than there was in August. August had 207 and 71 were reported in September. The strongest earthquake that month was September 24 when it reached a magnitude of 3.2 about 9 miles south of Mammoth.; no earthquake swarms were reported in September. Ground deformations were updated by the USGS as well in the October report. “Ground deformation was also reported in north-central Yellowstone. The rate of subsidence is holding steady at about 5 centimeters a year. “The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) provides long-term monitoring of volcanic and earthquake activity in the Yellowstone National Park region. Yellowstone is the site of the largest and most diverse collection of natural thermal features in the world and the first National Park. YVO is one of the five USGS Volcano Observatories that monitor volcanoes within the United States for science and public safety.” The National Park Service posted a notice on its website that Yellowstone volcano won’t erupt anytime soon despite rumors implying otherwise. “Though another caldera-forming eruption is theoretically possible, it is very unlikely to occur in the next thousand or even 10,000 years.
“The most likely activity would be lava flows such as those that occurred after the last major eruption. Such a lava flow would ooze slowly over months and years, allowing plenty of time for park managers to evaluate the situation and protect people. No scientific evidence indicates such a lava flow will occur soon.” –Inquistr
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Workers warn Ebola in Sierra Leone is ‘spreading nine times faster than two months ago’

November 2014SIERRA LEONE - Cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone are still rising quickly, campaigners have warned. In rural parts of the country, the virus is spreading nine times faster than two months ago, a report from the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI) found. AGI – an organization set up by former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair – said rates are also increasing in the capital Freetown, with six times more new cases recorded per day than two months ago. The news comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) advised that the number of new cases of the disease is leveling off. Nick Thompson, AGI’s chief executive, told BBC news: ‘What we’re seeing is a varied picture across the country. There are areas where it’s still going up quite dramatically. ‘Particularly in the western area, the rural areas, the area around and behind Freetown on the western peninsula. ‘That’s where you’re seeing quite dramatic rises in cases, up to nine times more per day than two months ago. ‘It’s a very mixed picture; it’s a changing situation within and across the country. It’s still very much an acute crisis, there’s no room for complacency even if response steps up.’ The spread of the disease has only started to slow down in one area of Sierra Leone: Bombali, in the country’s north, the report said.
Mr. Thompson added that the AGI did find that reports rates of the disease plateauing in Liberia, but they are not certain why. He said that burial management has ‘improved significantly’ in Liberia and Sierra Leone, with an increased number of bodies buried in 24 hours. Being able to get bodies buried ‘safely, promptly and with dignity’ is going to be one of the key ways of breaking the chain of transmission, he added. Currently more than half of all infections of the virus are transmitted through dead bodies, because of local customs which involve washing the bodies of people who have died. Ebola is spread through blood or body fluids, including urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen of a person who is sick with Ebola. It can also be spread from objects like needles and syringes that have been contaminated with the virus, or through infected fruit bats or primates. Last week, the AGI warned that even if existing international commitments are met by December, there could be a shortage of over 6,000 beds across Sierra Leone and Guinea. Nearly half of the beds currently planned in the three countries will lack the medical staff needed, their study found. AGI based its projections on the WHO’s worst-case scenario, which forecast 10,000 new cases per week in December. Nick Thompson said: ‘The international community badly misjudged the impact of the Ebola epidemic in its first few months and is compounding that error by failing to act quickly enough now.’ –Daily Mail
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Fifth local doctor in Sierra Leone has died of Ebola

November 2014 SIERRA LEONEA doctor in Sierra Leone has died of Ebola — the fifth local doctor in the West African nation to die of the disease, authorities said Monday. The death of Dr. Godfrey George, medical superintendent of Kambia Government Hospital in northern Sierra Leone, was a blow to efforts to keep desperately needed health care workers safe in a country ravaged by the deadly virus. Sierra Leone’s health care system was already fragile before the Ebola epidemic because of past conflict and a lack of resources. The country had two doctors for every 100,000 people in 2010, compared to about 240 doctors for the same number of people in the United States, according to the World Health Organization.
George’s overnight death was announced by Dr. Brima Kargbo, Sierra Leone’s chief medical officer. George had been driven to the capital, Freetown, after reporting that he was not feeling well. Doctors and nurses have been particularly vulnerable to contracting Ebola, as the virus is spread through bodily fluids. Ebola is high on the agenda of a regional meeting of the World Health Organization that opened Monday in Benin, a West African nation that has not had any Ebola cases. The Ebola epidemic has set back political stability and economic recovery in the afflicted countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, WHO Chief Margaret Chan said at the meeting. She also noted the disease’s “heavy toll on frontline domestic medical staff.” –NY Daily News
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U.S. scientists say uncertainties loom about Ebola’s transmission, other key facts

November 2014HEALTHEven as government officials express confidence that researchers know the key facts about Ebola, many questions crucial to preventing an outbreak in the United States remain unanswered, scientists told a workshop at the National Academy’s Institute of Medicine in Washington on Monday. Virtually all the unknowns have practical consequences, participants emphasized, making it foolish and perhaps dangerous to base policy on weak science. For instance, virologists believe that Ebola is spread when people come in contact with the virus-laden bodily fluids of those who are already sick and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, allowing the virus to pass through mucous membranes and enter the bloodstream. But penetration through intact skin has not been definitively ruled out, said hemorrhagic-fever expert Thomas Ksiarek of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), who co-led a session on Ebola’s transmission routes. “Does bleach or hand sanitizer,” which people in West Africa are using to protect themselves from Ebola, “make the skin more susceptible” to being penetrated by the virus? Peters wondered. “It’s a question that has to be asked.” Another crucial question is whether the virus can be spread by people who do not show symptoms. For months public health officials in the United States and elsewhere have insisted it cannot.
But the possibility of such “subclinical transmission” remains very much open, said Dr. Andrew Pavia, chief of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Utah. Nor do experts know whether the infectious dose of virus depends on how it enters the body, Pavia said. Also unknown is whether the time between exposure to Ebola and the appearance of symptoms depends on which bodily fluids someone contacted. If it does, then someone exposed through, say, saliva rather than blood might incubate the virus for longer than the 21 days officials have repeatedly said is the outer limit of the incubation period. That was the longest incubation time during the 1976 Ebola outbreak, said Dr. C.J. Peters, a field virologist at UTMB. But “I would guess that 5 percent of people” can transmit the virus after incubating it for more than three weeks, said Peters, whose battle against the Ebola outbreak in a monkey colony in Virginia was recounted in Richard Preston’s 1994 book “The Hot Zone.” Health officials emphasize the importance of taking the temperature of those exposed to Ebola, since people are not thought to be infectious until they run a fever of 100.4 F. (38 C). But at what temperature patients start shedding virus is not definitively known, said Dr. Michael Hodgson, chief medical officer of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Environmental mysteries also remain. Scientists do not know whether foam, gas, or liquid decontaminants are most effective for cleaning surfaces that might harbor Ebola. Nor do they know whether it can survive in sewers where, said Paul Lemieux of the National Homeland Security Research Center at the Environmental Protection Agency, rats “might pick it up.” –First Post
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69: Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano – shaken by violent eruption

November 2014COSTA RICA - Among the observations by volcanologists conducting weekend inspections in the area around Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano were craters in the earth measuring up to one meter in diameter – the result of rocks shooting out from the volcano. Experts from the National Seismological Network (RSN) and the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI) conducted the inspections in light of significant activity at the volcano that started last week. RSN volcanologist Gino González Ilama said the areas of impact are located on the south side of the volcano and cover 80 percent of the slope up to 400 meters from the volcano’s crater. “We observed the impact of volcanic rock that had caused several craters on the ground. We believe the rocks were shot out of the volcano at speeds greater than 100 kilometers per hour, and this proves there is strong activity inside,” González said.
Expelled ash again reached several areas north of San José, located 60 kilometers southwest of the volcano, and several areas in the provinces of Alajuela, Heredia and Limón. According to the RSN, it was the first time ash had appeared in Limón, falling on the city of Guápiles. “The Turrialba Volcano is very active,” González said. “The hole formed after the first explosion has grown and is about 150 meters long and 100 meters wide. It’s getting bigger, and the volcano’s walls continue collapsing because explosions of gas, ash and rock are constant. We also found small amounts of lava.” Volcanologists on Sunday reported two types of eruptions taking place: phreatic – which entails gases, mud and ash – and strombolian – which contains magma and ash. Turrialba Volcano showed signs of activity in 2010 with phreatic explosions. According to OVSICORI, magma hasn’t been expelled from the volcano since 1866. –Tico Times
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