Dear Colleagues: Here is Friday’s update on Ebola news from U.S. newspapers, lay current affairs and science magazines, NEJM and PLoS medical articles, and media reports as of 8 p.m, St. Louis time.
1. Washington Post reports two possible EBOV patients were admitted to Washington D.C. hospitals, one patient at Howard University and one at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Both patients had fever and recent travel to West Africa; Nigeria in one case, no specific country stated in the other case.
2. NY Times reports that Pentagon has increased number of troops to be deployed to West Africa from 3000 to 4000 troops. I do not know if any of the ‘deployed’ troops have actually boarded C-17 Globemasters en route to West Africa. Each Globemaster can carry 100-115 troops.
3. NY Times reports that 10 contacts of the Texas Presbyterian Hospital EBOV patient had significant contact with the patient while he experienced symptoms prior to hospitalization. These persons include 2 adults and 2 children in the apartment he lived in. Three other person are the ambulance crew who brought him to hospital. Other 3 persons are not specified. No details on how apartment and patient waste will be disposed of.
4. Wall Street Journal reports that a Ugandan physician has been evacuated to Frankfurt, Germany, with symptoms of EBOV. This is significant because it is the first time in this Ebola crisis that a black patient has been evacuated from West Africa to Europe or U.S. for treatment.
5. USA Today reports that West Africans who develop symptoms of fever, fatigue, GI complaints c/w EBOV may try to get to U.S. for better care if they have EBOV by taking ibuprofen to ‘hide’ fever from airport digital thermometers.
6. PLos Pathogens published yesterday ‘Characterization of Unculturable Bat Influenza Virus Using Replicated Synthetic Virus’. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004420. I have emailed one of the authors for answers to some questions re: this article. Perhaps the authors’ technique could be used to culture EBOV in bats or a replicated synthetic EBOV to produce a better human vaccine.
7. Dr. Timothy Flanigan in Monrovia, Liberia, was interviewed by FOX Cable Business News today. Flanigan said that EBOV preferentially attacks family members caring for EBOV patients and health care workers. So there is a crisis in care as treatment centers are closed when workers get EBOV.
8. Dr. Timothy Flanigan says DOD has transferred $1 Billion to humanitarian disaster funds, but the OK from Congress is tied up because Congress wants guarantees that troopers won’t care for EBOV patients or get EBOV.
9. Dr. Timothy Flanigan says that DOD has Military Infectious Disease Units that are trained for EBOV crisis, but these specialists have not been sent to West Africa.
If any recipient has the email address for Ms. LIsa Monaco, Homeland Security, please let this blogger know the email address. Ms. Monaco and Secretary Burwell are the Administration’s point people for EBOV response; I wish them to receive my blog.