1. WHO reports today that the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum will meet 3-7 November in South Africa to streamline testing and distribution of EBOV vaccines in West Africa. WHO wnill help the Forum design testing protocols that evaluate more than one vaccine simultaneously. See: http://who.int/medicines/news/AFR_reg_meet/en/ for this story.
2. Ebola Deeply reports today that WHO estimates case reporting in Sierra Leone to be at or below 50%. The U.S. military mission now has 1,934 of the promised 4000 troopers on the ground in West Africa, mostly in Liberia. See the entire Ebola Deeply Executive Summary for today at: http://www.eboladeeply.org/articles/2014/11/6504/ebola-executive-summary-1107/
3. WHO informed me today that vaccinations for measles have fallen off in West Africa and the next months are the season for measles in West Africa. The memo from WHO HQ in Geneva follows:
Measles in Ebola-affected countries
· NE Nigeria, where unrest is highest, is also having measles outbreaks. The government is planning to implement outbreak response in areas as they become accessible.
· In Ebola-affected countries, immunization rates have been dropping since June 2014 with the loss of healthcare workers, reluctance of the population to visit health facilities, and the focus on Ebola prevention and treatment. The planned measles campaign in Liberia has been postponed until after the Ebola epidemic is over.
· Surveillance for measles and laboratory confirmation is challenging in this situation and case reporting has dropped. Health workers are more engaged in Ebola work and are reluctant to take specimens from febrile patients.
· A multi-vaccine campaign to be done after the epidemic, in the context of broader plans to resume routine immunization, is under discussion.
· The peak season for measles in approaching in West Africa, raising concerns for measles outbreaks, especially in Liberia.
4. Dr. Racaniello’s blog ‘Microbe TV’ contains an article today on quarantine, specificially: ‘When does an infected Ebola patient become ‘contagious’? Two Nobel laureates have differing opinions on quarantine. Dr. Racaniello has researched all prior EBOV outbreaks and presents evidence that the EBOV incubation period is not a contagious period. See: http://www.virology.ws/2014/11/04/nobel-laureates-and-ebola-virus-quarantine/
for this discussion.
5. WHO announced this week that it has appointed Dr. Moeti of Botswana it new Africa director.