l. NPR reports that Dr. Tom Frieden is now in West Africa to spend several days in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to help these countries prevent EBOV from becoming an endemic disease in West Africa. Now that the rate of new cases is slowing in Guinea and Liberia, citizens are becoming less compulsive about ‘touching’, safe burials, and contact precautions. See the NPR article at: http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/12/15/370446566/endless-ebola-endemic-thats-the-risk-we-face-now-cdc-says
2. NPR interviewed Sarah MacDonald in Liberia today. She is a graduate epidemiology student at Harvard who is doing contact tracing in Liberia. She reports that providing food and housing for Liberians is responsible for a breakdown in EBOV precautions. Food deliveries to contacts remaining in isolation are not being made so that these contacts must go find food for themselves. The government order to cremate the deceased is causing great pain to families because, more and more, deaths are not from EBOV.
3. Ebola Deeply reports that a 12th physician in Sierra Leone has become infected with EBOV. Some junior doctors are returning to help senior physicians in EBOV treatment centers. Dr. Frieden will focus on why the caseload/week is still on the rise in Sierra Leone.
4. WHO is taking pre-emptive steps in 14 countries near the EBOV-infected countries in Africa WHO has set up training sessions with these countries HCW and health ministries to train HCW in EBOV recognition, isolation, contact tracing, treatment, and post-treatment integration into the patient’s home community. ‘Be Prepared’ is the WHO motto now. See the WHO release at: http://who.int/features/2014/ebola-preparedness/en/
5. WHO reports a possible EBOV case in Guinea-Bissau. This country is one of the 14 countries in which WHO training is taking place. This country is still suffering from the effects of a long civil war twenty years ago; the same story that we read about in other West African countries.
6. Molecular phylogenetics is a difficult concept for me to understand. I have found an article by McCormack, et. al. in Reviews in Medical Virology, 2002, that has helped me. See the article at: DOI: 10.1002/rmv.355 if you also have difficulties with this concept.