Evening Ebola Update, Tues, 4/28/15: Review of serum therapy/R0 varies with tone of media reports/if EBOV prevented all malaria rx last year, then 10,000 deaths   Leave a comment


Dear Colleagues:

l.  PLoS Pathogens 23 April has an article online by Casadevall, et. al. from Johns Hopkins University discussing the role of passive serum therapy in rare diseases such as EBOVand for diseases in which broad spectrum antibiotics produce severe side effects such as C. difficile infections.  Serum therapy has the benefit of being specific against a single infectious agent, not broad spectrum.  Side effects such as serum sickness are not common now because the serum is produced in survivors of a disease rather than horses injected with the disease.  The financial gain for vendors with passive serum therapy is small because the serum is so specific.  Making a ‘serum cocktail’ for multiple viral diseases is costly.  See the report at: http://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1004717

2.  PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 17 April posted online an article by Richards, et. al. from Njala University in Sierra Leone on the social network in Sierra Leone that contributes to the rapid spread of EBOV infection in rural villages.  These rural villages have patrilineal ‘rule’.  Trust is highest in the village leaders, and least in the government.  Contact with the government can take up to 2-3 weeks because of the poor road system outside cities.  There is frequent travel between villages because of uncles and aunts families in other villages.  The authors discuss the need for ‘triage points’ located between cities and rural villages so that point of care diagnostic tests can be given; health care workers dispatched to villages rapidly for isolation/treatment; and some awareness of help nearby is known to the villagers and tribal leaders before disease strikes villages.  See the article at: http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0003567

3.  The Lancet Infectious Disease 23 April has an Article by Walker, et. al. from Imperial College, London, estimating mathematically the number of cases of malaria generated by the 2014 EBOV epidemic if no treatment or netting or immunizations were given during the EBOV epidemic.  The mathematical model predicts 3.5 million malaria cases and 10,700 deaths. These are staggering numbers (as is the 180,000 maternal deaths expected by lack of pre, peri, and post natal care due to the EBOV epidemic).  See the Article at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(15)70124-6/fulltext

4.  The Lancet Infectious Disease 21 April has an article by Clark, et. al. from the Walter Reed Institute of Research, on the long term effects of EBOV infection.  The authors surveyed survivors of the 2007 Ugandan outbreak.  Two years after surviving infection a statistically significant number of survivors had eye problems (mostly blurring), hearing loss, loss of taste and confusion.  See the article Abstract at: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(15)70152-0/abstract

5.  PLoS Currents Outbreaks today posted online an article by Majumber, et. al. from MIT on the effects of positive or negative media reports on the reproductive number (R0) of the EBOV epidemic in West Africa.  Postive media reports were reports that educated readers on how to avoid infection; negative reports were reports that emphasized how sick the infected patients became and described in detail how they contracted the infection (‘if it bleeds, it leads’ philosophy).  Positive media reports resulted in a rapid decrease in R0, and negative media reports resulted in an increased R0.  Social media directly affects R0 for EBOV infection.  See the article at: http://currents.plos.org/outbreaks/article/2014-ebola-outbreak-media-events-track-changes-in-observed-reproductive-number/



Posted April 29, 2015 by levittrg in Uncategorized

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