A Spanish priest who had been serving in Liberia is the first reported European casualty in the Ebola virus outbreak, which has now claimed over 1,000 lives.
Mielgu Pajares, 75, died in a hospital in Madrid, Spain, after being airlifted from Liberia on August 7, Reuters reported. The priest had been working for a non-governmental organization in the African country when he contracted the disease.
Pajares was in quarantine and had been treated with the experimental drug ZMapp, which has helped two U.S. missionaries who also contracted the virus while working in Liberia. more >>
Ebola is familiar to Americans as the stuff of science-fiction horror novels, and is an ongoing real-life horror story in Africa. Viral hemorrhagic fevers, of which Ebola is one example, have killed fewer than 3,000 people over 40 years. So why the high level of concern now?
Is a worldwide breakout from the African epidemic a realistic possibility?
Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,) said on Aug 1 that an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. is "not in the cards," though he stated on Aug 7 that the disease would "inevitably" reach the U.S. The CDC has issued guidelines for commercial aircraft and hospitals, stating (as of Aug 8) that Ebola Is not spread through air, food, or water. more >>
A two-year old boy from Guinea who died in December is suspected to be patient zero in the current outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa, which has killed over 960 people. Scientists are meanwhile hoping that the first vaccine against the deadly disease will be ready by 2015.
The boy, who wasn't named, apparently fell ill in a village in Guéckédou in southeastern Guinea, which is in the intersection with Sierra Leone and Liberia, giving the disease an entry point in all three countries. The New York Times reported that the boy died on Dec. 6, and a week later Ebola killed the boy's mother, his 3-year-old sister, and his grandmother. The family displayed symptoms of the virus, including fever, vomiting and diarrhea, but did not identify Ebola as the reason.
Two mourners at the grandmother's funeral reportedly carried the virus home to their village, while a health worker there carried it to yet another village. By March, when the Ebola outbreak was recognized by the World Health Organization, dozens of people had died in eight Guinean communities, and suspected cases were being announced in Liberia and Sierra Leone. more >>
Dr. Ben Carson, a leading neurosurgeon, has argued that the missionaries infected with Ebola should not have been brought back to the United States for treatment, but his argument as to why has been refuted by an expert in infectious diseases, Dr. Rossi Hassad.
"Would you have brought those patients here?" Fox News host Neil Cavuto asked Dr. Carson.
"No, I would not have. I'm not a risk-adverse person, but I think risks ought to be done in a logical way … The worst thing that can happen is so much worse than the best thing, you wouldn't even consider putting people at risk. It's a matter of protecting the American populace," Dr. Carson explained. "And that's the duty of our government. We have to guard against worst-case scenarios, and obviously we're not." more >>
Renowned neurosurgeon and possible 2016 presidential hopeful, Dr. Benjamin Carson criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Monday for bringing two Ebola infected missionaries to the U.S. for treatment, citing the highly contagious and deadly nature of the disease.
"Why would we bring that into our country? Why would we expose ourselves when we already know that there are problems that can occur and have occurred," said Carson, who is a former director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and Hospital, in an interview with Newsmax TV.
"Ebola is a terrifying disease. If you don't treat it, close to 90 percent of the people will die," said Carson. more >>
Rising seas and melting polar ice caps and glaciers documented by impressive satellite imagery capture the attention of the news media and make headlines. Yet, the most consequential aspect of any change in climate, no matter the cause, receives scant attention. The single most pressing repercussion of any significant alteration in climate, whether global in scale or localized, will be in the shifting patterns and distribution of infectious diseases.
Substantial alterations in either localized or global temperature and humidity can directly relate to the distribution and virulence of many microbial pathogens, no matter the underlying cause. This correlates with the rich complexity and diversity of all ecologies in which pathogens thrive. So shifts in the distribution of vegetation, the dispersal and range of animal predators or their prey, or distortions in the variety, concentration or specific strains of vectoring insects or disease carrying organisms can all influence the transmission of pathogens or their relative abundance.
We can already see its effects. more >>