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WHO Publishes List of Top Emerging Diseases Likely to Cause Major Epidemics


WHO Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) Room - WHO /Christopher Black

A panel of scientists and public health experts convened by WHO met in Geneva this week to prioritise the top five to ten emerging pathogens likely to cause severe outbreaks in the near future, and for which few or no medical countermeasures exist. These diseases will provide the basis for work on the WHO Blueprint for R&D preparedness to help control potential future outbreaks.

The initial list of disease priorities needing urgent R&D attention comprises: Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever, Ebola virus disease and Marburg, Lassa fever, MERS and SARS coronavirus diseases, Nipah and Rift Valley fever. The list will be reviewed annually or when new diseases emerge.


ALSO SEE RELATED ARTICLE HERE - The most dangerous pathogens, according to WHO


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We’ve Learnt Many Lessons from This Outbreak and From the Response – Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy on Ebola


Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy on Ebola, at a press conference in New York in November 2015. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

10 December 2015 – In August 2014, amid a rapidly growing outbreak of Ebola, Dr. David Nabarro was tasked with providing strategic guidance for an enhanced international response, and galvanizing essential support for affected communities and countries. As the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Ebola, Dr. Nabarro played a key role in responding to the outbreak, which mainly affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and claimed more than 11,300 lives to date.

While the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has declined significantly in recent months, it is not completely over, making it all the more vital for everyone involved in the response to remain vigilant and focused on stopping the outbreak, staying at zero cases and preventing re-emergence. The Office of the Special Envoy will end its mandate on 31 December 2015, but the UN system will continue to remain fully engaged with the affected countries. 

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Disease Specialists Identify Post-Ebola Threats


The West Africa Ebola outbreak has led experts to consider what diseases might spark the next major infectious disease crisis. Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Scientists to assemble a rogues’ gallery of viruses likely to spark the next international public-health crisis - by Erika Check Hayden - December 7, 2015 - doi:10.1038/nature.2015.18952

As West Africans try to bring the calamitous Ebola outbreak to an end, the World Health Organization (WHO) has called scientists and doctors to Geneva, Switzerland, on 8 and 9 December to discuss which infectious disease is likely spark the next pandemic. . . 

. . . Nature canvassed infectious-disease specialists to find out which pathogens they thought would trigger the next global crisis, and which treatments and vaccines might be readied to combat them.


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Another American Ebola Survivor Had Eye Problems

Ebola survivor Dr. Richard Sacra experienced eye problems, including vision loss, pain and redness, shortly after he recovered from the disease.

Credit: Chancellor JR, Padmanabhan SP, Greenough TC, Sacra R, Ellison RT III, Madoff LC, et al. Uveitis and systemic inflammatory markers in convalescent phase of Ebola virusdisease. Emerg Infect Dis. 2016 Feb

CLICK HERE - STUDY - CDC - Uveitis and Systemic Inflammatory Markers in Convalescent Phase of Ebola Virus Disease - by Rachael Rettner - November 25, 2015

Ebola survivor Dr. Ian Crozier wasn't the only American to experience eye problems following the disease — a new report describes eye problems in another American doctor who lived through the disease.

Dr. Richard Sacra, who works for the Christian mission organization SIM USA, contracted Ebola last year while caring for pregnant women in Liberia during the rise of the Ebola outbreak there. He was evacuated to the United States for treatment in early September 2014, and was declared Ebola-free after spending about a month in the hospital.

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Ebolavirus Evolution: Past and Present

PLOS PATHOGENS  by Marc-Antoine de La Vega,  Derek Stein, and GaryKopinger, University of Manitoba, Canada , Nov. 12, 2015    

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada The past year has marked the most devastating Ebola outbreak the world has ever witnessed, with over 28,000 cases and over 11,000 deaths. Ebola virus (EBOV) has now been around for almost 50 years. In this review, we discuss past and present outbreaks of EBOV and how those variants evolved over time. We explore and discuss selective pressures that drive the evolution of different Ebola variants, and how they may modify the efficacy of therapeutic treatments and vaccines currently being developed. Finally, given the unprecedented size and spread of the outbreak, as well as the extended period of replication in human hosts, specific attention is given to the 2014–2015 West African outbreak variant (Makona).

Read complete article.

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One Year Later, Where Does the U.S. Response to Ebola Stand?

Monday, November 23, 2015 -
10:30 to 12:00


United States
31° 43' 41.4012" N, 148° 32' 6.5616" W - November 9, 2015

On Nov. 23 at 9:30 a.m. ET, the Kaiser Family Foundation will hold a policy briefing to take stock of the U.S. response with a panel that includes representatives from the U.S. government, highly affected countries in West Africa, and non-governmental organizations working in the region. In addition, the Foundation will release a new analysis of U.S. government funding for Ebola.

Each 1-Day Delay in Hospitalization Ups Risk of Ebola Death


Ebola patients are more likely to survive if they are hospitalized soon after being infected, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed data from nearly 1,000 cases of Ebola virus that occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo over 38 years. They found that each day of delay in hospital admission was associated with an 11 percent higher risk of death during epidemics.

Delays in hospitalization were caused by factors such as geography, infrastructure and cultural influences, the researchers said.

The Democratic Republic of Congo has had more Ebola outbreaks than any other country since the deadly virus was discovered in 1976, they noted.

The researchers also found that rapidly progressing Ebola outbreaks are swiftly brought under control, while national and international responses to slower-progressing outbreaks tend to be less intense. As a result, those outbreaks last longer, the study authors said.

The study was published Nov. 3 in the journal eLife.

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Sierra Leone Declared Free of Ebola Transmissions

NEW YORK TIMES by and      Nov. 7, 2015

DAKAR, Senegal — After a nerve-racking countdown, Sierra Leone celebrated a national milestone on Saturday that government officials hoped would help the country finally leave behind a grim chapter in its history: it was officially declared free of Ebola transmissions.

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The Last Place on Earth With Ebola: Getting Guinea to Zero

NEW YORK TIMES by Dionne Searcey          Nov. 7, 2015

TANA, Guinea  ....

This is the last known place on Earth with Ebola.

After nearly 22 months and more than 11,300 deaths worldwide, the deadliest Ebola epidemic in history has come down to a handful of cases in a cluster of villages in rural Guinea, the country where the outbreak began.

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Mystery Deaths in Sierra Leone Spread Fear of Ebola Relapses

submitted by George Hurlburt


Sierra Leonean doctors practice wearing protective clothing in the Ebola Training Academy in Freetown, Sierra Leone, December 16, 2014. Reuters - by Kemo Cham and Emma Farge - October 21, 2015

. . . the case of Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey – the first known Ebola survivor to have an apparently life-threatening relapse – has revived concerns about the health of some 17,000 survivors in Sierra Leone, neighbouring Guinea and Liberia.

Doctors and health officials in Sierra Leone told Reuters that a handful of mystery deaths among discharged patients may also be types of Ebola relapses, stirring fear that the deadly virus may last far longer than previously thought in the body, causing other potentially lethal complications.

Diagnoses have not been made, partly because of a lack of relevant medical training and insufficient equipment for detecting a virus that can hide in inaccessible corners of the body - such as the spinal fluid or eyeball. In Cafferkey's case, the virus in her brain caused meningitis.


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