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Emergency Management

CDC Develops Ebola Modeling Tool While WHO Trains Health Workers

HOMELAND SECURITY TODAY               Oct. 9, 2014

 By Kylie Bull, Managing Editor

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed a dynamic modeling tool called Ebola Response that allows for estimations of projected cases over time in Liberia and Sierra Leone.

 The Ebola Response modeling tool can construct scenarios to illustrate how control and prevention interventions can slow and eventually stop the Ebola epidemic. Importantly, it can help public health and other planners make more informed decisions about emergency response resources to help bring the outbreak under control. The new tool allows input of data reflective of the current situation on the ground in affected countries and communities.

 The Ebola Response modeling tool is intended to help local governments and international responders generate short-term estimates of the Ebola situations in countries, districts and villages. The tool, in the form of a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, is to be made freely available online.

Meanwhile, in Liberia, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established a new training program for health workers on Ebola care.

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Are Hospitals Prepared for Ebola?

cnn.com - October 1, 2014

CNN's Jake Tapper speaks to Gavin Macgregor-Skinner and Jeffery Stern. With the first Ebola diagnosis in the U.S., is the country prepared to handle a potential outbreak?

http://thelead.blogs.cnn.com/2014/10/01/only-four-u-s-hospitals-prepared-for-outbreak/

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U.S. Hospitals Unprepared to Handle Ebola waste, Experts Say

      

As Emory was treating two US missionaries who were evacuated from West Africa in August, their waste hauler, Stericycle, initially refused to handle it. Photograph: Michael Duff/AP

REUTERS      September 24, 2014

CHICAGO (Reuters) - U.S. hospitals may be unprepared to safely dispose of the infectious waste generated by any Ebola virus disease patient to arrive unannounced in the country, potentially putting the wider community at risk, biosafety experts said.

Waste management companies are refusing to haul away the soiled sheets and virus-spattered protective gear associated with treating the disease, citing federal guidelines that require Ebola-related waste to be handled in special packaging by people with hazardous materials training, infectious disease and biosafety experts told Reuters.

...

Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner, an expert on public health preparedness at Pennsylvania State University, said there's "no way in the world" that U.S. hospitals are ready to treat patients with highly infectious diseases like Ebola.

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CDC RELEASES ESTIMATES OF EBOLA CASES, COULD REACH 1.4 MILLION

 

New York Times

CDC  releases report on worst and best case estimates for Ebola cases. 

Estimates cover Liberia and Sierra Leone, based on computer modeling. Guinea not included because data  "cannot be reliably modeled."

Best case-model, which assures the dead are buried safely and 70 per cent of the patients are treated in settings that reduce the risk of transmission, suggest the epidemic could almost be ended by Jan. 20.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/health/ebola-cases-could-reach-14-million-in-4-months-cdc-estimates.html?emc=edit_na_20140923&nlid=12644555&_r=0

 

LINK TO THE CDC REPORT TEXT

http://apps.washingtonpost.com/g/page/national/ebola-cases-could-skyrocket-by-2015-says-cdc/1337/

CDC RELEASES ESTIMATES OF EBOLA CASES, COULD REACH 1.4 MILLION
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/su6303a1.htm?s_cid=su6303a1_w

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Obama: U.S. military to provide equipment, resources to battle Ebola epidemic in Africa

- Sep 7 - The Washington Post

President Obama said Sunday that the U.S. military will begin aiding what has been a chaotic and ineffective response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, arguing that it represents a serious national security concern.

The move significantly ramps up the U.S. response and comes as the already strained military is likely to be called upon further to address militant threats in the Middle East. The decision to involve the military in providing equipment and other assistance for international health workers in Africa comes after mounting calls from some unlikely groups — most prominently the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders — demonstrating to the White House the urgency of the issue.

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Why is Obama sending military to attack the Ebola virus?

by Joe RaedleBy Julia Belluz - Sep 18, 2014 - vox.com

Tuesday's announcement by President Barack Obama — that the US would be sending in an army of 3,000 to fight Ebola — came as a relief to the many wondering when the international community would wake up to the daily horror show playing out in West Africa.But the tactics also raised some questions: why was Obama sending soldiers to fight off a virus? And why has he been characterizing this disease spread as a "security threat" and "security priority"?

Why Obama is describing Ebola as a "security threat"

Obama has repeatedly referred to the threat of Ebola in security terms, arguing the virus could cripple the already fragile economies in the African region. He's made the case that this will have consequences for not only the security of countries there, but also for nations around the world — even if the virus doesn't spread beyond Africa.

http://www.vox.com/2014/9/17/6334943/why-is-the-military-being-sent-to-attack-ebola-virus/in/5712456

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LIVESTREAM - Watch the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery

Today we’re excited to host the White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Demo Day. This event will bring together technologists, entrepreneurs, and members of the disaster response community to showcase tools that will make a tangible impact in the lives of survivors of large-scale emergencies. The White House Innovation for Disaster Response and Recovery Initiative was launched by the Administration in the wake of Hurricane Sandy to find the most effective ways technology can empower survivors; first responders; and local, state, tribal, territorial, and Federal government with critical information and resources. The event will be webcast live today at 1:30PM ET from the White House, go to www.whitehouse.gov/live to tune in.

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Northeast Hurricane Modeling Outdated

URI professor of oceanography Isaac Ginis. (Tim Faulkner/ecoRI News)

submitted by Sarah Slaughter

ecori.org - by Tim Faulkner - July 26, 2014

NARRAGANSETT — Hurricanes bound for New England will get about 10 percent more powerful by 2100, but the state lacks the tools to access their impacts, according to University of Rhode Island professor Isaac Ginis.

Hurricanes are powered by warm water, and the predicted increase in ocean temperatures caused by climate change is expected to make hurricane season longer and the storms stronger in the years ahead. .

. . . Numerous studies and models suggest the frequency of category 4 and 5 hurricanes are expected to increase by 81 percent, while the volume of rainfall is expected to increase 20 percent by 2100, Ginis said.

However, a key current modeling method used to measure the impacts of hurricanes and set flood insurance maps is outdated, he said.

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New Storm Surge Forecast Maps Enhanced Preparedness for Hurricane Arthur

      

http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/refresh/graphics_at1+shtml/085007.shtml?inundation

The National Hurricane Center’s new maps, released as the storm approached the U.S., predicted the location and severity of the surge

scientificamerican.com - by Kevin Schultz - July 14, 2014

Hurricane Arthur smashed into the North Carolina coast last week. Just before it hit, residents checked a new storm surge map, found on the National Hurricane Center (NHC) Web Site. It showed them whether they would be above the water driven onto land by the storm or need to evacuate to higher ground. Store owners used it to figure out how high they needed to move their goods off the ground to prevent water damage. Some emergency management crews even utilized it to predict where the hardest hit places could be.

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(ALSO SEE RELATED INFORMATION HERE)

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There Are No Victims Here: Creating an Empowered Survivor Culture

submitted by Samuel Bendett

      

Emergency managers need to train, encourage and empower public partners to become their own heroes. 
Flickr/Joe Loong

emergencymgmt.com - by Charisma Williams - July 15, 2014

“Be your own hero.” The words hit me like a bolt of lightning (I’ll explain why later). . .

. . . Too often the public has to be “humbled” by a tragic or devastating event before many people start to see the validity in the safety and preparedness measures that those of us in the emergency management/preparedness community work so hard to promote both in our professional and personal lives. However, once they do, it is our job to use these events to help foster the safety culture we strive for daily.

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