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Ebola Tag

Legal Insurrection readers may recall that in August, I reported that the world is looking at a potential shortage of bacon and other pork products as African Swine Fever, nicknamed "Pig Ebola," has spread through Asia. Presently, North Korea has only reported 22 pig this May from the deadly and highly contagious disease. However, wayward feral pigs caught along its border with South Korea have officials concerned that the rogue nation is hiding an African swine fever disaster.

Five years after a significant outbreak in Africa, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared another international emergency over Ebola. The spread of the Ebola virus, which began in the central African nation of Congo, has been designated as a "public health emergency of international concern," a WHO spokesperson said.

At the beginning of 2016, I noted that the Ebola epidemic that began in 2014, which West Africa hard and resulted in several Americans being stricken by the often deadly virus, had subsided. Researchers are now reporting that the significant outbreak was the result of a mutation that made the virus easier to transmit and deadlier to human who were infected.
In one study led by 16 researchers at the University of Massachusetts, Broad Institute and elsewhere, genomic analyses pinpointed parts of the Ebola virus that changed during the west African outbreak. One genetic mutation, in particular, appeared to affect a key region of the pathogen where it binds to human cells.

It looks like Zika virus is truly the new Ebola. Concerns about the Zika virus have grown to the point that Utah Congressman Chris Stewart wants to divert funding from the fight against Ebola to use against this latest epidemic.
Stewart says his bill, which would unlock more than a billion dollars for the CDC and National Institute of Health, would ensure the agencies had the resources they need to research and combat the virus. “Congress has already allocated funding to fight many of the world’s infectious diseases, like Ebola, and I want to make sure this funding can also be used to combat the Zika virus,” Stewart said. The Zika Response and Safety Act would allow federal agencies to use funds allocated for Ebola research in the fight against the Zika virus, according to a press release from Stewart’s office. Stewart states that of the $2.4 billion allocated for Ebola research, about $1.4 billion was unused as of September of 2015.
Dallas County Health and Human Services has confirmed acase of Zika infection that occurred on American soil...through sexual transmission.

While listening to Obama's "State of the Union" address this week, I noted that he claimed victory over the spread of Ebola.
That's how we stopped the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Our military, our doctors, and our development workers set up the platform that allowed other countries to join us in stamping out that epidemic.
Since Obama's has real talent for making claims that turn out to be the opposite of reality, I remarked that we would likely see another outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever again shortly. Right on cue, and days after West Africa was declared "Ebola free", a new case has been reported in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone officials have confirmed a death from Ebola, hours after the World Health Organization declared the latest West Africa outbreak over. The country was declared free of the virus on 7 November, and the region as a whole was cleared when Liberia was pronounced Ebola-free on Thursday.

After declaring "victory" in the war against the Ebola epidemic we were following earlier this year, scientists are now making some disturbing new discoveries about the hemorrhagic fever virus. Chief among those discoveries is that patients who were "cured" of the disease continue to experience debilitating symptoms.
Researchers following 49 survivors of a 2007 Ebola outbreak in Uganda found that — even two years after the illness — they had eye problems like inflammation and blurred vision as well as joint pain, difficulty sleeping, difficulty swallowing and even hearing loss, memory loss and confusion. A third study examining 105 survivors of the 2014-15 outbreak in Guinea found that about 90 percent had chronic joint pain and 98 percent had poor appetites or an aversion to food. They also reported difficulty with short-term memory, headaches, sleeplessness, insomnia, dizziness, abdominal pain, constipation, sexual dysfunction, and decreased libido and exercise tolerance.

In the wake of the Ebola Czar stepping down and a presidential commission laying part of the blame for the spread of Ebola on this country, news comes that nearly a dozen Americans are heading home after potential exposure to the deadly virus.
At least 10 US citizens possibly exposed to the deadly Ebola virus were being flown to the US from Africa for observation, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Saturday. The individuals were set to be transported by non-commercial air transport, on their way to be housed near the University of Nebraska Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, or Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, the CDC said. It said none of the individuals had been identified as having Ebola. A US healthcare worker who tested positive for Ebola while in Sierra Leone arrived at the NIH on Friday and was in serious condition, the NIH said. CDC spokesman Thomas Skinner said 10 people who may have been exposed to the unidentified Ebola patient or who had a similar exposure to the virus as the patient were being flown to the US. But he said the investigation was continuing and there could be more Americans evacuated from Africa. A CDC statement said the individuals would follow the center’s recommended monitoring and movement guidelines during a 21-day incubation period.
One intrepid American headed to Honduras after a stay in an Ebola-striken area, and now that country is hosting a 21-day quarantine period:

Finally, a little good news to share with Legal Insurrection readers about epidemics. It looks like we're declaring victory on our "War with Ebola". Recall that after after outrage at this administration's "Keystone Cop" style response to America's first Ebola patient, President Obama appointed political operative Ron Klain as Ebola Czar. He was slated to leave office in March, but now that date has been pushed up:
Ron Klain, the Obama administration's point man in the fight against the Ebola virus, will leave the administration on February just shy of three months after he stepped in to coordinate the government's response to the crisis at home and abroad. In an interview on "Face the Nation" in late December, Klain said that the American people should be "proud" of the work done by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and praised the generosity of Americans who had traveled to West Africa to help provide medical treatment and other services. The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the fight against the disease had moved to a "second phase" focused on ending the epidemic rather than slowing transmission. There were fewer than 100 new confirmed cases last week in the three hardest-hit countries since the end of June 2014.
It is standard practice of political operatives to take modestly good news about a small battle and declare outright victory in a war. So, let's take a look at the number the World Health Organization has reported. While the number of cases on one West African region has fallen, there are troubles elsewhere on the continent:

Although the media has recently been less focused on Ebola, the disease is still impacting Africa and the death count now tops 7000. Meanwhile, a new epidemic of a disease that was once thought well-contained by vaccinations may be occurring in my home state of California. The number of cases of whooping cough (pertussis) has skyrocketed this year.
Nearly 10,000 cases have been reported in the state so far this year, and babies are especially prone to hospitalization or even death. ...Whooping cough is cyclical in nature and tends to peak every three to five years. The last outbreak of the disease in California was in 2010. But doctors are discovering that immunity from the current vaccine may be wearing off on a similar timeline. Medical recommendations suggest booster shots after eight years, but doctors are seeing kids who received a booster three years ago getting sick. Public health officials are considering an update to the recommendations to account for the dip in immunity seen after three years. Plus, many kids in some areas aren't getting vaccinated at all. The highest rates of whooping cough are found in the Bay Area counties of Sonoma, Napa and Marin, which also have some of the highest rates of parents who opt out of vaccinating their children. Doctors believe these kids are the root of the current and recent epidemics.
Whooping cough feels like a cold at first, but an intense cough that develops later can produce a "whooping" sound. The disease is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It can be treated with antibiotics, but the drugs may not be effective when the illness is in the severe coughing stages. Whooping cough can last for weeks and is especially dangerous to infants under 1 year. California isn't the only state seeing jumps in pertussis infections.

Has anyone else noticed that since Ferguson hit the news, there has been a lot less press attention paid to America's favorite virus? When checking the status of the epidemic, I discovered that there is another potential Ebola patient in this country.
Massachusetts General Hospital is treating a patient suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus, Public Affairs Officer Noah Brown has confirmed to Dr. Paul Biddinger, Director Of Emergency Preparedness at MGH, said the patient involved in the suspected Ebola case meets the CDC definition of a “person under investigation” to possibly have the ebola virus. “This definition involves the possibility of travel to where Ebola is present, the possibility of exposure to that virus, and symptoms that are consistent with that virus,” Biddinger said at a press conference Tuesday evening. The patient is in stable condition and good spirits, according to Biddinger. He declined to answer specific questions about the patient—including travel history, potential exposure to others, and location in the hospital—citing an inability to comment on individual patient details. Biddiger did say, though, that there is not a reason for panic.

While Ebola continues to rage in West Africa, an outbreak of another deadly disease is occurring in the African island nation of Madagascar.
An outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar has now claimed almost 50 victims and is spreading to the island's capital, officials warned today. There have been 138 suspected cases of the disease - similar to the Black Death in medieval Europe - since the start of the year, with the death toll of 47 expected to rise in the coming months. Two people have been infected in the capital of Antananarivo, one of them dying, and health workers have mounted a pest control campaign through slum areas around the city. The health ministry said 200 households had been ‘disinfected’ this month, adding that those who had contact with the infected had been given antibiotics in a bid to arrest the spread the disease.
A video glimpse of the situation comes via the UK Daily Mail:

Some good news from the frontlines related to our battle with Ebola: The outbreak is now "stable" in Guinea, according to the World Health Organization.
There were still some flare ups in the south-east, but things were improving in other prefectures, WHO co-ordinator Dr Guenael Rodier told the BBC. More than 5,400 people have died in the latest outbreak, with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia the worst hit. The outbreak can be ended by mid-2015 if the world speeds up its response, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said.
Although the rate of new cases shows signs of decreasing in parts of West Africa, Mali - where six people have died and a seventh case has been reported - is now of concern. Additionally, the United Nations Ebola Emergency Response Mission has formally announced that it will not meet its self-imposed December 1st deadline of containment.
The mission set the goal in September, seeking to have 70 percent of Ebola patients under treatment and 70 percent of Ebola victims safely buried. That target will be achieved in some areas, head of UNMEER Anthony Banbury told Reuters news agency, citing progress in Liberia. "We are going to exceed the December 1 targets in some areas. But we are almost certainly going to fall short in others. In both those cases, we will adjust to what the circumstances are on the ground," he said in an interview.