Thursday, October 30, 2014

CONTAGION ALERT: Government Agencies Scramble To Purchase Hazmat Suits, Orders From One Company Surpass ONE MILLION As Concerns About Ebola Linger - U.S. Government Orders 250,000 Hazmat Suits To Be Sent To Dallas, Manager With Large Shipping Company Confirms Purchase!

October 30, 2014 - UNITED STATES - Government agencies across the world are rushing to snap up protective gear as concerns about the spread of the Ebola virus continue to dominate, with Lakeland Industries announcing that it has received 1 million orders for Hazmat suits alone.

Lakeland hit the headlines last month when it was revealed that the U.S. State Department had ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits from the Ronkonkoma, NY company.

The manufacturer saw its stock soar by 30% in after-hours trading on Wednesday after a press release on business activity related to Ebola revealed that the company was still being inundated with orders for Hazmat suits and other PPE items.

“Through its direct sales force and numerous distribution partners throughout the world, Lakeland has secured new orders relating to the fight against the spread of Ebola. Orders have been received from government agencies around the world as well as other public and private sector customers. Certain of these contracts require weekly delivery guarantees or shipments through the first calendar quarter of 2015. The aggregate of orders won by Lakeland that are believed to have resulted from the Ebola crisis amount to approximately 1 million suits with additional orders for other products, such as hoods, foot coverings and gloves,” states the press release.

The company adds that orders for ChemMAX and MicroMAX protective suit lines have increased 50% since August and are on course for a 100% increase by January 2015. As Infowars reported last week, the federal government is quickly exhausting supplies for Hazmat suits in the United States, with numerous distributors being forced to place stock on hold for “government needs” only as concerns about Ebola linger after a third case was confirmed in New York.

Other federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health are also stockpiling PPE gear in anticipation of an “emergency event” disrupting the supply chain. Lakeland, which already enjoyed a 40% stock surge in the aftermath of the first Ebola case being confirmed in the United States, is currently selling class A Hazmat suits for $1300 dollars. Business Insider’s Sam Ro accuses the company of cashing in on the spread of the Ebola virus and the fear that has come with it,” noting that the word “Ebola” is mentioned twelve times in their press release.

Exclusive: U.S. Government Orders 250,000 Hazmat Suits to be Sent to Dallas - Manager with large shipping company confirms purchase

A manager with a major shipping company has exclusively revealed to Infowars that the U.S. government has ordered 250,000 Hazmat suits to be sent to Dallas, the location of the first Ebola outbreak in the United States.

The manager of the shipping company proved his credentials to Infowars by providing a photo ID and sending a verified email from the company account, but wishes to remain anonymous due to understandable fears that he could be fired for revealing the information.

“I just learned we have been asked to ship 250,000 HAZMAT suits to Dallas, TX. for the US Government. Again this is happening today, we are pulling these suits for the US Government to Dallas, TX,” states the individual, who manages the drivers who work for the shipping company.

The purchase of a quarter of a million Hazmat suits to be sent to Dallas confirms that health authorities are still very concerned about the spread of Ebola after two nurses in the city who cared for patient zero, Thomas Eric Duncan, contracted the virus earlier this month.

Image Credits: U.S. Air Force (Public domain)

In an interview on the Alex Jones Show last week, Doctor James Lawrenzi revealed that Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), a private operator of health care facilities, had removed protective gear and Hazmat suits from local hospitals without replacing it.

Lawrenzi also revealed that potential cases of Ebola were going unreported and that patients were being “disappeared” from hospitals. As we reported earlier, PPE distributor Lakeland Industries announced yesterday that it had received 1 million orders for Hazmat suits from government agencies worldwide, a press release that prompted the company’s stock price to soar by 30 per cent in after-hours trading.

Lakeland initially hit the headlines in September after revealing that it had received an order from the U.S. State Department for 160,000 Hazmat suits. Other federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health are also stockpiling PPE gear in anticipation of an unnamed “emergency event” disrupting the supply chain at some point in the future. Infowars also confirmed with numerous distributors that the federal government is exhausting supplies of Hazmat suits and that stock is being placed on hold for “government needs”.  - Info Wars.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: Airplane Crashes Into Airport Building In Wichita, Kansas - At Least 2 People Dead And Five Injured, As Huge Plumes Of Black Smoke Rise To The Sky!

October 30, 2014 - KANSAS, UNITED STATES - An airplane crashed into a two-story building at an airport in Wichita, Kansas early Thursday shortly after takeoff, leaving at least two people dead and five injured.

The 10-seater, twin-engine plane struck a building at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport at around 9:50 a.m. local time Thursday. Eyewitnesses at the scene have since posted photographs on the social media site Twitter of huge plumes of black smoke rising into the sky from the site of the crash.

Ron Blackwell, the chief of the Wichita Fire Department, said during a press conference shortly after 11 a.m. that authorities can confirm two fatalities, and said a search was ongoing. Five people at that time were unaccounted for, Blackwell said, and five had been transported to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Plane crashes into a flight safety building in Wichita, Kansas

The terminal at the Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (Reuters)

Plane crashes into a flight safety building in Wichita, Kansas

Plane crashes into a flight safety building in Wichita, Kansas

Plane crashes into a flight safety building in Wichita, Kansas

A local NBC News affiliate reported shortly after that one person is listed critical condition as a result of the incident, and confirmed that the plane in question is a Beechcraft that lost an engine during takeoff, citing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Around 45 minutes after the crash occurred, the FAA said in a statement that the aircraft crashed while attempting to return to the runway shortly after takeoff.

WATCH: Raw - Rising smoke at Wichita Airport.

Ryan Weatherby, a witness, told the Kansas City Star that the airport building started on fire once the plane hit. First responders have since descended on the scene and the building has been evacuated.

As many as 13 people may have been onboard the plane at the time of the crash. - RT.

CONTAGION: Ebola Goes Airborne - CDC Admits Droplets Or Microorganisms From Sneeze And Sniffles Could Spread The Deadly Virus!

October 30, 2014 - UNITED STATES
- Ebola is a lot easier to catch than health officials have admitted — and can be contracted by contact with a doorknob contaminated by a sneeze from an infected person an hour or more before, experts told The Post Tuesday.

“If you are sniffling and sneezing, you produce microorganisms that can get on stuff in a room. If people touch them, they could be” infected, said Dr. Meryl Nass, of the Institute for Public Accuracy in Washington, DC.

Nass pointed to a poster the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly released on its Web site saying the deadly virus can be spread through “droplets.”

“Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose or mouth of another person,” the poster states.

Nass slammed the contradiction.

“The CDC said it doesn’t spread at all by air, then Friday they came out with this poster,” she said. “They admit that these particles or droplets may land on objects such as doorknobs and that Ebola can be transmitted that way.”

Dr. Rossi Hassad, a professor of epidemiology at Mercy College, said droplets could remain active for up to a day.

“A shorter duration for dry surfaces like a table or doorknob, and longer durations in a moist, damp environment,” Hassad said.

The CDC did not respond to a request for comment.

In other developments:
  •   The de Blasio administration said the cost to New York of preparing for and treating Ebola ­patients and suspected victims will be “in the millions.” The city intends to ask the feds for help in paying the bill.
  •  Dr. Craig Spencer remained at Bellevue Hospital in serious but stable condition.
  • The 5-year-old Bronx boy hospitalized at Bellevue was taken out of isolation after doctors determined he had only a respiratory infection.
  • Texas nurse Amber Vinson, who caught Ebola while treating a Liberian man who later died, was declared disease-free and released from an Atlanta hospital — and was elated to be able to go home with the all-clear. “It has been God’s love that has truly carried my family and me through this difficult time and has played such an important role in giving me hope and strength to fight,” she said.
  • Doctors Without Borders nurse Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined against her will at a New Jersey hospital after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, is staying at an undisclosed location in Maine. Tuesday night, her lawyer told ABC News, “Going forward, she does not intend to abide by the quarantine imposed by Maine officials because she is not a risk to others.”
  • President Obama delivered a veiled jab at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s treatment of Hickox, saying officials should not react to the crisis based on “fears.”
- NY Post.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

CONTAGION: President Obama Says The United States Can't Seal Itself Off And Americans May See More Cases Of Ebola - Review Of U.S. Hospital Readiness Indicates That Small Clusters Of Ebola Cases Could Overwhelm System! UPDATE: The Latest Reports On The Deadly Virus Outbreak!

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking at an event with American health care workers fighting the Ebola virus,
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

October 30, 2014 - THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
- Pushing to confront Ebola at its West African source, President Barack Obama said Wednesday the United States was not immune to the disease but cautioned against discouraging American health care workers with restrictive measures that confine them upon their return from the afflicted region. "We can't hermetically seal ourselves off," he declared.

Obama said doctors and nurses from the United States who have volunteered to fight Ebola in West Africa are American heroes who must be treated with dignity and respect.

His remarks came amid debate between the federal government and several states over how returning health care workers should be monitored. The White House has pushed back against overly restrictive measures, including proposals for travel bans or isolation measures adopted by some states.

"Yes, we are likely to see a possible case elsewhere outside of these countries, and that's true whether or not we adopt a travel ban, whether or not you adopt a quarantine," Obama said from the White House, surrounded by health care workers who have volunteered or will volunteer to serve in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, where the disease has killed nearly 5,000.

"We have to keep in mind that if we're discouraging our health care workers, who are prepared to make these sacrifices, from traveling to these places in need, then we're not doing our job in terms of looking after our own public health and safety," he added.

Obama did not mention any specific case, but a nurse who treated Ebola patients in West Africa and has shown no signs of the disease was isolated in a hospital tent in New Jersey and now is abiding by a voluntary quarantine in her home state of Maine. The nurse, Kaci Hickox, said Wednesday that she planned to defy those guidelines if the state's policy didn't change by Thursday.

The White House has argued that stricter measures adopted by states such as New Jersey and New York could hurt efforts to recruit doctors and nurses to volunteer their services in West Africa. The federal government's guidance says only health care workers who have been exposed to Ebola directly, such as through a needle pin prick or by not having adequate protection, should face isolation.

Still, the Pentagon announced guidelines Wednesday that said U.S. troops returning from Ebola response missions in West Africa will be kept in supervised isolation for 21 days. Obama has said the military's situation is different from that of civilians, in part because troops are not in West Africa by choice.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest rejected suggestions that the policies employed by the Pentagon and states that are stricter than guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conveys a mixed message to the American public.

"The fact of the matter is, those differences in application of the policy have not interfered with the ability of the federal government to coordinate with them as these policies are implemented," he said.

The president was introduced by Dr. Kent Brantly, who was infected with Ebola while working in Liberia and was successfully treated in the United States.

Ahead of his appearance, Obama met in the secure Situation Room with his public health and national security team on the government's Ebola response.

Obama's Ebola response coordinator, Ron Klain, was planning his first visit to the CDC in Atlanta on Thursday. The White House said Klain would meet with Director Dr. Tom Frieden and other senior CDC officials. - AP.

Americans may still see some Ebola cases, Obama says

President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that Americans may continue to see individual cases of Ebola in the United States until the outbreak in West Africa is contained.

Obama said it was essential the United States and other countries work to stop the Ebola outbreak at its source in Africa.

Until the outbreak is stopped, he said, "we may still continue to see individual cases in America in the weeks and months ahead."

"We can't hermetically seal ourselves off," he said at the White House.

He said the U.S. healthcare system is proving to be well capable of handling those Americans who have contracted Ebola. -  Reuters.

If Ebola batters US, we are not ready, as small clusters of cases could overwhelm system

FILE- In this Oct. 24, 2014, file photo, members of the Department of Defense's Ebola Military Medical Support Team dress with protective gear during training
at San Antonio Military Medical Center in San Antonio. Even small clusters of Ebola cases could overwhelm parts of US medical care system, according to an
Associated Press review of readiness at hospitals and other components of the emergency medical network. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
The U.S. health care apparatus is so unprepared and short on resources to deal with the deadly Ebola virus that even small clusters of cases could overwhelm parts of the system, according to an Associated Press review of readiness at hospitals and other components of the emergency medical network.

Experts broadly agree that a widespread outbreak across the country is extremely unlikely, but they also concur that it is impossible to predict with certainty, since previous Ebola epidemics have been confined to remote areas of Africa. And Ebola is not the only possible danger that causes concern; experts say other deadly infectious diseases - ranging from airborne viruses such as SARS, to an unforeseen new strain of the flu, to more exotic plagues like Lassa fever - could crash the health care system.

To assess America's ability to deal with a major outbreak, the AP examined multiple indicators of readiness: training, manpower, funding, emergency room shortcomings, supplies, infection control and protection for health care workers. AP reporters also interviewed dozens of top experts in those fields.

The results were worrisome. Supplies, training and funds are all limited. And there are concerns about whether health care workers would refuse to treat Ebola victims.

Following the death of a patient with Ebola in a Texas hospital and the subsequent infection of two of his nurses, medical officials and politicians are scurrying to fix preparedness shortcomings. But remedies cannot be implemented overnight. And fixes will be very expensive.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Duchin, chairman of the Public Health Committee of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and a professor of medicine at the University of Washington, said it will take time to ramp up readiness, including ordering the right protective equipment and training workers to use it. "Not every facility is going to be able to obtain the same level of readiness," he said.

AP reporters frequently heard assessments that generally, the smaller the facility, the less prepared, less funded, less staffed and less trained it is to fight Ebola and other deadly infectious diseases.

"The place I worry is: Are most small hospitals adequately prepared?" said Dr. Ashish Jha, a Harvard University specialist in health care quality and safety. "It clearly depends on the hospital."

He said better staff training is the most important element of preparation for any U.S. Ebola outbreak. He believes a small group of personnel at each hospital needs to know the best procedures, because sick people are likely to appear first at medium-size or small medical centers, which are much more common than big ones.

Jha pointed to stepped-up training in recent weeks but wondered, "Will it be enough? We'll find out."

A high ranking official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that the government does not expect every hospital in America to be able to treat an Ebola patient, but "every hospital has to be able to recognize, isolate and use the highest level of personal protective equipment until they can transfer that patient."

"The moment anyone has an Ebola patient, (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) will have a team on the ground within a matter of hours to help that hospital," Dr. Nicole Lurie, the HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response, said Wednesday. She acknowledged "some spot shortages of personal protective equipment" but said many kinds "`are still pretty widely available" and that manufacturers are ramping up production.


Without any stress caused by Ebola cases, the emergency care system in the U.S. is already overextended. In its 2014 national report card, the American College of Emergency Physicians gives the country a D-plus grade in emergency care, asserting the system is in "near-crisis," overwhelmed even by the usual demands of care.

According to data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, patients spend an average of 4 1/2 hours in emergency rooms of U.S. hospitals before being admitted. The data also show that 2 percent of patients leave before even being seen.

In a CDC study on hospital preparedness for emergency response in 2008, the latest data available, at least a third of hospitals had to divert ambulances because their emergency rooms were at capacity.

Add an influx of people with Ebola, along with those who fear they might have the disease, and the most vulnerable segments of the health care system could wobble.

"Even though there have been only a couple cases, many health systems are already overwhelmed," said Dr. Kenrad Nelson, a professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and former president of the American Epidemiological Society, referring to new federal procedures for screening, tracking and treating the disease and people who are exposed. He added that if a major flu outbreak also occurred, "it would be really tough."

"We're really going to have to step up our game if we are going to deal with hemorrhagic fevers in this country," said Lawrence Gostin, a global health law expert and professor at Georgetown University.

How big of an outbreak would it take to overpower the U.S. health care system?

"It would have to be only a mediocre outbreak," said Gostin. "The hospitals will be flooded with the `worried-well.' People with influenza or other infections that are not Ebola could jam up the public health system."

One federal study on emergency room visits indicated that at least 4 percent of visits involved patients with fever - a common symptom of Ebola. Combining fevers with stomach pain, headaches and coughs, about a fifth of emergency visits involve symptoms often seen in Ebola patients.

A doctor who had recently treated Ebola patients in West Africa came into Bellevue Hospital in New York City last week with a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. In announcing the man had been placed in isolation, officials pointed out how his symptoms also could be consistent with salmonella, malaria or the stomach flu.

Last Thursday, the doctor tested positive for Ebola.


National surveys have repeatedly found that while most health care providers are willing to care for people with dangerous diseases like Ebola, they generally feel unprepared to do so.

This summer, health care research group Black Book Rankings sought opinions from hospital administrators, doctors and nurses at all U.S. hospitals and health care facilities about infection control, emergency planning and disaster readiness regarding Ebola. Nearly 1,000 personnel at 389 facilities, including 282 hospitals, participated.

Personnel at almost all hospitals in the Black Book survey said their facilities were not capable of quarantining large numbers of people possibly exposed to Ebola.

Nearly three-quarters of emergency doctors and four in five infection specialists at large hospitals felt their facilities were not adequately prepared to deal with Ebola patients.

Hospital administrators and medical staff had widely divergent perspectives on their facilities' ability to treat the disease. Among medical staff at big hospitals, nearly all who participated in the survey believed their hospitals were not adequately staffed and trained for Ebola patients. About two in three of administrative and financial staff shared that worry.

Among emergency nurses, nearly all worried about the impact of emergency department crowding on the ability to deal with Ebola patients; just more than half of administrative and financial managers felt that way.

Other striking results: Personnel at only 1 percent of surveyed acute care hospitals said they can handle more than 10 Ebola patients at once. That was true at just about one-quarter of academic medical centers.

A demonstrated weakness of U.S. hospitals in controlling other hospital-acquired infections also suggests a soft spot in Ebola readiness. In 2011, the most recent year of data, about 75,000 hospital patients with health care-associated infections died during their hospitalizations, according to a national CDC survey published this year. Such infections are considered to be a proxy to measure hospitals' readiness to contain Ebola.

Added Douglas Brown, managing partner at Black Book: "We got a lot of feedback that community hospitals aren't the place for Ebola patients to come." - AP.

Uproar over US troops' Ebola quarantine in Italy

U.S. troops at the Vicenza base. Photo: Edward Braly/HO US Army/AFP

The decision to put a dozen American soldiers returning from Liberia into quarantine for Ebola at their base near Venice rather than in the United States sparked controversy in Italy on Wednesday.

"They shouldn't have been sent here, they should do their quarantine for Ebola at home," said the president of the region's assembly, Luca Zaia, insisting "it would have been more respectful" of the United States to have "thought about the risks posed to local citizens".

The Messaggero daily spoke of fears among the local population, with a rise in the number of calls to the emergency services from worried citizens.

Soldiers from the base being given a wide berth in nearby pubs.

Zaia, a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, was not the only one to object to the US decision to quarantine the soldiers in Italy.

"The government must send all the US soldiers back to Washington," the anti-establishment Five Star party said, according to media reports.

Not only was information about the current state of health of the soldiers "limited to general reassurances from the American authorities", but there were fears other soldiers on the base "may have been in contact" with those returning from west Africa, they said.

The San Bortolo hospital in Vicenza has prepared a special isolation unit within its department for infectious diseases, with five beds ready for eventual Ebola cases.

The commander of the US military mission in Liberia, Major General Darryl Williams, began 21 days of isolation at the base in Vicenza along with 11 other members of his staff after returning from west Africa this week. None of them currently shows Ebola symptoms.

Another 35 American soldiers are expected to return from west Africa on Wednesday to the northern Italian base, where they will be put in isolation as well.

West Africa is the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak which has claimed the lives of nearly 5,000 people. The often deadly virus is spread only through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person showing symptoms such as fever or vomiting. - The Local.

11 People in Delaware Monitored for Ebola-like Symptoms

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, joined by the state's top health officials, along with infectious disease and emergency response experts, announced Wednesday that 11 people in the First State are currently being monitored for Ebola-like symptoms. It was part of the ongoing statewide efforts in response to the Ebola virus epidemic.

"We are facing an unprecedented situation with the Ebola virus, making prevention and preparation efforts vital," Markell said. "While the risk of transmission in Delaware is low, the state has been preparing for the potential of any Ebola cases for months to ensure we are in the best possible position to keep the public safe."

While there are no cases in Delaware and the risk of transmission is low, the Division of Public Health, which is part of the Department of Health and Social Services, said it is working to ensure the appropriate screening tools and disease prevention strategies are used to further reduce any chance of transmission. These tools and strategies are based on the best currently available science, which tells us that Ebola virus is only transmitted by infected patients who have symptoms. The risk of getting the disease through normal, everyday contact is extremely low.

Authorities said the DPH is in direct contact with these people to check their health status and will remain so for a 21-day period following their last potential exposure.

"We've got a lot of people from different agencies working on it. Based on the available information, we believe this is the appropriate approach," Markell said.

DPH said it is working closely with hospitals, medical providers, EMS companies, and many other partners to prepare, coordinate care, and provide advice and guidance. Issues being addressed by this group include how to screen for the disease, safe ambulance transportation of potential Ebola patients, personal protective equipment guidance and availability, hospital readiness, infectious disease monitoring, and protocols for any doctor's office that might see a case.

"Delaware's hospitals know that the best way to address Ebola is to prevent its spread. The division's approach to doing that is sound, science-based, and will help protect both Delawareans and the health care professionals who care for them," said Wayne Smith, president and CEO of the Delaware Healthcare Association.

In addition, the governor has directed engagement from all cabinet-level agencies to ensure statewide efforts are coordinated and comprehensive.

"If a case is confirmed in Delaware, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rapid response team would be on the ground to assist us," said Secretary Rita Landgraf. "They would support the Division of Public Health to trace any potential contacts who might need to be monitored, have activity restrictions or, although unlikely, be quarantined. The CDC also would work with the State and the hospitals to determine if the ill patient should be moved out of state for treatment."

In coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the DPH is receiving notice of all travelers from the three West African countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

DPH said that currently there are 11 individuals in Delaware who are considered low-risk who are being monitored. Eight live in New Castle County and three live in Kent County. "Low-risk" is defined as having no known direct contact with a person infected with the Ebola virus.

DHSS urges people not to make assumptions that someone might be infected based on their accent, background or skin color, and it is important to remember how hard the disease is to transmit.

If you wish to discuss a suspected case, you may contact DPH 24/7 at 888-295-5156, including weekends and holidays. If you have general questions, the CDC has a 24/7 line available for information on the Ebola virus at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636). - WBOC.

‘I will go to court to attain my freedom’ – Maine nurse rejects quarantine over Ebola

AFP Photo / Bryan Thomas

The American nurse who is being quarantined against her will after returning from a mission in West Africa says she may sue officials in the state of Maine if they refuse to lift the restrictions they’ve imposed.

Kaci Hickox, the nurse, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday this week that she will soon outright reject the state’s attempt to keep her isolated, despite the requests from officials who fear that allowing the woman out of a Fort Kent, ME residence could lead to an Ebola outbreak.

“I will go to court to attain my freedom,
” Hickox told the television network Wednesday morning during an interview conducted over Skype.

"I don't plan on sticking to the guidelines,"
Hickox added that same morning during an interview with NBC’s “Today” show. ''I remain appalled by these home quarantine policies that have been forced upon me even though I am in perfectly good health."

Maine Governor Seeks to Force Nurse to Observe Quarantine

In response, Maine Governor Paul LePage said Wednesday that state health officials are seeking “legal authority to enforce the quarantine,” the New York Times reported.

“We hoped that the health care worker would voluntarily comply with these protocols, but this individual has stated publicly she will not abide by the protocols,”
LePage said in a statement. “We are very concerned about her safety and health and that of the community. We are exploring all of our options for protecting the health and well-being of the health care worker, anyone who comes in contact with her.”

Hickox, 33, arrived in the United States last week after volunteering in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders, and became the first person forced to adhere to new mandatory quarantine rules put in place in New Jersey amidst the worst Ebola outbreak in history when she landed at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday. Although Hickox has yet to exhibit any symptoms of the oft deadly disease, officials in New Jersey confined her to a tent when she arrived in the US in accordance with mandatory quarantine guidelines announced the same day she returned from West Africa. When she was finally released on Tuesday this week and arrived in Maine, she was asked to stay isolated as long as it’s possible for her to exhibit symptoms — upwards of 21 days since her last contact with an Ebola patient.

Currently, Hickox is confined to the off-campus home of her boyfriend, a nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent, according to the Associated Press.

"I have been completely asymptomatic since I’ve been here. I feel absolutely great,
” she said Wednesday.

Nevertheless, officials in Maine want the woman to stay isolated for the full three weeks, which may prompt her to pursue legal action.

"We do not want to have to legally enforce an in-home quarantine. We are confident that the selfless health workers, who were brave enough to care for Ebola patients in a foreign country, will be willing to take reasonable steps to protect the residents of their own country. However, we are willing to pursue legal authority if necessary to ensure risk is minimized for Mainers,"
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew told ABC News on Tuesday.

“We acknowledge that this protocol may go slightly beyond the federal guidelines,"
she said, but called it a "common-sense approach."

“The standard is, does Kaci have an infectious disease or agent? Is she harboring an infection?”
Steven Hyman, an attorney for the nurse, said during Wednesday morning’s broadcast. “The answer is no. Medically, there is no basis to quarantine Kaci at this point in time.”

"Our position is very simple. There's no justification for the state of Maine to quarantine her. She has no symptoms and therefore she's not contagious. And she's not at a risk to the public or the health and welfare of people in the state of Maine,"
added Norman Siegel, who is also representing the woman.
"I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public," Hilkox said this week. Additionally, she says she’s concerned that enforcing such restrictions will hurt the efforts of American health workers who may want to travel to West Africa to aid Ebola patients as she had.

“I remain really concerned by these mandatory quarantine policies for aid workers,”
she said. "I think we’re just only adding to the stigmatization that, again, is not based on science or evidence.”

Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday that the American troops deployed to West Africa to assist with combating Ebola will be subjected to a 21-day quarantine upon returning home. - RT.

Released Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox Works For CDC… Her Lawyer Is A White House Visitor

Ebola health care worker Kaci Hickox, who was released from quarantine with the support of the White House, is a Centers For Disease Control and Prevention employee, records reveal. The lawyer who helped earn her release is a recent White House state dinner guest.

Hickox was released from Ebola quarantine in Newark, N.J., Monday afternoon after the White House pressured New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to release the nurse that was working in Sierra Leone with Doctors Without Borders. Hickox’s case for release was also bolstered by New York civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, who took on Hickox’s case.

“I feel like my basic human rights have been violated,” Hickox said before she was evaluated by CDC and transported back to her home in Maine.

Here’s an overlooked factor that could have contributed to her White House-backed release: Hickox is an official CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer who performed work for the CDC in recent months.

Hickox was a Class of 2012 member of CDC’s two-year EIS officer training program, according to the official program for CDC’s 2014 EIS Conference (p. 98), which was held from April 28 to May 1, 2014.

Hickox was featured in a photograph in the program.

Hickox was listed as an “EIS officer” for the CDC in program materials for a CDC course she taught in July 2014. She was specifically listed as an active “EIS officer” as recently as July 18, 2014, according to CDC documents.

Hickox was a presenter at the CDC conference this spring, according to the program’s list of presenters (p. 103).

Hickox taught an April 29 session called “Contact Investigation of Health Care Personnel Exposed to Maternal and Neonatal Tuberculosis—Clark County, Nevada, 2013″ at the conference (p. 3). - Daily Caller.

Ebola doctor ‘lied’ about NYC travels

New York City police officers enter the building where Dr. Craig Spencer (inset with fiancée Morgan Dixon)
lives in New York on Oct. 24. Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar

The city’s first Ebola patient initially lied to authorities about his travels around the city following his return from treating disease victims in Africa, law-enforcement sources said.

Dr. Craig Spencer
at first told officials that he isolated himself in his Harlem apartment — and didn’t admit he rode the subways, dined out and went bowling until cops looked at his MetroCard the sources said.

“He told the authorities that he self-quarantined. Detectives then reviewed his credit-card statement and MetroCard and found that he went over here, over there, up and down and all around,” a source said.

Spencer finally ’fessed up when a cop “got on the phone and had to relay questions to him through the Health Department,” a source said.

Officials then retraced Spencer’s steps, which included dining at The Meatball Shop in Greenwich Village and bowling at The Gutter in Brooklyn. - NY Post.

California issues quarantine policy for Ebola exposure

Anyone arriving in California from an Ebola-affected area and who has had personal contact with a person infected with the deadly virus will be quarantined for 21 days, according to an order issued Wednesday by the state's public health director.

The order provides a more nuanced set of guidelines to assess the risk associated with people returning from regions afflicted by an Ebola outbreak -- currently Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea -- than the controversial blanket quarantines in New Jersey, New York and Maine.

In California, county health officials will have the ability to screen passengers arriving from Ebola-stricken regions in West Africa, or who have worked with infected patients, to determine if they’re at risk for the disease and if they should be quarantined for the virus' three-week incubation period.

Failure to comply with a quarantine order could result in misdemeanor criminal charges.

“This order will allow local health officers to determine, for those coming into California, who is most at risk for developing this disease, and to contain any potential spread of the disease by responding to those risks appropriately,” department director Dr. Ron Chapman said in a statement.

Anyone who arrives in California from regions where an outbreak is active, but who has not come in contact with an Ebola patient, won’t be quarantined under the guidelines, the California Department of Public Health said in announcing the mandate. Health workers will screen passengers on a case-by-case basis.

The announcement comes after strict quarantine rules mandated by East Coast governors for returning healthcare workers from West Africa are facing heavy criticism. - LA Times.

Insurance companies start writing ‘Ebola exclusions’ into policies

AFP Photo/Simon Maina
 As Ebola spreads further from its current epicenter in West Africa, American and British insurance companies have started to adjust their standard policies for hospitals and other vulnerable businesses to exclude the virus.

According to insurance industry insiders, companies needing to insure business travel to West Africa or to cover losses following a quarantine may now deal with revamped policies that will likely increase in price based on the latest Ebola outbreak, which has killed nearly 5,000 people in West African countries like Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. "What underwriters are doing at the moment is they're generally providing quotes either excluding or including Ebola - and it's much more expensive if Ebola is included," Gary Flynn, an event cancellation broker at London’s Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc, told Reuters.

Ebola has had less impact on liability insurance. For instance, in the US, policies that cover the likes of worker’s compensation claims are regulated on the state level. Thus, Ebola exclusions are not likely, according to Reuters.

Property and casualty insurers, though, have more at stake and are taking into account the possibilities of heightened Ebola infections.

ACE Ltd told Reuters that its global casualty unit, used for US companies to insure employees who travel abroad, was excluding Ebola on a “case-by-case basis” while underwriting new policies and renewals for some clients with operations in Africa, since there is a "potentially higher risk exposure.”

“Business interruption”
may be getting the most attention, according to Tony DeFelice, managing director of Aon Risk Solutions' national casualty practice in the US. Such interruptions include possible loss of employees to illness, or quarantine of an airliner or cruise ship due to a case of suspected Ebola or other sickness.

Special policies are being introduced to adequately address Ebola-era business interruption (BI) claims, as those are only triggered with direct physical damage to property, according to insurance broker Marsh.
"This means that without special provisions - for example, manuscripted wording to broaden coverage - healthcare providers' property insurance and BI policies would likely not be triggered based solely on the presence of Ebola," Marsh said this month.

Meanwhile, Miller Insurance Services LLP and William Gallagher Associates have worked with Lloyd's of London underwriter Ark Syndicate to launch the first product to insure Ebola-stricken hospitals that may incur losses.

Another company, Aon PLC, has created an “Ebola task force” to monitor how the virus is or is not spreading in order to help clients prepare for risks. - RT.

Health officials: Ebola infections may be declining in Liberia

Health workers unload the lifeless body of a man, as they carry him to a grave site, after he is suspected of contracting
the Ebola virus on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia.
The rate of new Ebola infections in Liberia appears to be declining and could represent a real trend, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, but the epidemic is far from over.

There are empty beds in treatment centers and the number of burials in the country has declined, Dr. Bruce Aylward, the assistant director-general for WHO, told reporters. He said there may be as much as a 25 percent week-on-week reduction in cases in Liberia. But experts are still trying to ensure their data is reliable.

Throughout the Ebola outbreak, WHO has warned that its data have been incomplete and the number of cases are likely vastly underreported. That is still a concern, Aylward said, but the trend nonetheless appears to be real.

So far, more than 13,600 people have been sickened in the outbreak, which has hit Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone hardest.

"The epidemic (in Liberia) may be slowing down," he said. But he cautioned: "A slight decline in cases in a few days versus getting this thing closed out is a completely different ball game."

Liberia's Red Cross said Tuesday that teams collected 117 bodies last week from the county that includes Monrovia, down from the high of 315 in September.

Benoit Carpentier, a spokesman for the International Federation of the Red Cross, warned that it was too early to celebrate those numbers, saying Ebola outbreaks come in waves. He noted that Red Cross figures show deaths are still increasing outside Monrovia.

Several times throughout this outbreak, including in Liberia, officials have thought the disease's spread was slowing, only to surge again later. They have often blamed those false lulls on cases being hidden because people were too afraid to seek treatment, wanted to bury their relatives themselves or simply weren't in contact with authorities.

Aylward said that this is not the time to let up: The response has to continue going full bore.

"I'm terrified the information will be misinterpreted," he said, and the international response will slow.

Aylward said the danger now "is that we will end up with an oscillating pattern where the disease moves up and down." - KATU.

In Ebola Crisis, New Vaccine Candidates Show Uncertain Promise

In the race for an Ebola vaccine, the clear front-runner is the virus, which is expected to spread to tens of thousands of people in the coming weeks. But new competitors are now gearing up for human trials, and eventually the tables could turn. In the long run a vaccine could prove extremely important if, as some predict, the virus causing the current outbreak in West Africa will remain in circulation as a low-level “endemic” disease indefinitely.

The latest entry to the race comes from the Maryland-based Novavax. On Sunday, a representative from the company told participants at a major vaccine meeting in Philadelphia that they’d achieved immunity in mice using a vaccine based on a synthetic delivery system called a nanoparticle.

The big selling point the company emphasized is that the Novavax product is the only one designed to target the exact strain of Ebola that’s currently raging through West Africa. Experts disagree over whether this fact will make a difference because the parts of the virus that are relevant to vaccines are nearly identical across strains.

Illustration showing the Ebola virus-encoded glycoprotein trimers (pink) embedded in the host cell’s lipid bilayer (gray). Novavax Ebola virus vaccine is
based on recombinant GP trimers separated from host cell lipids and other contaminants forming multi-GP trimer protein nanoparticles.

On the other hand, scientists working on the Ebola problem acknowledge they are in new territory and can’t be sure what will and won’t work until human trials are carried out.

The terminology describing strains and species of Ebola can cause some confusion. There are five species – the current outbreak being caused by a species known as Ebola Zaire. Within that species are several different strains. Biologists have analyzed genetic material from the strains and found that evolution has led to some variation. What that variation means and how it will influence the course of the outbreak is not well understood, partly because the process of biological evolution is unpredictable.

Some scientists at the conference – the 8th Vaccine and ISV Congress – were skeptical because the Novavax results came from mice. The company has begun trials in monkeys, however, which are considered much more relevant to humans.

Currently, several groups have tested vaccines in monkeys and found promising results. GlaxoSmithKline has already started testing healthy human volunteers in Europe and the U.S. with a vaccine called ChAd3, based on a cold virus that’s been altered to produce Ebola proteins. The proteins are what should trigger a protective immune response.  The vaccine was developed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – a branch of NIH. It worked in monkeys, but vaccine researchers readily admit that this may not translate to humans. That uncertainty clouds all research in the vaccine race.

Another vaccine candidate has been developed by Walter Reed Army Institute of Research collaborating with government scientists in Canada. Instead of a cold virus, it uses an altered cow virus called vesicular stromatitis virus, or VSV. This vaccine, too, has proven effective in monkeys.

Meanwhile, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia have been working for the last four years on a modified rabies vaccine that in monkeys can protect against both diseases. Rabies kills more than 20,000 people every year in Africa, said lead researchers Matthias Schnell. He said they have proven their product works in monkeys and could be ready to start human safety trials by January. He has plans to partner with a major pharmaceutical company to scale up production of the vaccine, but as of this week, those plans are still being worked out.

Also in the race is Johnson & Johnson. Last week the company announced the development of a two-step Ebola vaccine that had shown promise in monkeys and would be ready for safety testing in human volunteers in early 2015. The company is working together with Bavarian Nordic, based in Denmark. - Forbes.

World Bank pledges $100m to send health workers to Ebola-hit countries

The World Bank is to invest $100m (£63m) in an attempt to increase the number of foreign health workers heading for west Africa to care for people with Ebola.

Treatment centres in the three countries at the heart of the epidemic – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – are being built but the biggest need is for doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to staff them. The United Nations says around 5,000 international personnel are needed, including up to 1,000 foreign health workers.
In the UK, 900 people have volunteered to go to Africa, none of whom have left yet, while the African Union has pledged 2,000 people. More numbers are needed and progress in getting volunteers to affected areas has been slow.

“The world’s response to the Ebola crisis has increased significantly in recent weeks, but we still have a huge gap in getting enough trained health workers to the areas with the highest infection rates,” said World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim.

“We must urgently find ways to break any barriers to the deployment of more health workers. It is our hope that this $100m can help be a catalyst for a rapid surge of health workers to the communities in dire need.”

Pay and benefits, recruitment and training have all been issues, says the Bank. Potential volunteers are also worried about their safety – health workers are at the highest risk of contracting the disease because of their physical contact with sick patients. There have been major scares in the United States and in Spain where health workers have been infected even though they should have been well-equipped and trained in the strict safety procedures.

Health workers from Europe and north America also want to be sure they will be repatriated in the event of becoming ill, believing their chances of survival to be greater at home, where health systems are more sophisticated because they are better funded. The UK is building a treatment centre specifically for health workers who become infected in Sierra Leone, where standards are intended to be as high as they would be in the NHS. Other concerns include transportation and housing, says the Bank.

The new funds, which take the World Bank’s total Ebola contribution so far to $500m, will help set up a coordination hub with the three countries’ governments, the World Health Organiation, the UN’s main Ebola coordination centre in Ghana and other agencies. The hub will actively recruit, train and deploy qualified health workers.

“Health workers take an oath to treat the sick – and so it’s no surprise to me that many health workers want to go treat Ebola patients at the source of this epidemic,” said Kim, an infectious disease doctor who spent years treating patients in poor countries. “So we need to find all ways possible to remove any obstacle that stops health workers from serving – whether it is pay for workers in developing countries, or the promise of evacuation services. Health workers who treat Ebola patients are heroes, and we should treat them as such.” - The Guardian.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak