Explained: Australia’s plan to tackle Ebola
ABC News Sarah Scopelianos and Tim Leslie
The risk of Ebola spreading to Australia is considered low but everywhere from airports to hospitals a wide range of measures are in place to further minimise the risk and plan for a potential outbreak.
The Australian Medical Association has raised questions about the official response, saying it has been chaotic and secretive.
States and territories have their own plans to deal with potential cases but an Ebola tsar has been appointed to oversee Australia’s response and the federal Health Department released national guidelines for public health units to combat the virus. Read on…
New Ebola drugs not our priority
The Sydney Morning Herald Paul Purcell October 30, 2014
Health authorities have questioned the merits of the experimental Ebola treatment ZMapp, saying it is too soon for Australia to stockpile the promising medicine.
ZMapp was given to two Americans, Dr Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, who contracted Ebola while in west Africa. Both recovered.
But Spanish priest Miguel Pajares, who was also given the treatment, died in hospital in Spain.
While ZMapp has been 100 per cent effective during trials with monkeys, the sample size is too small to accurately study its effectiveness, say experts.
A potential cure for Ebola using antibodies from the blood of survivors could be funded by the Government
News.com.au Sue Dunlevy October 30, 2014
A POTENTIAL breakthrough treatment for Ebola using antibodies extracted from the blood of survivors is set to be funded by the Australian Government.
ABC News John Taylor 29 October 2014
In an Australian first, a 20-minute rapid HIV testing program is to travel around Queensland in mobile vans.
HIV infection rates in Queensland almost doubled over the last decade and this year rates may have increased by as much as 30 per cent.
ABC News 30 October 2014
Liberia may be seeing a decline in the spread of the Ebola virus but the battle to contain the outbreak is far from won, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
More than 10,000 people have contracted the virus worldwide but the WHO has left the death toll unchanged at 4,922 after revising down the number of deaths in Liberia, the worst-hit country.
“Do we feel confident that the response is now getting an upper hand on the virus? Yes, we are seeing slowing rate of new cases, very definitely,” WHO assistant director general Bruce Aylward said.
Despite a fall in the number of burials and new admissions, as well as a plateau in the number of confirmed cases in Liberia, he said caution was still needed.
The Guardian Sarah Boseley 30 October 2014
The Ebola epidemic in west Africa may have reached a turning point, according to the director of the Wellcome Trust, which is funding an unprecedented series of fast-tracked trials of vaccines and drugs against the disease.
Writing in the Guardian, Dr Jeremy Farrar says that although there are several bleak months ahead, “it is finally becoming possible to see some light. In the past 10 days, the international community has belatedly begun to take the actions necessary to start turning Ebola’s tide.
“The progress made is preliminary and uncertain; even if ultimately successful it will not reduce mortality or stop transmission for some time. We are not close to seeing the beginning of the end of the epidemic but [several] developments offer hope that we may have reached the end of the beginning.”
Farrar’s comments come as the World Health Organisation confirmed that the number of Ebola cases in Liberia has started to decline, with fewer burials and some empty hospital beds. But the WHO warned against any assumption that the outbreak there was ending.
“I’m terrified that the information will be misinterpreted,” said Dr Bruce Aylward, assistant director-general in charge of the Ebola operational response. “This is like saying your pet tiger is under control. This is a very, very dangerous disease. Any transmission change could result in many, many more deaths.” Read on…
Ebola rages on but we are approaching a turning point in this epidemic
Jeremy Farrar The Guardian 30 October 2014
New urgency on Ebola from the rich world, major investment and vaccine development suggest we may have reached the end of the beginning…
Third possible Ebola vaccine to be sped through human safety trials
The Guardian Sarah Boseley 30 October 2014
Vaccine has so far been tested only in monkeys, but human trials set to start in Germany, Switzerland, Gabon and Kenya…
Brisbane Times Amy Remeikis October 29, 2014
The Ebola threat continues to consume the Queensland government, with Premier Campbell Newman requesting Border Protection Officers take the temperature of every passenger on flights originating from countries affected by the virus.
The Queensland Government has implemented some of the most strident protection measures in the country, insisting on 21-day home quarantine for any travellers arriving from west Africa and requesting help with a register for travellers from Ebola Virus Disease affected countries to follow them as they move through the country.
On Wednesday, Mr Newman took that one step further, announcing he had written to the federal Immigration and Border Protection Minister, Scott Morrison, to “facilitate some additional procedures”.
“Specifically, the Queensland Government requests that Border Protection Officers be directed to take and record the temperature [of passengers] whose flight originated in an EVD affected country, regardless of any reported symptoms, obtain contact details for these travellers and provide these details to the human quarantine officer, along with advice on the temperature recordings, advise these travellers they will be contacted within 24 hours by a public health officer who will undertake a comprehensive EVD exposure assessment and provide travellers with information on the symptoms of EVD and health service contact details and a thermometer so they can monitor their temperature.”
Queensland Health will supply the thermometers. Mr Newman and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg have been unapologetic for the proactive stance they have taken in response to the Ebola virus which has gripped several west African nations.
Queensland has had three ‘scares’, two of which were considered credible. In the most recent case, Queensland Health announced late Wednesday the 18-year-old woman under quaratine in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital had tested negative in the second round of testing for Ebola.
The response was parodied by NSW Liberal MP Peter Phelps on Twitter, who labelled it Queensland; beautiful one day, pandemic the next.
(Brown University 28 October 2014) Ebola has a lot of company. In a novel database now made publicly available, Brown University researchers found that since 1980 the world has seen an increasing number of infectious disease outbreaks from an increasing number of sources. The good news, however, is that they are affecting a shrinking proportion of the world population.
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The Courier-Mail | October 29, 2014 | SARAH VOGLER, RENEE VIELLARIS
QUEENSLAND is pushing for a national database to be established so people who have entered the country after visiting west Africa can be tracked if they then travel interstate.
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