Doctors "Hit Breaking-Point" As Ebola Death Toll Tops 4500; Nigeria 'Clear' But Harvard Issues Travel Ban

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/20/2014 10:23 -0400

The WHO is coming under increasing scrutiny over its response to the the deadly epidemic. As The BBC reports, after stating that the death toll has hit 4,555 worldwide, a leaked internal document shows "nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall."

There are a few tidbits of good news this weekend: the Spanish patient's test returned negative, 48 "at-risk" people in Dallas have been cleared, and Nigeria has been declared "ebola-free". Sadly, the bad news keeps coming: the virus has spread to new regions of Guinea (affecting mining operations), Moodys warns the economic legacy will linger, IMF slashes growth forecasts for Africa, and most critically, MSF doctors are at their breaking point: "The epidemic is still getting worse... I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel." Lastly, Harvard has imposed a travel ban from Ebola-affected nations.


As The BBC reports,
the WHO is under fire over response to epidemic,

Although a flu pandemic was expected, Ebola was most definitely not expected in Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. The virus had never been seen in West Africa before.

So when the first cases were reported in March there was no big WHO machine ready to roll. As it turns out, West Africa's Ebola outbreak actually began in Guinea last December and seems to have gone almost unnoticed for three months.

"Nobody knew that this disease called Ebola would be possible in such parts of Africa," said Dr Isabelle Nuttall, the WHO's Director of Global Capacities, Alert and Response.

"The speed of reaction was initially determined by the fact that the disease was not known to occur in this part of Africa."


on 1 April, the WHO's senior communications officer, Gregory Hartl, suggested that MSF was scaremongering.

"We need to be very careful about how we characterise something which is up until now an outbreak with sporadic cases," he said.

"What we are dealing with is an outbreak of limited geographic area and only a few chains of transmission."


An embarrassing internal WHO document, leaked to the Associated Press last week, indicates senior WHO officials know mistakes have been made, suggesting "nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall".
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As Bloomberg reports, front-line doctors are at their breaking points,

“I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel,” said Lucey, a physician and professor from Georgetown University who is halfway through a five-week tour in Liberia with Medecins Sans Frontieres, the medical charity known in English as Doctors Without Borders. “The epidemic is still getting worse,” he said by phone between shifts.


MSF has been the first -- and often only -- line of defense against Ebola in West Africa. The group raised the alarm on March 31, months ahead of the World Health Organization. Now, after treating almost a third of the roughly 9,000 confirmed Ebola cases in Africa -- and faced with a WHO warning of perhaps 10,000 new infections a week by December -- MSF is reaching its limits.

“They are at the breaking point,” said Vinh-Kim Nguyen, a professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal who has volunteered for a West African tour with MSF.

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The Good News...

  • WHO declares Nigeria Ebola-free
  • Spain Ebola patient may be free of virus after negative test
  • Dallas sees 48 people cleared of Ebola risk after monitoring
  • White House said to seek additional funds to fight Ebola spread

President Barack Obama is preparing to ask Congress for additional funds to combat Ebola, a move that could shift some political pressure from the White House to lawmakers in the last two weeks before midterm elections.

The Bad News...

  • Heineken sends Sierra Leone staff home as Ebola shuts bars
  • IMF cuts Africa growth forecast amid Ebola virus, insecurity
  • U.S. Ebola protocol revision includes full-body suits: AP
  • Ebola economic legacy to linger after crisis, Moody’s reports
  • Ebola spreads to new regions in Guinea near AngloGold mine

The Ebola virus spread to two new regions in Guinea, including an area where an AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. mine is located.

The place that reported infections in the Siguiri area is 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Johannesburg-based company’s facility, the Ministry of Health and AngloGold said in statements yesterday. Employees haven’t been infected and operations continue, the mining company said.


“We continue to strengthen surveillance and we conduct daily monitoring checks on all employees,” AngloGold spokesman Chris Nthite said in an e-mailed response to questions. “Some of our employees live in Siguiri.”

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And finally, as Breitbart reports, Harvard has imposed a travel ban...

Harvard University has imposed an effective travel ban on Ebola-striken countries, requiring students, faculty, and staff to obtain official permission from the university administration before traveling to affected parts of West Africa, and possibly staying off campus for 21 days after returning to the U.S. from those countries.

The severe restrictions at Harvard, reported early Monday by the Harvard Crimson, "expand on those detailed in August that asked for Harvard students, faculty, and staff to avoid nonessential travel to the three countries." The new restrictions also exceed any guidelines imposed by the U.S. government.

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So the PhDs' think we need a travel ban? Wonder what Ron Klain thinks?