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Sep 11, 2014

Third U.S. Ebola patient showing “remarkable improvement”

CHICAGO, Sept 11 (Reuters) – The third American to be
treated for Ebola in the United States is showing “remarkable
improvement” after receiving an infusion of plasma from U.S.
Ebola survivor Dr. Kent Brantly, as well as an undisclosed
experimental drug, his doctors said on Thursday.

Dr. Rick Sacra, 51, who is being treated in a special
biocontainment unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center
in Omaha, received two doses of plasma from Brantly, which
doctors are calling a convalescent serum, and has been given
nightly doses of an undisclosed experimental drug, Dr. Phil
Smith, one of Sacra’s doctors, said in a news briefing.

Sep 5, 2014

U.S. missionary with Ebola arrives at Nebraska hospital

CHICAGO, Sept 5 (Reuters) – The third U.S. medical
missionary to become infected with the Ebola virus was wheeled
on a gurney into the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for
treatment after being flown there from West Africa, a
spokeswoman for the medical center said on Friday.

Dr. Rick Sacra, a 51-year-old Boston physician, contracted
Ebola while working at a hospital in Liberia on behalf of the
North Carolina-based Christian group SIM USA. Sacra had worked
in the obstetrics ward at the ELWA Hospital of SIM in Monrovia.

Sep 3, 2014

West Africa struggles to contain Ebola as warnings and deaths mount

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The United Nations said on Tuesday the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa was causing food shortages in one of the world’s poorest regions and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned the disease was threatening the stability of stricken countries and their neighbors.

Doctors in Liberia were out on strike as they struggled to cope with the worst outbreak of Ebola on record, while the global aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said 800 more beds for Ebola patients were urgently needed in the Liberian capital Monrovia alone, while in Sierra Leone highly infectious bodies were rotting in the streets.

Sep 2, 2014

U.S. CDC says Ebola threatens stability of stricken countries

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The world’s worst Ebola outbreak is threatening the stability of affected and neighboring countries in West Africa and a “massive” response is needed to bring it under control, the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. health agency who just returned from West Africa, said he expected the number of Ebola cases to accelerate in the next two weeks and urged governments to act now.

Aug 28, 2014

White House orders U.S. labs to take inventory of infectious agents

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The White House has ordered federally funded labs working with infectious agents to conduct an immediate inventory of the pathogens in their labs and review their safety and security protocols, according to a memo released on Thursday.

The order follows a trio of high-profile mishaps at federal labs in recent months, including the mishandling of anthrax and bird flu by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and the discovery of decades-old samples of smallpox in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration lab on the campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Aug 28, 2014

Gene studies of Ebola in Sierra Leone show virus is mutating fast

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Genetic studies of some of the earliest Ebola cases in Sierra Leone reveal more than 300 genetic changes in the virus as it leapt from person to person, changes that could blunt the effectiveness of diagnostic tests and experimental treatments now in development, researchers said on Thursday.

“We found the virus is doing what viruses do. It’s mutating,” said Pardis Sabeti of Harvard University and the Broad Institute, who led the massive study of samples from 78 people in Sierra Leone, all of whose infections could be traced to a faith healer whose claims of a cure attracted Ebola patients from Guinea, where the virus first took hold.

Aug 27, 2014

Scientists find mild cases of MERS among patients’ families

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Fewer than half of Saudi Arabian patients in a study passed the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus to household members, and many of those who developed secondary infections contracted mild cases of MERS, global researchers reported on Wednesday.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, confirmed observations that the virus can cause mild disease, but overall transmission rates are low.

Aug 7, 2014

U.S. ratchets up Ebola response, officials on high alert

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, Aug 7 (Reuters) – The director of the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told lawmakers
on Thursday he has activated the agency’s emergency operation
center at the highest response level to fight the worst Ebola
outbreak in history.

Dr Thomas Frieden testified at an emergency hearing that the
CDC has more than 200 staff members in Atlanta working on the
outbreak, and will soon have more than 50 disease experts in
West Africa.

Aug 7, 2014

Ebola emergency turns spotlight on experimental drugs

CHICAGO/NEW YORK, Aug 7 (Reuters) – With hundreds of
patients in Africa suffering the devastating effects of Ebola,
health experts are scrambling to determine which drugs might
offer the best experimental treatment, and researchers are being
pressed by government officials to speed up their work.

Three treatments have shown especially promising results in
monkeys, the researchers said. One, produced by tiny California
biotech Mapp Biopharmaceutical, gained international prominence
this week when it was given to two U.S. aid workers who
contracted Ebola in West Africa and have since shown signs of
improvement.

Aug 5, 2014

U.S. biosafety experts watch every step in care of Ebola patients

By Julie Steenhuysen

COLUMBIA Mo. (Reuters) – A U.S. hospital caring for two Americans carrying the deadly Ebola virus has tapped biosafety experts to ensure doctors, nurses and other staff do everything needed to prevent the virus from escaping from an isolation ward in Atlanta.

The two patients, humanitarian aid workers who became infected with Ebola in West Africa, are believed to be the first Ebola patients ever to be treated on U.S. soil after being flown separately to Emory University hospital.

    • About Julie

      "Julie Steenhuysen has been covering health and science topics for Reuters for the past decade, first as a medical device correspondent, then as team leader for the equities team covering U.S. pharmaceuticals and healthcare companies. For the past 4 years, Julie has worked as U.S. health and science correspondent, focusing on coverage for a general news audience."
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