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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.

Aug 2, 2014

U.S. FDA says ‘stands ready’ to work with companies developing Ebola drugs

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The worst Ebola outbreak in history is heaping new pressure on U.S. regulators to speed the development of treatments for the deadly virus, which has killed more than 700 people since February.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday said in an emailed statement the agency “stands ready” to work with companies and investigators working with patients “in dire need of treatment.”

Aug 1, 2014

Ebola patient coming to U.S. as aid workers’ health worsens

By Julie Steenhuysen and Colleen Jenkins

CHICAGO/WINSTON-SALEM N.C. (Reuters) – A U.S. aid worker who was infected with the deadly Ebola virus while working in West Africa will be flown to the United States to be treated in a high-security ward at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, hospital officials said on Thursday.

The aid worker, whose name has not been released, will be moved in the next several days to a special isolation unit at Emory. The unit was set up in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jul 31, 2014

U.S. advises against non-essential travel to countries hit by Ebola

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday issued a travel advisory against non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to curb the spread of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa that has claimed more than 700 lives.

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said his agency will send an additional 50 disease experts to assist with efforts to contain the highly deadly virus, in what he called “the largest, most complex outbreak that we know of in history.”

Jul 21, 2014

U.S. CDC says it ‘may never know’ how bird flu mishap occurred

CHICAGO, July 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention “may never know” how a fairly harmless
form of bird flu was cross-contaminated with a dangerous bird
flu strain before it was sent to a laboratory outside of the
CDC, an agency spokesman said on Monday.

That’s because most of the materials used in the experiment
to culture the virus were discarded shortly after they were used
by the scientists performing the work, which occurred in March,
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told Reuters.

Jul 17, 2014

Before anthrax mishap, CDC made similar lab safety pledges-lawmaker

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, July 17 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers
investigating repeated safety lapses at government laboratories
questioned Thursday whether the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention was up to the task of fixing the problem, given
similar promises to remedy such breaches in 2012.

The CDC is under scrutiny for a June incident, in which more
than 80 lab workers may have been exposed to live anthrax
bacteria that was mistakenly sent out of a high-security lab on
its Atlanta campus. Federal investigators have since reported
dozens of other infractions at CDC labs that handle deadly
pathogens such as anthrax and avian flu.

Jul 8, 2014

Smallpox vials from 1950s found in U.S. lab storage room

CHICAGO/ATLANTA, July 8 (Reuters) – Stray vials of the
deadly smallpox virus from the 1950s have been discovered at a
federal lab near Washington, U.S. health officials said on
Tuesday, marking the second major lapse in a month in the way
the United States handles deadly pathogens.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said
that workers discovered the vials in a cardboard box on July 1
while clearing out an old lab on the National Institutes of
Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Jul 1, 2014

U.S. agency taps medical centers to investigate rare diseases

CHICAGO, July 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. government’s leading
health research agency said on Tuesday it has selected six U.S.
academic medical centers to help discover the cause of
undiagnosed diseases using advanced diagnostic tools, including
gene sequencing.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) said the six centers
will expand the work of a pilot program at the NIH Clinical
Center in Bethesda, Maryland, that for the past six years has
evaluated hundreds of patients and provided many diagnoses,
often using genomic approaches, for rare conditions.

    • 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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