October 6th, 2014
By Ben Brumfield and Josh Levs, CNN
(CNN) -- A nurse's assistant in Spain is the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside of Africa in the current outbreak.
Spanish Health Minister Ana Mato announced Monday that a test confirmed the assistant has the virus.
The woman helped treat a Spanish missionary and a Spanish priest, both of whom had contracted Ebola in West Africa. Both died after returning to Spain.
Health officials said she developed symptoms on September 30. She was not hospitalized until this week. Her only symptom was a fever.
"We are working in coordination to give the best care to the patient and to guarantee the safety of all citizens," the health minister said.
An investigation is under way to find everyone the assistant may have had contact with while contagious. So far, there are no other known cases.
The assistant was one of about 30 health professionals in Spain who helped to treat the Ebola patients.
The news came amid growing fears in the United States that the disease could spread.
"As I've said from the start of this outbreak, I consider this a top national security priority. This is not just a matter of charity ... This is an issue about our safety," President Barack Obama told reporters Monday.
He called for protocols to help stop the spread of the disease, while downplaying the risk of an epidemic in the United States.
"We're also going to be working on protocols to do additional passenger screening, both at the source and here in the United States," he said. "Here in the United States, at least, the chances of an outbreak -- of an epidemic here -- are extraordinarily low."
October 6th, 2014
The CDC estimates 1.4 million cases of so-called "hard to catch" Ebola by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.
With current mortality rates, this would mean over 700,000 will be dead by that same time frame.
The White House premise of Ebola being "hard to contract" is extraordinarily flawed, which means that their reason in allowing travel from West Africa is wrong and could be deadly to America.
Top government health officials said Sunday that they are opposed to placing a ban on travelers from Ebola-infected countries, warning that shutting down borders could impede efforts by aid workers to stop the spread of the deadly virus. The idea of a ban gained currency this past week after the nation's first case was diagnosed in Dallas. Proponents have argued that it would help ensure public safety.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health, said a travel embargo on West African countries that are struggling with Ebola would make it much harder for them to control the virus.
"You isolate them, you can cause unrest in the country," Fauci told "Fox News Sunday." "It's conceivable that governments could fall if you just isolate them completely."
British Airways and some other airlines have suspended flights from those countries, and overall traffic to and from the affected areas has dropped.
Rep. Tim Murphy plans to conduct hearings on the policy this coming week. He leads the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Asking travelers to report their own activities at airports "has been a demonstrated failure, and it is nearly impossible to retrace steps to try and track down everyone who has been in contact with a carrier taking multiple international flights across the globe," Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican, said Friday.
U.S. officials have emphasized that the United States has a modern medical system that is far better equipped to contain an outbreak than the African countries where Ebola is currently spreading.
Airline passengers have their temperatures taken as they board planes in the outbreak zone, although those infected with Ebola can go up to 21 days before they exhibit symptoms. Passengers are also asked about contact with infected people, but that process would not be useful if a passenger lies or simply does not realize the medical condition of people they have encountered.
October 5th, 2014
By Barry Secrest
Can an airline be sued due to the transportation and subsequent cross-infection of other passengers by an infected Ebola Patient?
As international carriers continue to allow infected passengers from West Africa on flights, the possibility of crippling lawsuits may become increasingly possible.
Passenger safety, under a wide variety of circumstances, almost always belongs to the airline.
Moreover, with a pending mortality rate of 70% for Ebola, shouldn't an airline be held accountable for mixing connecting passengers from West Africa, with passengers from non-infected countries?
According to the Obama administration, West African passengers should in no way be disallowed from flying to the US. However, what about the airline's pure liability in knowing of a rampant & more often than not, fatal disease within a passenger's region?
One website has already pointed the finger at one US air carrier for allegedly not properly sanitizing its planes after a later-known infected patient had flown on two aircraft, from Europe.
According to federal regulations under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), a carrier cannot deny boarding to an individual for health reasons except under certain circumstances. However, a carrier can prohibit access if a passenger with a communicable diseases poses a direct threat to other passengers.
The other side of the argument, according to the same federal regulations, notes that airlines must report both illness and or death of any passenger subject to a $ 500,000 fine.
According to the legal website, Holland and Knight, an airline could under the following circumstances, be subject to a lawsuit if the airline :
"permits an obviously sick passenger to board without making any inquiry, requiring a medical certificate, or denying boarding to determine their medical fitness"
- "fails to quarantine or isolate a passenger who is discovered in flight with a communicable disease, or otherwise fails to respond appropriately"
- "knowingly allows an infected passenger or crew member to travel or work"
- "fails to properly equip and maintain the aircraft to prevent the spread of airborne disease"
- "fails to notify the appropriate medical authorities and await assistance at the flight’s destination
"fails to alert the proper medical authorities and make efforts to contact all passengers on the flight after becoming aware of a passenger’s communicable illness"12
Indeed, the operative passage for our purposes [Ebola] might be if the airline "fails to properly equip and maintain the aircraft to prevent the spread of airborne disease."
This is due to the current way in which modern aircraft pressurize and re-circulate oxygen without the proper bio-filters in place. In essence, a catchall for any good personal injury attorney.
Under international law, the Montreal Convention under article 17, states that an airline is presumptively liable in any case where an unexpected accident occurs and where a passenger is either on the aircraft, embarking, or disembarking the aircraft.
Indeed , in the case of communicable disease "where other passengers contract a contagious disease during a flight, or in the course of embarking or disembarking, a court may very well consider this an “unexpected or unusual event” external to the passenger. However, determining when contraction occurred may prove to be very difficult."
Under international law, the remedy or reward when no negligence occurs amounts to about $ 150,000 dollars, under the case of determined negligence, however, it could be another matter.
So, while the airline may not be directly involved in the transmission of a communicable disease, both international and domestic law provide for substantial legal remedy in any case in which passengers become infected.
However, if negligence is concurrently proven then there are no legal limitations on the size or award for a lawsuit.
Under those circumstances, we can probably expect to see far fewer flights to America from West Africa travelers, due to the extraordinary nature of Ebola and the havoc it can play fractally, within any region.
Just imagine a class action lawsuit against an airline where a large number of individuals in a region eventually become infected by Ebola and die, and the lack of detectablity of the disease, is determined to be a cause of negligence by a jury.
Patient Zero would take on a whole new meaning, however, the other possibilities involve aircraft which may transport infected passengers unknowingly and then spread the disease by the mere presence of trace amounts of bodily fluids remaining on the plane.
The obvious choice for airlines would probably be to avoid these ominous possibilties at any and all costs. Ebola has never before made it out of Africa, except under certain [highly] controlled conditions.
Now, it unfortunately has.
The legal website Holland and Knight contributed adroitly to this article
October 5th, 2014
By Kate Kelland, Health and Science Correspondent
(London) Scientists have used Ebola disease spread patterns and airline traffic data to predict a 75 percent chance the virus could be imported to France by October 24, and a 50 percent chance it could hit Britain by that date.
Those numbers are based on air traffic remaining at full capacity. Assuming an 80 percent reduction in travel to reflect that many airlines are halting flights to affected regions, France's risk is still 25 percent, and Britain's is 15 percent.
"It's really a lottery," said Derek Gatherer of Britain's Lancaster University, an expert in viruses who has been tracking the epidemic - the worst Ebola outbreak in history.
The deadly epidemic has killed more than 3,400 people since it began in West Africa in March and has now started to spread faster, infecting almost 7,200 people so far. Nigeria, Senegal and now the United States - where the first case was diagnosed on Tuesday in a man who flew in from Liberia - have all seen people carrying the Ebola haemorrhagic fever virus, apparently unwittingly, arrive on their shores.
France is among countries most likely to be hit next because the worst affected countries - Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia - include French speakers and have busy travel routes back, while Britain's Heathrow airport is one of the world's biggest travel hubs.
France and Britain have each treated one national who was brought home with the disease and then cured. The scientists' study suggests that more may bring it to Europe not knowing they are infected.
"If this thing continues to rage on in West Africa and indeed gets worse, as some people have predicted, then it's only a matter of time before one of these cases ends up on a plane to Europe," said Gatherer.
Belgium has a 40 percent chance of seeing the disease arrive on its territory, while Spain and Switzerland have lower risks of 14 percent each, according to the study first published in the journal PLoS Current Outbreaks and now being regularly updated at http://www.mobs-lab.org/ebola.html
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has not placed any restrictions on travel and has encouraged airlines to keep flying to the worst-hit countries. British Airways and Emirates airlines have suspended some flights.
But the risks change every day the epidemic continues, said Alex Vespignani, a professor at the Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-Technical Systems at Northeastern University in Boston who led the research.
"This is not a deterministic list, it's about probabilities - but those probabilities are growing for everyone," Vespignani said in a telephone interview. "It's just a matter of who gets lucky and who gets unlucky."
The latest calculations used data from October 1.
"Air traffic is the driver," Vespignani said. "But there are also differences in connections with the affected countries (Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone), as well as different numbers of cases in these three countries - so depending on that, the probability numbers change."
Patients are at their most contagious when Ebola is in its terminal stages, inducing both internal and external bleeding, and profuse vomiting and diarrhoea - all of which contain high concentrations of infectious virus.
But the disease can also have a long incubation period of up to 21 days, meaning that people can be unaware for weeks that they are infected, and not feel or display any symptoms.
This, it seems, is what allowed the Liberian visitor Thomas Eric Duncanto to fly to the United States and spend several days there unaware that he was carrying the deadly virus, before being diagnosed and isolated. [ID:nL2N0RZ0J3]
In the European Union, free movement of people means someone unknowingly infected with Ebola could easily drive through several neighbouring countries before feeling ill and seeking help, and spend weeks in contact with friends or strangers before becoming sick enough to show up on airport scanners.
Jonathan Ball, a professor of molecular virology at Britain's Nottingham University said that even with exit screening at airports of affected countries, the long, silent incubation period meant "cases can slip through the net".
"Whilst the risk of imported Ebola virus remains small, it's still a very real risk, and one that won't go away until this outbreak is stopped," he said. "Ebola virus isn't just an African problem."
However, the chance of the disease spreading widely or developing into an epidemic in a wealthy, developed country is extremely low, healthcare specialists say.
According to the latest Ebola risk assessment from the European Centres of Disease Prevention and Control, which monitors health and disease in the region, "the capacity to detect and confirm cases...is considered to be sufficient to interrupt any possible local transmission of the disease early."
Gatherer cited Nigeria as an example of how Ebola can be halted with swift and detailed action.
Despite being in West Africa and being home to one of the world's most crowded, chaotic cities, Nigeria has managed to contain Ebola's spread to a total of 20 cases and 8 deaths, and looks likely to be declared free of the virus in coming weeks.
"Even if we have a worse case scenario where someone doesn't present for medical treatment, or..it's not correctly identified as Ebola, and we get secondary transmission, it's not likely to be a very long secondary transmission chain," he said.
"People aren't living in very crowded conditions (in Europe), so the disease doesn't have the same environment it has in a shanty town in Monrovia, where the environment is perfect for it to spread. It's a different matter in modern western cities with the very sanitised, sterile lives that we live."
Related Stories From Reuters
October 5th, 2014
"Over 3,500 passengers from Ebola affected nations have been allowed to enter the U.S. without any special screening since January 1, 2014, according to a leaked internal intelligence report from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office" ~ Breitbart
By Barry Secrest
Over the last several years, both the US and the world have experienced a series of disruptions and signs that would seem to bode of an ill wind blowing against humanity as a whole.
On virtually every continent, the harbinger of economic mayhem or war has either threatened to encompass or has actually taken hold of entire regions, destabilizing a balance which has forever been tenuous at best. Absent of human device, there are then natural cataclysms filling the vacuum.
In addition, we have seen signs in the heavens from a sequence of ongoing Blood Moons, Super Moons, Comets, and even asteroids and the like, while the earth rumbles and shakes at a historically unprecedented rate. Many believe that our world has entered into a new age marking either a significant ending or perhaps a new and rather dire beginning.
With all of this, there is the one other heretofore missing ingredient which may have finally found its dreadful purchase, the rapid progression of disease and pestilence unlike anything seen in modern times.
On Wednesday October 8, the second Blood moon of the Tetrad will appear. It will be the final Blood Moon for 2014, however there are two more Blood Moons which will appear in 2015 completeing the tetrad, one in April and the other in September. As stated numerous times before, this tetrad's appearance also marks the exact dates of major Jewish holidays, making it estraordinarily significant.
Simultaneously, the first US case of Ebola has now been downgraded to critical condition, as US officials stubbornly assert the politicization of the deadly killer disease:
"The impulse might be to isolate these countries. If we do that, we'll actually be increasing our own risk because, really, the simple truth is, by stopping it there and by helping them stop it there, we're helping ourselves."~ CDC Director Tom Frieden
As we look back on the events of 2014, with the culmination of a large number of historic developments, the significance of this 2014-2015 Blood Moon tetrad has already rapidly come into formidable focus.
As Ebola has now arrived in Texas, with at least a halfscore of other possible cases scattered across the US, our attention now turns to reports of a new scourge of pestilence hitting the continent of Africa.
New Congo Ebola not the Same as current Ebola Ravaging Africa...