Ebola-free Liberia mysteriously gets 3rd new victim today

After almost two months of an Ebola-free Liberia, the deadly disease has reared its head again. And officials fear there may be a new way of contracting it. Three cases have popped up in the last twelve days, in the village of Nedowein, 30 miles from Liberia's capital, and no one knows how the victims were infected. The first victim was a 17-year-old boy who died on Sunday. The other two victims from the same village, ages 24 and 27, are in stable condition. None of the three had visited countries still infected with Ebola, which adds mystery to this new round of Ebola.

"An Ebola case being reported in the middle part of Liberia is confusing," said Adolphus Gbinee, Memaigar's uncle. "We do not have cases at our borders, not even in Monrovia. How could Ebola jump over those places and come here in Nedowein?"

One theory is that it was transmitted by an animal. The three infected people had all eaten a dead dog that had been dug up before they came down with the virus. Another theory is that the disease hadn't actually been completely eradicated from Liberia. And a third theory is that perhaps the disease was spread through semen, which can carry the virus for 90 days. Researchers are looking at these and other possible ways the disease could have made a comeback.

Officials are keeping tabs on 175 people who had contact with the victims. Over 11,200 people have died from the West African outbreak since 2013. Read the rest

Sexual transmission of Ebola suspected in new case

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report that a woman in Liberia is suspected of having contracted Ebola through sexual intercourse.

After falling ill in Monrovia, the 44-year-old victim was found to have only one link to the often-fatal disease: unprotected vaginal intercourse with a survivor.

"Published reports from previous outbreaks have demonstrated Ebola survivors can continue to harbor virus in immunologically privileged sites for a period of time after convalescence," the CDC's Athalia Christie wrote. "Ebola virus has been isolated from semen as long as 82 days after symptom onset and viral RNA has been detected in semen up to 101 days after symptom onset."

It cautioned that it is not possible to "definitively ascribe" Ebola infection to sexual contact, but recommends that contact with the semen of male Ebola survivors be avoided until more information of its infectiousness is known. Male survivors should always use condoms, the CDC recommends.

The Ebola outbreak has diminished over the past few months, according to the report. Read the rest

Fighting Ebola through music: Sierra Leone's Jimmy B and “Ebola 4 Go”

In his music video "Ebola 4 Go", Sierra Leone music star Jimmy Yeanie Bangura, aka “Jimmy B,” pays homage to the fight against Ebola. Read the rest

GamerGate metaphor: Woman pulls gun on ISIS member with ebola raping her pit bull

#GamerGate metaphor: Woman pulls #gun on #ISIS member with #ebola raping her pit bull in the most buzzword-filled news headline of the year. Read the rest

Passengers ebola joke triggers hazmat panic

When a dark-skinned man sneezed on a plane then joked about having ebola, the flight crew took no chances and called a team in hazardous material suits to escort him off the plane.

The passenger had never been in Africa. He did not have Ebola. Read the rest

5 U.S. airports will begin screening travelers for Ebola

Pedestrians walk past a mural showing the symptoms of the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, September 26, 2014. [REUTERS/James Giahyue]

Federal officials today said that passengers arriving from West Africa will be screened for body temperature at five American airports. The first will be JFK in New York, as early as this weekend. Starting next week, travelers inbound from affected countries in Africa will also be screened at Washington Dulles International, O’Hare International, Hartsfield-Jackson International and Newark Liberty International. [NYT] Read the rest

Questions over quality of care provided to first Ebola patient to die in US

Could Thomas Eric Duncan's life could have been extended or saved if the Texas hospital where he first sought help took him in sooner?

100 people may have been exposed to Ebola via first U.S. patient, four are isolated

Four people were quarantined in a Dallas apartment where sheets and other items used by the man were put in sealed plastic bags to prevent infection.

Facts about Ebola, from the CDC

This infographic from the US Centers for Disease Control serves to dispel some of the panic spreading around the disease. Read the rest

Experimental drug 'likely saved' first two Americans with Ebola

Kent Brantly, a doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia, shown with colleagues in this undated photograph provided by Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse//Reuters

CNN reports that an experimental treatment for Ebola known as ZMapp was "flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save two American missionary workers who had contracted Ebola." So far, it has worked: both are still alive.

Read the rest

African leaders attending summit with Obama in US first screened for Ebola

"String-like Ebola virus peeling off an infected cell." Heinz Feldmann, Peter Jahrling, Elizabeth Fischer and Anita Mora, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

Heads of state attending The US-Africa Leaders Summit, held today through August 6, will first be screened to make sure they don't test positive for Ebola. Read the rest

How much should you be worried about Ebola?

A very helpful chart with which to manage the outbreak of Ebola panic on social media. Read the rest

American Ebola patient arrives at Atlanta hospital

Kent Brantly, a doctor who contracted Ebola in Liberia, shown with colleagues in this undated photograph provided by Samaritan's Purse. Samaritan's Purse//Reuters

CNN reports that an American doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa, where he worked for a medical charity, has been transported to Emory Hospital in Atlanta.

"A specially equipped medical plane whisked Ebola-stricken Dr. Kent Brantly from Liberia to Georgia on Saturday," the network reports. Read the rest

Ebola 'moving faster than our efforts to control it,' says World Health Organization

"String-like Ebola virus peeling off an infected cell." Heinz Feldmann, Peter Jahrling, Elizabeth Fischer and Anita Mora, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health

The World Health Organization's director said today that the ever-worsening Ebola outbreak is "moving faster than our efforts to control it." Read the rest

Ebola in Uganda

Yesterday, Xeni told you that the deadly virus Ebola has reemerged in Uganda. The disease has actually been infecting and killing people in the western part of the country for three weeks. We're hearing about it now, in big font, because some sources have reported that the disease has reached Kampala, the country's capital. (Other sources say only that one person infected with Ebola traveled to Kampala, and that there have been no reports of anyone catching the disease in that city.)

The Kampala link is somewhat concerning. Previous Ebola outbreaks have centered on rural areas, villages, and mid-sized towns. With the exception of a handful of highly monitored cases that centered around research labs in the U.S. and Europe, and the case of a medical worker who accidentally brought the virus to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1996, Ebola has not previously found its way into any major global hubs of human life. Kampala may not be on your radar with New York, Tokyo, or London, but air travel and money give it strong ties to the rest of the world and population density gives it a much larger number of potential victims within striking distance.

But here is a key thing about Ebola—it's scary as hell, but it burns itself out pretty fast and it's not that easy to spread. On average, Ebola kills a majority of the people it infects, and it kills them quickly. The time between infection and onset of symptoms ranges from two to 21 days. Read the rest

Uganda: Ebola's back

The president of Uganda has "banned all physical contact" as the deadly Ebola virus is reported in the city's capital, Kampala, for the first time. “The Ministry of Health are tracing all the people who have had contact with the victims,” president Yoweri Museveni said in a state broadcast. 14 have died of Ebola in Uganda in the past 3 weeks. (via @seanbonner) Read the rest