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Biological Health Hazard – West Africa Ebola Pandemic (Surveillance Update): Situation Report (Historical)


Published Date:2017-03-05 20:28:41
Subject: PRO/EDR> Ebola update (10): news, research
Archive Number: 20170305.4881172

In this update:

USA (New York City)
Antibody detection
Virus detection



03 Mar 2017

Ghana: Ghana Health Service discredits Ebola outbreak rumors

[A statement issued by the Ghana Health Service on Fri 3 Mar 2017, and signed by the Public Relations Officer, Rebecca Ackwonu, said “this very piece of false information (same message, delivered by same voice) was circulated in 2015 during the outbreak of Ebola in the sub-region.”
It said the false message has the potential of causing fear and panic among the populace and must therefore be disregarded.
“Considering the seriousness of EVD [Ebola virus disease], a highly infectious disease that spreads quickly from person to person and characterized by the extremely high death rate, the message has high potential to cause fear and panic to the general population if we allow it to circulate without responding to it.”]

27 Feb 2017

Liberia: Liberian Ebola fighter, a TIME Person of the Year, dies in childbirth

[A nursing assistant who escaped Ebola [Ebola virus disease (EVD)] in Liberia died on 21 Feb 2017 from the complications in childbirth and the lingering social stigma faced by many of Ebola’s survivors.
It was her determination to help Ebola patients when most of the world fled in fear that put her among the Ebola Fighters who were named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2014.]
[This is very sad. There were so many brave individuals who gave their lives as a result of helping others during the Ebola outbreak in W. Africa. – Mod.LK]

03 Mar 2017

(NYC): Is Ebola Back? Man at NYC’s Port Authority claiming to have disease causes evacuation In New York

Officials said, in a statement: “A man who became ill at the Port Authority Bus Terminal this afternoon [3 Mar 2016] was taken to an area hospital, where medical officials have told the Port Authority there is no indication he has any communicable diseases. Several gates have been closed out of an abundance of caution for cleaning.” A man who claimed to be suffering from the highly contagious Ebola virus caused the evacuation of one of New York City’s most populated transportation hubs on Thu [2 Mar 2017]. A section of the Port Authority Bus Station in midtown Manhattan was shut down after a man sitting on a bench said he was showing symptoms of the disease.
The man had been sitting in the station for more than 10 hours and had come to New York from Detroit, authorities said.
[Byline: Juliana Rose Pignataro]
[It is a relief he was not infected. – Mod.LK]

28 Feb 2017

Asymptomatic infection and unrecognized Ebola virus disease in Ebola-affected households in Sierra Leone: a cross-sectional study using a new non-invasive assay for antibodies to Ebola virus
[Citation. Glynn JR, Bowary H, Johnson S, et al. (28 Feb 2017 EPub). The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

[The frequency of asymptomatic infection with Ebola virus is unclear: previous estimates vary and there is no standard test. Asymptomatic infection with Ebola virus could contribute to population immunity, reducing spread. If people with asymptomatic infection are infectious it could explain re-emergences of Ebola virus disease (EVD) without known contact.]

[The investigators] validated a new oral fluid anti-glycoprotein IgG capture assay among survivors from Kerry Town Ebola Treatment Center and controls from communities unaffected by EVD in Sierra Leone. [They] then assessed the seroprevalence of antibodies to Ebola virus in a cross-sectional study of household contacts of the survivors. All household members were interviewed. Two reactive tests were required for a positive result, with a 3rd test to resolve any discrepancies….

This new highly specific and sensitive assay showed asymptomatic infection with Ebola virus was uncommon despite high exposure. The low prevalence suggests asymptomatic infection contributes little to herd immunity in Ebola, and even if infectious, would account for few transmissions.]

In conclusion, we have used a non-invasive assay to show that asymptomatic Ebola virus infection occurs, but accounted for only a small proportion of infections, so would have little effect on herd immunity. It is unknown whether those with asymptomatic Ebola virus infection are infectious, or could harbour virus in the long term, like some survivors. In that respect, the low proportion of asymptomatic infections is reassuring because these transmissions would be challenging to prevent. We also identified missed symptomatic cases, some of which were mild. Many questions remain, including why some people escape infection or disease despite high exposure, and whether those asymptomatically infected will have any immunity in future outbreaks.]

See Online/Comment Bavari S., Kuhn J.H. (27 Feb 2017). The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
[Glynn and colleagues established an assay based on oral swabs rather than blood draws, [allowing] future surveillance of EVD patient contacts [to] be more easily achieved. Intriguingly, oral swab-based assays might be used to do new geographically broad serosurveys to confirm or refute previously determined anti-Ebola virus seroprevalences, to identify and study truly asymptomatically infected people, and to better define the ecological niche of Ebola virus.]

28 Feb 2017

UAlbany biochemists make breakthrough in Ebola detection

[At the University at Albany, the assistant chemistry professor has developed a breakthrough process to detect the virus [Ebola virus disease (EVD)] that killed more than 11 000 people in 2014 in West Africa. Using tiny, gold nanoparticles, Mehmet Yigit and UAlbany graduate student Muhit Rana can detect almost instantly whether a patient has the disease, which will then cause a urine or saliva sample to change from purple to red in a matter of minutes. The disease is then confirmed by measuring the amount of light absorbed by the infected sample. The development is cheaper and more efficient than current standards, and could prove crucial for combating Ebola, which can kill an afflicted person within 3 weeks.]

[The innovative approach these scientists have taken should be fruitful in detection of many other infectious and non-infectious agents. Early detection is key to successful treatment of patients infected with many agents. – Mod.LK]

28 Feb 2017

M Waxman et. al. Characteristics and survival of patients with Ebola virus infection, malaria, or both in Sierra Leone: a retrospective cohort study. February 28, 2017
[Malaria parasite co-infection was common in patients presenting to ETUs and conferred an increased mortality risk in patients infected with Ebola virus, supporting empirical malaria treatment in ETUs. The high mortality among patients without EVD or malaria suggests expanded testing and treatment might improve care in future EVD epidemics.]

See Online/Comment Ebola virus and malaria parasite positivity: a febrile illness quagmire 

Citation. Massaquoi MBF and Kennedy SB (28 Feb 2017 EPub). The Lancet Infectious Diseases. DOI:
Before the Ebola virus outbreak in parts of west Africa, the differential diagnoses of febrile illnesses were primarily centred around common medical conditions prevalent in the tropics that overburdened the weakened health systems there, predominantly malaria, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, meningitis, Lassa fever, and measles. With the 2014-15 Ebola virus disease (EVD) epidemic and its devastating effects, the need for differential diagnoses of febrile illnesses has taken on new urgency, as well as become more complicated.]

[Compiled by: Celeste Whitlow <>]

Communicated by:

[A map showing the distribution of EVD cases as of 27 Mar 2016 can be seen at – Mod.LK

ProMED HealthMaps:
Sierra Leone

See Also

Ebola update (09): news, research, funding 20170226.4866142
Ebola update (08): news, research, vaccine 20170219.4850524
Ebola update (07): research, economy 20170213.4836546
Ebola update (06): research, treatment, funding 20170206.4819835
Ebola update (05): news, vaccine, funding, documentary films 20170129.4801064
Ebola update (04): research 20170123.4786222
Ebola update (03): news, research 20170115.4767977
Ebola update (02): news, research, vaccine, comment 20170108.4750411
Ebola update (01): News, research, vaccine 20170103.4738060

Ebola update (72): vaccine, research, NGO, media 20161226.4724859
Ebola update (71): research, economy 20161218.4706276
Ebola update (70): news, research, economy, funding 20161211.4690740
Ebola update (69): news, NGO, research, economy, funding, vaccine 20161204.4675615
Ebola update (68): news, economy 20161127.4657148
Ebola update (67): news, research, funding 20161120.4642402
Ebola update (66): news, research, funding, economy 20161115.4629793
Ebola update (65): news, research, commentary, economy, funding, vaccine 20161106.4609611
Ebola update (64): news, research 20161030.4595759
Ebola update (63): news, research 20161023.4579436
Ebola update (62): news, research, treatment, funding 20161017.4564066
Ebola update (61): news, funding, economy 20161009.4547627
Ebola update (60): news, research, economy 20161002.4531285
Ebola update (59): news, research, funding 20160925.4514591
Ebola update (58): news, research, funding, vaccine 20160918.4497393
Ebola update (57): news, research, funding 20160911.4481043
Ebola update (56): news, vaccine, research 20160904.4465145
Ebola update (55): research, funding 20160828.4446844
Ebola update (54): rapid test recall, nurse, research 20160821.4431433
Ebola update (53): Guinea, research 20160814.4415032
Ebola update (52): funding, research 20160808.4400521
Ebola update (51): funding, research, miscellaneous 20160731.4383179
Ebola update (50): Liberia, Sierra Leone, research 20160724.4366266
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

WHO Situation Summary Data Published on 03 Feb 2016

West Africa Outbreak *

United Kingdom: 1 case

Spain: 1 case

Guinea: 3804 cases — 2536 deaths

Sierra Leone: 14124 cases — 3956 deaths

Senegal: 1 case

Mali: 8 cases — 6 deaths

Liberia: 10675 cases — 4809 deaths

Nigeria: 20 cases — 8 deaths

United States: 4 cases — 1 death

* suspected case and death counts reported by WHO. To view case counts reported by other official and news media sources, visit

New WHO case counts released: 28603 cases; 11301 deaths.

Same numbers since last WHO case count update (on 27 Jan 2016).

Ebola Situation Report – 6 January 2016

 2014 Ebola Outbreaks (WHO)

March 2016

21 Mar 2016 Guinea: Guinea government adopts drastic measures to stop spread of Ebola

22 Mar 2016 Guinea: At least 5 dead in Guinea Ebola flare-up: health officials

22 Mar 2016 Guinea, Liberia: Ebola in Guinea: Liberia partially shuts border as 5th death in a week is confirmed

22 Mar 2016: Liberia closes borders as Ebola resurfaces in Guinea

23 Mar 2016. Travelers bypass borders

23 Mar 2016 Guinea: Villagers flee as Guinea logs 5th death in new Ebola outbreak; Liberia shuts border

22 Mar 2016: Malawi to meet Guinea despite Ebola scare

21 Mar 2016: West Africa vulnerable to new major Ebola outbreak as vigilance fades

A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases

Note the Month of report and Locations

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