Ebola

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From Texas Standard:

It wasn't too long ago when Dallas became the epicenter for what many feared could have been the beginning of a nationwide ebola epidemic. Since then, the U.S. government has fought to figure out when and where the next viral epidemic may come from.

Nurse Nina Pham tells the Dallas Morning News that while she is Ebola free, she suffers residual effects from contracting the disease from a patient she cared for last fall at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

The Central Texas based Global Language Monitor is out with its top words for 2014.

The 15 year-old ranking doesn't just pick the most popular words based on what one segment of the English speaking world is doing. A bunch of hits on YouTube, or a single event won't usually give something "word of the year" status.

Lizzie Chen for KUT News

A group of Texas experts on infectious disease has submitted a report with advice on how to handle any future outbreaks of viruses like Ebola.

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease chose technology as one of its priorities. Dr. Brett Giroir, the task force director, says they ended up working with Google on an app, which allows someone being monitored to enter his or her temperature and a public health official would have access to that.

Dr. Martin Salia, an Ebola patient who was flown to a Nebraska hospital for treatment, has died, hospital spokeswoman Jenny Nowatzke says.

Salia was working as a general surgeon at a hospital in Sierra Leone. Last Monday, despite the fact that he was not working with Ebola patients, he was diagnosed with the virus.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Smartphones are now the norm in the U.S., and in Austin, brandishing a flip phone in most situations is the social equivalent to wearing a dunce cap while riding a Segway. 

But in Africa and other developing countries, mobile-only networks dominate communications markets. In those places, a "brick", flip phone or “dumb” phone is a communication lifeline. 

So this weekend, Austin-based group Developers Doing Development is asking tech communities in both Austin and Madison, Wisconsin to bring smartphone-level coding to the dumb phone, and create apps that will provide on-the-ground updates and vital information to developing countries. 

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

The task force put together by Texas Governor Rick Perry to evaluate the state’s response to Ebola has come out with a list of recommendations for how to handle health care workers exposed to the virus.

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response has outlined four categories of exposure – from no identifiable risk to high risk. Those at a lower risk would just take their temperatures twice a day while high risk people would be restricted in their movement for the 21-day incubation period.

The task force says it "does not support mandatory government-imposed strict quarantine" for those who are cooperative and not showing symptoms – unless they meet the high risk description.

KUT News

Texas has been criticized lately for the amount the state spends on public health, which includes things like vaccination programs, programs aimed at reducing obesity, tobacco use and diseases like asthma, HIV and diabetes.

Public health also includes tracking and containing disease outbreaks, which is getting more attention since Texas had the first Ebola case in the U.S.

Image courtesy Dave Wilson http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

An unidentified nurse has returned to Texas from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. She arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport this morning.

The nurse has no symptoms of the disease, but has agreed to a request from Gov. Rick Perry to self-quarantine at home for 21 days. In a statement, Gov. Perry called her a "health care hero" and said the state will check in on her twice a day, but she was not forced to quarantine.

www.inquisitr.com

Halloween will soon be upon us, and among the ghouls and goblins walking the streets, you might see someone dressed up an Ebola patient out asking for candy. How will you respond?

Would you buckle over in laughter, or would you be totally offended by this irreverent ode to this devastating threat?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss why we respond to fear and other uncomfortable and threatening situations with humor.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The newly formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease listened to hours of testimony yesterday from experts in the state who know how viruses like Ebola could be handled in Texas.

In fact, that hearing has already yielded many lessons.

flickr.com/photos/127444369@N04/

43 patients were cleared from twice-a-day monitoring; Texas State Health Services Commissioner Dr. David Lakey urged schools against closing because of the low risk the virus poses to schoolchildren and administrators; and the Dept. of Defense announced it's sending a medical support team to begin training U.S. officials and responders on how to respond any future cases of the virus.

Below you can read a full recap of all the Ebola developments in Texas over the weekend.

In a full-page letter published in Sunday's Dallas Morning News, Barclay Berdan, the CEO of the company that owns Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, said the hospital was "deeply sorry" for missing the ebola diagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan.

flickr.com/thespeakernews

The eyes of the country are on Texas, as the public continues to follow the progress of a small string of Dallas residents that have contracted the Ebola virus.

While the wide scale global and political implications have been inundating the news, the viewpoint from the ground in Dallas can easily be washed away in a sea of analysis and criticism. Helping us gain a little perspective on the situation is Robert Wilonsky, digital managing editor at the Dallas Morning News who paints a more nuanced picture of the scene there.

flickr.com/cdcglobal

Officials in Dallas are taking steps to keep health workers at home who were in contact with Ebola patients or their bodily fluids. 

75 employees of the hospital which treated Liberian Thomas Duncan have been asked to sign legally binding papers in which they agree not to go to public places or use mass transit. This move marks the first steps toward the use of official state power to control the outbreak of disease.

Todd Wiseman/Phil Moyer via Texas Tribune

Officials from the University of Texas at Austin and Travis County say a female UT-Austin student was on board the Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Dallas which carried the Dallas area Ebola-affected nurse Amber Vinson.

The Travis County Health and Human Services Department is monitoring for symptoms of Ebola.  The student was not in close contact with Vinson and she is not showing symptoms of the virus. Officials urge there’s a “low risk” she contracted the virus because she was out of the three-foot radius around Vinson referred to as the "zone of concern" by officials.

The student will not attend classes at UT-Austin until after Nov. 3, according to UT Campus Safety and Security.

Ron Klain, a former White House adviser, has been appointed to head U.S. efforts to combat Ebola.

A White House official says Klain "will report directly to the president's Homeland Security Adviser Lisa Monaco and ... National Security Adviser Susan Rice as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don't distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa."

For the second night in a row, President Obama addressed the American public after meeting with his cabinet about Ebola.

Obama assured Americans that their federal government is taking "this very seriously at the highest level, including me."

"What remains true is this is not an airborne disease," Obama said. "It is not easy to catch. It's important to keep perspective in terms of how we handle this."

A Georgetown man is being closely monitored, Williamson County health officials say, after sitting near Dallas nurse Amber Vinson on a flight from Cleveland to Dallas earlier this week.

Vinson was among those treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the man from Liberia who began exhibiting symptoms of Ebola shortly after he arrived in Dallas earlier this month. Duncan died eight days after being admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

KUT News

Austin officials say they’re ready for any potential local cases of the Ebola virus.

Starting this week, when someone in Austin and Travis County calls 911 for medical help, an operator will ask more questions than usual about symptoms and travel history so that emergency responders can be prepared.

Facebook/Krystina Martinez

This story comes from KERA – KUT's public radio sister station in Dallas.

After two of the nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan became sick with Ebola, their colleagues across the state are expressing concerns about preparation for handling Ebola. 

In the fight against Ebola, nurses are in the line of fire.

“Nurses are that front line, they know where the potential for things to go wrong are, and that’s why they need to raise their concerns,” says registered nurse Cindy Zolnierek. Zolnierek is executive director of the Texas Nurses Association, which has more than 7,000 member nurses.

So far, Zolnierek says she is hearing some concerns about readiness, but also statements of confidence.

Dallas Police Department, @DallasPD

Update: The Texas Department of State Health Services this morning confirmed a second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola. The worker reported a fever on Tuesday and DSHS says he or she was immediately isolated at the hospital.

No information about the health care worker's identity is being released at this time but, like the first health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to be diagnosed with Ebola, this person took care of Thomas Eric Duncan – the first Ebola patient to die in the U.S. of the virus.

DSHS officials say they've already reached out to people who made have had contact with this second health worker. Those people will be monitored for potential symptoms.

The second diagnosis of a Texas health care worker comes a day after DSHS Chief David Lakey made statements in an effort to calm fears among health workers about the possible spread of Ebola.

Original Story (Oct. 14, 7:38 p.m.): The chief of the Texas Department of State Health Services says the team in Dallas is committed to containing the Ebola virus, and he says he understands the high level of anxiety among health care workers.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

Soldiers at Fort Hood got a visit from Texas Gov. Rick Perry yesterday. Hundreds of them will deploy to Liberia soon to help in the fight against Ebola.

Gov. Perry gave soldiers in Fort Hood’s 36th Engineering Brigade a pep talk. He told them they’re making a difference for the U.S. and the world.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

Thomas Eric Duncan, the 42-year-old man who contracted Ebola in Liberia and later traveled to Dallas, where he was being treated, has died, hospital officials say.

A statement from the company that runs Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Duncan was in isolation, read:

KUT News

The Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee convened in Austin today to home in on what Texas has done in response to having the first confirmed case of Ebola in the U.S., and what should be done next. 

People in Texas should feel confident in the state’s ability to respond to cases of infectious diseases, Kyle Janek, who leads the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, told members of the Senate committee. He said he can’t promise, however, that there will be no missteps.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Gov. Rick Perry announced an executive order that will create a task force to handle the recent case of Ebola diagnosed in Dallas.

The 17-member Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response will enhance the state's readiness to handle pandemic disease, the governor’s office said in a press release. The head of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Dr. Brett P. Giroir will lead the task force.

“Over the past several days we have learned a lot about the unique challenges of situations like this,” Perry said. “And it’s important that we continue to adapt our responses to these realities.”

Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET

The condition of a man infected with the Ebola virus who is undergoing treatment in Dallas is "fighting for his life," doctors say, as another patient with the disease has arrived in Nebraska to receive care.

Thomas Eric Duncan, in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, became ill after arriving from the West African country of Liberia two weeks ago.

KUT News

Four relatives of the Dallas Ebola patient are being monitored to ensure they stay inside their home and not risk spreading the disease. So far, however, they don’t have symptoms of Ebola, but their temperature will be taken twice a day.

This type of quarantine is possible because of a Texas law that allows health officials to issue a control order. It requires someone to stay home, "to ensure that we can monitor them as needed," said David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Todd Wiseman/Phil Moyer via Texas Tribune

A man who may have had contact with 100 other people is in isolation at a Dallas hospital after being diagnosed with Ebola, a deadly virus that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa. Two weeks ago, El Paso officials said more than 700 infants may have been exposed to a hospital aide with tuberculosis. And in July, the first case of chikungunya, a virus spread by mosquitoes, arrived in Texas.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Austin officials say the city has a plan to address any cases of Ebola, now that the first confirmed case in the U.S. is up the road in Dallas.

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services says it's been ready since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa began.

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