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Japanese researchers develop 30-minute Ebola test

Japanese researchers develop 30-minute Ebola test

2 September 2014 | 09:23 | FOCUS News Agency
Tokyo. Japanese researchers said Tuesday they had developed a new method to detect the presence of the Ebola virus in 30 minutes, with technology that could allow doctors to quickly diagnose infection, AFP reported.
Professor Jiro Yasuda and his team at Nagasaki University say their process is also cheaper than the system currently in use in west Africa where the virus has already killed more than 1,500 people.
"The new method is simpler than the current one and can be used in countries where expensive testing equipment is not available," Yasuda told AFP by telephone.
"We have yet to receive any questions or requests, but we are pleased to offer the system, which is ready to go," he said.
Yasuda said the team had developed what he called a "primer", which amplifies only those genes specific to the Ebola virus found in a blood sample or other bodily fluid.
Using existing techniques, ribonucleic acid (RNA) - biological molecules used in the coding of genes -- is extracted from any viruses present in a blood sample.
This is then used to synthesise the viral DNA, which can be mixed with the primers and then heated to 60-65 degrees Celsius (140-149 Fahrenheit).
If Ebola is present, DNA specific to the virus is amplified in 30 minutes due to the action of the primers. The by-products from the process cause the liquid to become cloudy, providing visual confirmation, Yasuda said.
Currently, a method called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, is widely used to detect the Ebola virus, which requires doctors to heat and cool samples repeatedly and takes up to two hours.
"The new method only needs a small, battery-powered warmer and the entire system costs just tens of thousands of yen (hundreds of dollars), which developing countries should be able to afford," he added.
The outbreak of the Ebola virus, transmitted through contact with infected bodily fluids, has sparked alarm throughout western Africa and further afield.
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Health workers death toll mounts in W.Africa as Ebola spreads

Health workers death toll mounts in W.Africa as Ebola spreads

31 August 2014 | 19:47 | FOCUS News Agency
Lagos. Nigeria on Sunday confirmed a fresh case of Ebola in a doctor whose husband died from the virus, adding to a growing list of healthcare workers in West Africa hit by the epidemic, AFP reported.
The woman's husband was also a doctor and died in the city of Port Harcourt on August 22 after treating a patient who had contact with a Liberian man who brought the virus to Nigeria in late July.
She was in stable condition at an isolation unit in the financial capital, Lagos, said Sampson Parker, the health commissioner of Rivers State, of which Port Harcourt is the capital.
Nigeria's medics have paid a heavy price in the outbreak: of the six people who have died from the disease in Africa's most populous nation, two have been doctors and two others nurses.
Another doctor and a pharmacist were put into isolation at a unit outside Port Harcourt, Parker said.
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Senegal confirms first Ebola case as outbreak hits 5th WAfrican country

Senegal confirms first Ebola case as outbreak hits 5th WAfrican country

29 August 2014 | 20:57 | FOCUS News Agency
Dakar. The Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people across West Africa spread to a fifth country in the region on Friday with the first confirmed case of the deadly virus in Senegal, AFP reported.
The case marks the first time a new country has been hit by the outbreak since July and comes a day after the UN warned the number of infections is increasing rapidly.
Senegal's health ministry said the patient is a young Guinean man who was immediately quarantined at a Dakar hospital, where he is in a "satisfactory condition."
The man is believed to have been infected in Guinea's capital Conakry, and may have travelled to Senegal before Dakar closed its land border with Guinea on August 21.
Authorities are now scrabbling to piece together where he went and who he encountered, in a bid to halt the spread of the deadly virus.
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Ebola cases could exceed 20,000 before outbreak stemmed: WHO

Ebola cases could exceed 20,000 before outbreak stemmed: WHO

28 August 2014 | 13:07 | FOCUS News Agency
Geneva. The World Health Organization said Thursday it aimed to reverse the spread of Ebola within three months, but warned that the caseload in West Africa's epidemic could eventually top 20,000, AFP reported.
In a new anti-Ebola plan, the UN health agency said it aimed to reverse the trend within three months, with the final aim of stopping "all residual transmission within 6-9 months".
It said the current case-count - 3,062, with 1,552 deaths - was likely two to four times lower than the actual number, and that the number of infections "could exceed 20,000 over the course of this emergency".
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Nigeria confirms Ebola death in oil city of Port Harcourt

Nigeria confirms Ebola death in oil city of Port Harcourt

28 August 2014 | 12:07 | FOCUS News Agency
Abuja. Nigeria on Thursday said that a doctor had died from Ebola in the southeastern oil city of Port Harcourt in the first case of the deadly virus outside the financial hub, Lagos, AFP reported.
Health minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said the medic died on August 22 after treating a patient who had contact with a Liberian-American man, who brought the virus into Nigeria and died in a Lagos hospital on July 25.
"Following the report of this death by the doctor's widow the next day, the case had been thoroughly investigated and laboratory analysis showed that this doctor died from EVD (Ebola Virus Disease)," he told reporters in Abuja.
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WHO medic with Ebola taken to Germany for treatment

WHO medic with Ebola taken to Germany for treatment

27 August 2014 | 17:51 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. A World Health Organization doctor who has contracted Ebola arrived in a German hospital Wednesday, the first patient with the virus to be treated in the country, officials said, cited by AFP.
The man - a Senegalese epidemiologist infected in Sierra Leone, according to the WHO - has requested that his name, age and health status not be made public, said his German doctors.
The patient arrived on a specially equipped aircraft in the northern city of Hamburg, and he was able to walk off the plane by himself, said Hamburg health department spokesman Rico Schmidt.
A convoy of police and fire brigade vehicles then accompanied his ambulance to the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, which specialises in treating highly contagious diseases.
Doctors there voiced optimism they could cure the man in their isolation ward with "supportive care" measures such as bringing down his fever, reducing pain and keeping his body well hydrated.
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Haemorrhagic fever killed 13 in DR Congo in 10 days: official

Haemorrhagic fever killed 13 in DR Congo in 10 days: official

22 August 2014 | 04:37 | FOCUS News Agency
Kinshasa. A haemorrhagic fever of unknown origin has killed 13 people in the northwestern Democratic Republic of Congo since August 11, a health ministry official said as quoted by AFP.
"All 13 people who have died suffered from a fever, diarrhoea, vomiting and, in a terminal stage, of vomiting a black matter," said Dr Felix Kabange Numbi. So far, about 80 people who came into contact with the deceased have been admitted to hospital.
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US doctor beats Ebola, will leave hospital

US doctor beats Ebola, will leave hospital

21 August 2014 | 16:09 | FOCUS News Agency
Washington. The American doctor who fell ill with the dangerous Ebola virus while working in Liberia has recovered and is being released from an Atlanta hospital, an aid group said Thursday, AFP reported.
Kent Brantly, 33, is scheduled to speak to the media along with doctors at Emory University Hospital at 11:00 am (1500 GMT), the hospital said in a statement.
The president of the Christian missionary group for which Brantly worked in Liberia, Samaritan's Purse, hailed the doctor's "courageous spirit" as he battled the virus which has killed 1,350 people in West Africa since March.
"Today I join all of our Samaritan's Purse team around the world in giving thanks to God as we celebrate Dr Kent Brantly's recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital," said Franklin Graham.
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Vietnam, Myanmar test patients for Ebola

Vietnam, Myanmar test patients for Ebola

20 August 2014 | 10:18 | FOCUS News Agency
Hanoi. Vietnam and Myanmar are testing three patients for the deadly Ebola virus after they arrived in the Southeast Asian nations from Africa suffering fever, health officials said, AFP reported.
Two Nigerians were sent to Ho Chi Minh City's Tropical Diseases Hospital for isolation after they arrived in the city by plane, Vietnam's health ministry said, adding that they did not have symptoms other than fever.
Airline passengers sitting next to the pair - who travelled to Vietnam on Monday from Nigeria via Qatar - have been advised to monitor their health.
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Liberian president orders curfew over Ebola outbreak

Liberian president orders curfew over Ebola outbreak

20 August 2014 | 03:29 | FOCUS News Agency
Monrovia. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf announced a nighttime curfew from Wednesday and the quarantine of two neighbourhoods, including one in the capital Monrovia, in a bid to stem the deadly Ebola outbreak, AFP reports.
"Commencing Wednesday, August 20 there will be a curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am (2100 to 0600 GMT)," Sirleaf said in a radio address late Tuesday.
"All entertainment centres are to be closed. All video centres are to be closed at 6:00 pm," she ordered.
The new quarantine areas include Monrovia's West Point slum.
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Germany quarantines suspected Ebola patient

Germany quarantines suspected Ebola patient

19 August 2014 | 17:21 | FOCUS News Agency
Berlin. German health authorities Tuesday took to hospital and quarantined a 30-year-old West African woman who showed symptoms consistent with the deadly Ebola disease, AFP reported.
Dozens of other visitors and staff at a Berlin employment office building were also stopped from leaving for several hours as emergency services sealed off part of the street.
The mass-circulation Bild daily said the woman had fainted, that she hailed from Nigeria and that she said later that she had recently been in contact with people infected with Ebola.
Several people who had been with the woman inside the building in the northeastern district of Prenzlauer Berg were later also taken to hospital for testing.
Berlin fire department spokesman Rolf Erbe said that because the patient came from "an area affected by a highly contagious disease, we took these precautions."
He said the testing in the city's Charite hospital would take some time.
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Woman with Ebola symptoms dies in Abu Dhabi Airport

Woman with Ebola symptoms dies in Abu Dhabi Airport

18 August 2014 | 17:29 | FOCUS News Agency
Dubai. A woman flying from Nigeria to India for cancer treatment died in the transit zone of the Abu Dhabi airport while exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms, United Arab Emirates media reported Monday, cited by RIA Novosti.
The 35-year-old woman started feeling sick during her transit at the airport on Sunday. The airport's medical staff examined the patient and stated that her symptoms consistent with the deadly Ebola virus currently ravaging Nigeria and several other western and central African countries.
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Liberia in desperate hunt for missing Ebola patients

Liberia in desperate hunt for missing Ebola patients

18 August 2014 | 17:06 | FOCUS News Agency
Monrovia. Liberian officials were searching Monday for 17 Ebola patients who fled an attack on a quarantine centre in the capital Monrovia, raising fears that they could spread the deadly and highly contagious disease, AFP reported.
"We have not yet found them," Information Minister Lewis Brown said, adding that "those who looted the place took away mattresses and bedding that were soaked with fluids from the patients."
On Saturday youths wielding clubs and knives raided the medical facility set up in a high school in the dense-populated West Point slum, some shouting "there's no Ebola", echoing wild rumours that the epidemic has been made up by the West to oppress Africans.
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American company develops rescue capsule in case of tsunami.
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