Original Story: nydailynews.com
Like this move by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The social media czar and his wife Priscilla Chan are donating $25 million to help the Centers for Disease Control fight the Ebola epidemic.
“We need to get Ebola under control in the near term so that it doesn’t spread further and become a long term global health crisis that we end up fighting for decades at large scale, like HIV or polio,” Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. “We believe our grant is the quickest way to empower the CDC and the experts in this field to prevent this outcome.”
Zuckerberg’s donation will be used to fund the CDC’s efforts to eradicate the disease in the hardest-hit West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
This follows a $9 million donation Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen made last month toward the Ebola fight.
The cash infusion couldn’t come at a better time:
* Some 70% of the diagnosed cases thus far have ended in death and the World Health Organization warned in the coming months they could be dealing with 10,000 new cases a week.
“A lot more people will die” if the world doesn’t step up to the plate and deal with the unfolding crisis, Dr. Bruce Aylward of WHO said Tuesday in Geneva.
So far the Ebola death toll stands at 4,447 — nearly all the fatalities in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
“The most important step we can take is to stop Ebola at its source,” Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control, said. “The sooner the world comes together to help West Africa, the safer we all will be.”
* In Dallas, the first patient in the U.S. to come down with the disease said she was hanging in there.
“I want to thank everyone for their kind wishes and prayers,” Nina Pham said in a statement released by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where she works as a nurse. “I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world here.”
Pham, 26, got infected while treating Thomas Duncan, who contracted Ebola in Liberia and died in Dallas last week.
“She is a hero,” said Tom Ha, who attends the same Catholic Church as Pham’s mother. “She knew the patient had Ebola but she treated him like any other patient.”
Pham’s parish priest, the Rev. Jim Khoi of Our Lady of Fatima Church in East Fort Worth, Texas, said he learned from the nurse’s mother that she received a blood transfusion from the nation’s first Ebola survivor, Dr. Kent Brantly.
Ebola is spread by bodily fluids and the CDC suspects Pham caught the bug while she was taking off her protective equipment.
* Frieden said the 48 people Duncan came into contact with before he was hospitalized have “passed the critical period” and have not come down with Ebola.
Translation: they are two-thirds of the way through the 21-day incubation period, which is the riskiest time frame for contracting the disease.
Pham was one of 76 hospital workers who treated Duncan and their health continues to be monitored. Also being checked is a friend of Pham who was in contact with the nurse when she came down with Ebola symptoms.
So far none of them have come down with the disease.
* Frieden said the CDC is now poised to send an “Ebola response team” within hours to any hospital that has a confirmed case. It will include doctors, epidemologists and other specialists.
“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed,” Frieden said of Pham. “That might have prevented this infection.”
* In Leipzig, Germany, a United Nations aid worker died from Ebola infection at St. Georg hospital, a spokesman said Tuesday. The Sudanese man became infected in Liberia and was evacuated to Germany Oct. 9.
The Ebola outbreak was first identified in March and some of the most heroic work has been done by the group Doctors Without Borders.
But it came at a heavy price — the organization reported that 16 of its staffers have been infected with Ebola and nine of them have died.
It has also taken a psychic toll on the doctors trying to stop Ebola from spreading.
“Where is WHO Africa? Where is the African Union?” asked Sharon Ekambaram, who heads DWB in South Africa and worked in Sierra Leone from August to September. “We’ve all heard their promises in the media but have seen very little on the ground.”
Juli Switala, a South African pediatrician with DWB, said at the clinic in Sierra Leone where she worked, they made the conscious decision to not resuscitate babies out of fear that staff may be infected by bodily fluids.
They also had to turn away pregnant women because childbirth posed an even greater risk of exposing the staff to bodily fluids, Switala said.
“The hardest part is that you never get a break from thinking about Ebola,” Switala, who returns to Sierra Leone in a few days.