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The country’s capacity to treat infected patients and prevent further spread is very limited. UN Women Asia & the Pacific/Flickr

How would Papua New Guinea deal with Ebola?

Contemplating how Papua New Guinea (PNG) would deal with Ebola may not be that different from asking the same of Liberia 12 months ago. While PNG’s per capita gross national income (US$2,540 in 2013) is…
In the US the risk of getting measles or dying from influenza is greater than the risk of getting Ebola. Jaime R Carrero/Reuters

Why you should worry less about Ebola and more about measles

News that a doctor in New York City tested positive for Ebola sparked mandatory quarantine orders for heath workers returning from West Africa in New York and New Jersey last week. The outbreak has killed…
Short-term panic draws attention away from long-term solutions. Paul Hanna/Reuters

Panic and precaution: Ebola and the outbreak narrative

It does not make the news when a two year old boy dies of Ebola in Guinea. Nor when his sister, his mother and his grandmother succumb. It takes time for local officials to recognize an outbreak. By the…
A Liberian health worker disinfects a street corner where a suspected Ebola patient was picked up by an ambulance. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Infection projections: how the spread of Ebola is calculated

The number of reported Ebola cases is doubling roughly every five weeks in Sierra Leone, and in as little as two to three weeks in Liberia. The number of reported cases globally is projected to reach 10,000…
The likelihood of cases presenting in Australia is currently low but we need to be prepared. Dan Peled/AAP

How would Australian hospitals respond to a case of Ebola?

As the Ebola outbreak continues in West Africa, hospitals and health systems are preparing for possible cases in Australia. What would this response look like? Australia has a system of “designated hospitals…
Bats can harbour viruses such as Ebola and don’t display clinical signs of disease. Janelle Lugge

Bat’s immunity may hold key to preventing future Ebola outbreaks

Bats are the natural host species for Ebola and a variety of viruses, many of which can be fatal when transmitted to humans. More than 100 viruses have been identified in bats and this number is rising…
Lab scientists working with Ebola use respirators, while surgical masks are deemed adequate for nurses at the front line. EPA/Anne-Marie Sanderson/DOH

How are nurses becoming infected with Ebola?

American nurse Nina Pham is the second health worker to contract Ebola outside of West Africa while caring for patients with the virus, despite using personal protective equipment. Authorities were quick…
Ebola is not spread through small airborne particles or larger droplets from coughing or sneezing. placbo/Flickr

Should we be worried about Ebola becoming airborne?

Suggestions the Ebola virus could “mutate” into a form that is transmissible by the respiratory route are speculative, and the likelihood of it happening are low. Nonetheless, the idea appears to have…
Having health-care workers use personal protective equipment significantly reduces the risk of onward transmission. AHMED JALLANZO/EPA

Quarantine works against Ebola but over-use risks disaster

A man in the United States has become the first known international traveller to be infected in the West Africa Ebola epidemic and carry the virus abroad. He is thought to have been infected in Liberia…
West African health-care workers are overworked and under-equipped to deal with the outbreak. European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr

How Ebola started, spread and spiralled out of control

Too slow. Too little, too late. Unprecedented. Out of control. These are just some of the descriptors for the biggest recorded epidemic of human infection by an ebolavirus. The question by some is how…
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by ticks. Mike K/Flickr

Lyme-like disease may result from related unknown bacteria

A government investigation into whether Lyme disease exists in Australia and how to treat it has ended without being able to resolve the issues. But there is a plausible explanation for why people here…
Entry screening aims to identify and deal with travellers coming back from Ebola-affected countries with a fever. EPA/Legnan Koula

Containing the international spread of Ebola

The West African Ebola virus outbreak is already the largest of its kind, both in terms of numbers and geography. And with the most distant parts of the world less than a day’s flight away, it isn’t too…
Most agree that if an individual is likely to die and an experimental therapy has a reasonable chance to prevent death, then it should be given. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Fast-tracking access to experimental Ebola drugs

The current outbreak of Zaire Ebola virus in Western Africa is the largest ever recorded. More than 1800 people have been infected and nearly 1000 people have died. But while drug therapies are close to…
Liberia’s lack of infrastructure. Ahmed Jallanzo/EPA

Tackling Ebola: isolate, hydrate and educate

Our understanding of Ebola has increased considerably since outbreaks of a mysterious haemorrhagic fever caused by an unknown virus first occurred in Southern Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo…

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