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Articles on Ebola outbreak

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The economic cost of Ebola is estimated at around 3% of GDP for Liberia, and this does not take into account human costs. Ahmed Jallanzo/ AAP

The economics of Ebola

Economists are being called upon to estimate the costs of the Ebola epidemic to West Africa and elsewhere. However, economists should also play a part in estimating the likelihood of the disease spreading…
Ebola is less infectious than other diseases but has a high fatality rate. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Fast-spreading killers: how Ebola compares with other diseases

The West African outbreak of Ebola has claimed more than 4,800 lives and this number is sure to rise. There is understandably a lot of fear about Ebola, but how does it actually compare with other fast-spreading…
We should know by now - don’t click that link. Bill Buchanan

In cybersecurity, the weakest link is … you

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Computer security relies on a great number of links, hardware, software and something else altogether: you. The greatest threat to information security 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…
How much risk can health workers be asked to take on? Mike Segar/Reuters

When it comes to Ebola, how much risk is too much?

Taking care of sick people has always involved personal risk. From plague to tuberculosis to smallpox to SARS, health-care workers have put themselves in danger in the course of fulfilling their duties…
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…
Mining giant Rio Tinto, which has operated in Guinea for 50 years, has donated just US$100,000 to the UN Ebola fund. EPA/Ahmed Jallanzo

Mining companies must dig deep in the fight against Ebola

The current outbreak of Ebola virus in West Africa shows no signs of halting. More than 4,500 people have died and many thousands more are infected. Despite the creation of a new United Nations mission…
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…
It’s unclear whether Spanish dog Excalibur, pictured here with owner Javier Limon (husband of Ebola-infected nurse Teresa Ramos), was infected. EFE/PACMA

We still don’t know if domestic animals can spread Ebola

Spanish authorities have euthanised the dog of Madrid nurse Teresa Romero Ramos, who contracted Ebola. The 12-year-old dog, Excalibur, was not showing symptoms and was not tested for Ebola. But he lived…
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…

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