Infectious Disease

String-like Ebola virus particles are shedding from an infected cell in this electron micrograph.
NIH/NIAID via Flickr/Creative Commons

Some Chapel Hill librarians are joining in the effort  to respond to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. A non-profit group called WiderNet is making information available to those without Internet access.

WiderNet's project director, Cliff Missen, says only two percent of people in Liberia and Sierra Leone have an Internet connection -- that includes health care workers.

"What we do is something completely different," says Missen. 

Ebola in Guinea.
flickr.com/photos/69583224@N05/13717624625/

It started with a whisper. 

How are Americans sizing up the threat from Ebola?

A Harvard School of Public Health poll finds that more than a third of Americans (38 percent) are worried that Ebola will infect them or a family member over the next year.

Most (81 percent) believe Ebola can spread from someone who is sick and has symptoms. And that's correct.

String-like Ebola virus particles are shedding from an infected cell in this electron micrograph.
NIH/NIAID via Flickr/Creative Commons

State government leaders say North Carolina is well on the way to being prepared if an Ebola case is diagnosed within our borders.  A state epidemiologist says steps to isolate a contagious and potentially deadly case can be put in place without an emergency order from the governor.   Those actions can include quarantines of people and buildings.  

State DHHS secretary Aldona Wos says the appearance of the disease in this country is prompting many states to respond.

A chart showing the where there is a risk for CRE infections
CDC

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are organisms that do not respond to antibiotics. They're mostly picked up by patients while in the hospital, and have a mortality rate ranging from 48% - 71%.  What's more, between 2008 and 2012, reports of CRE jumped five-fold in the southeastern United States.

In the past several months, Dr. Sheik Umar Khan has been a leader in the fight against the deadliest and largest Ebola outbreak in history.

Khan, 39, has treated over 100 Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. He's a "national hero," the country's health minister said Tuesday.

The World Health Organization has reported the largest outbreak of Ebola ever: more than 330 deaths in western Africa, and the number is rising.  Dr. William Fischer is an infectious disease specialist at the UNC School of Medicine. He has just returned from Guinea, the epicenter of the outbreak.  Fischer admits he was scared at first. He wore protective clothing and a mask that made him look more like an astronaut than a physician. 

When asked about one of his most memorable experiences, he told this story:

http://www.wikihow.com/Treat-Meningitis-%28Spinal-Meningitis%29
WikiHow: Creative Commons.

A Chapel Hill teen died suddenly on Wednesday. The Orange County Health Department suspects it was caused by a bacteria called meningococcus. It can lead to meningitis and blood infections. Both bring body aches and a rash among other symptoms.

The Chapel Hill boy only noticed symptoms a day before, but health officials estimate he was exposed to the bacteria last week.

Zack Moore is a medical epidemiologist with the state Division of Public Health.

Vaccine, shot,
Wake Med

 A Washington non-profit group says North Carolina ranks high in stopping infectious diseases.  The Trust for America's Health released a report on a year-long study that says the state hit seven of 10 marks in preventing outbreaks.  Spokesman Albert Lang says North Carolina is focused on more than just maladies common in less-developed nations.