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Nuclear help for faster Ebola diagnosis
by Staff Writers
Vienna (AFP) Oct 14, 2014

No thanks to Ebola medical waste: US facility
Washington (AFP) Oct 14, 2014 - A Louisiana firm said Monday it will not accept medical waste from the late Ebola patient in Texas, even though it acknowledged the refuse is safe.

Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan was the first person diagnosed with Ebola outside Africa. Duncan was hospitalized September 28 and died of Ebola on Wednesday in Dallas.

The company, Chemical Waste Management, insisted that while its facility in the city of Lake Charles is "permitted by the state and federal government to accept waste of this type, and while accepting this waste poses no threat to the environment or human health, we do not want to make an already complicated situation, more complicated."

Authorities believe medical waste and hazardous waste incinerator ash -- the residue left by incineration -- is not capable of transmitting infectious disease, including Ebola.

President Barack Obama met Monday with members of his public health and national security team to receive an update on the response to the diagnosis of the second Ebola case in Dallas, Texas -- a nurse who cared for Duncan.

Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa since the start of the year, and is spread through close contact with bodily fluids.

The UN nuclear agency said Tuesday that it will provide specialised equipment to West African countries hit by the Ebola outbreak to help faster diagnosis.

The International Atomic Energy Agency will send to Sierra Leone "in the coming weeks" a machine using the so-called Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) technology.

RT-PCR allows the Ebola virus "to be detected within a few hours, while other methods require growing on a cell culture for several days before a diagnosis is determined," the IAEA said.

"Early diagnosis ... if combined with appropriate medical care, increases the victims' chance of survival and helps curtail the spread of the disease by making it possible to isolate and treat the patients earlier," it said in a statement.

In addition, the Vienna-based body will ship out cooling systems, biosecurity equipment, diagnostic kits and other materials. Similar support will be provided to Liberia and Guinea, it said.

Sierra Leone and other affected countries are already applying RT-PCR, but their capability is limited due to shortages of diagnostic kits and other materials.

The method, co-developed with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was instrumental in the global eradication of rinderpest, long a scourge of livestock.

RT-PCR initially used radioactive isotopes to determine the presence of a virus but subsequent refining of the process has led to the use of fluorescent markers instead.

The Ebola epidemic has killed more than 4,400 people this year, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to brand it "the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times".


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Epidemics on Earth - Bird Flu, HIV/AIDS, Ebola

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Preliminary Ebola tests come back positive for Dallas healthcare worker
Dallas (UPI) Oct 12, 2014
A second Ebola case has been diagnosed in the United States, as preliminary tests for the deadly disease have come back positive for a healthcare worker in Dallas who cared for Liberian Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died last week. The hospital confirmed that the newly diagnosed patient wore protective gear at ... read more

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