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When word spread through Sierra Leone's capital that Dr. Martin Salia had died this morning, a throng of patients and colleagues rushed to the gate of one of the hospitals where he had worked to find out if it was really true.

"People were crying, people were wailing, they were shouting. Some of the staff who came around were rolling on the ground," says Leonard Gbloh, administrator of Freetown's Kissy United Methodist Hospital, who witnessed the scene. "We're in a state of shock. We are really mourning the death of a great hero."

It began with a little boy.

A 4-year-old who was feeling sick. His family sent him to a neighboring village called Royail, where his grandmother lives, so she could care for him.

In this tiny place, surrounded by tall grass and palm trees, the grandmother lived in a house on a dirt road. Her name was Sinnah Turay, but people refer to her as "the mami-back" — that's what some folks in Sierra Leone call a grandmother.

As part of UNMEER, WHO — along with GoL, GoSL and NGOS like IMC and MSF — has been fighting the EVD crisis, making sure doctors correctly put on PPEs according to CDC guidelines. Meanwhile WFP is sending in food and DETT from JFC-UA are training health workers who will staff pending ETUs in Liberia.

Did you guess that I was writing about the Ebola outbreak?

If it was a snake, it would have bitten us.

The secret to stopping a deadly stomach virus may be sitting right there in our guts, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science. Or more specifically, the treatment is in our microbiome — the trillions of bacteria that inconspicuously hang out in the GI tracts.

Immunologists at Georgia State University found that a tiny piece of gut bacteria can prevent and cure a rotavirus infection in mice.

"This is not just one case," says Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "It's a cluster." He's talking about the Ebola situation in Mali, where two people have likely died of the disease in Bamako, the capital, and two others have tested positive.

Hundreds more may have been exposed. Officials from the U.N., the World Health Organization, the government of Mali and the CDC are all calling for swift action to keep Mali from descending into the Ebola chaos that's hit neighboring Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

When Rebecca "Mama" Barclay died in the summer of 2011, hundreds gathered for her funeral at a small Baptist church a few miles outside Liberia's capital, Monrovia. Men came in suits, women in black outfits or church robes and children in white to honor the 69-year-old woman, who was a respected community leader.

For years, health researchers have been excited about two new weapons in the war on HIV — a vaginal gel and a pill. Both reduce the likelihood of HIV transmission during intercourse and could give young women in Africa, where the virus is especially prevalent, a new way to protect themselves during sex.

There's just one problem: It's really difficult to get women to use them.

Medical teams plan to start three clinical trials in the fight against the Ebola virus next month, administering the drugs at treatment centers run by Doctors Without Borders in West Africa. Two of the therapies involve antiviral drugs.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Could you walk through an Ebola treatment center in Liberia without catching the virus?

Soon you may be able to find out from the comfort of your living room. Shift Labs, a Seattle-based tech outfit, has developed a prototype for a video game that could be used to train health workers on duty in West Africa.

Mali slapped quarantine orders on nearly 90 people on Wednesday and closed a mosque and a health facility in an effort to contain an Ebola outbreak.

The moves come after a nurse at a private clinic in the capital, Bamako, was confirmed as an Ebola victim.

If you're one of the billions of people who use Facebook and Google on a daily basis, you may have noticed some new messaging coming from the websites themselves. Both companies have launched Ebola relief fundraising campaigns in the past week, calling on their massive user logs (translation for nonsocial-media experts: all the people who waste time on these websites every day) to donate money to the cause.

In the early months of World War I, British Pvt. Ernest Cable was a member of the 2nd Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. Records show that in early 1915, his regiment was fighting in the trenches of Flanders, Belgium.

Colorectal cancer is the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths for both men and women in the U.S. It used to be that wealthy, white northerners had the highest death rates. But in the past few decades the trend has shifted, and now the people at highest risk are poor, black southerners.

In his new book about Ebola, science writer David Quammen has some harsh words for the author of another book about the virus — Richard Preston's best-seller The Hot Zone.

Medical experts are meeting today and tomorrow at the World Health Organization in Geneva to figure out how to test potential Ebola drugs in Africa. In addition to determining which experimental drugs should be the highest priority, the experts are sorting through some difficult ethical issues.

In short, they're trying to figure out how to design tests that will provide the fastest and most trustworthy answers — and yet minimize the need for comparison groups who won't be offered the experimental treatments.

Breast-milk banks are a great way to help babies whose mothers aren't able to breast-feed. Breast milk, in case you didn't know, does a better job than formula at bolstering a baby's immune system, especially if the tot is premature or underweight.

Ebola is threatening to reverse years of educational progress in West Africa. The virus has kept school closed for months in a part of the world where literacy rates are low and school systems are only now recovering from years of civil war.

In Liberia, many children have been put to work while schools are closed, and Ebola is hurting the economy, says Laurent Duvillier, a communication specialist at UNICEF. The fear now, he says, is that many of these children will never return to school.

It's the biggest Ebola song yet.

Just as stars like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder came together in 1985 to sing "We Are the World" and raise money for Ethiopian famine relief, 12 acclaimed African musicians have united to marry music and message.

In the current Ebola crisis, much of the focus has been on Liberia and Sierra Leone. But the virus also continues to spread in Guinea, where the first case in the current outbreak was identified in March.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Robert F. Kennedy once said that GDP, or gross domestic product, "measures everything ... except that which makes life worthwhile."

GDP, in case you weren't paying attention in Econ 101, looks at economic activity as a way to size up how a country is doing.

Before traveling to Thailand in 2011, American poet Cameron Conaway viewed malaria as many Westerners do: a remote disease summed up by factoids:

It's borne by mosquitoes.

Half the world's population — 3.4 billion people — is at risk of catching it.

The disease claims 627,000 lives a year – that's one death every minute.

There are currently 13,042 confirmed or suspected cases of the deadly Ebola virus in six countries, according to the World Health Organization. But the group says its latest figures also hold some good news, as the number of Ebola cases in hard-hit Liberia appear to be on the decline.

WHO released its data for the period up to Nov. 2 Wednesday, saying that Ebola has now been blamed for 4,818 reported deaths.

The panic over Ebola in the U.S. gets a one-word comment from Gregg Gonsalves: "Crazy."

Actually, he has a few more words than that to say. In this week's online New England Journal of Medicine, Gonsalves co-authored an essay called "Panic, Paranoia, and Public Health — The AIDS Epidemic's Lessons for Ebola."

Two new U.S. Ebola treatment facilities are expected to open in Liberia over the next week. One is a 25-bed field hospital near Monrovia's airport, specifically to treat local health care workers who get infected. The other is a 100-bed Ebola treatment unit, or ETU, in the town of Tubmanburg, north of Monrovia.

If there's one thing college kids do best, it's thinking creatively. Often operating with limited resources and tight deadlines, they're used to coming up with ingenious solutions to life's everyday problems (usually on little sleep). So it's no surprise that experts are turning to students for help in battling one of this year's most pressing global health issues: the Ebola outbreak.

Why do people sometimes give generously to a cause — and other times give nothing at all?

That's a timely question, because humanitarian groups fighting the Ebola outbreak need donations from people in rich countries. But some groups say they're getting less money than they'd expect from donors despite all the news.

Wilson Kipsang, the Kenyan winner of Sunday's New York City Marathon, told reporters after it was over that he'd had to slow down — to "exercise a lot of patience" — as he logged the first miles of the 26.2-mile race.

And even with his purposely slowish (!) start, he completed the marathon in two hours, 10 minutes and 59 seconds.

What if you could track people getting sick just by analyzing how they surf the Web?

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