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The usually staid New England Journal of Medicine is blasting the decision of some states to quarantine returning Ebola healthcare workers.

In the latest tweak to America's plan to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leader Dr. Tom Frieden announced changes to the U.S. response to Ebola and the guidance federal agencies are giving to state and local governments.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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"If someone you know is sick with sudden fever, diarrhea or vomiting, you should call 117 for advice."

"Healthcare workers who take care of Ebola patients have to wear protective clothes do not be afraid of them."

"People with Ebola who go to the health centre early have a better chance of survival."

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

An Ebola Success Story In Northern Liberia

Oct 26, 2014

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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I am an infectious disease (ID) physician at Boston Medical Center, and I serve as the Director of Infection Control at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, helping design medical response programs to potential exposures to viruses that cause viral hemorrhagic fevers. This summer I spent 12 days in Sierra Leone, serving as part of a team treating patients at Kenema Government Hospital's Ebola treatment center. The center was supported by the World Health Organization with guidance, logistics and clinicians.

Salome Karwah, 26, lost both her parents to Ebola. On August 28, she walked out of the same Monrovia treatment center where they had died, a survivor of the virus.

And then one month later, she returned.

Ebola treatment centers are full of divisions: between sick and healthy, confirmed and suspected, dirty and clean. Karwah is standing in a fenced-in ward of suspected Ebola patients, gently bouncing a 10-month-old baby against her chest. "I help patients who are helpless," she says.

In a white tent outside an Ebola treatment ward in Monrovia, Dr. Dan Lucey fondles a surgical glove. He rubs the latex between his thumb and forefinger the way a tailor might caress a piece of fine silk.

"They have very good gloves here," Lucey gushes about the Ebola suits used by Doctors Without Borders, also known by its French acronym MSF. "The MSF personal protective equipment is the best!"

Lucey, a professor of immunology at Georgetown University, calls the MSF protective gear "the gold standard."

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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Travelers returning to New York and New Jersey from West African nations will be put under mandatory quarantine orders if they may have had contact with Ebola patients, Govs. Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie announced Friday, The Associated Press reports.

When Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, hugged Dallas nurse Nina Pham on Friday it was as much to combat the stigma surrounding the deadly virus as to celebrate her being free of Ebola.

Fauci said it was an honor to treat Pham and get to know "such an extraordinary individual." Pham said she felt "fortunate and blessed" and put her trust "in God and my medical team."

Pham later met with President Obama in the Oval Office. The president and the nurse also hugged as news photographers captured the moment.

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When You've Seen Subway Rats, Ebola Seems Like Nothin'

Oct 24, 2014

Yesterday, public health officials announced that Ebola had been identified for the first time in both Mali, a country that neighbors Guinea, and New York City. The arrival of the virus in another West African country is a cause for concern. The World Health Organization has sent a team of health experts to manage contact tracing and infection control for the two-year-old patient.

Working in Ebola hotspots is old hat for NPR. We've had reporters and photographers at the epidemic since April. Our global health correspondent Jason Beaubien has been to West Africa three times during the crisis.

This week it's my turn.

When I left the U.S. last week, I brought a list of tips from veteran Ebola reporters for keeping myself safe. Many of them are proving to be quite useful:

Health officials are saying it. Scientists are saying it. Heck, even many journalists are saying it: "The risk of Ebola infection remains vanishingly small in this country," The New York Times wrote Wednesday.

But what does that mean? Are you more likely to be struck by lightning or catch Ebola?

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Have you ever swallowed unflavored rehydration solution, or ORS? That's what they call the mixture of salt, sugar and water given to Ebola patients.

I've taken more than a mouthful, and urgh! It tastes dreadful.

But doctors who were among Nigeria's Ebola survivors all agree that they may not have recovered from the virus without having forced down the foul-tasting, but apparently life-saving fluid.

Gallons of it.

In early October, blizzard conditions in Nepal killed more than 16 foreign trekkers and 17 locals, most of them lightly-dressed porters who were carrying the trekkers' gear. The tragedy calls attention to the dangers of trekking — and the risky life of local porters.

At 42, Rane Tamang knows the trekking business well. From a poor village in central Nepal and with little formal education, he started work as a porter 25 years ago, lugging 90 pounds of gear up mountains. He moved up to serve as an assistant cook and now alternates between cook and guide.

An unusual government moratorium aimed at controversial research with high-risk viruses has halted important public health research, scientists told an advisory committee to the federal government on Wednesday.

When Ebola began killing people in the Monrovia suburb of Clara Town several months ago, some residents blamed vaccines.

One vaccinator in the town says mothers didn't want her near their babies.

"They had a notion that when the people come to the hospital, we would inject them and kill them," says vaccinator Che Che Richardson at the Clara Town Health Center, "because it was the hospital giving the people Ebola."

Rumors like that, combined with the closing of many health facilities, have caused childhood vaccination rates to plummet in Liberia.

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Aerial drones are targeting a new enemy: malaria.

Four hundred feet above a Malaysian forest, a three-foot eBee drone hovers and takes pictures with a 16-megapixel camera every 10 to 20 seconds. But it's not gathering images of the mosquitoes that transmit malaria. Even today's best drones aren't capable of such a photographic marvel. Rather, the drone is looking at a changing landscape that holds clues to the disease's spread.

Baby Gammy might mean the end of Thailand's lucrative surrogacy business.

He's the child who was carried by a surrogate mom in Thailand-- and rejected by the Australian couple who had agreed to pay the mother $12,000. The reason: Prenatal testing showed that the baby, a twin, had Down syndrome.

Ebola has rightly gripped the world's attention, but its death toll pales in comparison to other infectious diseases like tuberculosis. TB is the world's second leading infectious killer, after HIV/AIDS, and it's claiming more victims than previously thought — 1.5 million last year alone — according to a report released today by the World Health Organization.

Quick Facts About Ebola

Oct 22, 2014

Basic information about Ebola isn't as clear as it probably could be.

The World Health Organization says that efforts are on track to distribute an experimental Ebola vaccine in West Africa in January.

Two potential vaccines are now being tested for safety in people, and Russia is developing another one. While quantities will be limited, scientists say even a relatively small supply of vaccine can help bring the epidemic under control.

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