A pretty lady broadcasts from a megaphone safety messages about Ebola. Still, the medical response has far to go. In my two weeks here, near 50 brand new cases of Ebola have been reported daily.

Image by Amy Maxmen, via Instagram. Sierra Leone, 2014.

The Fight Against Ebola: Donating the Cure - Amy Maxmen for the Economist from the project, “Disaster Science During the Ebola Outbreak.”


The library is always improving our collection of audiobooks, and plenty of fascinating new releases are ready for your commute or next listening session!

Lucky Alan by Jonathan Lethem
Jonathan Lethem stretches new literary muscles in this scintillating new collection of stories. Some of these tales—such as “Pending Vegan,” which wonderfully captures a parental ache and anguish during a family visit to an aquatic theme park—are, in Lethem’s words, “obedient (at least outwardly) to realism.” Others, like “The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear,”, which deftly and hilariously captures the solipsism of blog culture, feature “the uncanny and surreal elements that still sometimes erupt in my short stories.”

The Jaguar’s Children by John Vaillant
Hector is trapped. The water truck, sealed to hide its human cargo, has broken down. The coyotes have taken all the passengers’ money for a mechanic and have not returned. Those left behind have no choice but to wait. Hector finds a name in his friend Cesar’s phone. AnniMac. A name with an American number. He must reach her, both for rescue and to pass along the message Cesar has come so far to deliver. But are his messages going through?

Ebola: The Natural and Human History of a Deadly Virus by David Quammen
In 1976 a deadly virus emerged from the Congo forest. As swiftly as it came, it disappeared, leaving no trace. Over the four decades since, Ebola has emerged sporadically, each time to devastating effect. It can kill up to 90 percent of its victims. In between these outbreaks, it is untraceable, hiding deep in the jungle. The search is on to find Ebola s elusive host animal. And until we find it, Ebola will continue to strike. Acclaimed science writer and explorer David Quammen tells the story of Ebola’s past, present, and unknowable future. 

Get In Trouble by Kelly Link
She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction” and by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure.” Now Kelly Link’s eagerly awaited new collection—her first for adult readers in a decade—proves indelibly that this bewitchingly original writer is among the finest we have. 

All of these audio titles, and many more, area available now at the Forest Park Public Library!

Speed. That’s key to ending the Ebola epidemic, health officials have been saying for months. Now there’s a new tool to help do the trick.

The World Health Organization approved the first quick test for Ebola Friday. The test gives results in about 15 minutes, instead of hours. So people infected can get treatment and be quarantined more quickly. According to the WHO, it’s a huge breakthrough.

15-Minute Ebola Test Approved For Fighting The Epidemic

Photo Credit: Corgenix Medical Corp.

Paper Test Quickly Detects Ebola, Dengue and Yellow Fever

Researchers in the US have developed a silver nanoparticle-based paper test to simultaneously detect dengue, yellow fever and Ebola. This could provide a cheap and reliable diagnosis for all three diseases, that’s as quick as a home pregnancy test.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa underscores an urgent need for rapid diagnostics; quick identification and patient isolation can benefit the sick and the healthy. However, dengue, yellow fever and Ebola all initially manifest as a fever and headache, so are easily mixed up.

Now, this huge problem has a tiny solution – an 8×3cm lateral flow test. Lee Gehrke and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School adapted the traditional single marker lateral flow test to diagnose several diseases at once. It costs $2, takes 10 minutes, and there is no need for a power supply, trained specialist or expensive equipment.

Continue Reading.

Prime Minister Harper: Don’t let my nationality prevent me from attending Canadian university

As the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa has declined in recent months, news of the fatal disease has disappeared from newspapers around the world.

One knee-jerk reaction from the government of Canada however remains in place.

In October 2014, the federal government shut the door on visa applications for would-be travellers from the three countries worst affected by the outbreak: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

As the Globe and Mail noted then, the move contradicted the advice of the World Health Organization, which argues blanket travel bans can result in sick people concealing ailments and as a result, actually hasten the spread of an infectious outbreak. The same argument was made by U.S. President Barack Obama, among others, who said such bans can do more harm than good.

Continue Reading.


Getty Images Reportage photographer Daniel Berehulak spent 2014 covering such stories as the elections in Kashmir, famine in Somalia, and conflict in Afghanistan. In his seminal work from last year he reported on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa through a series of documentary and portrait images. In recognition of his work, Pictures of the Year International awarded him Photographer of the Year 2014. Getty Images Co-founder and CEO Jonathan Klein commended the selection, saying: “Daniel brings a unique artistic eye to his work, using it to make exquisite images that tell some of the most important news stories of our time.” See Berehulak’s winning portfolio.  

Getty Images photographers, including Brent Stirton and Corinna Kern of Reportage, also brought home awards in the categories of Feature Picture Story, Issue Reporting, Sports Feature, and others. Read More.

Rapid test for Ebola now available

By Gretchen Vogel

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the first rapid diagnostic test for Ebola. The test needs no electricity, requires just a few drops of blood from a finger prick, and can return results in 15 minutes. That will be a huge help to health workers in remote areas.

Current PCR-based tests require a blood sample taken by needle, secure transport of the blood to a properly equipped laboratory with trained staff, and at least several hours to return results. Depending on how far away a suspected case is from a testing laboratory, it can take more than a day to receive test results.

The new test, produced by Corgenix, a company in Broomfield, Colorado, uses antibodies to identify a specific Ebola virus protein. The list price will be about $15 per test, says Robert Garry, a hemorrhagic disease expert at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, who helped develop the test. But discounts will be available, he says, for bulk purchases and suppliers for use in Africa.

In its announcement, WHO said that the test correctly identifies 92% of infected people and 85% of uninfected ones. The test will need to be backed up by PCR tests, Garry agrees.  “A rapid test is always going to be a screening test,” he says. “And no diagnostic can replace a health care worker’s judgment.”

The number of Ebola cases has declined since the height of the epidemic in September and October. But in Guinea and Sierra Leone, dozens of new cases continue to appear each week, many of which are not connected to known chains of transmission. The rapid test will be helpful in rapidly identifying new hotspots, Garry says.

*The Ebola Files: Given the current Ebola outbreak, unprecedented in terms of number of people killed and rapid geographic spread, Science and Science Translational Medicinehave made a collection of research and news articles on the viral disease freely available to researchers and the general public.


"Haja Umu Jalloh has not left the room and cordoned-off porch for three weeks. She eats bowls of rice and sauce, slid underneath a nylon rope she cannot cross. She has lost her family — her parents, her aunt and uncle, her 1-year-old son. But the 17-year-old says defiantly, ‘I feel happy because I am protecting others,’" writes Amy Maxmen.

Read on about Haja Umu Jalloh’s story in Amy Maxmen’s article, "In Sierra Leone, Teen Ebola Survivor Is Lifeline for Sick Orphans" 

The emerging field of global health emphasizes networks and shared vulnerabilities, but in practice — through disjointed programmes and a tendency towards ‘quick wins’ — has neglected dire inequalities, which mean a virus like Ebola can tear a country up due to an absence of the most fundamental public health and state capacities.
—  Annie Wilkinson discusses what we can learn from the recent Ebola crisis.

This is the young “headman” of Kent, a shoreline community just beyond the capital city that sustains itself through fishing and tourism on its stunning white sand beaches. When the headman heard about Ebola in July, he passed a law banning anyone from entering Kent. They’ve lost almost all of their cashflow, but they’ve not yet had a single case of Ebola.

Image by Amy Maxmen, via Instagram. Sierra Leone, 2014.

The Fight Against Ebola: Donating the Cure - Amy Maxmen for the Economist, from the project, “Disaster Science During the Ebola Outbreak.”

Joseph S. Gbembo, leans over the grave of his mother Sia, as he visits the cemetery where his mother, and 3 of his other family member’s who died from Ebola are buried, in a graveyard for Ebola victims on December 16, 2014 in Foya, Libera. The Gbembo family lost 17 people to Ebola.

This image is part of a body of work by Reportage photographer Daniel Berehulak that earned him the recently announced 2014 George Polk Award for Health Reporting. Daniel was assigned by the New York Times to cover the Ebola outbreak in West Africa over several months. Daniel shares his award with the other members of the New York Times team covering the story: Adam Nossiter, Norimitsu Onishi, Ben Solomon, Dr. Sheri Fink and Helene Cooper. As the award announcement reads, they “risked their own health and safety to provide American readers with their earliest and most reliable coverage of the scourge of the Ebola virus in West Africa.”

Read about more recipients of the 66th George Polk Awards on the Long Island University website.

"In early December, public-health workers distributed malaria medication to 2.52 million people in Sierra Leone. The effort was meant to curb the number of malaria cases as the disease approaches its peak season, and reduce, in turn, the number of people whose symptoms could be mistaken for those of Ebola. The government is planning another mass distribution in mid-January," writes Amy Maxmen.

Maxmen further explains: “But the side effects of the drugs can limit the efficacy of this approach, known as mass drug administration (MDA). People report fatigue and nausea — side effects that can be intensified if they have taken too many pills at once or have taken the drugs on an empty stomach. As word has got around about these problems, some people have opted not to take the medicine as directed, or at all.”

Read more from the story: “Side Effects Vex Anti-Malaria Push in Sierra Leone’s Battle Against Ebola” by Pulitzer Center Grantee Amy Maxmen for Nature.