5:35 p.m. ET: Survival rate is higher for younger Ebola victims. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week finds young people are less likely to die after being infected by the Ebola virus. The research was conducted through an analysis of more than 100 patients at Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone by 47 doctors, nurses, and health care workers.
The research showed a particular advantage for young people – with a fatality rate of 57 percent for patients under 21, and a 94 percent fatality rate for those over 45. Other findings from the study include: how intensive fluid therapy is needed for severe diarrhea, fever is the most common symptom, and that the estimated incubation period is 6 to 12 days.
5:15 p.m. ET: The disease detectives are on it. New York’s disease detectives track an outbreak at the source and seek to stop transmission. According to the Associated Press, when a New York doctor was infected with Ebola the detectives were off and running.
“They’re able to work with an impossibly small amount of information,’’ Denis Nash, an epidemiology professor who used to work at the Health Department, told the Associated Press. “They can find someone when the description is as little as… ‘a light-skinned guy with a freckle on his cheek,’ and they do it discretely and professionally.’’
The team tracks credit cards, subway passes, and cellphone records to find out who had contact with the infected. From there, they develop solutions to stop the continuing spread of disease.
This proved to be easy with Dr. Craig Spencer when he began to show symptoms of Ebola. Health Department officials say that Spencer’s willingness to share information, as well as knowledge of the disease made it easy reconstruct his movements.
2:11 p.m. ET: Glimmers of hope in Liberia. The World Health Organization’s latest report on Wednesday said that while the rate of Ebola’s spread in Liberia may be slowing, Sierra Leone’s outbreak is getting worse. Officials warned today that even though Liberia is improving, it is still could re-emerge if people aren’t vigilant in their interactions with victims. Overall, the situation is still dire. “We are in a crisis situation which is going to get worse,’’ Alfred Palo Conteh, head of Sierra Leone’s National Ebola Response Center, said to reporters on Thursday. “What is happening now should have been done three months ago.’’
10:38 a.m. ET: The most talked about bike ride since the Tour de France.
“We have been in negotiations all day with the state of Maine and tried to resolve this amicably, but they are not allowing me to leave my house and interact with the public even though I am completely healthy and symptom-free,’’ Hickox told The Portland Press Herald Wednesday. “I am frustrated by this fact, and I have been told that it is the attorney general’s intention to file legal action against me. And if this does occur, I will challenge the legal actions.’’
6:43 a.m. ET: Maine nurse rides bike, defies quarantine:
Kaci Hickox left her home this morning in defiance of Maine’s voluntary quarantine for health workers who treated Ebola patients.
Hickox and her boyfriend rode away from their home on bicycles Thursday morning, followed by state police who were monitoring Hickox’s movements, according to an Associated Press report.
Troopers can’t take her into custody without a judge’s permission, according to the report.
Hickox, who treated Ebola patients in Africa with the group Doctors Without Borders, was the first person forced into New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for people returning from three West African countries.
Maine state law allows a judge to grant temporary custody of someone if health officials demonstrate ‘‘a clear and immediate public health threat,’’ the AP reported.
The latest numbers:
Number of cases worldwide in the current outbreak: 13,703 (as of Oct. 30)
Number of deaths: 4,920 (as of Oct. 30)
Countries currently affected by Ebola: Mali, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America.
Countries where the outbreak has ended: Nigeria (Oct. 19), Senegal (Oct. 17)
And here’s your daily reminder not to panic:
The likelihood of contracting Ebola in Massachusetts remains very low, according to the state’s public health officials. You have to be in direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while they are contagious (displaying symptoms of Ebola). Even if someone has been exposed, symptoms may appear in as little as two days, and in as many as 21 days, after exposure. The CDC says the average is 8 to 10 days.
– Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
– Severe headache
– Muscle pain
– Abdominal (stomach) pain
– Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
Need more details? Here’s an MGH physician dropping some knowledge for you.