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Ebola: Three unpalatable truths

CRP 4 Clippings -

 into the Ebola epicentre

The district of Kailahun, in eastern Sierra Leone, bordering Guinea, is home to this 88-bed largest Ebola treatment and isolation centre set up by Médecins Sans Frontières (photo on Flickr by ©EC/ECHO/Cyprien Fabre).

This opinion piece is written by Eliza Smith

‘By now, it seems we’ve heard everything there is to hear about the mysterious bloody disease called Ebola: heartbreaking tales of loss and heroism, news of ground-breaking science to find a cure, reports of panic and much misinformation.

‘But there are three simple, if unpalatable, truths that we aren’t hearing enough about.

‘First, this is not a particularly mysterious disease.

‘It’s one of many haemorrhagic fevers caused by well-researched RNA viruses, including Lassa, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic, dengue (‘break bone’) and yellow (jungle) fevers. All of them can cause similar symptoms in humans: fever, increased tendency to bleed and often death.

Ebola Virus

Scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus budding from the surface of a Vero cell (African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line) (photo on Flickr by NIAID).

‘While we still have a lot to learn about the Ebola virus in particular, we know enough about how diseases are transmitted to make some educated speculations and recommendations. . . .

[W]ildlife and livestock often play the middle-men in transmission to humans. . . . For Ebola, there’s evidence that the middleman is a non-human primate that humans come into contact with by harvesting bush meat. For Ebola, it isn’t a mystery that better understanding of the bush-meat trade and discussions on ways to provide alternative sources of protein to the people in this region would go a long way in preventing future outbreaks and other similar diseases waiting to emerge.

‘Furthermore, for over ten years now, ‘One Health’ and ‘Ecohealth’ movements, which seek to prevent or control disease risks generated at the human-animal-environment interface, have provided evidence for how the increased emergence of such multi-host or zoonotic diseases are linked to the changes in the way we use land.

‘This leads us to the second truth—that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not at all surprising. . . . These people have been living with diverse disease hosts, vectors and threats for millennia.

‘As larger, more food-insecure and unsettled populations of people following traditional cultural practices push further into these forests in search of food and income sources, it is only a matter of time before Ebola and other animal-to-human diseases emerge and re-emerge.

‘Detecting initial cases and controlling subsequent transmission is difficult in societies here, where there is a dearth of healthcare infrastructure, government assistance and education campaigns and where strong cultural beliefs remain. Add to this a “first time experience” for a region facing such challenges, and you have a recipe for the largest Ebola outbreak in history.

‘The last truth is the most difficult to hear. Epidemiologically speaking, Ebola should not be a terrible disease. Historically, Ebola outbreaks have affected few people and should be easy to control with best practice. This is in stark contrast to the plethora of neglected diseases plaguing people in these regions and aerosilized infectious agents like bird flu. . . .

 into the Ebola epicentre

The (many and real) heroes of the battle against Ebola: health care workers in all the effected countries (photo on Flickr by ©EC/ECHO/Cyprien Fabre).

‘It looks like this disease is not going to go away any time soon.

‘But surely we can extract some good out of this devastation.

Let’s not waste this opportunity. Let’s use our fears constructively and move the issue of poverty up the global political agenda. Let’s focus our attention and investments on understanding and addressing the conditions that enable these ever-evolving and ever-increasing infectious diseases to create economic and societal havoc. . . .

‘[T]he foundation of these efforts should be . . . a holistic and preventative “systems approach” approach.

‘As we acknowledge the victims, the dead and the living, who have placed this challenge at humanity’s doorstep, it is for the rest of us to pick it up.’

Eliza Smith is an Australian veterinarian living and working in East Africa with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a member of the CGIAR Consortium. Her current work involves investigating the epidemiology of Ebola virus. She works in ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonosis program, led by veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace.

Read the whole article by Eliza Smith at Thompson Reuters Foundation/Trust: Beyond Ebola: Three actions, 17 Oct 2014.


Filed under: Agri-Health, CRP4, Disease Control, Emerging Diseases, Environment, Food Safety, FSZ, Guinea, ILRI, Nigeria, Opinion piece, Pigs, Senegal, USA, West Africa, Zoonotic Diseases Tagged: Delia Grace, Ebola, Eliza Smith, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Ebola: Three unpalatable truths

Clippings -

 into the Ebola epicentre

The district of Kailahun, in eastern Sierra Leone, bordering Guinea, is home to this 88-bed largest Ebola treatment and isolation centre set up by Médecins Sans Frontières (photo on Flickr by ©EC/ECHO/Cyprien Fabre).

This opinion piece is written by Eliza Smith

‘By now, it seems we’ve heard everything there is to hear about the mysterious bloody disease called Ebola: heartbreaking tales of loss and heroism, news of ground-breaking science to find a cure, reports of panic and much misinformation.

‘But there are three simple, if unpalatable, truths that we aren’t hearing enough about.

‘First, this is not a particularly mysterious disease.

‘It’s one of many haemorrhagic fevers caused by well-researched RNA viruses, including Lassa, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic, dengue (‘break bone’) and yellow (jungle) fevers. All of them can cause similar symptoms in humans: fever, increased tendency to bleed and often death.

Ebola Virus

Scanning electron micrograph of Ebola virus budding from the surface of a Vero cell (African green monkey kidney epithelial cell line) (photo on Flickr by NIAID).

‘While we still have a lot to learn about the Ebola virus in particular, we know enough about how diseases are transmitted to make some educated speculations and recommendations. . . .

[W]ildlife and livestock often play the middle-men in transmission to humans. . . . For Ebola, there’s evidence that the middleman is a non-human primate that humans come into contact with by harvesting bush meat. For Ebola, it isn’t a mystery that better understanding of the bush-meat trade and discussions on ways to provide alternative sources of protein to the people in this region would go a long way in preventing future outbreaks and other similar diseases waiting to emerge.

‘Furthermore, for over ten years now, ‘One Health’ and ‘Ecohealth’ movements, which seek to prevent or control disease risks generated at the human-animal-environment interface, have provided evidence for how the increased emergence of such multi-host or zoonotic diseases are linked to the changes in the way we use land.

‘This leads us to the second truth—that the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not at all surprising. . . . These people have been living with diverse disease hosts, vectors and threats for millennia.

‘As larger, more food-insecure and unsettled populations of people following traditional cultural practices push further into these forests in search of food and income sources, it is only a matter of time before Ebola and other animal-to-human diseases emerge and re-emerge.

‘Detecting initial cases and controlling subsequent transmission is difficult in societies here, where there is a dearth of healthcare infrastructure, government assistance and education campaigns and where strong cultural beliefs remain. Add to this a “first time experience” for a region facing such challenges, and you have a recipe for the largest Ebola outbreak in history.

‘The last truth is the most difficult to hear. Epidemiologically speaking, Ebola should not be a terrible disease. Historically, Ebola outbreaks have affected few people and should be easy to control with best practice. This is in stark contrast to the plethora of neglected diseases plaguing people in these regions and aerosilized infectious agents like bird flu. . . .

 into the Ebola epicentre

The (many and real) heroes of the battle against Ebola: health care workers in all the effected countries (photo on Flickr by ©EC/ECHO/Cyprien Fabre).

‘It looks like this disease is not going to go away any time soon.

‘But surely we can extract some good out of this devastation.

Let’s not waste this opportunity. Let’s use our fears constructively and move the issue of poverty up the global political agenda. Let’s focus our attention and investments on understanding and addressing the conditions that enable these ever-evolving and ever-increasing infectious diseases to create economic and societal havoc. . . .

‘[T]he foundation of these efforts should be . . . a holistic and preventative “systems approach” approach.

‘As we acknowledge the victims, the dead and the living, who have placed this challenge at humanity’s doorstep, it is for the rest of us to pick it up.’

Eliza Smith is an Australian veterinarian living and working in East Africa with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), a member of the CGIAR Consortium. Her current work involves investigating the epidemiology of Ebola virus. She works in ILRI’s Food Safety and Zoonosis program, led by veterinary epidemiologist Delia Grace.

Read the whole article by Eliza Smith at Thompson Reuters Foundation/Trust: Beyond Ebola: Three actions, 17 Oct 2014.


Filed under: Agri-Health, CRP4, Disease Control, Emerging Diseases, Environment, Food Safety, FSZ, Guinea, ILRI, Nigeria, Opinion piece, Pigs, Senegal, USA, West Africa, Zoonotic Diseases Tagged: Delia Grace, Ebola, Eliza Smith, Liberia, Sierra Leone

Partnership and Engagement

CRP 5: Program news -

When the Challenge Program for Water and Food (CPWF) started research in the Limpopo Basin, Nile and Volta Basins nearly a decade ago, few people realized how valuable the investment would be. The combined contribution of dozens of institutions, hundreds of scientists and thousands of farmers has generated new approaches and improved technologies for capturing, storing and managing water resources to reduce poverty and increase food security.

The CPWF contributed to innovative ways of conducting research for development outcomes that lead to impact. It also helped develop new approaches and processes for ensuring that research is relevant to next users, end users and decision makers at all levels. Among the key findings, researchers found that on-going engagement and partnerships are critical for the transition between research outputs to outcomes and impact.

Researchers hold a unique position in trying to address the challenges facing rural populations and natural resources in Africa. The situation is critical and exacerbated by climate change. Researchers and their agencies need to be willing to engage early and often with next and end users in order to design relevant research and answer pressing research questions of value to the rural poor, as articulated by them.

For donors, strategic partners and development agencies, alignment with established programs, such as Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), is vital. Such alignment ensures that good science and solid findings have audiences who can use them to solve relevant issues in local settings. This same group should take care to understand local development contexts and build upon existing initiatives, partnerships and networks. When each new program begins from ground zero, little real impact can be recognized within a project lifecycle.

This reflection emerged from the CPWF Executive Writer’s Retreat, which was held 23-27 June, 2014 at the Auberge du Cedre, Lauret, France and was funded by the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food through the CGIAR Water, Land and Ecosystems Program. After CPWF projects were completed and basin and program messages established, the meeting was organized to connect cross-basin reflection on concrete outputs and opportunities and to identify those elements on which the CGIAR Water Land and Ecosystems program and other past and future partners could profitably build.

For more information: http://wle.cgiar.org/blogs/2014/09/12/reinventing-workshop/

The post Partnership and Engagement appeared first on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Register for the Ethiopia ILRI@40 open day on 8 November

Latest ILRI announcements -

In 2014, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) marks 40 years of international research.   On this special event, the institute is facilitating a series of events that highlight the ways in which livestock research greatly advances the global development agenda, specifically for sustainable food and nutritional security, economic well-being and healthy lives.

Ethiopia has hosted ILRI and its predecessor the International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA) since 1974. Together with innumerable partners, investors and development agencies, working with Ethiopian counterparts has resulted in many livestock research for development outputs.

To mark this important day, ILRI is hosting a half day event where current and past ILRI/ILCA staff enjoy a get together to share news and catch up on ILRI’s current work including a livestock knowledge market place, livestock breeds display, photos and memorabilia of ILRI through its development from ILCA/ILRAD to a global leader in livestock research.

This is to cordially invite you to drop by and join this great event.

Venue: ILRI Addis Ababa campus

Date and time: Saturday, November 8, 2014 (8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Dress code: Casual for outdoor event          

Please help us in passing the invitation to ex-staff and former graduate fellows who you are in contact with and encourage them to register on the link below if they have access to internet. If not, they are welcome at the gate but it is mandatory for current staff to register on this site.

https://ilri40-openday.eventbrite.com

 

Siboniso (Boni) Moyo | Program Leader Animal Science for Sustainable Productivity and Director General’s Representative in Ethiopia

 

Conference on Unlocking the Potential of the Ganges Coastal Zone

CRP 5: Program news -

Two hundred researchers, extentionists, development practitioners and policy makers have gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh this week to share research results, plans and ideas for unlocking the agriculture and aquaculture potential of the Ganges River basin’s coastal zone.

The conference, entitled ‘Revitalizing the Ganges Coastal Zone: Turning Science into Policy and Practice’, is the final event of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF)’s Ganges program. CPWF has worked on water management issues in the Ganges since 2003. For the past four years, the Program’s efforts have focused on finding ways to reduce poverty and improve social-ecological resilience in the coastal zone through improved water governance and management, and intensified and diversified agriculture and aquaculture systems.

 Duckrabbitphoto credit: Duckrabbit

The focus of the conference is policies and implementation strategies for increasing the productivity of the coastal zone, and therefore contributing to the food security aspirations of the Government of Bangladesh. In addition to paper and poster presentations, the event has fostered cross-sector dialogue and discussions between Ministry officials, international donors and development programs, professors, and local government implementing agencies.

The water and land resources of the coastal zone have largely been misconceived as constraints to production and are therefore, under-utilized. CPWF research has demonstrated that in reality, they are rich and valuable resources, which can be used to support agricultural and aquacultural production and livelihood improvement of farming families and communities. With existing advances in crop and aquaculture technologies and current water resources, there is tremendous potential to improve food security and livelihoods. CPWF’s research indicates that what is required is improved coordination across the many stakeholders working and living in the region; delineation of the polders into smaller water management governance units based on shared interests and hydrological features; and a renewed focus on the importance of drainage, as opposed to irrigation, for food production.

While CPWF’s work in the Ganges concludes at the end of the year, WLE’s Ganges Focal Region research-for-development program will build upon portions of its work. WLE has received Expressions of Interest for its Ganges Focal Region and a writeshop will be held in Kathmandu in early November for the successful EOIs.

Learn more

 

 

The post Conference on Unlocking the Potential of the Ganges Coastal Zone appeared first on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Kenya campus lunch menu – Thursday, October 23, 2014

Latest ILRI announcements -

Below please find lunch menu for Nairobi campus – Thursday, October 23, 2014

Leek and potato soup – Kshs 70.00Special of the day

Chill Con Carne

Chapatti

Seasonal Vegetables

Kshs 200/= Beef GoulashSteamed Rice

Fried Kale & Managu

Kshs 300/= Tender Chicken Breast Stuffed with BasilLyonnaise Potatoes

Steamed Vegetables

Kshs 300/- VegetarianStir Fried Tofu

Noodles

Stir Fry Vegetables

Kshs 200/= VegetarianButter Bean Casserole

Steamed Rice

Vegetables

Kshs 130/= Fruit Salad @ Kshs  80/=Assorted Vegetable Salads @  Kshs 80/=

Vegetable Sushi  @  Kshs 350/=

Mixed Sushi  @  Kshs 450/=

Chicken Shawarma Assorted Sauces

And Salads  @ Kshs  300/=

Three Salmon Sushi  or Rolls @  Kshs 250/=

Six Avocado Rolls @ Kshs 200/=

 

Mary Atieno | Conferencing Administrator

P.O.Box 30709, Nairobi, Kenya | Tel: +254 20 422 3343

Email: m.atieno@cgiar.org

Breast cancer month observance and Jubilee insurance member education day

Latest ILRI announcements -

ILRI P&OD is pleased to invite you to the below events

  • Breast Cancer awareness month observance
  • Member Education on current medical benefits (Jubilee Insurance)

Date: Friday 24th October 2014

9:00am: Thematic Health Talk delivered by a specialist Breast Surgeon

09:45am – 10:30am: Benefits presentation and Q&A (for staff covered under Jubilee Insurance)

10:00am – 04:30pm: Breast Cancer Screening (free)

(Separate facilities for either gender – remember, breast cancer can affect men too)

Venue: JVC Auditorium

 

Please save the date and participate.

Thank you!

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