Nurses: The frontline in the war against Ebola

By NJOKI NGANGA | 23 Aug, 2014

Today's New York Times covers the impact of Ebola on nurses and "Burial Boys" in Sierra Leone.

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Elizabeth Glaser Moderator Emeritus Replied at 6:04 PM, 29 Aug 2014

Yesterday Science released an article on genetic sequencing of the Ebola strain responsible for the current West Africa outbreak. The results suggested a single transmission from the natural reservoir ( whether bats or some type of bushmeat) , followed by transmission between humans.

I will post a link to the article but it is a bit of a challenge to slog through unless you have a firm grasp on virology.

What I got from the paper is this ( and if your reinterpretation is different please post it because I want to understand this better) :
The current strain has undergone a number of mutations since the initial outbreak some months ago; while the functional aspects of the mutations have not been determined as yet, it is possible that the changes are viral adaptations that have contributed to the size and longer timeline in the current outbreak.

It was noted that 5 of the contributors to the paper, West African public health experts, died of Ebola in the course of the investigation. Our nursing and medical colleagues are truly laying down their lives for all of us....


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Janet A DEWAN PhD CRNA Replied at 9:54 PM, 29 Aug 2014

A nurse working in an Ebola center in Sierra Leone wrote the attached informative, descriptive perspective piece, published in the August 29 edition of NEJM . Her calm description is overwhelming. Would be interesting to compare the nursing experience in care for Ebola patients in a center in Sierra Leone and the nursing experience caring for Ebola patient's at Emory's isolation ward. Same pathology but the resource chasm would be clear.

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Ruth Staus Replied at 1:01 AM, 30 Aug 2014

Single Nucleotide Variants (SNV) are mutations that arise in one individual that involve just one change in one nucleic acid- either adenine, cytosine, thymine, or guanine. SNVs in the coding region of DNA ( which makes up only 2 % of total DNA) can be synonymous, non-synonymous, or cause premature stops.

Synonymous changes caused by SNVs in the coding region are usually silent and do not change protein synthesis. Non- synonymous changes (50 fixed non-synonymous changes were noted by these researchers) always change the protein synthesized. SNVs can also cause frame shifts which cause the mRNA machinery to prematurely stop protein production.

The high rate of non- synonymous changes ,which change the protein synthesized, increases the chances for the virus to adapt impacting efficacy of diagnostics, vaccines, and other therapies. This is terrifying.

Sudip Bhandari Replied at 4:10 PM, 26 Sep 2014

We now have a new community focused specifically to Ebola response, in case members here are unaware about it. Please follow this link to share resources that might be helpful to colleagues on the front lines: