Author Archives: Tom Vincent

03.14.18

The Mysterious “Disease X"

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This week, the World Health Organization released a list of diseases that have the potential to cause public health emergencies, and that have no efficacious drugs or vaccines.  The list was meant to direct and prioritize research and development and included some familiar names: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Ebola and Marburg virus diseases, and Lassa fever.  […]

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02.22.18

The Ebola Footprint – Broader Than You Think

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This post was coauthored by Tom Vincent and Dr. Jean-Paul Gonzalez.  Dr. Gonzalez is the Deputy Director of the Center of Excellence in Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at Kansas State University.   Ebola virus disease is a hemorrhagic febrile illness that has case-fatality rates that vary from 32% to 88% across well-studied outbreaks.  Thankfully, the number of […]

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01.23.18

Zombie Deer Disease: Is Your Venison Safe?

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  If you were around in the 1990s-2000s, you might remember Mad Cow Disease – a disease in cows that can spread to humans via consumption of infected meat, and that leads to a degeneration of the brain and spinal tissue (known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans).  Despite having a more scientific name—bovine spongiform encephalopathy […]

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12.21.17

Ebola Quarantine in New Jersey, 2014 – Confinement in the Context of Civil Rights

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This article is one of two on the O’Neill Blog this week that focus on confinement, human rights, and public health. In October 2014, Kaci Hickox, upon her return to the United States, found herself confined to a tent outside of Newark, New Jersey’s University Hospital. Hickox, a nurse, was returning from Sierra Leone, where […]

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11.30.17

Meet Marburg, Ebola’s Sister

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  Micrograph of Marburgvirus (credit: The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston)   Last month, the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MOH) declared an outbreak of Marburg Virus Disease (MVD) in Eastern Uganda. To date, three cases have been reported (two confirmed, one probable), and all have died, resulting in a case-fatality rate of 100% […]

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10.23.17

Ebola Taï Forest: A Unique Emergence, and the Dawn of the Modern Age of Ebola

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  “These woods are where silence has come to lick its wounds.”  – Samantha Hunt   In 1994, Ebola, a lethal virus that had been silent for fifteen years, awoke. Two separate outbreaks would shatter this silence, but one of these was unique, the likes of which has not been seen since. Though the last […]

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10.05.17

New Research Offers Progress Toward Detecting and Treating Ebola

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Last week, two scientific discoveries were announced that could lead to better and earlier treatments for persons with Ebola virus disease. First, scientists at University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston have discovered a protein within the body’s immune system that plays a central role in Ebola infections. Ebola virus infections are known to cause […]

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09.14.17

Chagas Drug Gets FDA Approval: A Victory over Shkreli-esque Pharmaceutical Price Gouging

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  Left: Martin Shkreli (photo courtesy of The Source).  Right: A “kissing bug” (photo courtesy of Scienceline).   On August 29th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted approval to benznidazole for use in children ages 2 to 12 years with Chagas disease. The approval is the first treatment of its kind to be approved […]

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08.28.17

Flooding in Freetown: a Post-Ebola Catastrophe

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Flooding is turning out to be a major news story this month. At the time of this publication, the catastrophic flooding in Houston has displaced thousands, and at least five are reported dead.  Meanwhile, in Freetown, the capitol of Sierra Leone, people are still searching for the missing after a mudslide and flood that has […]

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07.20.17

Monkey Business: Ebola Research is Benefitted by Recent Discovery

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Rhesus monkey (Image source)   A new study published this week in Nature Microbiology brings good news for research toward the persistence of Ebola virus in asymptomatic individuals. Ebola virus (EBOV) is the virus that causes Ebola (now referred to as Ebola virus disease, or EVD), a viral hemorrhagic fever that has a very high […]

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