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Ebola Was Here

Everybody let their guard down." But that http://worldwideairambulanceservice.thoughts.com was just the first wave of Ebola, gently washing over the sands of Lofa. It receded, only to roar back in late May not only in Lofa, but also in neighboring counties and in the capital city. "We didn't have sufficient beds to put sick people. They would go home and infect others. We didn't have the ability to pick up sick people, or to remove dead bodies. And a dead body is more infectious than a living case," Bawo explained. Lisa Hensley of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases leads a tiny team of American Army and Liberian scientists toiling inside a converted HIV chimp research center. Long abandoned, the Liberian Institute of Biomedical Research , located about a 90-minute drive from downtown Monrovia, has grounds covered with rusted cages that once housed chimpanzees used by AIDS researchers. When Hensley and her team got here over the summer, they immediately retrofitted one lab building, creating a poor man's version of a maximum containment Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) laboratory suitable for working with the viruses found in the bodies and on the cadavers of Ebola victims. Few American scientists would feel safe in Hensley's jury-rigged lab but it has all the necessities: a bit of negative air pressure, layers of thresholds through which workers pass, donning heavy rubber suits with battery-operated air packs to cool them down and provide virus-free air to breathe. In a jumble of old furniture and nonfunctional sinks the team runs sophisticated genetic analysis of Ebola strains and screens samples for levels of infection. They are doing everything side by side with Liberians Lawrence Fakoli, Yata Walker, and Fahn Taweh, hoping to leave the trio in charge of what would be West Africa's premiere dangerous virus identification lab. It's tough work, without Internet access most of the time, toiling in spacesuits inside a building that has a roof so full of bats that the guano drips down the walls during heavy rains. Hensley's team has already made important discoveries that help explain these hot spots of Ebola. They have received hundreds of samples swabbed from cadavers, some of them dead more than three days before sampling was done. All of them have enormous amounts of Ebola RNA (genetic material) on them, often far higher than anything found in the blood of living patients. Hensley is cautious in interpreting the significance of this -- the presence of genetic material does not mean the viruses were live, capable of causing infection. But loads of viral RNA this high are rarely found in the absence of live virus. The CDC's Mahoney thinks that institution of mandatory cremation in Monrovia may have been a key factor in reducing the numbers of new cases. President Sirleaf issued the cremation edict -- which goes against cultural burial practices -- in early August after a burial crew found a safe site in Monrovia, only to return the following day to find bodies floating and mobs shouting in protest.

To get the primary edition consisting of any sort of additional pictures or video clip, have a look at http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2014/11/07/ebola_was_here_liberia_containment_first_wave_infection_health

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