TIME ebola

Photographer Barred From Syracuse University Over Ebola Fears

Colgate v Syracuse
Seats on the Syracuse bench with the Syracuse Orange logo are seen prior to the game against the Colgate Raiders at the Carrier Dome on November 19, 2011 in Syracuse, New York. Nate Shron—Getty Images

He shows no signs of the virus

A three-time Pulitzer prize winning photographer was barred Thursday from teaching a workshop class at Syracuse University over fears that he had Ebola after covering the outbreak in Liberia, even though he is symptom-free and has been in the United States for more than the recommended incubation period.

The Washington Post’s Michel duCille, who found out about the school’s decision Thursday afternoon, told News Photographer magazine that he was “pissed off” for the revoked invitation.

“I just got off the phone with [Dean Lorraine Branham], and I am pissed off,” duCille told the magazine Thursday. “I am disappointed in the level of journalism at Syracuse, and I am angry that they missed a great teaching opportunity. Instead they have decided to jump in with the mass hysteria.”

“They missed a great teaching opportunity here for the students, to show them how to report the facts and practice good journalism,” duCille said. “Instead they went the alarmist route.”

Syracuse University Dean Lorraine Branham told the magazine that she had not known that duCille had been in Liberia until students raised concerns about their safety.

“This morning I learned that he had been at the CDC, I learned that he had been back 21 days, and I learned that he had been traveling with the [CDC] director, so yes, I knew,” Branham said Thursday.

“But even knowing that, it’s my responsibility to protect the students. 21 days is the CDC’s standard, but there have been questions raised about whether the incubation period is longer. I knew that parents would be upset. And at the end of the day my concern is about the students.”

[News Photographer]

TIME ebola

U.N.: We Botched Response to the Ebola Outbreak

(LONDON) — The World Health Organization has admitted that it botched attempts to stop the now-spiraling Ebola outbreak in West Africa, blaming factors including incompetent staff and a lack of information.

“Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall,” WHO said in a draft internal document obtained by The Associated Press, noting that experts should have realized that traditional containment methods wouldn’t work in a region with porous borders and broken health systems.

The U.N. health agency acknowledged that, at times, even its own bureaucracy was a problem. It noted that the heads of WHO country offices in Africa are “politically motivated appointments” made by the WHO regional director for Africa, Dr. Luis Sambo, who does not answer to the agency’s chief in Geneva, Dr. Margaret Chan.

In late April, during a teleconference on Ebola among infectious disease experts that included WHO, Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, questions were apparently raised about the performance of WHO experts, as not all of them bothered to send Ebola reports to WHO headquarters.

WHO said it was “particularly alarming” that the head of its Guinea office refused to help get visas for an expert Ebola team to come in and $500,000 in aid was blocked by administrative hurdles. Guinea, along with Sierra Leone and Liberia, is one of the hardest-hit nations in the current outbreak, with 843 deaths so far blamed on Ebola.

The Ebola outbreak already has killed 4,484 people in West Africa and WHO has said within two months, there could be new 10,000 cases of Ebola every week.

When Doctors Without Borders began warning in April that the Ebola outbreak was out of control, a dispute on social media broke out between the charity and a WHO spokesman, who insisted the outbreak was under control.

At a meeting of WHO’s network of outbreak experts in June, Dr. Bruce Aylward, normally in charge of polio eradication, alerted Chan about the serious concerns being raised about WHO’s leadership in West Africa. He wrote an email that some of the agency’s partners — including national health agencies and charities — believed the agency was “compromising rather than aiding” the response to Ebola and that “none of the news about WHO’s performance is good.”

Five days later, Chan received a six-page letter from the agency’s network of experts, spelling out what they saw as severe shortcomings in WHO’s response to the deadly virus.

“This (was) the first news of this sort to reach her,” WHO said in the draft document. “She is shocked.”

TIME medicine

6 Common Prescription Mistakes You Might Be Making

Pill bottles
Getty Images

In honor of Talk About Your Medicines Month

It’s hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a pill—sometimes dozens of different ones—to treat so many health conditions. Today, 70% of Americans take at least one prescription drug and more than half take two, according to the Mayo Clinic.

While the healing powers of modern medicine are pretty awesome, you still need to be cautious when it comes to any drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure 1.3 million people annually.

HEALTH.COM: 14 Reasons You’re Always Tired

In honor of Talk About Your Medicines Month, read up on common mistakes to avoid with your prescriptions.

You get the brand name over generic

Yes, they’re cheaper, but generic drugs are just as effective as the brand name. To be approved by the FDA, a generic drug must have the same active ingredients as the original. The only difference is the inactive ingredients, like dye or preservatives, which don’t affect the action of the drug. “Small variations in the generic are permissible,” says Kim Russo, PharmD, chief clinical officer at VUCA Health, a medication video service available at certain pharmacies nationwide. “Most of the time we don’t even medically notice it.” If you don’t tolerate one of the inactive ingredients well, then you might need the brand name. Otherwise, save yourself the money and go with the generic.

You mix your meds with the wrong foods (or drinks)

Always check what foods or drinks could interact with your medicine. One to watch out for: grapefruit and grapefruit juice. “As many as 50 drugs on the market can be affected,” Russo says. Depending on the drug, grapefruit juice can reduce or increase absorption­—the latter could lead to overdose. Then there are certain drugs that shouldn’t be taken with calcium-rich foods because they interfere with your body’s absorption of the medication, Russo says. Plus, there are medications that cause you to lose or retain potassium, so you’ll want to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether you need to start (or stop) eating certain foods. And you should ask your doctor if it’s OK to drink alcohol while taking your prescription. “Alcohol can turn possible mild side effects into dangerous ones,” Russo says. The FDA has more info on bad food-drug combos.

HEALTH.COM: 16 Worst Birth Control Mistakes

You don’t check your Rx label at the pharmacy

To save yourself the stress of a medication error, make sure you have the right prescription before you leave the pharmacy. If your pharmacist only asks for your name at the counter, provide another identifier, like a birth date or address. That way you’ll know the drug is filled under the correct person, Russo says. Another good idea: open your bag. “I would read the label and open the prescription to see if you recognize it,” Russo says. A different color or shape may just mean the drug is coming from a new generic manufacturer, but it never hurts to be safe.

You don’t talk to your pharmacist

Most pharmacists will ask if you have questions about your medication. But when’s the last time you actually voiced one? It’s never a good idea to rush through picking up a new prescription. That’s the time to find out what the medicine is for as well as the benefits and possible side effects or drug interactions, Russo says. If you’ve been on the medication a while and have noticed unexplained changes lately, say a rash or constant headache, that’s also a good time to speak up. On three or more medications? “It’s a great idea once a year to make an appointment with your pharmacist to review them,” Russo suggests.

HEALTH.COM: 15 Tips for Saving Money on Prescription Drugs

You store your meds in the wrong spots

The number one worst place you could keep your medication is the bathroom. That’s because moisture can degrade medicine, Russo says. Medications also need to be protected from light. “That’s why prescription vials are the amber color, to block UV light,” Russo says. Still, you should keep medication in a dark place, especially if you have a pill organizer that’s clear and light can get through. Certain drugs shouldn’t be taken out of the vial at all. Some medications, like insulin, might need to be refrigerated initially, but can be taken out to warm up before injecting and then stored at room temperature for a set number of days. Just keep in mind some drugs are meant to be kept in the fridge and they can lose their effectiveness if left at room temperature for even a few hours, Russo says. Check with your pharmacist to know how long is too long.

You don’t dispose of old meds properly

Most pills remain effective up to two years after the expiration date, Russo says. When it’s time to get rid of them, though, don’t count on the toilet as your go-to disposal method. “Flushing certain cardiac, seizure, or hormone medications can be very harmful to the environment,” Russo says. Only a few medications, including ones for pain, are recommended by the FDA for disposal by flushing. The rest you should throw in a plastic bag with kitty litter or used coffee grounds so kids or pets won’t be tempted to eat them. Then, the bag’s ready for the trash. You could also ask your pharmacist about upcoming medicine take-back programs.

HEALTH.COM: 27 Mistakes Healthy People Make

This article originally appeared on Health.com

TIME ebola

Nurse With Ebola Releases Tearful Video From Isolation

Nina Pham asked that a video of her taken in isolation be shared with the world

A Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola after treating a patient with the disease asked that a video taken from inside her Texas hospital isolation unit be shared publicly.

“I love you guys,” says Nina Pham to her treating physician Gary Weinstein and another person, both of whom are wearing full protective gear.

In the video shot by Weinstein, the doctor thanks Pham for her work caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States, who died of the disease Oct. 8.

“Thanks for getting well. Thanks for being a part of the volunteer team to take care of our first patient. It means a lot,” Weinstein says. “This has been a huge effort by all of you guys. We’re really proud of you.”

Pham was diagnosed with Ebola after helping to treat Duncan, who fell ill with the disease in Dallas after traveling to the U.S. from Liberia, one of three West African countries hardest hit by the recent global Ebola outbreak. Since the video was taken, Pham has been moved to a National Institutes of Health facility in Maryland for further treatment.

TIME ebola

Hospital Staffer Who May Have Had Ebola Contact Left U.S. on Cruise Ship

The Texas hospital employee has shown no indications of becoming sick

Updated Friday, Oct. 17

An employee of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who may have come in contact with specimens taken from an Ebola patient left the United States aboard a cruise ship, the State Department said Friday. The revelation raises further questions about travel policies regarding health workers involved in treating Ebola patients after it came to light that a nurse later diagnosed with the virus was allowed to fly earlier this week despite self-reporting an elevated temperature.

The employee on the cruise did not have direct contact with the patient, is not contagious, and has shown no indication of having contracted the illness in the 19 days since she came into contact with the Ebola patient’s fluid samples. The individual is nonetheless being monitored by doctors aboard the ship and has remained along with a traveling partner in voluntary isolation in a ship cabin.

The hospital employee, who is a lab supervisor at the hospital where she works, according to Carnival Senior Cruise Director John Heald, left aboard a commercial cruise ship from Galveston, Texas, on October 12, before learning of new monitoring requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We are working with the cruise line to bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution,” the State Department said in a statement.

In a Facebook post published Friday, Heald said the cruise line learned that the guest was aboard the ship on Wednesday.

“It is important to reiterate that the individual has no symptoms and has been isolated in an extreme abundance of caution,” Heald said in his post. “We are in close contact with the CDC and at this time it has been determined that the appropriate course of action is to simply keep the guest in isolation on board.”

TIME ebola

A Dallas Hospital Worker Self-Monitoring for Ebola Left Texas on a Cruise

Health Care Worker In Dallas Tests Positive For Ebola Virus
A man dressed in protective hazmat clothing treats the sidewalk in front of an apartment where a second person diagnosed with the Ebola virus resides, in Dallas, Texas. Mike Stone—Getty Images

The staffer does not have any symptoms of illness and is in self-imposed quarantine in a cabin

A Dallas hospital employee, described as possibly having come into contact with fluid samples from the deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, left the U.S. on a cruise ship on Sunday, the State Department said early Friday morning.

The news follows the announcement of plans to keep at home all health care workers flagged as having encountered Duncan or his fluid samples, in an aggressive effort to contain the virus’ spread in the U.S. after a Dallas nurse was allowed to take a commercial flight just before getting diagnosed with Ebola, the Guardian reports.

Seventy-five staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas—where Duncan was treated and died—have been asked to sign legally binding agreements not to go out in public, Clay Jenkins, the Dallas County judge, told reporters on Thursday.

Any of the workers who refuse the sign the agreement would be subject to a legal control order, Jenkins said, though he added: “These are hometown healthcare heroes…They’re not going to jail.”

The State Department said the hospital employee who boarded a cruise ship from Galveston, TX, did not have direct contact with Duncan, but “may have processed the since deceased patient’s fluid samples.”

The unidentified employee, who was checked by a doctor on the cruise ship and is self-monitoring, does not have any symptoms of illness, according to the State Department. The employee and his traveling companion have agreed to a self-imposed quarantine in their cruise cabin.

“We are working with the cruise line to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution,” read the statement.

The employee would have come into contact with the sample 19 days ago, according to the White House. Ebola symptoms can appear 2 to 21 days after initial exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), but on average they manifest 8 to 10 days after the illness is contracted.

U.S. officials have been rushing to contain the spread of Ebola after two Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurses who treated Duncan, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, tested positive for the illness.

Numerous parties have been trading barbs over where to put blame for the infection of the two nurses and for the growing number of people who are believed to have come into contact with them and Duncan.

National Nurses United, a union not affiliated with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, has excoriated both the hospital and the CDC for failing to enact proper standards for treating the contagious patient and for keeping the hospital’s nursing staff safe.

Daniel Varga, senior vice president of Texas Health Resources, which owns Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, on Thursday apologized to a House committee for the hospital’s failure to diagnose Duncan with Ebola sooner.

But the hospital has bristled at charges that it failed to protect its nurses and in a statement on Thursday put fault with the CDC for constantly changing its guidelines and failing to set clear protocols for treating Duncan.

U.S. lawmakers at the House hearing on Thursday also chastised the CDC for allowing Vinson, the second Dallas health worker to test positive for Ebola, to fly from Cleveland to Dallas after she self-reported a mild fever but had not yet been diagnosed with the virus.

Meanwhile, the international community is still reeling over how to contain the worldwide spread of Ebola, which has killed 4,493 people and is believed to have infected 8,997 in seven countries, according to the most recent WHO estimates.

The situation in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, is “deteriorating, with widespread and persistent transmission,” the WHO said Wednesday, in its latest status update. Cases have been spiking in the Guinean capital of Conakry, the health organization said.

On Thursday, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon urged U.N. member states to donate to the world body’s trust fund for Ebola, which currently stands at a lowly $100,000—all of it from just one nation, Colombia, and a pathetic fraction of the $1 billion the U.N. has said it needs to stop the outbreak, the BBC reports.

World governments have in total pledged just $20 million to the fund.

Read next: Here’s Who’s Blaming Who for Ebola

TIME ebola

Flight Grounded in Madrid After Passenger Displays Symptoms of Ebola

Air France jet isolated at Madrid airport over suspected Ebola case
Medical staff wearing protection suits stand next to the Air France Airbus A321, which landed at Barajas International Airport in Madrid, Spain, on Oct. 16 2014 Paco Campos—EPA

A passenger showing fever and shaking during the flight was rushed to a local hospital after landing

An Air France flight from Paris was grounded after arriving at Madrid airport on Thursday after one of its passengers showed Ebola-like symptoms.

The passenger was promptly rushed to a local hospital after shaking and showing signs of fever throughout the flight, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Crew members and the 162 passengers were allowed to disembark on Thursday afternoon, and those who were in direct contact or sat nearby the hospitalized passenger are being closely monitored.

Air France canceled the return flight to Paris and said the aircraft would be thoroughly disinfected before resuming operations.

The London Evening Standard reported that the passenger is believed to have visited Lagos in Nigeria.

[WSJ]

TIME ebola

CDC Expands Ebola Alert to Passengers on Both Flights Nurse Took

The Frontier Airlines plane that Amber Vinson flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday, flies out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Cleveland.
The Frontier Airlines plane that Amber Vinson flew from Cleveland to Dallas on Monday, flies out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Cleveland. Tony Dejak—AP

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asked passengers on Frontier Airlines flight 1142 from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10 to call their hotline

The Centers for Disease Control expanded precautionary efforts Thursday night by reaching out to passengers on an earlier flight that Ebola patient Amber Vinson took before she had reported any symptoms of the virus.

The CDC said anyone on Frontier Airlines flight 1142, which flew from Dallas to Cleveland on Oct. 10, should call the agency at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636). Amber Vinson, the second nurse to test positive with Ebola in the U.S., took that flight after taking care of the U.S.’s first diagnosed Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died on Oct. 8.

The passengers will be interviewed by CDC officials about the flight and about any potential symptoms they may have developed since flying. “Individuals who are determined to be at any potential risk will be actively monitored,” the CDC said in a statement about the notification.

Ebola is transmitted by an infected person when that person is symptomatic, and only through direct contact with that individual’s body fluids, which include blood, saliva, vomit or diarrhea. Vinson had a slight fever of 99.5 degrees before flying Oct 13 from Cleveland to Dallas. CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said that passengers on the flight from Cleveland back to Dallas were being notified out of an abundance of caution. He said that they were at very low risk of exposure since Vinson presumably did not vomit or spread body fluids during the flight.

Now the agency says, “Based on additional information obtained during interviews of close contacts to the second healthcare worker from Texas Presbyterian Hospital who tested positive for Ebola, the … CDC is expanding its outreach to airline passengers now to include those who flew from Dallas/Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on Oct. 10.”

TIME

Pictures of the Week: Oct. 10 – Oct. 17

From Malala Yousafzai winning a Nobel Peace Prize and the return of Kim Jong Un to Ebola diagnoses in Dallas and Angelina Jolie becoming a Dame, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

Read next: The Most Beautiful Wildfire Photos You’ll Ever See

TIME vaccines

Very Good and Very Bad News in the Vaccine Wars

Just say yes.—but too many Americans say no to vaccines
Just say yes.—but too many Americans say no to vaccines Steve Debenport; Getty Images

Like any trench war, the fight to protect America's kids against disease is proceeding only inch by inch. A new report shows why there's reason for hope—and reason for worry

It’s just as well that no one knows the names of the 17,253 sets of parents in California who have opted not to have their children vaccinated, citing “philosophic” reasons for declining the shots. The same is true of the anonymous 3,097 in Colorado who have made the same choice—giving their far smaller state the dubious distinction of being dead last among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in the simple business of protecting their children against disease.

On the other hand, kudos to you, Mississippi, for finishing number one—with an overall kindergartener vaccination rate in the past school year of 99.7%—and to you, Louisiana, Texas and Utah, for finishing not far behind. Your children, by this measure at least, are the safest and healthiest in the country.

These and other findings were part of the alternately reassuring and deeply disturbing survey from the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), looking at vaccination coverage for more than 4.25 million kindergarteners and the opt-out rates for more than 3.9 million in the 2013-2014 school year

The report’s top line number seems encouraging. The national compliance rate for the three major vaccines covered in the survey ranged from 93.3% (for chicken pox) to 94.7% (measles, mumps, rubella, or MMR) to 95% (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis).

But even those numbers don’t mean America has aced the test. Vaccination rates need to reach or exceed 95%, depending on the disease, to maintain herd immunity—the protection afforded by vaccinated people to those few who can’t be vaccinated, by giving the virus too few ways to body-surf its way across a population until it finds someone who’s vulnerable. So while a 90% vaccination rate might look like an A, it in fact may be no better than a middling C.

And in some parts of the country, the numbers are much, much worse. As I reported in TIME’s Oct. 6 issue, vaccination refusal tends to be a phenomenon of the wealthier, better educated, politically bluer parts of the country—the northeast, the Pacific coast and pockets around major universities. Those are communities in which folks know just enough to convince themselves that they know it all—which means they know better than the doctors, scientists and other members of medical community at large, who have overwhelmingly shown that vaccines are safe and effective.

That’s part of the reason New York City’s elite private schools have vaccination rates far lower than the city’s public schools, and why, according to a shocking story by the Hollywood Reporter, some schools in the wealthier neighborhoods of Los Angeles have a lower vaccination rate than in South Sudan.

Digging deeper into the MMWR report, there are other, broader causes for worry. There are the 26 states plus the District of Columbia that don’t meet the Department of Health and Human Services’ guidelines of 95% coverage for the MMR vaccine. There are the 37 states that don’t even meet the CDC’s standards for properly gathering data on vaccination rates in the first place. And there are the 11 states with opt-out rates of 4% or higher.

The anti-vaccine crowd frames the refusers as part of a brave vanguard of parents who won’t be hectored into getting their children protections that they, the parents, have decided are useless or dangerous. But it’s worth remembering what the world looked like in the era before vaccines. And you don’t have to work too hard to do that, because you know what it looked like? It looked like West Africa today, where people are being infected with the Ebola virus at a rate of 1,000 new cases per week—on target to be 10,000 by December—where entire families and indeed entire villages are dying agonizing deaths, and where whole populations would line up by the millions for the protection a vaccine would offer.

Vaccine refusal is increasingly the indulgence of the privileged. And it is, as the Ebola crisis shows, the indulgence of the foolish, too.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser