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Kentucky teacher and nurse resigns amid unfounded Ebola fears

iStock | monkeybusinessimages

iStock | monkeybusinessimages

A Kentucky teacher and registered nurse has resigned from her teaching position due to Ebola fears after returning from a mission trip in Kenya—thousands of miles from the main outbreak of the virus in West Africa.

Susan Sherman taught at St. Margaret Mary Catholic school in Louisville and recently visited the remote village of Migori in Kenya as part of a medical mission trip, according to The Courier-Journal. The school originally asked her to take a “precautionary leave” of absence for 21 days because of “strong parent concerns.”

The Archdiocese of Louisville released a statement last month regarding the trip, writing that the village Sherman visited is “in eastern Africa, thousands of miles from West Africa, where the main outbreak of the virus is located.”

There have been no reported cases of Ebola in Kenya.

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On Wednesday, President Obama asked Congress for $6.2 billion to go toward fighting Ebola.

Of that total, $2 billion will go to the United States Agency for International Development and $2.4 billion will be given to the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the Associated Press. An additional $1.5 billion will be put in a contingency fund to deal with new developments. Examples of these developments could include the need to vaccinate U.S. healthcare workers or a flare-up of the virus in West Africa.

Other than which departments the money would go to, little is yet known about how the money would be dispersed. Officials speaking to the Associated Press said some funds would be used to combat the disease in West Africa and some would be used to strengthen the public health system here in the U.S.

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A Spanish nurse’s aide known as the first person to contract Ebola outside of Africa has been released from the hospital.

María Teresa Romero Ramos tested positive for Ebola on October 6, and since then had been in Carlos III Hospital in Madrid for treatment, according to the New York Times. Ramos released a statement thanking her medical team for “giving her back life.”

Medical officials attributed her recovery from the deadly virus to her strength and immunological system, as well as treatments she underwent during her month in the hospital. However, they also said it was impossible to determine the factors that most contributed to her survival.

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IBM is working to use technology to help stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

The company has partnered with the Open Government Initiative in Sierra Leone to create an engagement platform designed to allow citizens of the country to report Ebola issues and concerns through text messages and mobile calls, according to Becker’s. IBM can track use of the system to create maps to identify specific locations that are cause for concern.

“For us to tackle Ebola, it is crucial to maintain an open dialogue between the government and the people of Sierra Leone,” said Khadija Sesay, director of Sierra Leone’s Open Government Initiative. “IBM has enhanced our work on citizen engagement through the use of innovative technology and opened up an effective communication channel with the general public so that we can learn from their input and create actionable policies in the fight against Ebola.”

IBM also has donated technology to the Lagos State Government in Nigeria. These and other initiatives are meant to facilitate the spread of information about Ebola in the region and provides free access to information for governments, research and aid agencies.

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Facebook launches campaign to fundraise for Ebola.

The social media site is making it easy for users to donate to one of three charities—the International Medical Corps, the Red Cross and Save the Children—through a segment on the site. According to a statement made by the company, “In times of crisis, people turn to Facebook to learn about what’s happening, share their experiences and offer support. If not addressed, the Ebola epidemic could become a long-term global health crisis. Together with our partners, we’re hopeful that by offering people the tools they need, we can all help fight this disease.”

Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, also donated $25 million of his own money to the Centers for Disease Control to help fight the virus.

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Nurse Amber Vinson defends travel prior to Ebola diagnosis.

Amber Vinson, the second nurse diagnosed with Ebola after treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas, defended her decision to fly on a commercial plane after treating Duncan. “I was never told that I couldn’t travel,” Vinson said in an interview with the TODAY show. “I would never go outside of guidelines or boundaries or something directly from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] telling me I can’t go [or] I can’t fly. I wouldn’t do it.”

In the interview, Vinson also discussed Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital’s management of Duncan’s treatment:

“You know, we did not get much training,” she said. “The first time that I put on the protective equipment, I was heading in to take care of the patient. So, we didn’t have excessive training where we could don and doff, put on and take off the protective equipment, till we got a level of being comfortable with it. I didn’t have that, and I think that’s very important for hospitals across the nation, big and small. A patient with Ebola could show up in your ER, and it is very important that the healthcare staff has training in putting on and taking off this equipment.”

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