By Kemo Cham and Emma Farge FREETOWN/DAKAR (Reuters) - A poster in Sierra Leone's crumbling coastal capital Freetown proclaims a message from an Ebola survivor called Sulliaman: "I feel 100 percent healthy!" Another beaming survivor Juliana says: "I am one of the safest people to be around!" Throughout the two-year Ebola epidemic, thousands of West African survivors have been shunned by their communities, prompting governments to sponsor messages stressing their complete recovery in a bid to counter fear and paranoia. But the case of Scottish nurse Pauline Cafferkey – the first known Ebola survivor to have an apparently life-threatening relapse – has revived concerns about the health of some 17,000 survivors in Sierra Leone, neighboring Guinea and Liberia. Doctors and health officials in Sierra Leone told Reuters that a handful of mystery deaths among discharged patients may also be types of Ebola relapses, stirring fear that the deadly virus may last far longer than previously thought in the body, causing other potentially lethal complications. Diagnoses have not been made, partly because of a lack of relevant medical training and insufficient equipment for detecting a virus that can hide in inaccessible corners of the body - such as the spinal fluid or eyeball. In Cafferkey's case, the virus in her brain caused meningitis. Dr. Dan Kelly, founder of non-profit organization Wellbody Alliance who has worked on Ebola in Sierra Leone, estimates that relapsing Ebola might affect 10 percent of all recovered patients. He said this was based on two cases, including Cafferkey's, where the live virus was detected among the roughly 20 survivors treated in Europe and the United States. Other experts have declined to give an estimate, saying it is too early to tell. "One case reminds me of Pauline but we were unable to find a laboratory willing to test the patient before the patient died," he said. "In West Africa it (relapsing Ebola) is mostly undiagnosed, hardly treated and people are certainly dying of it." Confirmation of such relapses would prolong for a third year the struggle to defeat a virus that has killed nearly 11,300 people and ravaged the economies of some of the world's poorest countries. Guinea is the only nation in West Africa that still has new confirmed cases. Liberia has been declared Ebola-free while Sierra Leone has gone 25 days without a case. But Ebola survivors continue to die under mysterious circumstances, health officials say. Doctors at Freetown's 34 Military Hospital said they had seen two Ebola survivors return for treatment weeks after being discharged complaining of respiratory problems, including one this month. Both later died. Officials at King's Sierra Leone Partnership also confirmed one possible relapse case in a patient with a weakened immune system in Freetown a week after recovery. Sierra Leone's National Ebola Response Center said further research on such "anomalies" is underway. The findings may deepen the suffering of survivors, who are already fighting against stigma. "Until there is a conclusive study, we can never be sure about this. And to be safe we must isolate them," said Freetown resident Alagie Kamara. SURVIVOR TRAUMA Brima Amidu, a student who survived Ebola, said his landlord has doubled his rent, in a move he believes is intended to drive him out. "They (Western medics) treated us and if this happens to them what does it mean for us?" he said, referring to Cafferkey's relapse ten months after recovery. Survivor Philip Koroma said counseling with a Christian group had helped him cope with ostracization. But one fellow survivor, Fatmata Conteh, was detained by police after she stoned a neighbor for calling her names, he said. "All this is trauma. If they don't find a way to solve the problem, people could die of it," said Koroma. There are signs that stigmatization is increasing amid evidence survivors can harbor the virus in semen for at least nine months. Liberia's last known case in June is thought to have been via sexual transmission. Oretha, a prostitute in the red light district of Liberia's capital Monrovia, said that reports of sexual transmission had left her and other girls afraid. "Some of our friends died. That made us be careful and use condoms. Any man that talk 'flesh to flesh', I go from them," she said, in the local Creole dialect. In Sierra Leone's northern districts of Kambia and Bombali, new cases in recent weeks were immediately blamed on survivors. "I'm deeply concerned by this. It is important that we all put aside fear and ignorance, and understand the facts about Ebola," said President Ernest Bai Koroma. PARIAH, LEPER AND OUTCAST Derek Gatherer, a virus expert at Britain's Lancaster University who has closely tracked Ebola, noted that "many survivors will not recover their former lives anyway, because of the consequences of the disease - both medical and social." As well as stigma, many survivors complain of fatigue, joint pain and anxiety attacks. Some aid workers say that discussing findings on the persistence of the Ebola virus could put survivors in danger. Armand Sprecher, public health specialist at medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), said a survivor already risked being treated "like a pariah, leper and an outcast". "We risk making their lives miserable if we miscommunicate the actual risk we are dealing with here," Sprecher said. Both Sierra Leone and Liberia are introducing programs to help screen survivors to see if they harbor the virus. "Operation Shield" in Sierra Leone begins regularly testing the semen of willing survivors this month. In Guinea, where there are three known cases, government support for survivors is very basic. Unlike earlier in the epidemic, Ebola victims and their contacts now benefit from a trial vaccine. The World Health Organization is working with governments of the three countries to develop a survivor care plan. "The Ebola response has already had to adapt to the extraordinary nature of this outbreak," said Adam Kucharski, an expert on infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. "The possibility of transmission long after apparent recovery poses yet another challenge." (Additional reporting by Kieran Guilbert for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Saliou Samb in Conakry, James Harding Giahyue and Alphonso Toweh in Monrovia, Kate Kelland in London and Tom Miles in Geneva; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Daniel Flynn and Susan Thomas)
Trump baselessly bashed Obama for transferring records from the White House to Chicago. Here's why Obama was allowed while Trump is under scrutiny by the FBI.
As his time in the White House came to a close, Barack Obama transferred records from the White House for his presidential library in Chicago.
Trump has until Friday afternoon to decide to whether to fight the release of the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. His team is considering challenging the motion, per reports.
Former President Donald Trump could himself unilaterally release the search warrant and receipt of goods taken by the FBI. But it might not help him.
Fox News host calls out GOP for attacking the FBI after raid on Trump's home: 'Whatever happened to the Republican party backing the blue?'
For years, the GOP has portrayed itself as the "law and order" party. But it's singing a very different tune following the FBI raid at Trump's home.
Did he really mean to say this out loud?
- Business Insider
The FBI was tipped off by an informer close to Trump who guided agents to where documents were kept, reports say
Officials told Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal that this person told investigators about the documents.
- The Daily Beast
LEXEY DANICHEV/Sputnik Host Photo Agency/AFP via Getty ImagesLatvia’s parliament has moved to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine—and the Kremlin does not appear to be taking it well. Russia is committing a “genocide against the Ukrainian people,” Latvian MPs said in a statement Thursday, according to AFP. Russia “uses suffering and intimidation as tools in its attempts to weaken the morale of the Ukrainian people and armed forc
The scientific theory of why some Americans don't want Brittney Griner to come home from a Russian prison
Plenty of Americans don't support the US government's efforts to bring Brittney Griner home. An expert in hostage taking and recovery explains why.
- The Daily Beast
Fox NewsFox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy flipped the script on Thursday morning, pushing back on House Minority Whip Steve Scalise’s wild suggestion that FBI agents went “rogue” in executing a court-approved search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s residence.Doocy further took issue with the immediate “rush to judgment” made by Scalise and other conservatives, asking if they could at least “wait a week” before determining that the FBI is “crazy.”Fox News has engaged in a full-scale mel
Footage of Japanese kickboxer Rukiya “Demolition Man” Anpo recently went viral for showing him beating up uninvited fighters who interrupted a training session – or did they really? A video of the fight shows a group of "street fighters" seemingly barging into the gym where Anpo, 26, and fellow Japanese kickboxer Kosei Yamada, 29, were training. Several social media posts claimed that the "street fighters" challenged them to a fight.
Ryan Reynolds spent nearly $3 million before consulting his wife Blake Lively: ‘We’re still working through that one’
Financial planners share how much spouses should be able to comfortably spend from joint income.
Two decades after their extraordinary separation surgery, Josie Hull and Teresa Cajas are leading lives that few imagined possible
- AZCentral | The Arizona Republic
How CNN, Fox News and MSNBC covered Merrick Garland's brief TV speech about the Donald Trump search warrant. Kaitlan Collins and Lara Trump react.
- Charlotte Observer
Mega Millions players in North Carolina should check their tickets: Many won prizes but not the $1.33 billion jackpot.
CNN's Pamela Brown quizzed Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) on his past outrage over Hillary Clinton's handling of classified information.
Michael Cohen says Trump likely feels 'trapped' after the FBI's raid and is worried that whoever tipped off the feds has more dirt on him
"When the feds raid, usually what comes after that is an indictment and incarceration, and nobody knows that better than I," Cohen said.
After Trump declined to answer questions Wednesday, legal experts said the former president’s decision could create an impression among some that he has something to hide.
- Business Insider
Michael Cohen says he 'would not be surprised' if FBI informant was one of Trump's kids or Jared Kushner
"It's definitely a member of his inner circle," Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, told Insider on Thursday.
While the summer is starting to wind down, Alessandra Ambrosio is turning up the heat to almost scorching in her latest Instagram post. She’s reminding all of her followers to enjoy those last few lazy days of the sun, the beach, and those relaxing days off. Wearing a tiny, shimmering white bikini paired with animal-print […]
- Los Angeles Times Opinion
Readers respond to the ongoing investigation of former President Trump.
- Ukrayinska Pravda
OLENA ROSHCHINA - THURSDAY, 11 AUGUST 2022, 16:51 The Russian Federation has lost two squadrons of the latest Su-35 fighters in Ukraine, that's about 24 aircraft, and now tolerates the return of the old Su-24M bombers.