The Ebola virus that has killed scores of people in Guinea this year is a new strain — evidence that the disease did not spread there from outbreaks in some other African nations, scientists report.”The source of the virus is still not known,” but it was not imported from nearby countries, said Dr. Stephan Gunther of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg, Germany.He led an international team of researchers who studied the genetics of the virus and reported results online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.The ongoing outbreak has caused panic and killed more than 120 people in West Africa, mostly in Guinea, according to the World Health Organization.Ebola (ee-BOH’-lah) causes internal bleeding and organ failure and is fatal in 30 percent to 90 percent of cases, depending on the strain. It spreads through direct contact with infected people, and some earlier cases have been linked to certain fruit bats that live in West Africa.There is no cure or vaccine, so containing the outbreak has focused on supportive care for those infected with the virus and isolating them to limit its spread.Earlier, health officials had said the Guinea Ebola was a Zaire strain, different from the kind that has caused cases in other parts of Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo used to be called Zaire.The new research analyzed blood samples from 20 patients in the current outbreak and found the strain was unique.”It is not coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has not been imported to Guinea” from that country or from Gabon, where Ebola also has occurred, Gunther said.Researchers think the Guinea and other strains evolved in parallel from a recent ancestor virus. The Guinea outbreak likely began last December or earlier and might have been smoldering for some time unrecognized. The investigation continues to try to identify “the presumed animal source,” they write.___Online:Journal: http://www.nejm.org
National Tribal Crafts Mela Aadishilp, organised by Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India Ltd. (TRIFED), was inaugurated by Jual Oram, Union Tribal Affairs Minister at Dilli Haat on November 5. On this occasion, Union Tribal Affairs Minister, Jual Oram said, “These kinds of exhibitions provide our tribal artisans an important platform to showcase their talents through their products to urban India. TRIFED, through its 44 sales counter all over the country, is providing much needed marketing system for tribal products.”The main objective of organising Aadishilp is to give tribal artisans an opportunity to showcase and sell their traditional art and craft works directly to the customers and get their feedback which would help them in having valuable design related and other inputs. It also provides them a platform for direct interface with art and craft lovers, share their talent with the urban elite and know the customers’ taste and preferences for adapting their product designs and creations accordingly. Commenting on the importance of encouraging tribal artisans of the country, he said, “Ministry of Tribal Affairs will provide more and more such platforms for tribal artisans so that they can sell their products directly to the consumer without middlemen”. He also urged media, NGOs and particularly urban youth to come forward to popularise the tribal products and bring the tribals into the main stream of the society. TRIFED, which focuses on training for skill upgradation and capacity building of tribal artisans and minor forest produce gatherers, has been taking a number of promotional initiatives for marketing of tribal products. From a single sales outlet of TRIBES India in 1999 at 9, Mahadev Road, Delhi, it has established 34 outlets of its own and 10 Consignment outlets across the country. TRIFED has also initiated the concept of sourcing tribal products by organising Tribal Artisan Melas (TAMs) to identify new artisans and products from different regions/ states where tribal artisans are invited to display their products for selection and inclusion in the range of products marketed by TRIFED.The exhibition, which will be open till November 11, will have hand crafted items, handloom products, dry flowers, cane and bamboo products, tribal jewellery, Dhokra craft, tribal weaves, embroidery, tribal paintings etc, showcased at the venue.