Friday, October 31, 2014

CONTAGION: Doctors Without Borders - Sierra Leone Ebola Outbreak Is "Catastrophic"; Cases Are "Under-Reported"; Several Villages And Communities Basically WIPED OUT!

A team of Ebola funeral agents carry a body at the Fing Tom cemetery in Freetown, on October 10, 2014 (AFP Photo/Florian Plaucheur)

October 31, 2014 - SIERRA LEONE
- Ebola has wiped out whole villages in Sierra Leone and may have caused many more deaths than the nearly 5,000 official global toll, a senior coordinator of the medical aid group MSF said Friday.

Rony Zachariah of Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, said after visiting Sierra Leone that the Ebola figures were "under-reported", in an interview with AFP on the sidelines of a medical conference in Barcelona.

"The situation is catastrophic. There are several villages and communities that have been basically wiped out.

In one of the villages I went to, there were 40 inhabitants and 39 died," he said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) published revised figures on Friday showing 4,951 people have died of Ebola and there was a total of 13,567 reported cases.

"The WHO says there is a correction factor of 2.5, so maybe it is 2.5 times higher and maybe that is not far from the truth. It could be 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000," said Zachariah.

He stressed that "whole communities have disappeared but many of them are not in the statistics. The situation on the ground is actually much worse."

He added that in some places the local healthcare systems were overwhelmed.

"You have one nurse for 10,000 people and then you lose 10, 11, 12 nurses. How is the health system going to work?"

After isolated cases in Europe, "we might get a vaccine and a treatment... but even now we need to go much faster because the clock is ticking," he said.

"We want action now." - Yahoo.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

CONTAGION TERROR: ISIS Plotting Ebola Terror Attack To Kill Westerners With Infected Syringes Warns Security Chief - As Obama Health Official Declares That Ebola Can Spread Through Bus Sweat! UPDATES: The Latest Reports On The Deadly Virus Outbreak!

Threat: Martinez said would-be militants are using chat rooms to discuss terror attacks. Getty

October 31, 2014 - THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
- The Islamic State is urging supporters to use Ebola as a chemical weapon to kill western civilians, according to a Spanish politician. Francisco Martinez Vazquez, Spain's state secretary for security, claims the terror group will use any means possible to kill its enemies - including stabbing people with needles poisoned with the deadly virus.

  He told Spanish parliament that would-be militants are using chat rooms to discuss terror attacks - including so-called 'lone wolf' attacks. Martinez Vazquez said conversations he had witnessed identified 'many examples' of threats to use Ebola as a chemical weapon, and he is taking the threats seriously. One conversation he referred to discussed the 'use of Ebola as a poisonous weapon against the United States', and in another, militants worked out the best way to use 'deadly chemical products' stolen from laboratories. Here is where one of 'many' examples where the possibility of using 'poisonous injections' was allegedly suggested. Mr Martinez then listed six benefits of a strong online presence, as identified by Islamic State:
  • Threatening enemies through propaganda
  • Preparing operations
  • Exchanging information
  • Ideological training
  • Recruiting new members
  • Acquiring finance
Warning: Spanish secretary of state for security
Francisco Martinez Vazquez (middle)
Earlier this month, US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there was "no credible evidence" Islamic State using the Ebola virus to attack the US. But around the same time experts also warned against the use of Ebola as a biological weapon in the UK - stating the terror group could send infected militants, sparking widespread outbreaks. Capt Al Shimkus, of the US Naval War College, said: “Individuals exposed to the virus become carriers.

"It doesn’t take much sophistication to go to the next step and use terrorists as carriers.” Professor Anthony Glees, of Buckingham University’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said: “IS fighters believe in suicide and this is a potential job for a suicide mission. "They are sufficiently murderous and well-informed to consider it.” The World Health Organisation has branded the outbreak the “most severe acute health emergency in modern times”. West Africa is the worst affected area. In Liberia, over 2,300 people have died, while in Sierra Leone and Guinea the death toll stands at nearly 1,000 each. The deadly virus has also reached Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and the US but outbreaks have been contained so far. - Mirror.

Obama Health Official: Ebola Can Spread Through Bus Sweat

Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Dr. Nicole Lurie said in sworn testimony that Ebola can spread through perspiration left on a bus seat. Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie grilled Lurie at Friday’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the federal government’s response to the Ebola outbreak, where Lurie admitted that Ebola can be spread through bus perspiration. Massie asked Lurie whether or not Ebola can survive on inert surfaces for at least 15 minutes. Lurie replied that “it can survive.” Massie then asked whether Ebola could be transmitted on a bus. Lurie said that someone would have to be exposed to infected bodily fluids. Massie asked if that includes perspiration.

Ebola can be contracted by sitting near someone...

“It does include perspiration,” Lurie replied. Other panelists at the hearing sitting beside Lurie also confirmed the possibility of Ebola transmission through bus perspiration. “That could include perspiration,” said International Medical Corps. official Rabih Torbay, adding that bus transmission “could be possible.” “It can be transmitted through sweat,” said Marine Corps Major General James Lariviere.

The White House successfully pressured New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to end their states’ quarantine policy for health-care workers who have treated Ebola patients — a policy put in place after the first Ebola diagnosis in New York City Thursday night. - Daily Caller.

Patient being monitored for possible Ebola at west Tulsa hospital

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said initial tests on the person monitored for Ebola are positive for malaria. The patient is being monitored at OSU Medical Center in downtown Tulsa. Sources told FOX23 News the patient being monitored for possible Ebola is a man. OSU Medical Center's Public Information Officer told FOX23 they went floor to floor Thursday night, letting other patients who are getting treatment at the hospital know about the man who is in isolation for possible Ebola.

The PIO at OSU Medical Center said the doctors and nurses treating the man are wearing full protective gear. The PIO also told FOX23 they don't have a planned news conference at this point and the situation will be unfolding over the next several days. The man traveled to West Africa within the last 21 days. The health department told FOX23 they have been monitoring the man and doing temperature readings twice a day. Then Thursday night the patient called the health department to say they had a fever. An ambulance brought the patient here where doctors put him in isolation.

Health officials say the patient is a low risk for Ebola. “They did not come in contact, had no known exposure with anyone with Ebola, they did not provide care for a person with Ebola, so they are really a low risk,” said community relations coordinator Leanne Stephens. Stephens said they implemented their plan out of an abundance of caution. FOX23 asked if doctors will monitor anyone else who had contact with the patient and they said they will assess the patient first and then decide. The health department said a blood sample has been taken from the patient and sent to the Centers for Disease Control lab in Atlanta for testing for Ebola. - FOX23.

Court orders movement restrictions on Maine nurse over Ebola fears

Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
A District Court judge in Maine has authorized an order restricting the movements of a nurse who recently returned to the area from West Africa over fears that she might spread the deadly Ebola virus. In response to a request filed earlier this week by state officials, District Court Chief Judge Charles LaVerdiere wrote that the nurse, Kaci Hickox, must stay at least three feet away from all other persons effective Friday, as well as adhere to a half-dozen other restrictions pending further instruction expected to come in the next 10 days.

“This decision has critical implications for [Hickox’s] freedom, as guaranteed by the US and Maine Constitutions, as well as the public’s right to be protected from the potential severe harm posed by transmission of this devastating disease,
” the temporary order reads in part.
Hickox, 33, arrived in New Jersey last Friday from Sierra Leone after volunteering there with Doctors Without Borders amidst a historically tragic Ebola outbreak. Officials in the Garden State immediately quarantined the nurse over concerns that she could spread the highly contagious disease, but subsequent tests suggested she never contracted the disease; because it may take upwards of 21 days to show symptoms, officials in Maine have insisted Hickox isolate herself from others since she returned home to the town of Fort Kent on Tuesday.

The court order — signed Thursday but not published until Friday morning — says Hickox must submit to direct active monitoring; coordinate her travel with public health authorities; not use public transportation; avoid public places, such as malls and movie theatres; avoid workplaces; stay within Fort Kent’s boundaries unless told otherwise; and “maintain a 3-foot distance from others when engaging in non-congregate public activities (i.e., walking or jogging in the park).”

According to the document, a full hearing will be held sometime between this Sunday and next in order to assess Hickox’s situation further. Earlier this week, the nurse said she would reject the state’s attempt to have her adhere to voluntary restrictions, and Thursday morning she went for a bike ride in Fort Kent, defying officials’ orders. That same day, the National Nurses United and an affiliated union, California Nurses Association, announced they’d be protesting next month to demonstrate against the treatment of health care workers returning from Africa. - RT.

Maine Says Nurse Hickox’s Roommate In Africa Had Ebola

Sheila Pinette of the Maine CDC has released information that the roommate of Kaci Hickox, while in West Africa has displayed signs of ebola. Pinette says “The respondents roommate in Africa became infected without knowing how she became infected with Ebola. (Any potential risk to respondent from that incident has passed).”

This is one of 35 points Pinette made while filing a verified petition for public health order yesterday with the state. What did arrogant nurse Kaci Hickox know about her roommate’s Ebola, and when did she know it? Maine’s battle to keep her quarantined for another fortnight continues despite Hickox’s stubbornness. - PJ Media.

Flu or Ebola? US hospitals prepare for a confusing season
© AFP/File / by Kerry Sheridan | Local residents gather brochures about Ebola prior to a meeting with community leaders and
Health Department medical professionals October 29, 2014 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York

After weeks of Ebola panic, false alarms and quibbles over quarantine in the United States, health authorities are bracing for a new battle: flu season. The end of October marks the start of influenza season, bringing with it the predictable sniffles, sneezes, fever and aches that can extend well into the spring months. But this year is different for two reasons.

First is the Ebola epidemic in West Africa that spilled into the United States when a Liberian man traveled to Texas in September and infected two nurses who helped care for him. The second is the late summer outbreak of enterovirus D68, a respiratory illness that has sickened more than 1,100 people in 46 states since August, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Most areas of the country are reporting a decline in EV-D68, but seven states including California say they are still seeing increases. There is no vaccine against the EV-D68, which has been linked to paralysis and neurologic symptoms in a small number of child patients. Nor is there any treatment on the market to cure or prevent Ebola, though experimental vaccines are being fast-tracked.

The prospect of facing all three illnesses in a single season has led the CDC to start a public education campaign to help people understand the risks, and to remind people to get their annual flu vaccine. "There may be some public concern or confusion between seasonal influenza and Ebola this season," a CDC spokeswoman said in an email to AFP, citing past experience with fears over the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). "Flu-like symptoms in US residents this flu season will most likely be caused by seasonal influenza, not Ebola."

- Similar symptoms -

Flu and Ebola share some common symptoms, such as fever, headache, fatigue and aches and pains. But there are big differences, too. Influenza causes cough, sore throat and runny nose, while Ebola does not. Ebola leads to vomiting and diarrhea within three to six days, severe weakness and stomach pain, as well as unexplained bleeding and bruising. To illustrate these differences, the CDC has issued a flyer titled "Flu or Ebola?" that offers a side-by-side comparison, available at

The simple, bold print is accompanied by graphics, including one person sneezing on another to show how flu transmits by droplets spewed when sick people cough, sneeze or talk. Ebola transmission is illustrated by a bright red blood drop and needle. "Ebola can only be spread by direct contact with blood or bodily fluids," the flyer says.

As part of increased screening measures, patients around the country are now asked to fill out a questionnaire asking if they have traveled to West Africa recently and if they have any Ebola symptoms. "Everybody is screening now, in outpatient offices, in hospital emergency rooms, in ambulatory centers," said Debra Spicehandler, infectious disease expert at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York. "The only problem is we are all spending a lot of time getting prepared for Ebola, so we may have lost our focus a bit on influenza and preparation for the influenza season," she told AFP.

The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone over six months of age, preferably by the end of October. Last year, 42 percent of adults and 59 percent of children received their flu shots. The CDC said it is too early to tell how many have received their vaccinations this year.

- By the numbers -

Every year, between five and 20 percent of Americans get the flu, as many as 200,000 are hospitalized and deaths have reached as high as 49,000 in recent decades, the CDC says. Worldwide, the flu infects anywhere from three to five million people per year and kills up to 500,000, according to the World Health Organization. The current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa is the world's largest in history, killing more than 4,900 people and infecting more than 13,000 since the beginning of the year. Ebola is rare, but lethal about half the time. Of the nine patients treated for Ebola in US hospitals this year, however, just one has died. The flu is common, but rarely lethal except among the young, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems. Only a doctor can tell if a patient should be tested for Ebola, based on travel history and potential exposure to infected patients. "The important thing is not to panic. The most important thing to be concerned about is the flu, not Ebola," said Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. "The most important thing people can do is get a flu shot." - France 24.

U.S. nurses union to stage strikes over Ebola protections

A California-based nurses union said Thursday it was organizing strikes and other protests against what it views as insufficient protection for nurses caring for patients stricken with the deadly Ebola virus.

The nurses have demanded better protection when treating Ebola patients for weeks, ever since two nurses in Texas became infected with the virus while treating Thomas Duncan, a Liberian who fell ill and died while visiting Dallas. "Nurses, who have been willing to stand by the patients whether it's the flu, whether it's Ebola, whether it's cancer, now they're being asked to put themselves in harm's way unprotected, unguarded," said Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, based in Oakland.

National Nurses United and its affiliate, the California Nurses Association (CNA), said nurses would walk off the job on Nov. 12, at 66 Kaiser Permanente facilities in California, and at Providence Hospital in Washington, D.C. In addition to the walkouts, nurses at other facilities nationwide would engage in protests on Nov. 12, including picketing and staging bake sales to raise money for hazmat suits for nurses, DeMoro said. The bulk of those walking out, about 18,000 nurses, are employees of Kaiser Permanente in Northern and Central California, where they are in the midst of acrimonious negotiations over a new labor contract. Kaiser's human resources chief, Gay Westfall, said the non-profit managed healthcare giant is well-prepared for Ebola, with protocols and protective equipment that meets or exceeds federal recommendations. "The claims CNA is making about Kaiser Permanente's Ebola preparedness, in an attempt to justify a strike, are simply untrue," she said.

The nurses' latest contract with Kaiser expired last week. Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention beefed up its recommendations for personal protective equipment to include hooded full-body suits that cover the neck, more frequent hand washing and a supervisor who oversees the removal of infected gear, steps experts said should have been taken long ago. But advocates for nurses say the recommendations should go further, and should be standardized and mandatory in all healthcare settings. The nurses union has circulated a petition asking Congress or President Barack Obama to declare a national standard. "We want something where a virus cannot penetrate anywhere from head to toe in the nurse's body," DeMoro said. - Courant.

These scientific studies show that airport Ebola screenings are largely ineffective

Twilette Miller, a nurse arriving from Dayton, Ohio, wears a precautionary surgical mask at Dulles International Airport on Oct. 16
because of concerns about Ebola. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

The debate over whether the Obama administration should ban flights from Ebola-stricken nations has been raging for weeks, fueled by fears of an outbreak in the United States and a lot of election-inspired finger pointing. The Department of Homeland Security last week imposed new travel restrictions for anyone arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, requiring those passengers to come through one of five major U.S. airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New Jersey, New York and Virginia. Those travelers now have to submit to temperature checks and questioning. But scientific studies published by the National Institutes of Health have shown that similar protocols were largely ineffective during an outbreak of Swine Flu in 2009, as Government Executive pointed out in an article last week.

A study of screenings at Australia’s Sydney Airport during the Swine Flu pandemic found that fever was detected in 5,845 passengers during the roughly two-month period covered by the analysis. Only three of those individuals ended up having the virus, which is known in the scientific community as H1N1. Researchers determined that 45 patients who acquired the illness overseas would have “probably passed through the airport” during the roughly two-month period covered in the study. That means the screeners likely missed the vast majority of individuals who arrived at the facility with Swine Flu, despite grabbing thousands of travelers who showed signs of fever.

The report said only 0.5 percent of H1N1 cases in New South Wales, Australia, were detected at the airport, whereas 76 percent were identified in emergency rooms and at general-practice medical centers. Ultimately, researchers concluded that airport temperature checks were “ineffective in detecting cases of [Swine Flu].” Similarly, a study of fever screening in Japan during the pandemic determined that “reliance on fever alone is unlikely to be feasible as an entry screening measure.” Indeed, temperature checks didn’t work for Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola this month after arriving in Dallas.

Duncan did not have a fever when he landed in Texas on Sept. 28, and he said he had not been in contact with Ebola patients in his native country, although that later proved to be a false statement. The Australian study concluded that officials should consider “more effective interventions, such as contact tracing in the community.” The findings are in line with what federal officials have said: That the best way to prevent Ebola from spreading is to identify everyone whom infected individuals have contacted. - Washington Post.

Ebola in Mali: 57 Contacts of Toddler who Died 'Not Yet Identified' After 600 Mile Trip with Victim on Bus

Health workers direct travellers entering Mali from Guinea to wash their hands at the border
in Kouremale, 2 October, 2014 (Reuters)
Fifty-seven people who were in contact with the toddler who died from Ebola in Mali have still not been identified, the World Health Organisation has said.

The two-year-old, who had travelled to Guinea, died on 24 October at the Fousseyni Dao hospital in Kayes and since then authorities have been scrambling to identify everyone who could have been in contact with the girl.

WHO said that the unknown contacts of the child include 34 people who travelled with her on a bus from Bamako to Kayes, as well as another 14 people who were with her on another bus, Reuters reports.

Of the 84 people identified, there is one suspect case who has not yet been tested for Ebola. Test results are currently pending for another suspected case.

Experts are on high alert over a potential outbreak in Mali following the girl's death. It emerged that health workers were not informed that she had just returned from Guinea, where she had stayed with her father before he died.

It was also not revealed that she had made the 600 mile journey to Kayes with her grandmother on public transport.

Mike Noyes, head of Humanitarian Response at ActionAid, said experts are highly concerned about a potential Ebola outbreak in Mali – more than any other country in the world.

He told IBTimes UK: "The one we're watching now is Mali." He said that Mali has had a few months to prepare for the virus and has taken some precautions, but the nature of the girl's arrival at the hospital could result in an outbreak.

"For various reasons the child travelled around a bit before she was taken to hospital and diagnosed. I understand the fact she was from Guinea wasn't disclosed to the health services immediately either. We wait and see.

"Obviously an outbreak in a fourth country would be of great concern. Certainly the one case occurring in Mali is far more concerning than one case in the US."

Speaking about Mali's ability to cope with an outbreak, he added: "The Mali health services is probably not that much better resourced than the Liberian or Sierra Leone ones, the big difference is that people know Ebola is around so it's on the list of things a health worker will think of as soon as someone who is sick turns up, whereas in Liberia and Sierra Leone, the outbreak was well established before people realised what it was." - IBTimes.

Canada won't issue visas to residents of countries with widespread Ebola

A healthcare worker washes his hands and boots at an Ebola treatment centre in the Hastings area of Freetown,
Sierra Leone, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. (AP / Michael Duff)
Canada is following in Australia's footsteps and has suspended, effectively immediately, the issuance of visas to residents of the West African countries battling Ebola. In a move that puts Canada at odds with the World Health Organization, the federal government said Friday it is suspending visa applications for residents and nationals of countries with "widespread and persistent-intense transmission" of Ebola virus disease. That stress on countries with widespread transmission provides an out for the United States, which currently still has at least one active Ebola case within its borders.

The federal government said it would stop issuing visas in the worker, student or visitor class and won't issue any pending permanent residency visas for people from those countries either. Any applications already in the system will also not be processed at this time. The change, which goes into effect immediately, was announced Friday in the Canada Gazette. Kevin Menard, spokesperson for Chris Alexander, minister of citizenship and immigration, said the move is similar to but a bit less restrictive than the one the Australian government announced this week.

Australia's move was slammed Wednesday by Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, who said closing borders will not stop spread of the Ebola virus. David Fidler, an international law professor at Indiana University, said the moves by Canada and Australia place both countries in violation of the International Health Regulations, a treaty to which both are signatories. The IHR, as they are called, are designed to help the world fight infectious disease outbreaks that have the potential for international spread. They were revised and strengthened in 2005 in the wake of the 2003 SARS outbreak. During SARS, the World Health Organization issued travel advisories directing people around the world to avoid places battling severe outbreaks. It is a tool the organization has not used since.

One of the places hit with a travel advisory was Toronto. Ontario's then health minister, Tony Clement -- now president of the federal treasury board -- was among those incensed by the WHO's move. Clement led a delegation to Geneva to successfully demand the WHO rescind the travel advisory against Toronto. Under the IHR, countries agree not to restrict trade or travel over and above what is recommended by the WHO during Public Health Emergencies of International Concern, known as a PHEIC. The WHO declared Ebola a PHEIC on Aug. 8 and in doing so said countries should not close their borders to the West African countries struggling with Ebola. It has repeated that advice several times since.

The IHR stipulate that countries that go beyond the WHO's recommendations have to back up their decisions with solid rationale. "You have to explain yourself. And you have to show that your measure, which is more restrictive than what WHO is recommending, is based in science and public health principles," Fidler said in an interview. "There isn't a public health or scientific justification for what Australia and Canada are doing. Therefore they are in violation of their obligations under the international health regulations." The latest figures from the WHO suggest at least 13,567 people have been infected since this Ebola outbreak began, and 4,951 have died. The only nations which currently meet the definition of countries with widespread and persistent, intense transmission are Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. - CTV News.

Ebola hospital ship docks in Sierra Leone in UK aid effort

In a handout picture released by the British Ministry of Defence via Defence News Imagery on October 30, 2014 Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Argus is docked
at the QE2 dock in Freetown in Sierra Leone on October 30, 2014 offloading equipment and stores that will aid in the fight against Ebola. (AFP Photo)

The British ship RFA Argus arrived in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, on Thursday, delivering helicopters, a fleet of vehicles and aid supplies to help contain the Ebola outbreak – among the worst in West Africa.

“The arrival of RFA Argus reinforces the great work already done ashore and demonstrates how the British military’s expertise will be used to support the government of Sierra Leone as together we tackle the spread of this appalling disease,”
said Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.

Three Merlin helicopters on board the 28,000-ton vessel will help British Army medical teams move quickly around the country “in their race to help tackle the Ebola virus.” The ship also delivered 5,000 water bottles and inflatable boats, which will be used to move equipment and personnel inland along Sierra Leone’s rivers.

“To be able to fly equipment and experts right into the heart of the areas it is needed will be a fundamental change in the way we do business. It will give the effort ashore much greater agility and velocity to deliver the mission,”
RFA Argus commanding officer Captain David Eagles told Sky News.

“For the people on board the ship, it is just simply a case of rolling up their sleeves and getting in and contributing as best we can, and our people are very much looking forward to that.”

A health worker poses inside a tent in the Ebola treatment unit being preventively set to host potential Ebola patients at the
University Hospital of Yopougon, on October 17, 2014. (AFP Photo)

Donal Brown, director of the Department for International Development-led Ebola taskforce, said the ship’s arrival will give a “tremendous boost to our fight against Ebola.”

“Working directly with the Sierra Leonean authorities, they will quickly direct assistance to where it is needed most,”
he said RAF staff are based at Accra in Ghana. In total, around 800 British military personnel are being deployed to help build Ebola treatment centers and a medical training academy. By the end of November, 700 beds will be ready for Ebola patients.

The UK has also helped build five treatment units. Health experts have repeatedly stressed that local health systems are overburdened by the recent outbreak and that demand far exceeds supply. At present there are more people affected by Ebola than there are treatment centers and beds to care for them. There is no proven cure or vaccine for Ebola. The deadly virus has infected 13,703 people and killed 5,235 since the outbreak began in March, according to the World Health Organization. - RT.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

ICE AGE NOW: Arctic Halloween - Heavy Snowfall, Record Lows For Eastern United States; Shock Parts Of South; Record Snowall For Halloween In Chicago; First Snowfall For New England, Great Lakes, Appalachians!

Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are posted for parts of the Appalachians and snow advisories are in effect in the Great Lakes as the
season's first snow targets those areas from Halloween into the weekend.  As of Friday morning up to 8 inches of snow fell in Winchester, Wisconsin
and near Three Lakes, Michigan. Wind gusts up to 60 mph have also been reported in parts of Michigan.
October 31, 2014 - UNITED STATES - An arctic blast is giving millions of people a real reason to shiver on Halloween.

Trick-or-treaters from the Midwest to the Mississippi Valley to the East Coast faced a deep chill Friday, and strong, freezing winds took hold across the Great Lakes region. Parts of northern Michigan and Wisconsin saw 8 inches of snowfall, according to, while other areas through the Ohio Valley and Appalachians got flurries and wet snow.

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport had canceled more than 700 incoming and outgoing flights by Friday night because of heavy winds, rain and snow, according to

Friday: The cold front plunges through the Great Lakes early, then through the Ohio Valley and Appalachians. Rain will mix with, or changeover
to wet snow in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin and spread to the Ohio Valley and Appalachians later
in the day into the night. Bands of lake-effect rain or snow will also set up.

The southern Appalachians are also expected to get up to 8 inches of snow by Saturday morning, and Maine could see up to 6 inches, according to Temperatures would likely fall 10 to 15 degrees below average over the weekend from the Great Lakes all the way south to the Central Gulf Coast, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

“It’s certainly unusual,” Weather Channel lead meteorologist Michael Palmer said. “It’s early for snow in many areas, and the temperatures are definitely lower than we would expect.” In the Midwest, winds gusting to 50 mph and snow showers are expected around a stormy Lake Michigan. Parts of at least a dozen Midwest states were under freeze warnings by the NWS on Friday night.

Saturday: Additional snow will fall over the Appalachians and parts of the piedmont from east Tennessee and western North Carolina (possibly Upstate
South Carolina) north to at least West Virginia. Some wet snow may also linger in parts of eastern Lower Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania,
western New York. Snow may develop later in parts of northern New England.

Sunday: Snow, possibly heavy, in parts of northern New England and gusty winds are expected as well.

Freezing temperatures could occur as far south as northern Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia Saturday morning and central Mississippi, northern Georgia and western parts of the Carolinas Sunday morning, said. Record lows are expected Sunday morning in Florida, including the Miami area.

The system is expected to move eastward over the weekend, bringing some rain to New York City and New England. - NBC.

Record snowfall for Halloween in Chicago -
Snow showers, temperatures in 30s

Chicagoland parents should bundle up trick-or-treaters and pack umbrellas in jack-o-lantern candy buckets as temperatures drop into the 30s and snow showers are likely this Halloween night.

The National Weather Service forecast scattered rain and snow showers before 7 p.m. Friday with lows around 36 degrees. Strong winds are also likely, it said. A high wind warning will be in effect until 6 p.m., with wind gusts expected to reach 60 mph near the lake.

One lane of northbound Lake Shore Drive was closed Friday from Oak Street to North Avenue about 1:30 p.m., according to the Office of Emergency Management. Streets and sanitation workers were on scene to manage the damage. Farther south, northbound Lake Shore Drive was briefly closed but had reopened at Monroe Street after crews cleaned up from flooding caused by high waves.

Also Friday afternoon, officials at Navy Pier shut down a floating attraction called the Zombie Containment Haunted House after violent waves caused the barge to slam against the pier, resulting in damage.

Nick Shields, director of external communications at Navy Pier, said officials decided to close the attraction for the remainder of the Halloween holiday due to safety concerns. He added that refunds will be given to anyone who purchased tickets online or ahead of opening time for Halloween.

Northwest Indiana and the far southeast suburbs should expect some lake-effect snow Friday evening, and the rest of the Chicago area could see some precipitation, the weather service said.

High waves crash along the lakefront Friday near Oak Street Beach in Chicago. E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune

Halloween started with a record snowfall for many Chicago-area residents. As of 8 a.m. Friday, O'Hare and Chicago Rockford International Airport had one-tenth of an inch of snow, the most on record for Oct. 31 for the city of Chicago, according to the weather service.

Windy conditions and snow caused hundreds of flight cancellations and delays Friday at O'Hare International Airport, officials said.
As of 11 a.m. Friday, more than 300 flights were reported canceled and delays of up to an hour were reported at O'Hare, according to the Chicago Department of Aviation. Midway Airport did not report any cancellations or delays, officials said.

According to FlightStats, an online site that monitors air traffic, 701 flights in and out of O’Hare were canceled.

The weather service records indicate that the snowfall in Chicago comes more than two weeks before the average date of measurable snowfall, Nov. 16. And though Friday’s accumulation at O’Hare marked a record for snowfall on Oct. 31, it is not the earliest snow the city has seen.

The weather service reports the earliest measurable snowfall -- 0.1 inch or more -- occurred Oct. 12, 2006, when Chicago saw 0.3 inches fall.

Bill Nelson, a meteorologist with the weather service, said the most observed accumulation occurred in Rockton, 13 miles north of Rockford, where more than 0.2 inches of snow fell. Roscoe, 12 miles northeast of Rockford, also recorded snowfall of 0.2 inches, Nelson said.

“Most people just had trace amounts, flurries,” he said.

With ground temperatures still in the 50s and air temperatures above freezing, Illinois state climatologist Jim Angel said the snow likely would not stay through the weekend.

“It might stick on trees and bushes and grass. And it might be kind of pretty, but otherwise it will be kind of sloppy on sidewalks and roads,” Angel said.

Though Halloween snow may cause goose bumps for some, he said the flurries should not cause nightmares for those reliving haunting memories of last winter.

“Don’t get worried that the early season snow is an omen of what’s to come,” Angel said. “There’s nothing to indicate a recurrence of last year, thank goodness.” - Chicago Tribune.

Freeze warning issued for all of northern Alabama, portions of central Alabama

A freeze warning has been issued for all of northern Alabama as cold air begins to push into the state.

The freeze warning issued by the National Weather Service also includes some parts of central Alabama, including areas just north of Montgomery.

Forecasters say temperatures are expected to plunge into the early 20s in some parts of the state by early Sunday morning.

Temperatures for trick-or-treaters at 10 p.m. Friday are expected to be around 43 degrees in the Birmingham area and 46 in the Montgomery area.

The cold weather is expected to dive south also, with low temperatures of around 35 degrees by early Sunday morning in the Mobile area. - TRIB Town.

RATTLE & HUM: "I Felt Like A Big,... Vibration,... The Kitchen Moved,... Very Bizarre,..." - Mysterious Vibration And Boom Rocks South New Jersey Shore Town?!

October 31, 2014 - NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES - Residents around Lower Township, New Jersey have turned to social media to confirm they were not alone in feeling the ground rumble Wednesday afternoon.

A source tells CBSPhilly the township has received reports from residents regarding the mysterious vibration in the area.

Lower Township resident Jo Ann Armstrong says, "The kitchen moved. My husband was outside on the riding mower and I thought he had run into the house."

And she wasn't alone - several others turned to Twitter to share their experience:
Think we may have just had a minor earth quake in cape may county

2:05 PM - 29 Oct 2014

Felt an earthquake in Atlantic/Cape May counties.

4:00 PM - 29 Oct 2014 Pleasantville, NJ, United States

Earthquake felt in Cape May County New Jersey.

2:56 PM - 29 Oct 2014

Felt shaking and heard a rumble earlier this afternoon here in North Cape May. Anyone else? Possible earthquake?

4:24 PM - 29 Oct 2014
It seemed like the room moved. It's didn't shake, it didn't twitch or anything, it just actually seemed like it moved," Jo Ann Armstrong said.

It was a shakeup Jo Ann Armstrong just couldn't figure out.

And she wasn't alone.

In cities up and down the shore, people reported feeling the ground move or hearing a loud boom.

"I felt like a big, almost like a vibration, and then I heard what sounded like a truck overturning or something," Jacquelyn Songalewski said.

It lasted just seconds but people jumped on social media hoping to figure it all out. Some didn't know what to think, others thought possibly it was even an earthquake.

There were no reports of any earthquakes in the area by the U.S. Geological Survey, and as it turns out the source of the mysterious boom may not be from the ground, but rather the air.

Aircraft test flights breaking the speed of sound over the Atlantic in an airspace referred to as the test track caused a similar scare back in February.

And it turns out the Navy was conducting similar tests Wednesday afternoon from the naval air station in Patuxent River, Maryland.

Armstrong was relieved her friends experienced that same thing. For a moment she thought she was alone.

"Bizarre. Very bizarre," she said.

Do you live in the area and felt the ground shake? Weigh in on our Twitter and Facebook pages! - CBS.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Costa Rica's Turrialba Volcano Spews Massive Ashfall - Biggest Eruption In Over 100 Years; Mass Evacuation For Surrounding Communities!

Smoke columns rising from the Turrialba Volcano after an eruption. © PA

October 31, 2014 - COSTA RICA
- The biggest eruption in a century at a volcano in Costa Rica has rained ash over the Central American country and prompted authorities to evacuate some communities.

Emergency services and scientists remained on high alert on Friday after the overnight explosion at the Turrialba volcano, close to the capital San Jose.

Volcanologist Gino Gonzalez said that the volcano had been rumbling and producing seismic activity since Wednesday evening.

He said the explosion caused the side of the crater to collapse, and ashfall was recorded in four provinces.

Steam and ash spews from a vent inside the crater of the Turrialba volcano in Costa Rica.  © OVSICORI/AFP

Smoke columns rising from the Turrialba Volcano after an eruption.

"We saw fiery explosions. We must confirm whether it was lava or burning material that fell so spectacularly," Raul Mora, a volcano expert with the National Seismological Network told local television, adding the volcano was highly active.

The last time Turrialba spewed lava was around 1863, Mora said.

The national park around the volcano has been closed since 2010, when it also spewed ash, as a precautionary measure, according to the emergency services.

A yellow alert was declared for communities near the volcano, which were evacuated. Agriculture Ministry officials were attending to some 400 head of cattle on Friday in areas where ash fell. - Telegraph.

CONTAGION: More Evidence That Ebola Is Airborne - WHO Urges Sneeze Protection While The CDC Deletes Warning That The Virus Can Spread Through Coughs And Sneezes From Its Website; As The Pentagon Funds Vaccine To Counter Airborne Exposure To Ebola!

October 31, 2014 - THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
- While the Centers for Disease Control has removed from its website a warning that Ebola can be spread through sneezing, the World Health Organization has just issued new guidelines for health workers that specify protective equipment should be worn to protect the mouth, nose and eyes from contaminated droplets and fluids.

The WHO guidelines are based on a review of care of Ebola patients, the U.N. agency said.

Meanwhile, Friday, the CDC website removed a “Fact Sheet” posted Thursday that stirred controversy by admitting after weeks of apparent denial that Ebola can be spread by coughing and sneezing.

The WHO said the Guidelines Development Group it convened included participation of a wide range of experts from international organizations, including the CDC, Doctors without Borders and the Infection Control Africa Network.

“These guidelines hold an important role in clarifying effective personal protective equipment options that protect the safety of healthcare workers and patients from Ebola virus disease transmission,” says Edward Kelley, WHO director for service delivery and safety.

“Paramount to the guidelines’ effectiveness is the inclusion of mandatory training on the putting on, taking off and decontaminating of PPE, followed by mentoring for all users before engaging in any clinical care.”

The guidance posted by the CDC Thursday
, captured by, said “droplets of the virus can travel short distances, less than 3 feet [one meter] from person to person.”

It further disclosed that a person “might also get infected by touching a surface or object that has germs on it and then touching their nose or mouth.”

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey,
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and President Obama

Mike Adams, writing at, commented that the fact sheet meant “the CDC is now admitting it lied all along” by denying the Ebola virus could be spread by “indirect transmission routes,” including sneezing and coughing. The CDC, he said, had insisted Ebola can only be spread by “direct contact” with the body or bodily fluids of an Ebola-infected person.

The same CDC fact sheet also acknowledged Ebola can contaminate objects, saying “a person might also get infected by touching a surface or object that has germs on it and then touching their mouth or nose.”

Dr. Rossi Hassard, a professor of epidemiology at Mercy College, was quoted by the New York Post saying droplets of the Ebola virus could remain active on surfaces such as a table or doorknob.

The removal of the fact sheet was merely the most recent in a series of public reversals.

On Tuesday, the CDC issued guidance for health care workers specifying new procedures for Emergency Medical Services when handling Ebola patients in ambulance transfers that admitted “lessons had been learned from the recent experience caring for patients with Ebola in U.S. healthcare settings.”

On Oct. 20, reacting to the two nurses who contracted Ebola in Texas after treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan, the CDC “tightened guidance” for U.S. health care workers, specifying no skin should be exposed and all workers be properly trained and supervised by a monitor as they put on and remove personal protective equipment.

Then, on Thursday, as a result of the developing controversy of nurse Kaci Hickox’s refusal to comply with state-imposed quarantine requirements after retuning to the U.S. from West Africa, the CDC issued new guidance for “active monitoring” of persons with potential exposure to Ebola, including daily phone calls to state health authorities to report their temperatures and possibly even state-imposed travel restrictions

The apparent “learning on the fly” cast suspicion on continued reassurances by CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden that the CDC had all necessary procedures in place, and Ebola would be contained in the United States if health care officials and workers followed CDC recommendations precisely.

Then, when nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson contracted Ebola after treating Duncon, the CDC appeared to blame the nurses, suggesting they became infected because they didn’t follow CDC “safety protocols” for treating Ebola patients.

The assertion that CDC protocols were sufficient was undermined when the CDC issued new guidelines specifying health care workers treating Ebola patients must have every inch of their bodies covered by protective equipment and that trained supervisors were needed to monitor workers as they put on and took off the equipment.

Still today, the CDC continues to hold the line that there is no risk Ebola can be airborne transmitted.

Yet, as reported by WND, the U.S. Army has published a widely used medical management handbook, now in its seventh edition, that warns viral hemorrhagic fever, the category of viruses that includes Ebola, can be an airborne threat in certain circumstances. - WND.

New CDC confusion over Ebola as it deletes warning that virus can spread through coughs and sneezes from its website

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has removed a warning from its website that Ebola can, in rare cases, spread from person through coughing and sneezing.

It has replaced the old language with new guidance that says there's 'no evidence' Ebola is spread through either.

According to the New York Post, the CDC also took down on Thursday a poster that said that Ebola can be transferred through 'droplets' from coughing or sneezing that land on hard surfaces, like doorknobs.

As the Huffington Post, which discovered the shift in language, noted yesterday evening, it's unclear why the CDC abruptly changed it's Ebola advisories. However, the move came a day after the New York Post reported on the existence of the poster.

This undated handout photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows a kit that travelers from Ebola-stricken West African nations
will be given containing information cards and a thermometer. The CDC previously suggested that Ebola can, in rare cases, spread from
person through coughing and sneezing. It now says there 'no evidence' to support that claim

'Droplet spread happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose or mouth of another person,' the fact sheet reportedly stated.

Now the page says, 'The What’s the difference between infections spread through air or by droplets? Fact sheet is being updated and is currently unavailable. Please visit for up-to-date information on Ebola.'

The quiet removal of the information follows a weeks long public health campaign championed Republican Sen. Rand Paul to get the CDC to be 'forthright' about how the disease is spread.

Previously the CDC's frequently asked questions page on Ebola said: 'Although coughing and sneezing are not common symptoms of Ebola, if a symptomatic patient with Ebola coughs or sneezes on someone, and saliva or mucus come into contact with that person’s eyes, nose or mouth, these fluids may transmit the disease.

Paul has pointed to similar statements from the CDC on numerous occasions as evidence that someone could in fact catch Ebola through the air if in close range of someone who has the virus at, say, a party.

If 'you listen to them closely, they say you have to have direct contact. But you know how they define direct contact? Being within three feet of someone,' he said on one recent occasion.

Given that information, the Kentucky senator has characterized the CDC's claims that the deadly disease could only be spread through direct contact with an infected person's bodily fluids and the virus does not travel through the air as misleading.

'They have so wanted to downplay this that they really, I don't think, have been very accurate in their description of the disease,' Paul told Bloomberg News earlier this month.

Possibly in response to Paul's claims, the CDC has now changed at least one page of it's website to say, 'there is no evidence indicating that Ebola virus is spread by coughing or sneezing.

'Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids of a person who is sick with Ebola; the virus is not transmitted through the air (like measles virus).

'However, droplets (e.g., splashes or sprays) of respiratory or other secretions from a person who is sick with Ebola could be infectious, and therefore certain precautions (called standard, contact, and droplet precautions) are recommended for use in healthcare settings to prevent the transmission of Ebola virus from patients sick with Ebola to healthcare personnel and other patients or family members.'

The Senator wasn't immediately available to comment on the CDC's updated guidance.  - Daily Mail.

Pentagon Funds Vaccine to Counter Airborne Exposure to Ebola - DoD considers Ebola spreading through air a Severe Threat

Citing concerns over “aerosol exposure to Ebola,” the Pentagon awarded a $9.5 million contract to a biotechnology company to manufacture an Ebola vaccine.

The company, Profectus BioSciences, announced today that the Pentagon “contracted the manufacture and … preclinical testing of the Profectus trivalent Ebola/Marburg vaccine” which had previously been tested to “confirm protection of non-human primates from aerosol exposure to Ebola and Marburg viruses.”

“In July 2014, Profectus BioSciences and the GNL were awarded a 3 year, $8.5M grant from the DOD/Joint Vaccine Acquisition Program to support development of a lyophilized trivalent VesiculoVax™-vectored vaccine to protect against all major strains of Ebola and Marburg viruses delivered as aerosols,” the press release stated. “The lyophilized trivalent vaccine is being tested in both pre-exposure and post-exposure studies to confirm protection of non-human primates from aerosol exposure to Ebola and Marburg viruses.”

A CDC poster claiming that Ebola can spread through 'droplets' of germs on hard surfaces such as doorknobs has been
quietly removed from the government agency's website

The development of this vaccine stemmed from the Pentagon’s concern over the airborne transmission of filoviruses such as Ebola which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally admitted spreads like the flu through coughing and sneezing.

The Pentagon took the threat so seriously that it hosted a “Filovirus Medical Countermeasures Workshop” in 2013 which “brought together government, academic and industry experts” to underscore its Ebola vaccine requirements.

“The DoD seeks a trivalent filovirus vaccine that is effective against aerosol exposure and protective against filovirus disease for at least one year,” read an executive summary of the workshop.

On Monday, the CDC released a pamphlet warning against the “droplet spread” of Ebola which happens “when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person.”

“Is Ebola spread through droplets? Yes,” the pamphlet reads.

But, strangely enough, the CDC’s strict definition of “airborne transmission” is limited to “when a germ floats through the air after a person talks, coughs, or sneezes” and not “when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person,” which are obviously traveling through air as well.

“Note to CDC: 99% of the world doesn’t know the difference, or even care for that matter,” wrote Royce Christyn with “What we want to know is ‘if this person is sick and they sneeze or cough near me, am I going to die?’”

U.S. Army scientists previously demonstrated that the airborne transmission of Ebola was possible “at lower temperature and humidity than that normally present in sub-Saharan Africa” during a 1995 study, and they suggested the high temperatures and humidity present in Africa “may have been a factor limiting aerosol transmission of Ebola virus in the African epidemics.” - Info Wars.

Tracking the EBOLA Virus Outbreak

MONUMENTAL GLOBAL VOLCANISM: United States National Guard Deployed In Hawaii As The Kilauea Volcano's Lava Flows Through Pahoa Town - Over 1,000 Degrees Celsius Molten Lava Threatens To Consume The Town's Main Thoroughfare And The Home Of Residents!

Smoke rises from the Pu'u O'o vent on the Kilauea Volcano October 29, 2014 on the Big Island of Hawaii. (Reuters/Marco Garcia)

October 31, 2014 - HAWAII
- The Hawaii National Guard is sending troops to Pahoa, a rural town currently dealing with encroaching lava from the Kilauea volcano. The lava is threatening to destroy a major road in the already-isolated town.

The National Guard deployed Thursday 83 troops to Pahoa, a town of about 950 residents, to assist with security, including the construction of a roadblock and other pressing safety issues, AP reported citing Hawaii County Civil Defense Director Darryl Oliveira.

From a newly-formed vent, the Kilauea volcano has leaked lava northeast toward the ocean since June. The lava has slowed since scientists said last month that it would take over the main road in the town within weeks. Nevertheless, the lava has stayed on course and still threatens to consume the town’s main thoroughfare.

Thus far, lava has burned much vegetation since it streamed through the area, and it is currently approaching homes and other structures in town.

The lava’s flow is “sluggish” at the moment, according to Oliveira, moving less than 5 yards per hour.

Burning debris can be seen in the lava flow from Mount Kilauea that is inching closer to the village of Pahoa, Hawaii October 29, 2014. (Reuters/Marco Garcia)

Pahoa residents are determining if, when, and how to evade the lava’s grasp, especially as it threatens to overtake the main road, AP reported. Residents are facing the prospect of having to abandon their homes as a juggernaut of molten lava 10.5 meters wide and over 1,000 degrees Celsius rampages across their village consuming everything.

"She is so gentle but so unrelenting. She is just slow and steady,"
said Jamila Dandini, resident.

According to AP, Dandini, like others, refers to the lava as Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess.

"It's like slow torture. It speeds up, it slows down. It speeds up, it slows down,"
said Paul Utes, who owns a cafe just a few hundred yards south of where the lava is expected to cross the main road.

Once the lava crosses the main road and other outlets, the town will be divided in half with only a few residents able to still access the area’s sole supermarket, only a mile from the town’s heart.

The eruption of KÄ«lauea Volcano began in 1983, according to the US Geological Survey. The USGS has called Kilauea “perhaps the world’s most active volcano” and certainly the most active on the Hawaiian Islands. - RT.

INFRASTRUCTURE COLLAPSE: More Signs Of Increasing Magnetism As Second Space Disaster Occurs In Less Than A Week - Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Crashes In The Mojave Desert After Suffering An "IN-FLIGHT ANOMALY" During A Test Flight; One Person Killed, Another Injured!

Virgin Galactic's Spaceship 2 in flight. The rocket exploded today, killing one pilot and seriously injuring another

- One person is dead Friday after Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo experimental rocket plane crashed in the Mohave Desert after the aircraft suffered an “in-flight anomaly” during a test flight.

Virgin Galactic said on Twitter early Friday that its SpaceShipTwo plane would be conducting its fifty-fifth test flight that day as the company continues to work at offering clients an opportunity in the future to fly in one of the vessels to the edge of outer space, or around 62 miles from Earth. Shortly after the exercise began, however, Virgin Galactic said simply that the craft “experienced an in-flight anomaly.”

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo (Reuters/Gene Blevins)

Parts of the crashed spacecraft in the Mojave desert. SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership -
then Virgin tweeted that it had 'experienced an in-flight anomaly.'

Two pilots were onboard, and authorities confirmed one was dead, with the second being taken to hospital in Lancaster
with serious injuries aboard a helicopter (pictured)

Part of SpaceShip Two's fuselage on the desert floor

One person was killed and another suffered major injuries when an aircraft used by Virgin Galactic for space travel experimentation
crashed Friday during testing, authorities confirmed. Photo: CBS

Parachutes were spotted in the area, and ABC captured this image of them on the ground

Twitter users have begun posting pictures of the debris to Twitter

“Virgin Galactic's partner Scaled Composites conducted a powered test flight of #SpaceShipTwo earlier today,”
the account tweeted later. “During the test, the vehicle suffered a serious anomaly resulting in the loss of SpaceShipTwo.”

The WhiteKnightTwo, a second craft, reportedly landed safely, according to the company.

“We will work closely with relevant authorities to determine the cause of this accident and provide updates ASAP,” reads another tweet.

The Associated Press has since reported that the incident has caused one fatality and one major injury, citing the California Highway Patrol. Traditionally, test flights of the spaceplane involve two pilots.

A climb to 50,000ft before the rocket engine ignites. Passengers become 'astronauts' when they reach the Karman line, the boundary of Earth's atmosphere,
at which point SpaceShipTwo separates from its carrier aircraft, White Knight II. The spaceship will make a sub-orbital journey with
approximately six minutes of weightlessness, with the entire flight lasting approximately 3.5 hours.The spaceship accelerates to
approximately 3,000 mph - or nearly four times the speed of sound

SpaceShipTwo was flying under rocket power after being released from its mothership - then Virgin tweeted that it had 'experienced an in-flight anomaly

The ship attached to its mothership

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic. (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)

According to NBC News, a parachute was spotted shortly after the incident was reported near Mojave Air and Space Port in California where the plane had taken off earlier in the day.

Galactic, a division of Richard Brandon’s Virgin Group, has been planning on providing so-called “space tourists” with the opportunity to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to ride far from Earth as soon as 2015.

WATCH: SpaceShip Two.

WATCH: Branson on SpaceShip Two.

A news conference is preliminary scheduled for 2 p.m. PT Friday evening. - RT.