#BLACKandSTEM is back! 09/10/15

After a long hiatus, we are back!

Today’s chat is a welcome back round-up!

The topic for the day is “Visionary Habits” and we are featuring Monique Malcom of Keep Chasing the Stars. 

The chat will start at 11am EST – chime in throughout the day in typical #BLACKandSTEM fashion – and end with a special interview of Monique – @starchaserstv – at 6pm EST!

Follow @BLACKandSTEM on twitter.


#BLACKandSTEM 03/19/15

Today’s blog post and chat are brought to you by @blackphysicists.  Make sure to follow them and @STEMontheHILL on twitter to stay up on news about science policy.

There is always a long list of policy matters that affects the work of scientists, engineers and STEM educators. Here we review a few top hot items currently before the US Congress, and suggest ways for #BLACKandSTEM #policytoday professions to engage the political processes.

Top-line budgets for Federal R&D agencies: American Innovation Act

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) has announced plans to introduce the American Innovation Act which would lift automatic spending caps for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy Office of Science, the Department of Defense Science and Technology Programs, the National Institute of Standards and Technology Scientific and Technical Research, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Directorate. Essentially the bill proposes to reduce the impact of sequester for these agencies by at least 67%.

Many Members of Congress, including ones in the GOP, as well as President Obama have called for the total end of sequestration. But while there is agreement on ending that style of spending cuts, the GOP and Administration are still at odds on the exact spending levels and taxation policy. While even the most ardent deficit hawks in the GOP have called for increases in the NIH budget, the actual GOP budget blueprint, released just this week, calls overall cuts in non-defense discretionary funding.

Scientists push for bigger top-line budgets by demonstrating the positive benefits of research to the overall economy, to health and national security. This is something we have to do often.

Regular order in appropriations

The Budget Control Act requires that the President submit a budget request to Congress in February. Congress then has a 2-step process to fund the government, authorizations and appropriations. The latter is required specifically in the Constitution in Article I, Section 9, Clause 7. When all these things are done before October 1 that is called regular order.   When they are not, it is a great failure of the system. The lack of regular order slows down the process of government and has real negative impacts on programs, institutions and people. Research scientists feel the lack of regular order when their program directors cannot process awards well into the fiscal year because they do not know what their budgets will be. Moreover, the stop-gap ‘continuing resolutions’ require deprecated programs to be continued and new programs to be prohibited from moving forward.

From February to September scientists have to urge our Representatives and Senators to keep to regular order. It is an arduous task to keep track with hearings and amendments. But several professional societies have experts on staff that do this. We as citizens just have to stay informed and diligent in contacting our elected representatives.

Make the R&D Tax Credit Permanent. Invest in Domestic STEM Labor Workforce

Economists as well as private-sector and S&T advocates can agree that the United States needs to invest more in research and development by both public and private entities. The R&D tax credit intends to incentivize such investment by private corporations.

The R&D tax credit has a long history. It is currently expired as it has done many times since its first enactment in 1981. On February 11th, Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX-8) introduced H.R. 880: American Research and Competitiveness Act of 2015 which seeks to make the credit permanent and to simplify the taking of its provisions. The bill currently has 11 co-sponsors (9R, 2D).

In addition to making this tax credit permanent, the bill should be passed with an amendment to protect the domestic STEM workforce, particularly the underrepresented minority STEM workforce. That is, the bill should contain a provision that requires entities that take the credit to certify that it has made good-faith efforts to recruit and hire from the domestic labor pool and in particular from those groups underrepresented in STEM fields, including women and disabled, African American, Hispanic American, Native American, and Pacific Islander Americans. Labor economists Sharon Levin and Paula Stephan have analyzed the role of immigrants on the changing career outcomes of scientists in academe. They found US citizens are being displaced from “choice” positions in academe, especially in physics and astronomy.

Several groups of corporations, government agencies and groups of individuals have been concerned about the over-reliance that US S&T employers have on foreign-born personnel. When countries like India and China can provide more scientists and engineers than the US could possibly employ, and America has a long and sad history of giving preferences to immigrant labor over African American labor, there is clear a policy conundrum that has to be carefully considered.

Student Loan Reform

Over the last 25-30 years there has been a shift in who bears the cost of attending college from the federal and state governments to students and their parents, and that has entailed more and more student loans. Today the aggregate student loan debt is over on trillion dollars. On an individual level student loan debt makes it harder for college graduates to maintain a prosperous middle class existence. We are seeing increasingly that college students are taking on more debt to get a college degree to get jobs that might not actually be there in the end.

There are three major ideas to address this crisis. Senator Rubio has offered a market-based proposal that would create a legal structure for income-share agreements. Essentially an investor would front money to students. The repayment and presumably the interest rate would be based on a percentage of future income. Senator Warren has proposed to make available to private student loans the same interest rate as federally-backed ones. She has also proposed to set federal loan interest rates to those that the big banks can get from the Federal Reserve. And she has proposed to put an end to the profits that the federal government makes on the direct student loan program. The President has offered the Student Loan Forgiveness Program and Pay As You Earn Student Loan Repayment Plan.

All these approaches need to be codified in the authorization language of the US Department of Education. Moreover the bankruptcy law should be changed to allow the discharge of student loan debt.

STEM Education

Most of the action in K-12 education is at the state and local levels. But the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now called the No Child Left Behind Act) is actively being debated in Congress. The Act has long been expired, but is provisions are still undertaken by the Department of Education through a system of waivers to the various states. Efforts to formally renew the law via a bill called the Student Success Act have stalled as last month House leaders suspended debate on the bill and delayed voting on it. The Senate still has not revealed its version of the renewal.

One should note that the National Science Teachers Association and the STEM Education Coalition have opposed the Student Success Act. Others have opposed it as well on the grounds that it still leaves too much federal involvement in K-12 education. The Administration has issued a veto threat on the current form of the bill.

Adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is probably the most consequential K-12 policy debate today. CCSS has opponents from all quarters, including those who call it ‘Obama’s national curriculum’. But it is important to note that the standards are not curriculum, and CCSS was initiated and developed by the state governors and chief state school officers. The Obama administration did heavily incentivize the adoption of CCSS through billions in federal grants and NCLB waivers, but CCSS and NGSS are not federal programs.

So far the NGSS has not garnered the kind of opposition that CCSS has. There is a growing recognition though that the math part of NGSS should be harmonized with NGSS since math maturity plays such a heavy role in science literacy.

Another issue that is very important to schools and libraries is something E-rate. This program provides funding for urban and rural schools and public libraries for broadband internet, thus is very important for closing the digital divide. The program is administered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has proposed a major budget increase for the program. Several members of the House and Senate, including Senator Cory Booker, have urged the FCC to increase funding for E-rate, to modernize the program authorization given new technology availability, and to reduce the program’s administrative overhead.

Engaging the Process

Perhaps the best way to stay informed is through professional associations, advocacy groups, think tanks and focused news outlets like The Hill, Roll Call and Politico. Bills in the US House and Senate as well as legislation in the various states can be tracked by online tools like govtrack.us.

You should constantly engage your political leaders through calls, letters, visits and Twitter campaigns. Many professional associations have online engagement tools, and sponsor congressional visits days. The Science and Engineering Working Group has a congressional visit day event every year in March where they award to Members of Congress the George E. Brown Leadership Awards. This year the award was bestowed upon Representative Donna Edwards. Last year it was bestowed upon Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson. Both serve on the House Science Committee. Representative Johnson is the ranking member. #BLACKandSTEM individuals and organizations need to get more involved in congressional visits days. Follow @STEMontheHILL and mark your calendar for next year’s event during the 2nd week of March.

#BLACKandSTEM 03/05/15

When things happen in my personal life that show me the importance of biomedical research, I am always taken back by just how personal our work is.  Each as every time that I have stepped in front of a group of kids and parents only to find out that I am the first black woman scientist who many have ever heard of, I realize that what I do is very personal.

For today’s #BLACKandSTEM chat, we will talk about what makes our STEM personal.  Make sure to use the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag.

Also, join me later tonight as @STEMchat hosts a special Discover Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge twitter chat.

Join in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge #STEMchat

When someone tells me that kids lose interest in science around their middle school years, my 6th grade science fair comes to mind. I designed an experiment to test whether dilution was an effective solution to managing water pollution. In essence, I was asking whether it was enough to allow the Earth’s waterways to do the work of waste management allowing for dumping of liquid waste. Twenty years later, that remains a defining experience for me. Yes, I won an award for best environmental project. Yes, it was my first sign of being profficient in experimental design. More than anything, though, it was my turn to be a problem solver. I was trying to solve a problem that impacted people the world over, and I was casting my input in the conversation. That is the power of the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge: sparking the fire before it fades.

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge seeks to reach students in those crucial middle school years. The challenge is more than a contest, it is a chance for students to be scientists: to research scientific methods and concepts, and to use those concepts to solve problems. To enter, students have to get creative in communicating their findings. Their medium for creativity is a 1-2 minute video that communicates a scientific concept applied to solve an everyday problem. Students, in 5th to 8th grade, have until April 21st, 2015 to submit their videos here.

The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is different from other science challenges in a HUGE way. Ten finalists from all over the United States will be selected to compete for the top prize. Those ten finalists will each be paired with 3M scientist who will mentor and guide the finalists as they create an innovation to be presented to a panel of judges. The winner will receive $25,000 in prize money and the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” By the looks of it, any child who enters is a winner!!!

Remember, submissions are due by April 21st. Top ten finalists will be selected in June and July 2015 and the final competition will be held at the 3M Innovation Center in October 2015.

Discovery EducatioSOEL_Logo_Finaln and 3M have hit the mark with this challenge. In the same way that my 6th grade science project was a major steppingstone in my becoming a scientist, this challenge is sure to spark something in these young minds. It already has been impactful for some; previous winners have gone on to work with some of the top scientists in the country!

TOMORROW March 5, 2015 from 9pm-10pm EST, I will join a special #STEMchat panel along other parents, educators and STEM professionals! Join us as we discuss ideas and resources for the exploration of science in everyday life! I’ll be tweeting from @thepurplepage.  Follow @STEMchat, too!

#BLACKandSTEM 02/05/15

My goodness, in one week, #BLACKandSTEM will be one year old!!!!  But we still have a chat to do this week.

It’s been so long since we talked about some aspect of popular culture.  And, as much as I tried to resist, I couldn’t. For today’s #BLACKandSTEM question: What is your take on Empire?  Where do you turn for representation of #BLACKandSTEM on television? Why couldn’t one of the sons have strayed away from the music business, attended A&T, and become a mechanical engineer????

Be sure to use the hashtag!

Also, NEXT WEEK marks one year since #BLACKandSTEM first made its mark on twitter.

#BLACKandSTEM 01/08/15

With nearly a year under our belt as a community, #BLACKandSTEM has grown far beyond what I could have ever expected. On a snowy day in February, I fired off a tweet asking people who identified themselves as Black and STEM to simply share what they do. Now, relationships have been formed, issues have been elevated, and the community has grown.  And there is more work to be done!

Let’s start out 2015 by keeping #BLACKandSTEM growing. For today’s chat question, we are going to back to the original – What’s your STEM?  Be sure to include the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag in your tweets!

As added information for participants, I have included answers to frequently asked questions about #BLACKandSTEM.

How do #BLACKandSTEM chats work? Each Thursday, the #BLACKandSTEM community discusses a topic on twitter.  The topic gets tweeted in the morning, and people chime in throughout the day. Why throughout the day instead of a designated time? With different time zones, school schedules, and day jobs, having the discussion last throughout the day allows people to add their two-cents when they can.

Do I need to have a PhD or be working on a PhD to participate? Absolutely not! There are A LOT of PhDs in the community. Trust me, that is a great thing. But, the community is not limited to PhDs. Or any degree, for that matter.

I have an idea for a future chat topic, what do I need to do? If you have an idea, email blackandstem@gmail.com. Make sure to specify your twitter name. If you would like to write the blog post to correspond with the chat or if you would like to facilitate the chat, let me know. My twitter accounts is locked, can I participate? People who do not follow you, won’t be able to see your tweets. I know the people keep their accounts locked for valid reasons, so consider making a separate account that you keep anonymous or “business”.

How do I keep up with goings-ons in the #BLACKandSTEM community? Follow the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag and the @BLACKandSTEM twitter account. Also, follow accounts that keep our community informed, such as @NSTNSOrg and @BlackPhysicists. You can subscribe to #BLACKandSTEM lists on twitter, too (go to the page for @thepurplepage > lists ).

Where else is #BLACKandSTEM on social media? Check out blackandstem.wordpress.com for blog posts and storify links to previous chats. Google and facebook pages are forthcoming. -Stephani

#BLACKandSTEM 11/06/14

Last week, the women shared our take on being #BLACKandSTEM and Woman.  And in #BLACKandSTEM and Woman news, Crazy @AuntLindsey was successful in raising funds for her show, The Fab Lab, surpassing her goal!

Today’s chat is about the men.

As a Black woman, I know that there are ways in which Black men contend with VERY different issues than Black women.  As the mother of a little boy, my concerns, precautions, and (sometimes) terrors are rooted in what I know of what Black men encounter in this world.  In STEM? I have been appalled at some of the stories I have heard and things I have witnessed happen to Black men.  But today’s chat isn’t one in which MY voice needs to be heard.

For today’s #BLACKandSTEM chat, the Men have the space to share and be heard.  To have their voices elevated and valued.  Make sure you use the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag.

Like last week, let’s start with two questions and let the conversation go from there:

  1. What are your experiences being a #BLACKandSTEM man?
  2. What are needs of #BLACKandSTEM men that are most overlooked?

#BLACKandSTEM 10/30/14

A few years ago, I was asked to write a feature for Nature blogs on the need for more Black women in the sciences functioning in mentoring and advising roles.  I was honored to lend my voice to the narrative of Black women in science and STEM in general.  I was pleasantly surprised about the reception overall;  I experienced my article being used to support efforts for diversity in many spaces.  There were some less than pleasant responses which I casually stepped over on my way to progressing forward in my own personal goals, I wasn’t surprised.  However, the shock came when I encountered the perspective that my voice, one voice, was all that was needed to understand the needs of Black women in STEM educational programs and workplaces.

After the very first #BLACKandSTEM chat, I knew I wanted to continue to do a weekly chat.  Whether 2 or 200 showed up, this space was an instant community.  Immediately, I saw that on any given topic, we, the #BLACKandSTEM, represent a wealth of experiences and perspectives.  I recalled my article and my feeling that, while I challenged preconceived notions on the experiences of Black women in STEM, I had potentially represented an excuse to no longer listen.  (Sort of a “We’ve got the answers we need” attitude.)  But our broad and varied narrative is one that is necessary.  When so few Black women are faculty at research one institutions…When Black women reflect a fraction of a percent of software developers in major corporations…While Black women are earning less that their counterparts in the same positions…When Black women have to contend with the social structures that are obstacles for women and for Black folk…OUR NARRATIVE IS NECESSARY

Today’s #BLACKandSTEM chat is the first in a series on intersections, starting with being #BLACKandSTEM and woman.  We will start with two questions, spinoff conversations are welcome.  (Remember to use the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag!)

Full disclosure: I will write an article about today’s chat.  If you don’t wish to be cited, please send me a DM to @thepurplepage or @BLACKandSTEM.  If you are interested in being interviewed, send a DM to either account.

Today’s questions:

  1. What are experiences that are associated with being a Black woman in STEM?
  2. What are the needs of Black women in STEM that are most overlooked?


Reflections from Mademoiselle Scientist

#BLACKandSTEM 10/16/14

Applications can be just as stressful as midterms and qualifying exams.  We have to encapsulated ourselves and our experiences in far less space than it takes to really tell someone who we are.  There’s the stress of choosing the right institution, job, program, and/or location.

Then, there are the internal questions that application processes could potentially bring to light:

  • Am I qualified for this?
  • Is this application a waste of time?
  • Should I do more training, volunteering, etc and apply later?
  • Is this position/degree program/fellowship right for me?
  • And so many more.

For today’s #BLACKandSTEM chat, I want us to utilize our community as a whole to help us in our next move.

Ask your questions about choosing the best next step for you and how to prepare the application that will get you there.

Future chat topics:

10/23/14 National Institutes of Health Loan Repayment Program

10/30/14 Intersections Part 1: To be #BLACKandSTEM and Woman

#BLACKandSTEM 10/02/14

National Science & Technology News Service and #BLACKandSTEM Ebola Chat

The National Science & Technology News Service uses media advocacy to increase the interest and awareness of STEM in the African American community. NSTNS consists of STEM professionals and journalists who work to together to broaden the reporting of STEM news to the African American community and to expand the representation of African American STEM professionals in media. Follow @theDarkSci on twitter.  

The ongoing outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa and the Congo has claimed nearly 2000 lives in laboratory confirmed cases and is speculated to be responsible for over 3000 deaths. Very few understand the disease, which also claimed the lives of experts who had dedicated their lives to studying Ebola. The media has left many with questions as headlines and stories, at times, appear to be more about getting views than communicating credible and useful information about the virus. The communication of potentially damaging information appeared to increase exponentially when just two days ago, it was announced that Ebola was diagnosed in a patient within the United States. For today’s joint chat with the National Science & Technology New Service (NSTNS), we will focus on connecting the #BLACKandSTEM and broader community with credible information on the Ebola Virus Disease, its impacts, and avenues to contribute to combating the disease.

Today’s blog and chat features experts within the #BLACKandSTEM community and NSTNS who will serve as resources to answer our questions about the Ebola Virus Disease. Follow the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag, @theDarkSci, @BlackPhysicists, and @BLACKandSTEM. Today’s chat questions: What are your questions and concerns regarding the Ebola Virus Disease? What is the role of #BLACKandSTEM in the combat of Ebola and similar diseases? What has the Ebola outbreak shown us about the impact of technology in the communication and tracking of disease outbreaks? Remember you can answer throughout the day. And use the #BLACKandSTEM hashtag.

Join @theDarkSci at 12pm EST as they host Dr. A. Oveta Fuller @ProfAOFuller to discuss #Ebola!  Keep reading for a part of their interview of Dr. Fuller.  Note: if you wish to respond to a question listed here during the twitter chat, use an “A1, A2, A3, …” format so that we know which question you are responding to.

A. Oveta Fuller, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Michigan. Dr. Fuller’s work focuses on human virus entry, pathogenesis, and infection preventions. @BlackPhysicists interviewed Dr. Fuller about the Ebola Virus Disease.

Q1:  What is the origin of the Ebola virus? First discovered in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Congo) in 1976 and determined as a new virus. Can follow timeline for the ~30 human outbreaks in history. (CDC Ebola Timeline http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/history/chronology.html#thirtytwo)

Q2:  How did the current outbreak start? Patient 0 was a 2 year old in Guinea who died on December 6, 2013 followed by his mother, sister and grandmother in a region close to the boundaries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. It was not identified then as Ebola virus. Note that the child’s caregivers are females who fit typically care provided for a sick household member. This trend is frequent for spread of Ebola.

Q3:  How does lack of public works infrastructure, i.e. sewage treatment, potable water, etc increase the spread of infection? The major lack of infrastructure affects health care in facilities and in homes. Conditions mentioned also contribute to more contact between people, body fluids and items touched (fomites). People who are sick with diarrhea, vomiting, bleeding shed fluids full of virus. Virus is highly infectious- contact with a small amount of fluid that has many viruses can infect a new person. Also lack of electricity in many places contributes to spread of infection.

Q4:  How does Ebola compare to other viruses in terms of its structure and genome? Ebola is an RNA virus with a complex structure. Other viruses with RNA genetic material are influenza, SARS, the common cold virus, HIV, measles, mumps, West Nile virus, Dengue fever virus, respiratory syncytia virus, hepatitis A virus. What difference does an RNA genetic material make? RNA is less genetically stable than DNA. Mutations that naturally occur as mistakes in virus replication are not corrected. Human cells have no means for correction of mistakes for RNA as they do for DNA. A change can be amplified into many such viruses. If the mutation has a replicative advantage it brings about a virus that is slightly different than what the immune system may have been primed to attack. Variation occurs faster and is higher in a population of RNA viruses.

Q5:  How does Ebola infect host cells? Virus in fluids or on objects touched by those fluids enters into host cells and circulates in the body as it reproduces itself to high numbers. It can reproduce in many different types of cells for a broad tropism in human and animal hosts. What determines cell tropism of a virus? For most viruses, tropism is determined by a cellular molecule at the service or an enzyme that is needed for virus replication. Because Ebola is so deadly, it has to be studied in a Biosafety Level 4 facility. Thus, only a few laboratory investigators have studied it at the molecular biology level. This is also why there are few vaccines or anti-virals that have been developed for Ebola virus.

Q6:  How does this compare contrast to other common viruses, e.g., HIV, HSV, influenza and rhino virus, etc.? They are similar and different in several important ways. All except HSV, have RNA genetic material that affects stability and effectiveness of vaccines or anti-virals. Some of these are respiratory transmitted (influenza, rhinovirus) different than Ebola, HSV and HIV that require direct contact. HSV (all herpesviruses like chickenpox, Epstein Barr virus, genital herpes, infectious mono virus) is a DNA virus that can remain dormant long-term in cells. In contrast, Ebola, influenza and rhinovirus are acute viruses. They get into host, replicate and eventually move on to another host as the immune system suppresses their reproduction in an infected host. They cannot remain stored (latent) or hidden away in the host like HIV or HSV.

Q7:  Once the virus is in host cells, what is cellular/molecular pathology of Ebola infection? Thoughts are that Ebola virus makes a protein or product that affects a common mechanism in cell gene expression or membrane uptake that regulate cellular fluid control. It may also encode a toxin that affects blood clotting.

Q8:  Are there attractive drug targets in the viruses genome like integrase and reverse transcriptase in HIV? There have not been enough studies yet to understand the Ebola virus replication well enough to identify man of these sites or processes. There are no integrases or RTs because the RNA virus does not have a DNA step or integrate into cellular genetic material. However, there may be sites yet to be discovered or understood as drug targets.

Q9:  What are some other attractive drug targets for Ebola infection? Will be answered during twitter chat

Q10: What exactly is in the treatment, Zmapp serum, used for the two Ebola patients brought to the US? Zmapp contains a humanized monoclonal antibody (combination of regions from a human protein and a mouse or rabbit). It is made against a region of the virus protein that contacts the cell. The antibody is made to high levels in a virus produced and purified from tobacco leaves. It is placed in serum from an Ebola patient when possible. (Will check on use of human serum).

Q11: Explain why it was important bring the 2 patients to US and flex the treatment protocols at Emory? There was not high level isolation and treatment with support in West Africa. At Emory they could get the best available safe care using latest technology and monitoring. Lack of such high care facilities in West Africa, especially needed for health care providers who are on the frontlines, has been a major concern with getting more personnel into affected areas.

Q12: Were the recoveries of Brantly, Writebol and the 3rd patient more about the supportive care or about the serum they were given?  We do not know. No controls were in place to determine how anyone of these alone contributed to recovery. Likely contribution of all- supportive care, serum and ZMapp.

Q12a:  Does the serum contain an anti-Ebola mAb? Does it bind free virus, or to virus-infected cells, or elicit phagocytic responses? Serum from a patient who has survived Ebola infection contains antibody to Ebola that can reduce virus replication. Those antibodies can bind to virus and infected cells to bring in defense processes of other members of the immune system- including phagocytosis of viral infected cells.

Q13: What specific medical waste handling protocols were used at Emory Hospital? Were human wastes pre-treated in the hospital before being discharged into the normal public works system?  Yes, at a biosafety level 4 facility, everything is disinfected or autoclaved before disposal in regulated biologically safe ways. In BL4 facilities, there is a controlled hepa-filtered air that only flows into the room, not out. People can only enter when wearing protective gear that is shed in an interim air controlled room before they enter into contact with other spaces. There is head to toe coverage so no skin surface is exposed.

Q14: What is the differential diagnosis for Ebola infection vs other viral hemorrhagic fevers and E.coli infections?  Ebola infection is confirmed by a PCR of fluids to show Ebola RNA. Symptoms are similar to many other infections. Fever is first, headache, sore throat, red eyes, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, internal and external bleeding. Many of these are similar for flu, malaria, common cold or other early viral infection symptoms.

Link to NSTNS Storify of chat