President David opened the meeting at 12:30 pm and led in the Pledge of Allegiance. 
 
Sterling Hoffman provided the Words of Inspiration.  He told of a purple vase used at Sterling Portraits into which folded notes were placed during the year.  Each note told of something for which they were thankful.  At the end of the year, sitting by a fire and with drinks in hand, his team was able to go through those notes and be thankful and joyful once again.  It is important for us to be thankful throughout a year, not just at special times.
 
Secretary Mike Carmichael welcomed the following guests:
 
Visitor
Host or Rotary Affiliation
Work
Mohammad Shouman
DC Rotaract Club
DC Housing Authority, OGC
Michael Washington
Raven Canty
Founder, GT Web Systems
Harund Hayakawa
Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholar
 
Mark Budd
Lynn Holec
Retired
Dr. Meredith Kapner
Dan Kapner
Dan’s wife
Bob Reaves
Frank Reaves
President, R.M. Thornton
Peter Kyle
Past District Governor
 
 
Sergeant-at-Arms Ken Kimbrough then announced the birthdays of those Rotarians celebrating this week:
  • Dennis Miller - January 4. Sponsored by PDG Larry Margolis in 2005, Dennis's classification is Energy: Renewable Power.
  • Kenneth Brown - January 6. Sponsored by Donnie Shaw in 2014, Ken's classification is Consulting: Wines.
  • Erminia Scarcella - January 7. Sponsored by Oscar Bartoli, Erminia's classification is Physician.
 
President David urged volunteers to quickly wrap up their deliveries of dictionaries to DC third graders.  Some schools are dragging their feet, but we must keep prodding them.  Volunteers must pick up dictionaries from our storage unit by Monday.
 
Immediate Past President Jennifer reported the results of the Club election:
                Foundation President:               Shaun English
                Foundation President-Elect:       Jennifer Hara
                Foundation Board:                    Deraux Branch, Pete Larson
                Club President, 2016-17            Ross Grantham
                President-Elect, 2017-18           Abe Helal
                Club Board:                              Maria-Nelly Pavisich, Michael Harper, Glen O’Gilvie
 
Shaun English made another pitch for donations to the Club’s own foundation.  The fund drive is scheduled to end this month.  One goal is to have all Club members contribute something, and the other goal is to receive $35,000. At this point the Foundation has received approximately $15,000, with 23% of members contributing.  Every member is encouraged to contribute at least $100. Larger contributions are welcome and those contributing $350 or more will receive special recognition as members of the President's Club.
 
President David and Lynn Holec reminded members the Club and its Foundation are now accepting applications for the 2016 Community Service and Special Grants. Applications are due by January 31, 2016. President David said he was grateful for the grant last year to the Central Union Mission and emphasized how important a grant can be to an organization.
 
Alexander Kravetz took three minutes to report again on the Rotary Leadership Institute course #1 of December 12, attended by several Club members. (Cost $95)  He made positive comments about the roles of several who attended and urged all Club members to sign up for future courses.  He said the program is not just for Club officers and future leaders and he thought attendance should be mandatory for all members.  Clubs have found higher retention rates among those who attended RLI training.
 
President David reported 27 members enjoyed the New Year’s Eve event at the National Press Club.  Paula Delo and May O'Brien arranged for Club members to attend.
 
John Jackson asked for volunteers for the Salvation Army Grate Patrol for the evenings of January 16 and 19.
 
Lisa McDucky…er McCurdy…called our attention to an email we all should have received today. It describes various ways in which we can support the Duck Derby fundraiser.  She also invited all to attend the next meeting - Wednesday, January 13th at 6:30 pm at Rotarian Hal Vaughn's home - 4000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Apartment 223.
 
Nancy Riker and Marilyn Cruz reported on the Health and Welfare Committee, of which Marilyn is chair. They asked members to tell them or the Club office of members having health or other problems, members who could use a word of encouragement, and those deserving congratulations.  They will send out cards to those people on behalf of the Club.
 
PROGRAM
 
Tom Kern introduced our speaker, Peter Kilmarx, M.D., Deputy Director of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health, to tell us about efforts to control Ebola.   Tom said Dr. Kilmarx both humbles and motivates and is a true hero.  He was selected for a Paul Harris Fellow award by the Harare, Zimbabwe Club and it is our honor to present it to him today.   Dr. Kilmarx previously served as the NIH CDC Country Director in Zimbabwe, providing oversight for U.S. efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.  He also served as the CDC Ebola response team leader in Sierra Leone in September-October 2014, and as principal deputy team leader in Guinea in January-February 2015. Previously, he initiated the CDC response to the Ebola outbreak in Kasai Occidental, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), in 2007.
 
Dr. Kilmarx shared that he was a Rotarian in Thailand for five years and an honorary member of the Harare, Zimbabwe Club when he served there.   He noted that the Rotary-supported program to eradicate polio in Nigeria became the infrastructure for fighting other diseases there.
 
Using a PowerPoint presentation, he shared statistics and information about the Ebola outbreak in western Africa in 2014-2015. This was the first multiple country outbreak of the disease, which moved rapidly and involved urban areas.  It had popped up in Zaire in 1976, and looked like the flu, but with severe diarrhea and turning hemorrhagic (severe bleeding) in 50% of the cases, leading to death in most cases.  The disease is initially transmitted by fruit bats, and in some cases by monkeys, and later person-to-person.  The 2014 outbreak covered the large area of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. At the time our Centers for Disease Control deployed staff in 2014, the numbers of infected people was doubling each month.
 
The affected area of Africa is at the lowest level on the UN’s human development index, with people living on less than $2 per day.   At first, people in the area were in denial that this was a disease that could and needed to be controlled.  The World Health Organization, the U.S. CDC, and local forces worked “shoulder to shoulder” to turn things around.  Actually, “shoulder to shoulder” was only figurative, since they had a “no touch” protocol.
 
Based on statistics about the spread of the disease, there was no way to catch up in terms of creating enough hospital beds, providing adequate transport, and having enough staff.  Also, the risk of health care workers contracting the disease was 100 times that for the population in general.  What was needed was a change in behaviors.   A major problem was how people handled their dead; it was clear the danger of unsafe burial practices had been underappreciated. Data showed 20% of human Ebola transmission was from contact with a live person, but 70% was by contact with the dead.  A practice was established in which deaths by disease or unknown causes led to swabbing for Ebola tests and then having dangerous bodies government-buried and only safe bodies made available for community burial.
 
As part of the information campaign, they put up small posters everywhere, emphasizing that the Ebola threat was real, and providing advice on care.  T-shirts carried messages about washing hands, avoiding contact, and calling 117—a special area-wide phone number for Ebola—to report death and disease.  This worked in part because, surprisingly, the use of cell phones in the area is widespread. 
 
Although the epidemic is essentially over, the disease has been found to linger long periods in semen and vaginal secretions, so cases still result from sexual transmission. WHO and our CDC are still alert.
 
Q&A:
 
Q:           What are the mortality rates?
A:            They generally range from 25% to 90%.  They were 90% at first and down to 50% when care was established.
 
Q:           You mentioned a first outbreak in 1976.  Were there earlier cases?
A:            Probably.  In testing a general population, we found high numbers of people with Ebola antibodies.  Some were from small villages where the disease may have happened, but did not move out of the area and was not known about outside.
 
Q:           Could an epidemic happen again?
A:            It is likely.  We should have been able to predict the 2014-2015 outbreak by watching fruit bat migration.
 
Q:           How dependent is success on epidemic management, and who has the lead?
A:            The lead should be the local ministry of health, military, etc.  WHO would have the lead in multinational efforts. There is a problem, though when both the locality and WHO are reluctant to declare an outbreak for fear of economic damage.
 
Q:           Why western Africa?
A:            That is where the fruit bats are.  Also, the area is poor with a weak infrastructure, but with good roads and porous borders that allow movement of infected persons.
 
Q:           I read that the disease lasts long in an eye’s vitreous fluid.  Is that true?
A:            Yes, and it is bad for vision.  It is not a transmission risk, but is long-lasting and suppresses the immune system.
 
Q:           To what do you attribute success? 
A:            Learning and teaching what not to do.  The culture of the area, as in other parts of the world, requires family and friends to wash the body of the deceased.  If it is a revered person, the body is washed and the people then use the same water to wash their own faces and hands.  Stopping that made a big difference.  And there is also now a vaccine.
 
 
President David presented Peter Kilmarx with the Paul Harris Fellow award from the Harare, Zimbabwe Club, and also presented him  with a certificate noting that in appreciation of his speaking to us today, we would plant a tree in his honor in DC in conjunction with the National Park Service.
 
 
In the raffle, the small pot of $38 was won by Max Salas; he did not win the large pot of $799. (The odds are getting better!)   
 
President David thanked Stu Shalloway and Nancy Riker for staffing the Hospitality Desk;  Christine  Fujii (President David’s assistant at his work) for conducting the raffle, and  Secretary Mike Carmichael for writing today’s Meeting in Review.  He announced next week’s speaker will be his friend, RADM R. Timothy Ziemer, U.S. Navy (Ret.) on the topic, “The President's Malaria Initiative.”
 
The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm.