Ebola outbreak, and other potential epidemics

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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

adam2 wrote:anecdotal reports suggest that large numbers of west Africans have more faith in witch doctors, tribal beliefs, and traditional rituals than in western science, including the need for prompt deep burial or cremation.
Large numbers of people in the west do not accept western science. Global warming, vaccination, homoeopathy...
Little John
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:
adam2 wrote:anecdotal reports suggest that large numbers of west Africans have more faith in witch doctors, tribal beliefs, and traditional rituals than in western science, including the need for prompt deep burial or cremation.
Large numbers of people in the west do not accept western science. Global warming, vaccination, homoeopathy...
That's right, they don't. But we have in place, nonetheless, societal structures that mitigate and minimise those irrational tendencies. In countries like Sierra Leone and others, such societal structures are not in place anywhere nearly as firmly. Please stop with the white, Western, liberal, middle class guilt bollocks again Biff. The cultures of those countries, whatever else their merits, and there are a few I can think of in comparison to our own, are extremely backwards in terms of things like medical hygiene practises as compared to our. Partly, this is undoubtedly due to a lack of psychical resources. But, partly, it is due to dumb-ass, superstitious beliefs that are prevalent in the culture and that are not kept in check by the authorities.

The irony being, of course, that if this disease gets out to the rest of the world and becomes a truly global pandemic, then Africa will be the first to recover, not least because of such dumb-ass behaviour. That is to say, all of the dumb asses will be dead. Leaving only the non-dumb-asses. That's Darwinian evolution for you Biff. Oh, and by the way, if you seriously believe that the quackery known as homoeopathy will protect you from Ebola or, indeed, any other damned malady you care to mention, then your belief falls firmly into the dumb-ass category of superstitious nonsense I was mentioning,
Last edited by Little John on Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by snow hope »

biffvernon wrote:
adam2 wrote:anecdotal reports suggest that large numbers of west Africans have more faith in witch doctors, tribal beliefs, and traditional rituals than in western science, including the need for prompt deep burial or cremation.
Large numbers of people in the west do not accept western science. Global warming, vaccination, homoeopathy...
That's a laugh... science and homeopathy don't mix Biff - for somebody always banging on about the science, that seems very contradictory to be honest.... :roll: Or is it only certain parts of science you agree with and throw at others?

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/homeopathy ... ction.aspx
http://nccam.nih.gov/health/homeopathy
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

snow hope wrote:
biffvernon wrote:
adam2 wrote:anecdotal reports suggest that large numbers of west Africans have more faith in witch doctors, tribal beliefs, and traditional rituals than in western science, including the need for prompt deep burial or cremation.
Large numbers of people in the west do not accept western science. Global warming, vaccination, homoeopathy...
That's a laugh... science and homeopathy don't mix Biff - for somebody always banging on about the science, that seems very contradictory to be honest....
I think you mistook the sense. The western science position on global warming (it's real) on vaccination (it works) and on homoeopathy (it doesn't work) contains no contradictions.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

stevecook172001 wrote:
biffvernon wrote:
adam2 wrote:anecdotal reports suggest that large numbers of west Africans have more faith in witch doctors, tribal beliefs, and traditional rituals than in western science, including the need for prompt deep burial or cremation.
Large numbers of people in the west do not accept western science. Global warming, vaccination, homoeopathy...
That's right, they don't. But we have in place, nonetheless, societal structures that mitigate and minimise those irrational tendencies.
I don't think our societal structures are doing an adequate job on mitigating global warming. In fact I think it will turn out to be the greatest failure of humanity, ever. (In the cases of vaccination and homoeopathy I agree with you, though the damage done by one paper, published but subsequently withdrawn, on the supposed association of a vaccine and autism should not be overlooked.)
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:
stevecook172001 wrote:
biffvernon wrote: Large numbers of people in the west do not accept western science. Global warming, vaccination, homoeopathy...
That's right, they don't. But we have in place, nonetheless, societal structures that mitigate and minimise those irrational tendencies.
I don't think our societal structures are doing an adequate job on mitigating global warming. In fact I think it will turn out to be the greatest failure of humanity, ever. (In the cases of vaccination and homoeopathy I agree with you, though the damage done by one paper, published but subsequently withdrawn, on the supposed association of a vaccine and autism should not be overlooked.)
Nobody here is questioning the dumb-assery of Western societies in terms of thing like global warming and dependency on fossil fuels. The topic under discussion here, however, is about Ebola and medical hygiene practices that will serve to mitigate or exacerbate the ensuing epidemic. In terms of that discussion, the countries and cultures that are currently victim to this epidemic are hopelessly backwards. as I said, a portion of the reason for such backwardness is a lack of physical resources. However, a significant portion is down to superstition and ignorance.
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Post by biffvernon »

No probs. :)

There was an interesting, if not exactly easy viewing, programme on Channel 4 at 7.30 this evening. I expect it can be seen on line. A week in the life of a Médecins Sans Frontières team in Sierra Leone. It was filmed last July so I expect the situation is a lot worse now, but it gives a flavour of what is involved.
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Post by adam2 »

biffvernon wrote:No probs. :)

There was an interesting, if not exactly easy viewing, programme on Channel 4 at 7.30 this evening. I expect it can be seen on line. A week in the life of a Médecins Sans Frontières team in Sierra Leone. It was filmed last July so I expect the situation is a lot worse now, but it gives a flavour of what is involved.
Yes, I watched it, far from cheerful, and as you point out the situation is almost certainly far worse now.
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Liberia's chief medical officer has put herself under quarantine for 21 days, after one of her assistants died from the deadly Ebola virus.

Ms Dahn, who represented Liberia at international Ebola conferences, :shock: has also instructed her staff to stay at home for the same time period.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29393737
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Horrific report and moving photos, (referenced at JMGs ongoing discussion)

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/world ... share&_r=0#
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Post by Little John »

When it has finished rampaging through their countries and taken God knows how many victims into the night, in the short to medium term the "economy" will be buggered, obviously. Meanwhile, however, the actual people left standing on the ground will find there is far less competition for resources than hitherto and that the price of their labour will have risen. It's brutal, but it's true. It's what happened to the price of peasant labour here in Europe after the black death which, in turn, finally broke the feudalist caste system of Saxon peasants and Norman overlords.
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Post by biffvernon »

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1411100

Here's a bit from this week's New Scientist by Debora ManKenzie:
"There is now a high risk that Ebola becomes endemic in West Africa," says Peter Piot, head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a co-discoverer of Ebola. This means the virus is always present in people somewhere.
In a major analysis of the data available so far, scientists advising the WHO came to the same conclusion. "We must face the possibility that Ebola will become endemic among the human population of West Africa, a prospect that has never previously been contemplated," says author Christl Donnelly of Imperial College London (New England Journal of Medicine, doi.org/vvw).
It would then be a continuing source for outbreaks locally and in other countries with poor healthcare systems, says Piot. In theory, a virus just keeps spreading until everyone in reach is exposed and either immune or dead. If a virus like Ebola is not chased out of humans, it will remain a constant threat, racking up a huge toll and limiting free movement – at least until widespread vaccination tames it.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2 ... llion.html
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1411100

Here's a bit from this week's New Scientist by Debora ManKenzie:
"There is now a high risk that Ebola becomes endemic in West Africa," says Peter Piot, head of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a co-discoverer of Ebola. This means the virus is always present in people somewhere.
In a major analysis of the data available so far, scientists advising the WHO came to the same conclusion. "We must face the possibility that Ebola will become endemic among the human population of West Africa, a prospect that has never previously been contemplated," says author Christl Donnelly of Imperial College London (New England Journal of Medicine, doi.org/vvw).
It would then be a continuing source for outbreaks locally and in other countries with poor healthcare systems, says Piot. In theory, a virus just keeps spreading until everyone in reach is exposed and either immune or dead. If a virus like Ebola is not chased out of humans, it will remain a constant threat, racking up a huge toll and limiting free movement – at least until widespread vaccination tames it.
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2 ... llion.html
She inadvertently answers her own question but then appears to recoil from the answer it provides. As if she or anyone else now have any choice in the matter at least so far are those countries Ebola now fully infects. The answer is to let it blow through. Those who remain will be the people who fought it off/were naturally immune. Everyone else will, of course, be dead. The most that could be hoped now by trying to quarantine people inside those countries would be to knock it back a bit, but to not eradicate it. In other words, to produce precisely the outcome the author professes she wishes to avoid. Though, there is still some purpose in quarantine strategies to ensure it does not leave those countries.
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Post by biffvernon »

stevecook172001 wrote:The answer is to let it blow through. Those who remain will be the people who fought it off/were naturally immune. Everyone else will, of course, be dead.
I don't think the situation is so binary. With good nursing care, rehydration, anti-vomiting agents and so on, the survival rate (and induced immunity) rises substantially. Health-care intervention pays off. And then there is the real potential for vaccination.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Airborne viruses might not notice national boundaries and I am sure that contact viruses if given the chance would not but a contact virus goes where its host goes and if its host recognises national boundaries that virus will also. So, in the case of Ebola, national boundaries can indeed stop the virus.
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