Ebola outbreak, and other potential epidemics

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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

The edX course is very good. I'd urge anyone interested in this ebola to sign up - week 1 ends with an excellent 20 minute lecture specifically on this ebola outbreak. Sounds like it was recorded at the end of September.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Chris,

I've bookmarked the site for future reference - and might just go for this one, once I've checked the schedule and time commitment.
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

A Sierra Leone soldier has tested positive for Ebola but he is not a member of, and had no contact with, a battalion of peacekeepers waiting to deploy to Somalia, a government spokesman said Tuesday.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/ ... a-26179691

Wonder how long they will be waiting to deploy to Somalia. Their presence must be needed, especially what with it being a failed state, and all. :shock:
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

UndercoverElephant wrote:http://online.wsj.com/articles/some-ebo ... 1413153854
MONROVIA, Liberia—Some of the teams sent to retrieve bodies of suspected Ebola victims here are collecting cash instead, allegedly accepting bribes to issue death certificates to families saying their loved ones died of other causes and leaving the body, locals and health workers say.

It is a troubling development for an outbreak in which dead bodies are a major source of contagion and one that suggests local corruption could help undermine the international effort to contain the virus.

Liberian funerals typically include washing the body and keeping it for a wake that can last days as relatives and friends come by and kiss the corpse before it is buried, often in a family cemetery nearby. In addition, Ebola infection carries a stigma in the country and people sometimes don’t want to admit a family member died of the disease.
I'm tempted to describe this as natural selection in action: death by stupidity.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Talking of which, the telegraph reports that border staff at Heathrow have been shaking hands with the travellers from west Africa when they volunteered to be questioned about Ebola.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

PS_RalphW wrote:Talking of which, the telegraph reports that border staff at Heathrow have been shaking hands with the travellers from west Africa when they volunteered to be questioned about Ebola.
:roll:
I wonder which boss told them to do that. Stupid actions such as this will end shortly and the stupid people responsible will get removed from decision making positions. Perhaps the only good thing to come from this.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

2nd Texas health worker confirmed with Ebola.

The first nurse's boyfriend is in isolation with fever. Not sure if this is the same person or not.

Houston, we have a problem.

edit

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Post by adam2 »

Riot in Freetown.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29624762
Not much hope of containment if infectious bodies are left lying in the street for 2 days.
Not that rioting is likely to help either.
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

adam2 wrote:Riot in Freetown.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29624762
Not much hope of containment if infectious bodies are left lying in the street for 2 days.
Not that rioting is likely to help either.
Grim. The chart of deaths said it all though - it is pretty obvious which way that line is heading.
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

This may also be of interest:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=117310

Was Ebola Behind the Black Death?
L O N D O N, July 30
By Jen Sterling

Controversial new research suggests that contrary to the history books, the "Black Death" that devastated medieval Europe was not the bubonic plague, but rather an Ebola-like virus.

History books have long taught the Black Death, which wiped out a quarter of Europe's population in the Middle Ages, was caused by bubonic plague, spread by infected fleas that lived on black rats. But new research in England suggests the killer was actually an Ebola-like virus transmitted directly from person to person.

The Black Death killed some 25 million Europeans in a devastating outbreak between 1347 and 1352, and then reappeared periodically for more than 300 years. Scholars had thought flea-infested rats living on ships brought the disease from China to Italy and then the rest of the continent.

But researchers Christopher Duncan and Susan Scott of the University of Liverpool say that the flea-borne bubonic plague could not have torn across Europe the way the Black Death did.

"If you look at the way it spreads, it was spreading at a rate of around 30 miles in two to three days," says Duncan. "Bubonic plague moves at a pace of around 100 yards a year."

[continues...]
And an article published last year, at precisely the same time as this outbreak started:

http://www.nature.com/scitable/blog/vir ... h_actually
The Ebola-like virus theory has important implications for the modern world. With modern hygiene and antibiotics another epidemic of Bubonic Plague is highly unlikely. Foundations have been set up to prevent another Bubonic Plague epidemic. Rat populations can be monitored to snuff the destructive flea-rat-human cycle in the bud. The small outbreaks that sporadically occur around the world are dealt with before they grow too large. Since the Black Death, humanity has gained the ability to control the Plague. But a hemorrhagic-virus epidemic would be a whole other story. Humankind would be unprepared if an epidemic like the Black Death caused by a hemorrhagic fever took place today. Unlike the Plague, limited treatment and prevention options are available for hemorrhagic fevers. There are no vaccines and no antibiotics. Hemorrhagic fever outbreaks take place rather spontaneously with little or no forewarning. If the Ebola-like virus theory is right, then the world may be susceptible to another major epidemic.
Last edited by UndercoverElephant on Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

That is just the latest in a long line of 'The Black death wasn't plague it was...' stories over the decades.

Given that there are still plenty of plague pits left in London, I am surprised that DNA analysis hasn't put this story to bed years ago.

In any case it is simply a distraction.
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

UndercoverElephant wrote:
adam2 wrote:Riot in Freetown.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-29624762
Not much hope of containment if infectious bodies are left lying in the street for 2 days.
Not that rioting is likely to help either.
Grim. The chart of deaths said it all though - it is pretty obvious which way that line is heading.
Abandoned corpses suggest that the burial teams are now being overwhelmed. If highly infectious bodies can't be managed then the spread will accelerate.

Next will we see those with transport try to flee the cities to neighbouring countries, and massing at the closed borders? It's possible to reach the borders of the infected countries on a single tankful.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Just to add to the gloom, I found a comment (lost the link - I think it was a WHO report) that the 21 day incubation is not a hard limit, but a long tail with

95% within 21 daya
98% within 42 days

Although I am sure it is very difficult to give precise figures on incomplete and uncertain data, this is why Nigeria is not yet formally free of ebola 42 days after the previous case was cleared.

It also raises the possibility of symptom free carriers, although they probably would not be highly infectious.

Also, recovered male victims remain infectious through sex for 1 -3 months. Even if we bring the outbreak under control, I can see the disease easily mutating into an STD.

Real life, even Ebola, is not clear cut.
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Seems the Dallas nurses didn't fully suit up when Duncan arrived - only once the diagnosis was confirmed... :shock:

http://prosperouswaydown.com/death-grip ... qus_thread

This is the latest from an excellent set of blog postings from Mary Odum. She's rightfully angry with the Powers That Be.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Agreed an excellent rant that needs to be read by a lot of people, although
I fear it would go over the heads of most.

Edit.

Even 48 hours after re-admission, his travel history being clear, and showing all the symptoms of late stage Ebola, and spraying viral load liberally round the room , the nursing team were not using full isolation procedures but using 'scrubs' - ie. operating theatre standard of dress. It was only after ebola confirmed that they moved to full isolation.

The CDC blamed the resulting infection of the (first) nurse ' on not following correct procedure'.

The CDC has shown itself before to be not fit fur purpose, actually making disasters worse.
Last edited by PS_RalphW on Wed Oct 15, 2014 3:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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