Ebola outbreak, and other potential epidemics

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UndercoverElephant
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

PS_RalphW wrote: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.
Of course it isn't. We're in totally uncharted territory. Nobody has ever seen a major ebola outbreak before (the Black Death notwithstanding), so not only do we lack accurate data about stuff like this but the virus is most likely mutating at such a rate than any data will be out of date almost as soon as it becomes available. With this many infections taking place it is utterly inevitable that, by hook or by crook, the thing will find a way to transmit itself more effectively in humans. Whichever way is the most effective, that'll be the strain of the virus that ends up replicating fastest.

Gaia strikes back.
Little John
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Post by Little John »

Something I just read in the comments section struck me;

The doubling rate is about 21 days. That's roughly the period of incubation. Conducting a thought experiment, that's around 22 doublings to reach 7 billion. Or, around 15 months.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

I did that number crunch a couple of weeks ago.

It will take longer than that because of natural and artificial borders. Think
a large, very dry log pile with a strong fire set in one small corner, generating copious sparks. The core fire can only spread horizontally slowly but the sparks jump and can start new small fires anywhere in the pile. Each new fire then grows exponentially until the local supply is consumed.

We may have as much as 3 years...
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

stevecook172001 wrote:Something I just read in the comments section struck me;

The doubling rate is about 21 days. That's roughly the period of incubation. Conducting a thought experiment, that's around 22 doublings to reach 7 billion. Or, around 15 months.
Thought experiment? Inky swot..! I'd need a calculator...

Or after the equestrian quartet have left, one of JMG's slide rules. :twisted:
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UndercoverElephant
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

The current doubling rate, whatever it is, is partly determined by the proportion of immune survivors to people being newly exposed. At the moment the number of immune survivors is negligible, but if the number of infections continues along its current path then this number will soon start to be significant. What we are seeing now is the doubling rate under adverse conditions - not that they can't get worse (widespread unburied corpses is about as bad as it gets).

We still haven't seen evidence that ebola is going to get out of control either in a poor country outside the main three, or in the developed world. The threat is clearly there, but at the moment it is still only a threat. The only thing that is certain is that a lot of people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are going to be infected, and something like 70% of them will die.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post ... diagnosed/

Ouch.

That's another 130 potential ebola victims. Try tracing that lot.

Even if she was not infectious, expect passenger numbers to drop like a stone in the next few days.

edit

The new victim must have known that she was under serious risk of Ebola infection, after her co-worker came down with it, having treated the same patient with the same protective procedures. Yet far from being put in preventative isolation, she took a public flight. Didn't anyone warn or advise her?
Last edited by PS_RalphW on Wed Oct 15, 2014 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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UndercoverElephant
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

Oops.

Tracing them is easy enough though. The problem is that any of those 130 could now be infected, and it is probably not feasible to quarantine them all for the next 40 days. And it only takes one of them to be infected and travel on a plane and...
vtsnowedin
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Post by vtsnowedin »

PS_RalphW wrote:same patient with the same protective procedures. Yet far from being put in preventative isolation, she took a public flight. Didn't anyone warn or advise her?
,
,

Better question: Didn't the authorities place her under house arrest and inform everyone around her to avoid contact? This letting exposed people run around anonymously has got to stop.
Last edited by vtsnowedin on Wed Oct 15, 2014 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

UndercoverElephant wrote:
Oops.

Tracing them is easy enough though. The problem is that any of those 130 could now be infected, and it is probably not feasible to quarantine them all for the next 40 days. And it only takes one of them to be infected and travel on a plane and...
You'd think it was easy enough to track back through the booking system, credit card payments, whatever. The fact that they've put out a public appeal - despite the chilling effect that would have on airline bookings - strongly suggests that the records of that passenger manifest have already been deleted. :roll:
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Post by biffvernon »

Maybe everybody should take that course Chris suggested
https://www.edx.org/course/hkux/hkux-hk ... D6djPldWuc
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Post by clv101 »

US currently has two confirmed Ebola cases. IF (and it's a big if) doubling time there is 3 weeks, we'll ONLY see 25 cases by year's end.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

clv101 wrote:US currently has two confirmed Ebola cases. IF (and it's a big if) doubling time there is 3 weeks, we'll ONLY see 25 cases by year's end.
Which, coincidentally, was the number of reported cases in Liberia on 10th April.
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Post by fuzzy »

stevecook172001 wrote:Something I just read in the comments section struck me;

The doubling rate is about 21 days. That's roughly the period of incubation. Conducting a thought experiment, that's around 22 doublings to reach 7 billion. Or, around 15 months.
flutrackers has the graphs:

http://www.flutrackers.com/forum/showpo ... stcount=26
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Post by PS_RalphW »

The doubling time is only stable as numbers increase. Also we don't know if the doubling time will be higher or lower in a western country. If symptomatic patients are only isolated after ebola confirmation and high risk individuals are allowed onto flights the doubling time could be less. If this latest victim had travelled 36 hours later we might have had a dozen cases brewing by now.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

Mean Mr Mustard wrote:
clv101 wrote:US currently has two confirmed Ebola cases. IF (and it's a big if) doubling time there is 3 weeks, we'll ONLY see 25 cases by year's end.
Which, coincidentally, was the number of reported cases in Liberia on 10th April.
And that is for a single point of entry. With 20,000 cases in West Africa and growing how many more will try to escape to the US and Europe before the authorities belatedly shut down all out going flights?
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