Ebola outbreak, and other potential epidemics

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UndercoverElephant
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

andr2eea wrote:
How do you think Ebola affects the use in energy/oil trying to keep the numbers down?
Not much so far. If the outbreak gets much larger it could have a major impact. There will be reduced air travel and reduced economic activity, as people change their behaviour in an attempt to avoid infection. This will reduce demand for oil, and cause the price to crash. This is already happening a little, but there is much more to come.
What countries are putting in the most effort in reducing the spreading and how much energy are they using?
Cuba wins first prize for putting in the most effort to preventing the spread of ebola, and due to US sanctions and the collapse of the USSR Cuba is also well ahead of the pack in terms of reducing oil dependence - by necessity.
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UndercoverElephant
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

mikepepler wrote:I've been thinking about what it would take for ebola to cause a problem in the UK, and I think it all comes down to how our health system copes. The rationale behind it not being a problem here is based on our advanced medicine, but if that system becomes stressed to the point that ebola patients either can't get into hospital, or can't be treated by people with the right level of training and equipment, then we're headed for trouble.

So, we know that the UK can cope with two ebola patients at once with almost zero risk, due to the excellent facilities at the Royal Free Hospital. We also know that several other major hospitals are ready to treat ebola patients, albeit with slightly less comprehensive isolation and probably slightly less well trained staff. So perhaps we can cope with 20 simultaneous cases, maybe 30? But what if we get to the point that we have 50, or 100?

There's not much slack in the NHS, either in hospitals or ambulance services. If we had 100 ebola patients, not only do you have a growing risk of infections of medical staff (simply due to numbers involved and lack of experienced staff), you also have huge resources tied up in looking after them. If every ambulance transporting a possible ebola case has to go for a deep clean afterwards, that keeps them off the road for a while. How long then before people decide to transport sick relatives to hospital in their own vehicles, as is happening in West Africa?

If we get to the point that significant numbers of medical staff get infected, then we really have a problem, as we not only have extra cases, we also have fewer medics to deal with them. Again, exactly what is happening right now in West Africa.

The only solution is to deal with the outbreak in West Africa, but as we all know, the resources to do that have not yet been provided, and the requirement is growing faster than the pledges of support. We're left depending on a vaccine which doesn't yet exist to put a stop to it. But all other efforts to contain the virus should still be made, as they can at least slow the spread, even if they can't halt it.

Meanwhile, countries like the UK should be training all the front line medical personnel to be ready to rapidly and effectively deal with the cases that will pop up here. I'm not yet convinced that sufficient training is being given to all the staff who might be the first to encounter an ebola patient.
That is a pretty good assessment of the threat, yes. The critical point, whether it is in West Africa or the UK, is when the health system can't cope with the number of infections, and in both cases that is well below 1000 cases in any urban area. Maybe below 100.

Looked at in terms of a global system, the outlook is very dangerous. If this virus can't be contained in West Africa, and is destined to cause serious epidemics in many of the large "megaslum" cities elsewhere, then there is going to be a continual stream of infected persons arriving in the developed parts of the world. This will slowly erode our capability to cope with it - it is like the virus gets an unlimited number of attempts to get us, and we only have to get the response wrong once for it to succeed.

I still believe it could, in principle, be contained in West Africa. Clearly several people here disagree with me, and they may be right. If they are right, then I think the whole (human) world is in deep trouble, because this virus is easily capable of taking out upwards of a billion humans before a vaccine becomes widely available.
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Post by snow hope »

There is nothing wrong with hoping that this is not going to spread all over the world, starting of course with small outbreaks happening in various spots such as Spain, USA and other places such as India, China, South America, etc. etc.

We know that it is out of control in Liberia, Guniea and Sierra Leone and is increasing exponentially, doubling every 3 weeks approx. This is very unlikely to reduce or stop, so the spread to other countries is only likely to increase in frequency.

From what we have seen over the last few months, the reality shows it is hard to believe it will not spread to other countries. I heard a Dr in Freetown tonight saying that they soon may see more infections in a day than they have seen in the last 6 months. :shock:

So you can hope all day/week/month long, but the reality will follow its own course. Unfortunately it seems that we are f***ed. It is hard to come to any other conclusion without wishful hoping....

I think the next 2 weeks will show clarity on the situation. My fingers are crossed too, but I am planning on the likely reality. :cry:

On the plus side, it appears Nigeria and Senegal may now be Ebola free - so it can be contained (until the next infection)! Is this just more hoping? Maybe that is all we have left?
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Post by madibe »

I am actually quite surprised it has not hit India, China or Mexico yet.... mind, I see that India are restricting entry, and I guess China is well on the case.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

It will hit the countries that have a West African migrant population first as that is probably where any West African trying to escape the disease will go. You would want to go to somewhere there is going to be a friendly face. The next most likely place would be where aid staff come from as in the Spanish and US outbreaks. Countries with trading links would also be likely targets but I doubt that many trading companies aresending anyone to WA at the moment.

I don't know if there are significant West African populations in India or South America but if there are I would think that those governments would be keeping an eye on things.
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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

The Spanish nurse seems to be getting better:
http://elpais.com/elpais/2014/10/20/ine ... um=twitter

It does seem that it's not so very easy to catch if you don't actually touch the patient.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Rumours have re-emerged that the boyfriend of the second Dallas nurse has been admitted to hospital for tests.

The key to controlling Ebola is to be prepared. Clearly Dallas was woefully unprepeared.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Dallas could be making their next big mistake, releasing the family and other contacts of the first victim from monitoring after just 21 days, instead of the 42 days that Nigeria has needed to be declared free of the disease.

If the assessment was that 3% or more of ebola cases incubate for more than 21 days, and there are about 50-100 potential contacts, then there is a significant probability of one being missed.

Would be better to still monitor for another 3 weeks.
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Post by fuzzy »

And what happened to the cruise ship - with the 'not ebola' patient? The other passengers have already twigged that no one is going to anounce if the person is infected.
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Nothing happened on the ship. They tested negative for Ebola.
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Post by clv101 »

PS_RalphW wrote:Nothing happened on the ship. They tested negative for Ebola.
Indeed... just like all the other "ebola-like symptoms" and "possible contact with ebola" stories in the western media over the last week.

Let's see what happens in another few months, with a million cases in Africa.
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Mean Mr Mustard
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Post by Mean Mr Mustard »

Ebola Cases Rise Sharply in Western Sierra Leone

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wir ... e-26339140
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fuzzy
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Post by fuzzy »

It might be stage 2 in 48 hrs:

http://www.tunisia-live.net/2014/10/21/ ... e-network/

'The patient, a Tunisian national, arrived this afternoon from Italy, where he was living illegally.'

Like I always said - if it's in the UK already I think they will hush it up. It was rumoured in Pisa ~6 months ago.
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Post by biffvernon »

New guidance from CDC on Ebola care. Interesting to know what's involved.

http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/proced ... r-ppe.html
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UndercoverElephant
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

fuzzy wrote:It might be stage 2 in 48 hrs:

http://www.tunisia-live.net/2014/10/21/ ... e-network/

'The patient, a Tunisian national, arrived this afternoon from Italy, where he was living illegally.'

Like I always said - if it's in the UK already I think they will hush it up. It was rumoured in Pisa ~6 months ago.
I don't agree. I understand why certain people might want it hushed up, but I think there are too many other people in positions of power who would over-rule them. The problem with hushing it up is that while it pays dividends if the thing is controlled, it involves huge costs if it isn't - and hushing it up increases the probability that it doesn't end up being controlled.

In other words, there is a limit to how long you can hide an ebola outbreak for.
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