Ebola outbreak, and other potential epidemics

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UndercoverElephant
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Ebola outbreak, and other potential epidemics

Post by UndercoverElephant »

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28108668

Not PO related, but interesting. Now officially the worst ever recorded ebola outbreak, and currently "out of control."
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PS_RalphW
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Let us hope ebola remains self-limiting by being so virulent it kills its host faster than it can spread.
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Post by adam2 »

In the past Ebola has indeed been self limiting as it generally kills the host before the disease can infect others outside the immediate circle of friends and family.

It seems unwise to count on this continuing with the increasing availability of fast motor transport and air travel.
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Post by Little John »

So, paradoxically, this disease becomes more dangerous if it evolves to a slightly less dangerous form. And, of course, natural selection will be working on that little problem as we speak. That is to say, the slightly less deadly but equally virulent strains will spread more easily and so become the dominant strain over time.
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Post by adam2 »

Yes.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

The current spread is due to the very remote location, the local beliefs and funeral practices, and the widespread distrust of the state, which is high corrupt, and very thinly spread. Local witchdoctors are the primary sources of knowledge and vary between being totally incorrect and actively harmful - one became an inadvertent major spreader of the early outbreak, whilst denying any such disease existed.

We do not know if it will spread as rapidly in high density, but better informed, cities.
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Post by Standuble »

If Ebola managed to be spread to more temperate climes e.g. Europe or America could it survive the temperature or would an outbreak run out of steam because of an incompatible environment?
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Post by adam2 »

Standuble wrote:If Ebola managed to be spread to more temperate climes e.g. Europe or America could it survive the temperature or would an outbreak run out of steam because of an incompatible environment?
I suspect that it could readily spread and result in substantial loss of life. The disease spreads from one human to another via body fluids, live or very recently dead humans are at blood heat and I therefore suspect that climate is not that relevant.
And anyway, in summer many major western cities are almost as warm as the tropics.
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Post by clv101 »

Somewhat off-topic, I just read Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. I think a few folks here might enjoy it.
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Re: Ebola outbreak

Post by Tarrel »

UndercoverElephant wrote:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-28108668

Not PO related, but interesting. Now officially the worst ever recorded ebola outbreak, and currently "out of control."
Agreed, not PO related specifically, however you could say the problem is a facet of the globally connected world that fossil fuel exploitation has made possible. As the Ebola outbreak continues to develop, there is a possibility that someone with the virus could hop on a plane to London.

If we were travelling internationally at the speed of a sailing ship, there would be time for the disease to show itself in an infected person, and for the ship to be quarantined before it landed.
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Post by clv101 »

Ebola really shouldn't be much of a problem for a halfway decent public healthcare system and educated population. I don't think someone turning up on a plane into London would be that serious... famous last words! :twisted:
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Post by UndercoverElephant »

clv101 wrote:Ebola really shouldn't be much of a problem for a halfway decent public healthcare system and educated population. I don't think someone turning up on a plane into London would be that serious... famous last words! :twisted:
Now imagine the plane is heading towards Syria or Iraq instead.
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Post by Pepperman »

stevecook172001 wrote:So, paradoxically, this disease becomes more dangerous if it evolves to a slightly less dangerous form. And, of course, natural selection will be working on that little problem as we speak. That is to say, the slightly less deadly but equally virulent strains will spread more easily and so become the dominant strain over time.
Or alternatively and more seriously it could stay just as dangerous and become airborne. At the moment it's spread by direct contact with bodily fluids so it's relatively straightforward to contain.
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Post by adam2 »

clv101 wrote:Ebola really shouldn't be much of a problem for a halfway decent public healthcare system and educated population. I don't think someone turning up on a plane into London would be that serious... famous last words! :twisted:
Hopefully you are correct, but
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ePfyYIkntNE
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Post by adam2 »

"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
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