Monday, June 3, 2019

Ebola: still no good news, but plenty of bad news

Those who've been following my previous articles about the Ebola virus outbreak in the Congo will understand how very dangerous this is for the rest of the world.  If you were in any doubt over how easily it could spread, consider this report just yesterday.  What if one of those people were a carrier?

Aesop has written a long and very informative summary of the present situation.  I can't improve on it (or on his usual acerbic, informative and authoritative style), so click over there and read the whole thing.  It's so important a topic that I urge you to do so.  Here's an excerpt to whet your appetite.

The Good

They've vaccinated nearly 125K people, with an experimental vaccine that appears to confer >99% effectiveness against Ebola. (For the 1K or less people who contracted it anyways, don't worry, most of them are dead now.)

The Bad

1) Despite vaccinations, progressing at some 1000 per day, for a non-zero number of cases (currently it's something like 5% of all new cases), they have no effing clue where a given case originated, and thus no wild idea whom to vaccinate, or how to throw up a suitable containment ring around them, or how the virus got past them.

2) They are tracing contacts in 17 health zones. The problem with that is there are 22 health zones (think of counties) with active Ebola cases in the last couple of weeks. Imagine being missed by 17 out of 22 cars as you cross in a crosswalk, and you begin to appreciate why this is a problem.

In the five other zones (23%) where there is zero contact tracing, they have no idea what the disease is doing.

The Ugly

In this current outbreak, in 50% of cases, fever as a presenting sign is completely absent.

(Fever, we remind you, is how grade-school dropout customs screeners in 126 countries check people at the airports for Ebola before letting them in. Including our TSA wizards here in the U.S. It's really the only thing they can check that can be mastered by 80 IQ government employees worldwide. Sleep tight.)

There's much more at the link.  Go read it all.

Aesop is also right about the uselessness of most simple, practical health preventive measures that individuals or families can take against Ebola.  If this breaks loose, self-quarantine will be the only option offering any hope for those caught in a local epicenter of the disease.  If you had to lock the doors of your home and the gates to your property, and keep out the rest of the world for a few weeks, could you and your family survive that long on the food and other essentials you currently have in your pantry and emergency stocks?  Could you enforce the no-visitors ban (a.k.a. "repel boarders") if "borrowing neighbors" come a-calling?

If the answer is "No", you need to do something about it.  NOW.



Dov Sar said...

Just to highlight what you said:

Beans said...

Yep. It's 40 days of self quarantine after the last infected dies. 40 days. A very bibl.ical number. This is three hurricanes one right after another bad.

Oh well, us in hurricane country need to be prepped anyways, and y'all up north need to restock after the blizzards and floods.

Semi-side note: NatGeo was showing a 6 part dramatization of the book "The Hot Zone," which is about when Ebola first came to this country. Lots of good info on virology in that book, and in the series. Fortunately it was a weird strain of Ebola that only killed monkeys and hadn't jumped to humans... yet. But still.

Other side note: Also a good time to re-read the first half of John Ringo's "The Last Centurion," which has a very good tutorial on viruses and how epidemics can affect modern population areas. The second part of the book is just John Ringo going all militaristic, which is always a good read, so...

Dave said...

Take off, nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.