Friday, August 30, 2019

Ebola: just like I've been sayin'...


Strategy Page brings us the latest on the Ebola epidemic in the Congo.  I've bolded and underlined a few key sentences that reinforce what I've been saying for months.

In early August Congolese government health officials publicly stated what everyone suspected: many doctors and health care workers believe the medical relief effort is identifying only half of Congo’s Ebola virus (Ebola hemorrhagic fever) cases. That meant the current epidemic that began in August 2018, could continue another three years. During August 2019 the government and WHO (World Health Organization) confirmed the virus has spread from Ituri and North Kivu provinces to a third Congo province, South Kivu, where two cases were confirmed. WHO continues to worry about the spread of Ebola in the city of Goma (North Kivu province) and into Rwanda. Goma has over two million residents and many people cross the unguarded Rwanda border rather than an official border crossing site. Therefore they do not go through health screening.

On August 17 the government confirmed that a woman in the village 160 kilometers from Goma had contracted Ebola. This was well away from the epicenter of the epidemic. The Rwandan Hutu FDLR rebels still occasionally raid the area where this Ebola victim lived and local Security officials noted this was in a “very insecure area.”

The virus continues to take a steady toll within Congo. As of August 26 Congo had 2983 Ebola cases (2878 confirmed and 105 probable). So far 1994 have died from the virus, so it continues to have a 67 percent fatality rate. Reports have to be compiled and tend to be a few days behind the field count and, as health officials acknowledge, the figures likely understate the number of victims. On August 15 WHO reported a total of 2,842 Ebola cases and 1,905 deaths. Over an 11 day period 89 people died.

There's more at the link.

This crisis is far from over.  So far, international efforts have managed to slow its spread to a crawl, instead of a sprint.  That's actually a remarkable achievement, given the primitive state of that part of the world and its inhabitants.  Nevertheless, a breakout is more than possible, given the realities on the ground there;  and if that happens - if the disease gets beyond the "care boundaries" established in the Congo, and penetrates new countries before the boundaries can be expanded to include them - then it could flare up like wildfire.

Nobody should be taking this lightly.  Ebola really could pose a threat to every nation, if things get out of hand.  If you don't believe that, go back and read the death rate percentages referred to above.  That's with the latest treatments, vaccines, trained staff, etc. available in the area.  Without them?  The good Lord only knows . . .

Peter

6 comments:

NITZAKHON said...

All we need is someone getting onto the NYC subways...

Jerry said...

Ebola has three mitigating factors.

Incubation is short; from 2 to 20 days.

The disease progresses rapidly once realized.

Finally it rapidly kills most people infected.

AIDS was able to spread around the world due to the lengthy incubation period and the fact that the disease progressed slowly.

Beans said...

Jerry, according to Aesop, the current version of Ebola that is running rampant in Africa has a 40 day 'hot infectious' period, but the problem is most infectious persons are showing none of the traditional symptoms like fevers. Literally they are the walking dead, spreading plague everywhere they go. And the airlines are just taking temps..

This, this is how civilization ends.

ranger said...

It's burning out. Starts out horrific, OMG a game changer, but peters out over time. Reference last Ebola outbreak (2014) and this one. Last Ebola outbreak Everyone is going crazy. Aesop predicted a calamity would unfold over a period of time. Nothing! Luck you say, they say? Really? Is that all you have? (NOT SLAMMING AESOP, just showing a data point). Ebola seems to flame out. WHY? Well there's the $64000 question. Dangerous ......ABSOLUTELY, you betcha, respect it, no problem there! But being the boogieman, I don't think so! WE, collectively, do not understand it, cannot explain what it does or why it doesn't do what we think it should. Therein lies the fear, the Boogieman. LOL the Boogieman, after all......... is you!

selsey.steve said...

I grew up, lived and worked in Luanshya, a Zambian Copperbelt town close to the Zaire border. I visited Elisabethville (now Lubumbashi) many times, twice before the Katanga secession and, after the war there ended, I visited a number of times. I have very serious doubts about the reported figures of infections and deaths from this latest Ebola outbreak. I have seen first-hand how Government officials, the Police and the military behave. They are completely corrupt from top to bottom. $20 USD will get you into the country without showing a passport, and the same amount will get you out again, no problem. If the foreign health-care workers appear to be pleased with a decrease in infection rates and reported deaths, then that is what will be reported back to them. The Zairean staff will report whatever is needed to keep the international aid gravy-train flowing. The opportunities for 'spontaneous privatization' (theft) of anything at all must be kept alive for the local employees. It's not any form of condemnation, it's just how Africa works.

Pete Mack said...

A few more points against pandemic:
Does not spread from casual contact--needs fluids, e.g. from medical care or washing
Has working vaccine.