Ebola. What is going on?

Zé Ferreira

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Watching a documentary on tv right now showing Ebola treatment in some west African nation. Very sad. This ambulance is showing up dropping these people off, some dead in the vehicle.

Why are all these doctors walking around without protection on? No wonder people are getting infected so violently?

Who decided to bring this bug back to the US? Isn't Ebola the superbug that Michael Crichton wrote about in the mid90s?
 

Thruth

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The virus has been in the developed world in level 4 labs for years. There have been exposures to personnel, I believe the most recent one was at a US Army facility. The only way to develop vaccines is to work on the live virus. Vaccines are typically modifications of viruses - attenuated or weakened or dead as well as part of them (proteins etc.)

While it is 90% fatal (there are several strains with varying mortality) it has killed relatively few people as compared to the plague and influenza.

This is the largest and most sustained outbreak but we are still only talking about 1000's of potential deaths.

It is an inefficient virus in that it hits hard, kills and burns out as opposed to spreading like SARS or bird flu did.
 

Thruth

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Why does it not spread?

Lower infectivity rate because one has to be exposed to blood or body fluids versus the contagion being spread via aerosols like the common cold or influenza, which are both highly effective viruses with low mortality; they are always around and infecting people
 

Zé Ferreira

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So Ebola started because someone in a jungle somewhere had intercourse with a monkey, right?

Actually half-serious
 

Journeyman

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Why does it not spread?

To add to what thruth said, not only is it more difficult to spread than, say, influenza as it's spread via direct contact instead of via aerosol droplets (ie sneezing/coughing), but also Ebola does not spread as easily nor as rapidly because of its higher mortality rate. Infected people get sick quickly and die quickly (at least with previous outbreaks) and so they're not moving around as much, for as long, and they don't have as much opportunity to infect people as a consequence.

So Ebola started because someone in a jungle somewhere had intercourse with a monkey, right?

Actually half-serious

I don't think that it was because of some weird case of human-chimp miscegenation, but more because of eating bushmeat, particularly if the bushmeat in question hasn't been well-cooked or if the person preparing the bushmeat didn't clean off blood from the bushmeat properly.

Edited to add:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201409031432.html

Q: What is the link between Ebola and bushmeat?
A: One of the Ebola vectors is bats. It's very likely that non-human primates - gorillas, chimpanzees - are infected via bat droppings or fruits that are half-eaten by the bats and then the chimpanzees and gorillas eat.
Ebola kills these animals. Ebola kills more gorillas and chimpanzees than it probably kills people every year. And what is happening is that people find dead animals in the forest, and they take this animal and they use them for bushmeat or, in the case of a gorilla sometimes, for cultural or magical practices. And by butchering an animal that has been infected, because Ebola is transmitted by contact, they get infected themselves. But there is also possibly a link with domestic animals, because in fact it seems that pigs and dogs are also infected with Ebola without showing signs of the sickness. In the current case, the one we have now in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal, the patient zero, the first infected patient, is a 2-year-old kid. It's very unlikely that this 2-year-old kid was out in the forest, butchering bushmeat. So it's more likely that it's either by contamination of bat droppings, or rodent droppings, or contaminated fruit or something else.
Q: What is bushmeat?
A: If we set aside invertebrates where we talk about caterpillars, it is anything from a 200-gram squirrel to an elephant. It's animals killed for food. This is different from what you see in the news about the wildlife trade. It's not about rhinoceros horns, it's not about ivory. It's about people killing animals to eat them. It's hunting for food, which is an activity that has been carried out by humankind for a long, long, long time.
 

Thruth

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http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?pid=S0030-24652012000200003&script=sci_arttext&tlng=es

Bats may even be the reservoir for the virus but that has not been definitively confirmed but given that the Marburg (which bats have been confirmed as the reservior) and Ebola viruses are of the same genus,Filoviridae sp. Other species of the virus have caused infections via monkey and pig vectors in the Phillipines.

More frequent outbreaks are occurring as deforestation and other ecological happenings are bringing humans into contact with infected animals more often than in the past.

The lack of vaccines and no proven anti-viral meds means that containing outbreaks must rely on isolating infected patients.

There is also a suggestion in the paper above that Ebola has potential as a biological weapon.
 

doghouse

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ebola-meme-240x180.jpg
 

OfficePants

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How can one thousand cases of a virus tear a country apart? Perhaps I don't understand something about this situation, but we're talking about 2000 cases on a planet of 6 billion people.
 

doghouse

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How can one thousand cases of a virus tear a country apart? Perhaps I don't understand something about this situation, but we're talking about 2000 cases on a planet of 6 billion people.

Do not question the integrity of the news industry!

Edit: Imagine I am using the Zhirinovsky voice in the above quote.
 

Grand Potentate

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How can one thousand cases of a virus tear a country apart? Perhaps I don't understand something about this situation, but we're talking about 2000 cases on a planet of 6 billion people.
Quite easily in fact. First, its more than 2000 total. Second, in a country of 4million, its a huge issue how its completely overwhelmed their already shitty health system. Third, its completely out of control, so if it keeps up it'll start to infect a large portion of the population and possibly the government.
 

Thruth

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Epidemics raise fear especially in more traditional cultures with poor education and strong religious beliefs. Science and western medicine are things for skepticism.

A weak government in a country riddled by historical uprisings, coups and civil wars only needs a crisis such as this to create pandemonium
 

Zé Ferreira

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Apparently, most of the Liberian population believes Ebola is a hoax put on by the gov't for the purpose of getting people's blood. So they're trying to revolt and free any quarantines.
 

OfficePants

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Apparently, most of the Liberian population believes Ebola is a hoax put on by the gov't for the purpose of getting people's blood. So they're trying to revolt and free any quarantines.

I didnt know what TIA was, but I do now and this is an example.
 

Fwiffo

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Do you care if Liberia collapses?

I found the Liberian containment processes laughable - akin to WWII ghetto treatments. Quarantining entire neighbourhoods and asking people to obey curfew so what happens - the sick and the weak die out and the bodies are collected later?

It's obvious they have no interest in treating the majority of the patients. And I bet if the rich are not already enjoying their pied a terre in London or Dubai, they are probably weathering this in comfort in their palatial mansions.

No aid is reaching these places for the same reason no aid is reaching Ukraine or Syria or Iraq or Gaza. Profiteers in the government have probably seized all the supplies and sold them.
 

Thruth

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Liberia has been a mess forever.

The containment or ghettoization is somewhat following established quarantine protocols for outbreaks where there are no vaccines or anti-virals. It is very old school: keeping the sick away from the healthy.

It is complicated by lack of proper medical facilities and all other barriers that a developing nation faces.
 

OfficePants

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Liberia has been a mess forever.

The containment or ghettoization is somewhat following established quarantine protocols for outbreaks where there are no vaccines or anti-virals. It is very old school: keeping the sick away from the healthy.

It is complicated by lack of proper medical facilities and all other barriers that a developing nation faces.

Most of Africa would qualify here.

The continent has been a dumping/exploitation ground forever, and they fail to turn any of it around despite grinding poverty and such obvious corruption on all levels of power that you couldn't help but revolt if you had any semblance of dignity. Africa gets itself into this shit, and then blames the rest of the world, then gets bailed out again by the same interests that go back in and take another bite.
 

Thruth

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Most of Africa would qualify here.

The continent has been a dumping/exploitation ground forever, and they fail to turn any of it around despite grinding poverty and such obvious corruption on all levels of power that you couldn't help but revolt if you had any semblance of dignity. Africa gets itself into this shit, and then blames the rest of the world, then gets bailed out again by the same interests that go back in and take another bite.

Failure to transition from exploited colonies to first world nations. exploitation was transferred from the colonial powers to home grown exploiters
 

OfficePants

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Failure to transition from exploited colonies to first world nations. exploitation was transferred from the colonial powers to home grown exploiters

In part, but the post colonial powers have maintained their hold on the bribery culture like nobody's business.
 

Grand Potentate

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/16/ebola-response_n_5828162.html

GENEVA (AP) — The number of Ebola cases could start doubling every three weeks in West Africa, the World Health Organization said Tuesday, warning that the outbreak will cost nearly $1 billion to contain so it does not turn into a "human catastrophe."

Even as President Barack Obama is ordering the deployment of 3,000 U.S. military personnel to help provide aid in the region, Doctors Without Borders said the global response to Ebola has been far short of what is needed.

"The response to Ebola continues to fall dangerously behind," Dr. Joanne Liu, president of the medical charity, told a U.N. special briefing on Ebola in Geneva. "The window of opportunity to contain this outbreak is closing. We need more countries to stand up, we need greater deployment, and we need it now."


Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO's assistant director-general, said Tuesday that "this health crisis we face is unparalleled in modern times."

The numbers are staggering: At least 2,400 deaths have been blamed on the outbreak, which has touched Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal since it was first recognized in March.

Half of the nearly 5,000 cases occurred in the last three weeks, and officials said Tuesday that it was not unthinkable that 20,000 could become infected before the outbreak is over.

"It's a potential threat to global security if these countries break down," Obama said, speaking of the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea

"If the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people affected, with profound economic, political and security implications for all of us," he said after outlining new steps being taken by the U.S. to contain the outbreak.

In addition to the troop deployment, the heightened U.S. role in West Africa will include erecting new treatment and isolation facilities, training health care workers and boosting communications and transportation support, U.S. officials said in Washington.

Hundreds more international health workers will likely be required. Some 3.3 million hazard suits will be needed in the next six months to protect those caretakers from the virus, which is spread by contact with bodily fluids such as blood, urine or diarrhea. Some $23.8 million alone will pay burial teams and buy body bags, since the bodies of Ebola victims are highly infectious.

In a report released Tuesday, WHO said all of this and more will cost $987.8 million. That's 10 times what the organization estimated the outbreak would cost at the beginning of August.

"We risk a humanitarian catastrophe if we do not see rapid action to scale up, not just the Ebola response but also the provision of essential services and the support platform to put that in place," Aylward said.

Recent weeks have seen a flurry of promises of aid.

In addition to the U.S. forces, the U.N. health agency said China has promised to send a 59-person mobile laboratory team to Sierra Leone that includes lab experts, epidemiologists, doctors and nurses. Britain is planning to build and operate an Ebola clinic in Sierra Leone, and Cuba has promised to send the country more than 160 health workers.

"The question is translating these commitments into quick action on the ground," said Dr. Unni Krishnan, head of disaster preparedness and response for the aid group Plan International.

Still, hospitals and clinics in West Africa are now turning the sick away because they don't have enough space to treat everyone — a sure-fire way to increase the spread of the disease, which in this outbreak is killing about half of those it infects.

The United States, in particular, drew criticism last week when it promised to set up a 25-bed field hospital in Liberia to serve health care workers, both local and foreign, who become infected. Many thought the contribution was paltry, given that experts were saying Liberia needed at least 500 more treatment beds.
 

Grand Potentate

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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-29256443


18 September 2014 Last updated at 12:59 ET
Ebola outbreak: Health team 'held captive' in Guinea
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Some villagers in Guinea have been scared at the appearance of health workers trying to combat Ebola

Officials in Guinea say a team of health workers and journalists who were trying to raise awareness about Ebola may have been kidnapped.

The team of six went missing after being attacked on Tuesday in a village near the southern city of Nzerekore.

Meanwhile, President Francois Hollande says France is setting up a military hospital in Guinea as part of its contribution to tackle the disease.

More than 2,600 people have now died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

It is the world's worst outbreak of the deadly disease, with officials warning that more than 20,000 people could ultimately be infected.

The UN Security Council is due to discuss the outbreak later on Thursday.


Last month, riots erupted in the area of Guinea where the health team went missing - near where the outbreak was first recorded - after rumours that medics who were disinfecting a market were contaminating people.

The three doctors and three journalists went missing on Tuesday after residents in the village of Wome pelted them with stones as they visited the village.

One of the journalists managed to escape and told reporters that she could hear the villagers looking for them while she was hiding.

The governor of Nzerekore told the BBC that the group were being held captive, although it remains unclear why.

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A government delegation, including the health minister and the communications minister, has been dispatched to the region but the BBC's Makeme Bamba, in the Guinean capital Conakry, says the delegation have been unable to reach the village by road because a main bridge has been blocked.

The team is negotiating with local elders to try to gain access, she says.

There have been many reports of people in the region saying they do not believe Ebola exists, or refusing to cooperate with health authorities, fearing that a diagnosis means certain death.

Speaking on Thursday, President Francois Hollande said France was setting up a military hospital in Guinea as part of his country's efforts to support the West African nations affected by the outbreak.

He said the hospital was a sign that France's contribution was not just financial, adding that it would be in "the forests of Guinea, in the heart of the outbreak".

The World Health Organisation said on Thursday that more than 700 new cases of Ebola have emerged in West Africa in just one week, showing that the outbreak is accelerating.

It said there had been more than 5,300 cases in total and that half of those were recorded in the past three weeks.

The epidemic has struck Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal.

A three-day lockdown is starting in Sierra Leone at 00.00 GMT on Friday in a bid to stop the disease spreading.
 
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