Ebola is a virus that in most cases very quickly brings the host to an extremely excruciating and horrific death. The incubation period can be up to 21 days so it can be carried all over the globe before there is any warning of spread. There is no known cure nor vaccine to combat it and it is out of control in west Africa.
Doctor Sheik Umar Khan who was leading the fight against it west Africa contracted it himself and died. Nurses in one town there went on strike after three nurses in their facility seemed to have died from it. Two Americans (one of whom is also a doctor) have contracted it there and, under very sterile conditions, are being brought back to the U.S.
There is a suspected case of it in New York to which the sick individual recently returned from a trip to west Africa.
The U.S. is supposed to be treating the Americans that are being brought back with an experimental serum.
Without an effective serum to combat it there might be a great need for isolation units and organ supporting equipment.
And in a case of religion doing serious harm, a millionaire preacher who claims to be able to cure cancer and HIV is sending holy Anointing Water to Sierra Leone.
As Hemant Mehta writes at Friendly Atheist: "This isn’t just ineffective, it’s harmful. It’s possible that people suffering from the disease — who need to be quarantined and given whatever scientific treatment options are available — could “anoint” themselves with the water, wrongly think they’re cured, and then go out in public again, spreading the virus even further.
I never thought I’d say this, but [preacher Temitope] Joshua would be doing more for Ebola patients by praying for them, only because it would have no effect on them whatsoever."
(bolding is mine)
Very good point. Containing the virus is crucial and make believe religious cures are not going to help do this.
The American missionaries who are being treated with the experimental drug are taking a long time to recover and the Spanish missionary who was being treated with it died anyway. That suggests that the experimental drug really isn't that effective.
I think the world needs to get real about establishing a quarantine of the infected area at least until there is an effective treatment for the disease and miracle religious cures don't fall into the category of effective treatments.
An Ebola clinic in Liberia was attacked by youths with cubs today claiming that there was no Ebola outbreak. Per the article:
Seventeen Ebola patients in Liberia who fled from a quarantine center after it was attacked by club-wielding youths were missing on Sunday, striking a fresh blow to efforts to contain the deadly virus....They broke down the door and looted the place. The patients have all gone," said Rebecca Wesseh, who witnessed the raid in the Liberian capital's densely populated West Point slum....A health ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the youths took away medicines, mattresses and bedding from the high school which had been turned into an isolation centre to deal with the rapidly spreading virus.
Violence erupted Wednesday between police and residents of an Ebola stricken Liberian slum. This after the town had been placed under quarantine. Per the article:
Men threw stones at soldiers dispatched to control crowds in West Point — a Monrovia slum that’s been placed under quarantine — and residents tried to charge through barricades in the neighborhood, according to reports.
No one in the media is admitting how serious it is to quarantine a million people, without providing them food, water and medical care. The quarantined slums in Monrovia, especially, must be horrific for those trapped: overcrowded, lacking basic sanitation, and no internal medical facilities. One article spoke of defecation in the streets and on the beach as a common problem. And dead bodies not even being removed for hours or even days? One fly walking around on infected feces or a corpse would be airborne death, even though Ebola is not transmitted by air itself. It only takes eight virus particles to infect someone. It only takes a day for fly eggs to hatch into adults, so any corpse uncollected for more than a day would burst with death-dealing insects. As the crisis escalates, it becomes more likely that corpses will remain uncollected.
Meanwhile the media treats it as one news story among hundreds, instead of making appeals for public support to Doctors Without Borders.
I don't understand why no one is treating recovered adults as a valuable resource. They're the only people with some immunity. We should be hiring them, training them to assist medical and burial work. Instead of being seen as pariahs, their value should be acknowledged and celebrated. They should be very well paid! That's a program that could be funded by public appeal.
We donated $50 to Doctors Without Borders a few days ago, and intend to make it a monthly payment for the many months this nightmare continues. Is anybody else here concerned enough to do something?
image source (caption mine)
...And our media still treats the ordinary lives of athletes and actors as equally "newsworthy", while a killer virus is on the loose!
Another of your points that bears repeating and emphasis: recovered adults [are] the only people with some immunity. We should be hiring them, training them to assist medical and burial work. Instead of being seen as pariahs, their value should be acknowledged and celebrated. They should be very well paid! That's a program that could be funded by public appeal.
I like the idea. People with immunity to virulent strains of a virus could be an asset to medical and burial work.
Both Americans who were ill with Ebola have now recovered. Wouldn't you know it - One of them said above all he thanked 'god' (instead of science) for saving him. Per the article:
"Above all I am grateful to God for sparing my life," Brantly said.
South Africa is the latest country to ban travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Per the article:
JOHANNESBURG—South Africa has banned travelers from the three Ebola-hit West African nations, a government spokesman said on Thursday, after other countries adopted similar measures to prevent the deadly virus from breaching their borders.
There has now been an Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo but it seems to be a different strain from that in West Africa. Also, it is now a criminal offence to hide an Ebola patient in Sierra Leone. Per the article:
Health Minister Felix Numbi told the BBC that tests on two people had confirmed the disease in Equateur province, where 13 had already died. But he said the deaths occurred in an isolated area and the disease seemed a different strain to West Africa's....On Saturday, Sierra Leone parliament passed a new law making it a criminal offence to hide Ebola patients.
An Ebola vaccine is ready to be tested in humans in the US beginning next week. It has already been proven effective in monkeys and the tests will not increase the likelihood of an Ebola outbreak in the US. Per the article:
The trial will enroll 20 healthy adults who will get a shot in the arm to see first if the vaccine is safe, and second if it generate an immune response that should, in theorym protect against Ebola infection...."We have the green light to begin," said Dr. Tony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.....Although the vaccine works well in monkeys, it's important to be sure it's safe in people, Fauci and Ballou both stressed.
The Ebola virus is mutating quickly. Per the article:
....The findings, published Thursday in the journal Science, offer new insights into how the outbreak started in West Africa and how fast the virus is mutating.....the data show that the virus is rapidly accumulating new mutations as it spreads through people. "We've found over 250 mutations that are changing in real time as we're watching," Sabeti says...."The more time you give a virus to mutate and the more human-to-human transmission you see," she says, "the more opportunities you give it to fall upon some [mutation] that could make it more easily transmissible or more pathogenic."....
The virus has now spread to Senegal which is another West African country.