Ebola Outbreak 2014
"So here it is guys: If Ebola is transmissible through casual contact or aerosol we will know this without a doubt in the next 7 to 14 days. If not, we will know that, too. This is the acid test. "
Most of what I'm reading, specifically from the CDC, is saying that the transmission characteristics are not understood. They're believed to be zoonotic, but the exact method is up for speculation.
I assume everyone has heard by now that the Aid Worker who stole the Ebola victim's cell phone caught the disease and died; This calls into question the notion that it's not easy to contract, doesn't it?
As well, here is a CDC Ebola Timeline Sheet with some specifics about the disease's history:
With regards to the information presented here,one thing that stands out to me immediately is that this outbreak is – at minimum – nearly twice as expansive as the most prominent outbreak in the past (The Uganda outbreak which infected 425).
WHO projections have this as almost 3x as expansive, and it's an international concern, which is likewise unprecedented.
As jgritter says, it's going to be fascinating.
Off to check the storage room.
Here is Liberia's action to combat Ebola, as presented by VOA: http://www.voanews.com/content/liberia-announces-additional-ebola-containment-measures/1968611.html
* Closure of all schools
* Non-essential government workers placed on mandatory 30 day leave
* Closure of all markets in border areas
* Friday declared a "non-working day" to be used to disinfect and chlorinate all public facilities
* Several communities where the infection rate is high are being considered for complete quarantine
A taste of what we might see if it ever comes to North America.
Having traveled through Hong Kong a few months after SARS, walking through those IR screening cameras in HKG airport definitely made me nervous. Was I a little overheated from walking too fast? Just how high a temp was too high? The thought of getting stuck in a box for a day while they tested me for whatever – not a pretty thought at all.
Moral: if you want to travel by air, better do it prior to any arrival of You Know What in the US. Otherwise, if you have a fever and those scanners are in place, best not to travel at all!
I have a friend who works international flights for a US carrier. Tough job to have right now, especially if you encounter a sick passenger on the flight…
If the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history reaches the United States, federal law permits "the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease". These individuals can be "detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary". In other words, the federal government already has the authority to round people up against their will, take them to detention facilities and hold them there for as long as they feel it is "reasonably necessary".
In addition, as you will read about below, the federal government has the authority "to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill".
There is a recent precedent for detaining people with such lethal communicable diseases in the US.
Andrew Speaker had XDR (extremely drug resistant) Tuberculosis. "the CDC placed him under involuntary isolation (similar to quarantine) using a provision of the Public Health Service Act. With this action, Speaker became the first individual subjected to a CDC isolation order since 1963."
He was subjected to state and federal regulations and detained, underwent surgery for his TB out west and seemed to fall off the map after that. Overall I believe he was evaluated in hospitals in at least 4 different states In the US. Coincidentally his father in law was a TB researcher at the CDC.
I imagine hospital workers and family members will be expected to isolate themselves "voluntarily". IF the virus becomes prevalent here I doubt law enforcement and military will be enthusiastic to restrain people who are sick and so contagious. The isolation of potentially ill people could end up meaning sheltering in place at home.
No one will want to be near those who might be infected.
It didn't take long for vectors to reach our shores:
Bringing them to Atlanta, really??? What happened to "containment" and "isolation"?
Things just went to 11 on the Spinal-Tap amplifier of massive infectious disease outbreaks. As AP reports, the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than the efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned. Dr. Margaret Chan pulled no punches in her direct statement, "If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socio-economic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries." Time to panic?
If an epidemic hits your country? Most of what you'd need to do we at this site are already doing.
As stated above, be prepared to shelter in place for a month: food, medicine, water, energy. To this I'd add::
- nitrile gloves
- Zicam – it's an antiviral
- dust masks
- ways to sanitize things: bleach, rubbing alcohol
And I would top off the fuel in my vehicle.
The two sick people being flown into Atlanta don't worry me at all. We fly in two people, clean the plane, be careful, most likely nothing will go wrong. One of those high odds of success outcomes. Plus, we can try various things out on them – no doubt with their consent, I'd sure consent if I were in their place – that might help both them and future victims.
Its the infected travelers we don't know about that worry me – the asymptomatic traveler who returns from an African Safari with a little something extra they didn't plan on bringing back, that makes its appearance a week after landing.
That is what I worry about.
Those are good guidelines. I am topping off my water supplies as a priority.
The Wiki on Ebola suggests that those who have succumbed have less of an immune response and presumably anything to enhance your immunity will be a good thing.
I personally have decided to limit hand shakes since the virus (as of now) is thought to be transmitted by physical contact or possibly droplets. Aerosolized spread by droplets requires that you be in close physical proximity to come in contact with it.
Living near a major population center and immigration hub, I have decided as of now I will greet people with a friendly smile with my hands at my side.