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View Diary: West Africa on high alert as ebola epidemic spreads in unusual pattern, Sauda Arabia cancels visas (151 comments)

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  •  Can the US government protect us? (1+ / 0-)
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    With deregulation, lax oversight and the privatization of so many government services, it seems unlikely.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 01:19:56 PM PDT

    •  if there were an outbreak (8+ / 0-)

      of cholera, an old and well-known disease, in a large city, say Minneapolis, I don't think we could handle it.

      And cholera is treatable with rehydration therapy (basically drink a lot of water mixed with salt and sugar) and antibiotics.

      With hurricanes exacerbated by climate change, this is a real possibility in the aftermath, if water supplies are contaminated.

      We are really not equipped to handle epidemics, especially of a novel disease. Look at how poorly we handled SARS. Luckily it burned out, but if it hadn't, who knows? It could have been much worse.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 01:43:39 PM PDT

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      •  Our borders are so porous (2+ / 0-)
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        HoundDog, drmah

        To any traveler who doesn't fit a terrorist profile. If the epidemic grows, how likely would it be for the US to close our borders to travelers from affected areas?

        Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

        by Betty Pinson on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 02:32:45 PM PDT

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        •  microbes don't just travel via people (10+ / 0-)

          anything physical that passes from one place to another can be a vector for microbes. Cargo, either plant or animal, for instance.

          A cholera epidemic was traced to contaminated water taken up for ballast by ships in one harbor and released in another. The Black Death was spread by rats.

          Anthrax spores can live in soil for decades until they're stirred up and people are exposed to them, causing an outbreak; infected animal carcasses are incinerated to prevent this from happening.

          Birds spread all sorts of diseases, fungal diseases for instance. How can you keep birds from migrating?

          Shutting down airports, seaports, train stations etc. does keep sick people from moving quickly and exposing large numbers of people who might then travel to other places and infect others. But it's a very, very costly measure and you can't do it for long. And microbes don't respect national borders.

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 02:52:48 PM PDT

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          •  So right about balast water. Spreading all kinds (3+ / 0-)
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            nchristine, celticshel, Betty Pinson

            of invasives from one ocean to another.

            Okay, the Government says you MUST abort your child. NOW do you get it?

            by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 05:14:27 PM PDT

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          •  Saudi Arabia has already canceled visas (2+ / 0-)
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            limpidglass, Betty Pinson

            from West Africa, bkamr has noted the illegal game meat trade from Africa to Europe, especially, EU.

            If this epidemic is not soon contained, we may soon she trade, flight, and other transportation bans from these areas.

            Probably bans on animal imports will be announced within this next week.

            The economic impact for this region of Africa could be devastating.

            I imagine tourists are cancelling vacation not just to West Africa but likely to the whole continent.

            Sadly, humans seem to either vastly under react, or over react. We have trouble finding the happy medium.

            "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

            by HoundDog on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 05:46:59 PM PDT

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      •  We've given over too much of our public health (0+ / 0-)

        system to for-profit companies, IMO. One of he advantages to a single payer base system with private insurance available for boutique services on top of it, is that in an epidemic we could get immediate services for everyone.

        What too many do not think about with our current system is that if an epidemic should break out, what is in the best common good is for people to contact their doctors at the first evidence of any symptoms.

        However, if one is poor and does not have health insurance, and has an experience of going to the ER and then being dunned for years by creditors these people will hesitate and wait until the last possible moment or just not even go, which could accelerate the infection, or prevent health officials from gaining timely data on incidence.

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 05:41:09 PM PDT

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    •  Ebola is actually tough to transmit (1+ / 0-)
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      we have proven is can be passed by touching inanimate objects (like a doorknob after an infected person touched it) or by air, but this requires perfect conditions in a lab and has never been observed in the field.

      It also is typically slow to spread since it requires an exchange of body fluids.  What we see with Ebola (and how doctors come to suspect an outbreak as opposed to a Malaria infection) is that it infects families.  A person gets sick, they come down with a fever, their family cares for them (ie touches them and cleans up after them) and suddenly the whole family is sick.  Malaria doesn't do this.  This is a red flag.

      But Ebola ramps up so quickly and then either kills or debilitates the victim(s) so quickly they don't have much opportunity to keep mingling with society and pass this on in all directions (like an early small pox infection would).

      Theoretically yes, a person could be infected and then hop on a plane very quickly and land somewhere still seemingly healthy.  But this is not as likely as it would appear.

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 07:35:09 PM PDT

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      •  I Wisper. I was looking for you this afternoon as (0+ / 0-)

        I had to take Gina to the docs just as I posted this.

        I just made a similar comments seconds ago.

        Some of us were talking about the possible transmission from bat to primates, from primates to humans, and from human, to humans.

        Bkamr was asking how the virus gets from bats to monkeys and then sees to provide two likely answers.  

        1. Bats are pooping and peeing all over the leaf canape including monkey food and the monkeys, all night long.

        2. Bats die and could be eaten as carrion by primates, although we don't know if monkeys eat dead animals. If they were recent enough and the monkeys hungry enough they might.

        3. I added, if monkeys, don't eat carrion maybe some other animals like rats do, that monkeys eat.

        4. and, Maybe some other predator of bats like raptors, or snakes eats bats, gets infected and monkeys eat them.

        This got me thinking, these things are happening by the million, maybe even billion per year. We haven't had a case of Ebola for seven years.

        1. This virus must be very rare in bats, (perhaps explaining why they haven't identified it until now despite much search since 1970,

        2. transmission from bats, to primates, must be inefficient or rare,

        3, transmission from primates to humans must be inefficient and rare because previous cases can all be traced back through funeral rituals NOT from mass outbreaks from bushmeat.

        4. transmission from human to human must be relatively inefficient. All of the cases I've read about have been either heathcare, family members of funeral ritual people. Not casual passerbys, in shopping centers lets say.

        I read today, that as one gets sick diarhea is a first symptom and as family members clean it up without proper protection they get infected.

        So, given that we've only had 120 suspected cases not thousands as might be expected if thousands or tens of thousands, of monkeys were infected suggests that this is not an easily transmitted virus. Deadly yes, but not easily caught.

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 09:12:45 PM PDT

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        •  Hope she's okay (0+ / 0-)

          So the questions... , well first: We don't know all this stuff yet.  We only just found out about the bats and even that is not completely conclusive.  This is all active research.  But I'll try to answer based on what I have seen published.

          1.  Urine and Feces.  For Ebola?  We don't think so.  This is the case with other diseases, notably the Nipah virus in SE Asia and the Islands.  We know that bats that feed on a certain type of data contaminate the fruits with their excreta and that passes on as a live vector to humans that consume the fruit or drink the sap.  But with Ebola, the theory is still that is requires direct entry into some kind of open wound.

          2.  Bats don't just get eaten as carrion.  Primates hunt these things in the canopy.  Primates also aggressively hunt and kill other primates.  Chimpanzees are actually one of our highest suspects as an entry opportunity into the primate world because they will hunt and kill just about anything smaller then them, they hunt in packs and corner things in the treetops and then rip it apart with their strength splashing blood and fluid all over the place.  Bats, bird mammals, other monkeys (particularly Colobus monkeys) can all be Chimpanzee prey. This coupled with the fact of their complex social structure, grooming, fighting, sexual proclivity and care for their young can spread the disease quickly within a group.  But this can not be the only way as we have seen confirmed Ebola cases in gorillas, which are almost 100% herbivorous.

          3.  Bats are not the only reservoir.  They are showing a lot of evidence of being perhaps the largest and maybe the most persistent.  Add to this the fact of their vast migratory range and their apparent immunity to any Ebola symptoms and they are the highest threat vector we've found with Ebola.  But we have confirmed lab test results showing Ebola in antelope, porcupines and other vertebrates in these forest/jungle habitats.

          We just don't know how these animals are passing it from one to another.  Yet.

          Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

          by Wisper on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 05:29:06 AM PDT

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