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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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  •  presumably, they can do a genetic comparison (7+ / 0-)

    of the strains found in the various patients.

    If they are the same, then there must be a common focus of infection. But can bats really migrate that far, to spread it over such wide distances? Does the pattern of spread follow bat migration patterns?

    I am not an expert, but perhaps there could be an asymptomatic human carrier of the virus, like Typhoid Mary--although such a thing has never been known to occur before. I reiterate that this is just my hypothesis. If this is the case, then conventional epidemiology should be able to find this carrier. And you would expect him/her to leave a trail of victims behind him/her, I don't know whether that's happened.

    There is really very little known about Ebola. It's not like measles or chickenpox, where we have hundreds of years of experience and millions of cases to study. Ebola was discovered less than forty years ago and I don't think there have been more than a couple thousand confirmed cases. It's been picked apart in labs but there's very little experience with how it spreads in vivo.

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

    by limpidglass on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 01:37:14 PM PDT

    •  Patient Zero Is 95% Movie Cliche (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, DavidMS

      ...it's a movie cliche that Dustin Hoffman has to find the monkey, and when he does somehow that means there's a cure or the epidemic can be stopped or some fucking thing.

      Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

      by bernardpliers on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 05:10:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Patient Zero (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        celticshel, HoundDog

        is critical to epidemiologists to try and learn the key factors of the zoonotic transfer.  Ebola has been around since the 70's and we only just learned about the bat thing in the last few years.

        Thats the importance of patient zero.  We would LOVE to learn that all tehse multiple outbreaks can be traced back to a single region or a single type of animal or a single transfer mechanism.  This would be a great feature that we could exploit in our fight against the disease.

        The scariest thing about this outbreak for doctors is the fact that it is spread out and thus complicating quarantine effects and the possibility it could get unleashed in a crowded urban setting.  Patient Zero (most likely long since dead and burned) has nothing to do with this.

        But for epidemiologists, it is the question: How the hell did a disease never before seen North of the Congo crop up in multiple places simultaneously on the coast of West Africa.

        Either something weird happened to transport the virus or this thing is spreading in ways we did not know about before.  Neither is good, but the latter is WORSE.

        And we need to know as much as possible about Patient Zero to pin this down.

        Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

        by Wisper on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 07:29:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Virus hunters think bush meat is a likely culprit, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      generally. Vectors and animal reservoirs of virus that would not usually come into contact with people do via hunters and raw meat. Epidemiologists and zoologists are working with hunters to ID and carefully bag dead animals the hunters find, to try to isolate and identify diseases that might affect people.

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

      by Catskill Julie on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 05:11:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Excellent questions Limpidglass. One of the (0+ / 0-)

      articles cited in my post quotes government officials from Guinea attributing the outbreak pattern to the ease of travel in modern day Guinea.

      He did not mention bats at all.

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

      by HoundDog on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 05:49:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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