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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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  •  Wow, thanks Catte Nappe. May I quote you in my (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    next post?

    Your analysis is consistent with what I've read. One surprise for me since the 2007 outbreak is that although Ebola has a 90% mortality rate, which sounds scary, it is "relatively" easy to contain as long as it maintains its traditional patterns.

    As people get sick, they are easy to identify, and they don't move around a lot.

    The next people to become infected are usually family member, or people in the same village.

    So containment perimeters are quickly set up. People educated about precautions, washing hands, chlorinating surfaces, etc. and the epidemic "burns out relatively" quickly.

    I say "relatively" to contrast to the much discussed and expected eventual mutation of that one flu in Asia to an airborne form of transmission. I  believe it is "Avian flu," but it may be a variation of Swine flu." I do not remember the H1N1 numbers. And, apparently which birds, pigs, and human in such close proximity we have a perfect mutation factory for brewing up new contagions.

    The flu they are concern about that currently is only transmitted by direct extensive contact with a sick bird, has a 10% mortality rate, and my understanding is that mathematicians like yourself report it could spread throughout the globe within 3 months.

    Due to some curious properties of biology and math that you should perhaps explain to us, that might be related to regression to the mean, random mutation, or the probability that less morbid strains spread more than more more morbid strains, or a little of all three, the morbidity fraction is actually expected to fall as the virus spreads throughout larger populations.

    Multiplying even a smaller fraction by 7 billion yields a tragic number.

    Also sadder, is the understanding that a vast majority of deaths could be prevented if we stockpiled vast numbers of inexpensive hand ventilators to keep the afflicted's lungs open during the worst 24 hours of the flu. Most people will die apparently of a secondary pneumonia, especially the elder, immune compromised, malnourished, etc.

    Apparently, even in the apparently wealthier countries like the U.S. the combined hospital grade ventilator capacity is less than 1,500.

    These inexpensive handheld plastic pump ventilators could keep someone alive if the patient had a loved ones willing to count out 20 second breath cycles for 24 hours. However, for-profit insurance companies see no return on investment on stockpiling several hundred million of these on a probability model, even though reputable mathematicians I know say "it is not a matter of if, but only a matter of when," based on their understanding of genetics and probability theory.

    Do I understand this correctly, or am I barking up the wrong tree, Catte Nappe?

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

    by HoundDog on Wed Apr 02, 2014 at 06:18:12 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Not my analysis, and I am not the stats geek (0+ / 0-)

      That is from the poster(s) at the links provided.

      The stat references, again, are at this blog:

      It is the blog of this person:

      Maimuna (Maia) Majumder is an Engineering Systems PhD student at MIT. Before coming to MIT, she earned a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Science and a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Tufts University. In her research thus far, Maia has examined the role of environmental and infrastructural drivers on cholera in Bangladesh, as well as the spatiotemporal parameters of infectious disease propagation.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Thu Apr 03, 2014 at 08:50:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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