If you are interested in regular updates and analysis of the spread of Ebola in Africa, there is a very active thread maintained by preppers and survivalists.

Yes some of them are racist (very few) and there are some conspiracy theorists (a few more than the racists). But the over all level of discourse and dissemination of information is pretty good. In general the level of education is not as high as here so the analysis is not that sophisticated, but they have been seriously tracking the threat from very early on. They predicted the spread, but there is a group that always predicts the end of the world.

This is a link to a summary post by Paravani who is collating information and statistics.


Here are some interesting points raised in the threads:

1) while the virus is not airborne it can be spread by droplets. CDC and WHO recommendations are not clear on this. There is extensive discussion about the difference between airborne and droplets. Airborne is > 6ft, droplets are < 6 ft, but more than the actual touching implied by most caution statements (e.g. "direct contact with bodily fluids"). If someone with Ebola sneezes in your face or behind you on a plane, that could be a problem for you.

2) Many of the healthcare workers are getting infected even with the mandated personal protection equipment. There is some question about the effectiveness of the PPE recommendations.

3) The WHO and Medecins Sans Frontieres (doctors without borders) agree that the number of cases is significantly underreported. MSF thinks the reported cases are 25% of the actual cases. There is no data for this.

4) WHO has stated they think the cases will hit 20,000 before it is under control. I believe that if it hits 20000 there is no way to control it.

5)  Ebola R0 is estimated to be 1.8 (each person on average infects 1.8 others). This is in line with historical numbers. The Case fatality rate  (CFR) is historically 90%, probably around 75% for this outbreak, but some are reporting it as low as 50%. The discrepancy is probably a result of trying to divide total cases by deaths, since you have to exclude people that have been infected in the last 15-21 days from the total cases.

Historical R0, secondary attack rates, case fatality rate, transmissibility etc might not apply due to slight mutations in the version of the virus responsible for this outbreak.

6) there are some recent news reports (unconfirmed by official WHO reports) reporting that there are 1900 deaths. The WHO reported deaths are still in the 1300s.

7) this paper gives a min chance of close to zero, but a maximum chance of around 20% of being imported the US by Sept 22nd


8) the number of hospitals beds available for ebola type patients in the US (negative pressure rooms) is very low

9) there are curves forecasting cases and comparing actuals. The actuals have tapered off, possibly because they are only reporting known cases and hospitals are full and turning away patients. I havent been able to find any proof of this limitation in the reported numbers

This post has a simplistic projection

This post compares actuals to projection, pretty close

Some other topics of conversation are

1) what is the estimated number of cases in the US before we start to have economic impact

2) What precautions and things should you buy now because they will be sold out if the virus comes here
   (all available on amazon)
   Tyvek suits
   thick nitrile gloves
   n95 or higher masks
   bleach sprayer
   IV kits

3) what is the best way to take care of family if the hospitals are overwhelmed

4) how long will it take an epidemic to burn out?

Originally posted to TXConservative on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 05:03 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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