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Since the recent post, Ebola: How It Spread & Ways To Protect Yourself, there have been new developments and reports on the Ebola virus that we need to be aware of. Before we get started, it should be pointed out that the CDC and the WHO continue to assure the public that it’s extremely unlikely the Ebola virus will reach the U.S., and should it, there are steps we can take now to protect ourselves and our loved ones which are included in this post.
Here are some of the developments that are being reported on, not all of it discussed on the 6 o’clock news:
President to Send Military Assets to Combat Ebola
As reported in the Huffington Post article dated September 7th, 2014, written by Elsie Foley, Obama: U.S. Must Act On Ebola To Prevent ‘Serious Danger’, the U.S. will be sending military personnel and equipment to affected Ebola outbreak regions in an attempt to get the virus under control. The following is an excerpt:
Although Ebola isn’t a threat to Americans now, President Barack Obama said in an interview that aired Sunday that it could become one if the U.S. fails to help prevent its spread in Africa.
The virus has killed a suspected 1,800 people in West Africa, according to the Centers for Disease Control. No confirmed cases have been reported in the U.S., but three Americans who were infected in Africa have been brought back back to the U.S. for treatment.
Obama told NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd that the U.S. needs to send military assets to set up isolation units and equipment to help contain the spread of Ebola. He said it will still take “months” before the problem is controlled.
“If we don’t make that effort now and this spreads, not just through Africa but other parts of the world, there’s the prospect then that the virus mutates, it becomes more easily transmittable, and then it could be a serious danger to the United States,” the president said.
* * *
What wasn’t discussed was how will our military men be protected from becoming infected by the Ebola virus.
Our military takes an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, to bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over them, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Should this include fighting the Ebola virus? And if so, will there be procedures put into place to protect our brave soldiers from harm and to safeguard that the virus is not inadvertently transmitted stateside.
In light of the rapid spread of this latest Ebola outbreak, it is concerning that flights in and out of the affected areas are being allowed when the Ebola virus continues to spread, especially in light of the following CDC advisory.
CDC Advises Airline Personnel About Airborne Droplets
The Interim Guidance about Ebola Virus Infection for Airline Flight Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel advisory by the CDC advises that droplets expelled into the air by sneezing, coughing or talking should be contained with a face mask for anyone showing symptoms of the Ebola virus during flight.
It is also advised that the use of compressed air not be used by cleaning crews, as doing so has the potential to spread infectious material through the air.
Concerns Over Airborne Ebola
As reported by science Reporter Matt McGrath in a November 15th, 2012 report Growing concerns over ‘in the air’ transmissions of Ebola, Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the Ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species.
The following is an excerpt:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids from a number of species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope.
The fruit bat has long been considered the natural reservoir of the infection. But a growing body of experimental evidence suggests that pigs, both wild and domestic, could be a hidden source of Ebola Zaire – the most deadly form of the virus.
Now, researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country’s Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species.
In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical of Ebola and were euthanised.
One possibility is that the monkeys became infected by inhaling large aerosol droplets produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs.
Updates On The Spread Of The Ebola Virus
As reported by Abby Ohlheiser on August 29th, 2014 of The Washington Post in the article The Ebola virus has spread to Senegal as the deadliest outbreak in history gets worse, 20,000 people could eventually be infected. Here is an excerpt from the article:
As the Ebola outbreak worsens — with the death toll spiraling and the World Health Organization warning that 20,000 people could eventually be infected — another West African country has confirmed that the deadly virus has crossed its borders.
Senegal confirmed its first case of Ebola on Friday, according to a statement from Health Minister Awa Marie Coll Seck. The patient, a Guinean national who traveled to Senegal, is in quarantine.
The news brings the number of countries impacted by the outbreak up to five: Sierra Leone, Liberia and Senegal’s neighbor, Guinea, have seen the bulk of the 3,069 reported Ebola infections in the region, according to the WHO. More than half of those infected have died. The virus also spread to Nigeria through a traveling Liberian-American man. A separate outbreak of a different strain of Ebola has been reported in Congo.
There are conflicting numbers being reported, but The WHO estimates that 4,000 have been infected with the Ebola virus, leading to 2,000 deaths. Liberia has been the hardest hit.
Food shortages are being reported across Ebola affected areas. On Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014, 3 News reported in a video and accompanying article, Hungry Ebola victim escapes Liberia that hunger caused one man who tested positive for the Ebola virus to escape a treatment center in search of food.
The following is an excerpt from that article which expounds upon the ongoing food shortage issues for the regions affected by the virus:
There were chaotic scenes at an outdoor market in Liberia after an Ebola victim escaped a treatment center in search of food.
He was seen wandering through the crowded market picking up bread. Eventually health workers in full protective outfits arrived and attempted to apprehend the fugitive patient.
The man, who did not appear visibly ill, resisted attempts to take him back to the treatment complex.
A Doctors Without Borders worker – with no protective gear apart from a pair of disposable gloves – helped to keep the angry locals at a distance, before also unsuccessfully trying to negotiate with the patient.
Eventually the man was carried, struggling, into the back of a vehicle and driven away. Everyone who came into contact with him is potentially in danger of contracting the deadly disease.
Locals say it is not the first time an Ebola patient has escaped from the treatment facility.
Liberia is the country worst-affected by the worst outbreak ever recorded, with almost 700 of the 1,552 reported deaths.
Labor shortages and disrupted cross-border trade caused by the deadly Ebola outbreak have sparked “grave food security concerns” in the worst-hit countries, the United Nations says.
Restrictions on movement in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has led to panic buying, food shortages and severe price hikes, especially in towns and cities, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said on Tuesday.
“Access to food has become a pressing concern for many people in the three affected countries and their neighbors” said Bukar Tijani, FAO Regional Representative for Africa.
“With the main harvest now at risk and trade and movements of goods severely restricted, food insecurity is poised to intensify in the weeks and months to come.
“The situation will have long-lasting impacts on farmers’ livelihoods and rural economies.”
At current infection rates, the WHO fears it could take six to nine months and at least US$490 million (NZ$588 million) to bring under control, by which time over 20,000 people could be affected.
Quarantine zones imposed in the epicenter of the outbreak straddling the three countries will lead to food shortages for “large numbers” of people, the FAO said, with the main harvest season for rice and maize just weeks away.
How We Can Prepare
There is no crystal ball that can tell us if Ebola will reach U.S. shores. Based upon the assurances of the CDC and the WHO, it isn’t likely. But, taking a few cautionary steps will enable you stay out of harms way should it come to the U.S. is prudent.
- Many of you have gone through the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course and remember Lesson 5 on Pandemic Viruses. MOST of the strategies and treatments, including vitamin D, grapefruit seed extract, essential oils, adequate sleep, and more that prevent people from getting the flu will also work to prevent other viruses, like Ebola.
- (David’s note: I am a firm believer in essential oils. They saved my life when I had drug resistant pneumonia almost 8 years ago and have knocked out countless viruses and bugs in our family in the years since. BUT, the FDA recently decided to limit how people talk about them, so I’m not doing so anymore.
- Have several months of food, water, prep goods and medical supplies on hand. In a very worst-case scenario, it may be necessary to isolate until the danger has passed. This would include not coming into contact with others. Symptoms of Ebola infection can take as long as 21 days to show after a victim contracts the virus. It is said that until symptoms have presented, the infected are not contagious. It should also be pointed out that not much is understood about the Ebola virus, and different strains have been reported.
- If Ebola should be reported to be airborne, it would be best to have N100 face masks on hand, as well as antibacterial soap, protective eye ware, nitrile disposable gloves, and Tyvek suits for those treating anyone ill (while keeping the patient isolated from others in a household). Consider purchasing supplies now , as the suggested items may become difficult to obtain if an outbreak occurs in the U.S.
- Although it hasn’t been reported that the Ebola virus has become airborne, particulates from a sneeze, a cough, or talking can expose others to the virus, therefore the CDC recommends that a protective mask be worn by anyone who is infected. It is just as important for those who are not infected to wear face masks, protective gloves and protective eye ware when in close proximity to others, or when in close proximity to a family member or member of a group who may have been exposed or exhibits symptoms, as the virus can spread through contact with mucus membranes. It is possible for the virus to remain on surfaces for up to several days (this includes bedding).
- Symptoms of Ebola per the CDC are as follows:
- Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
- Severe headache
- Muscle pain
- Abdominal (stomach) pain
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to ebolavirus, although 8-10 days is most common.
Have you been following the Ebola outbreak and are you preparing for any eventuality? What’s your opinion about military involvement to help combat the growing Ebola outbreak? Please sound off by commenting below!
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva