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(David’s note: There’s a serious mix of information in this post…both news reports from Barbara (Diva) on the man who flew to Dallas with Ebola as well as several interjections by me with historical and 10,000 foot observations on Ebola, as well as a bio-weapons expert and geneticist that I consulted. PLEASE read the whole thing…it changes focus and pace several times, so scan sections if you need to, but PLEASE read it to the end.
It’s vital that you remember that Ebola is currently a 3rd world disease. Here are some of the reasons why the disease has been spreading:
1. Afterlife rituals that involve the use of the blood of the dead.
2. Re-use of syringes and IV needles without proper sanitizing.
3. Putting a patient with complaints of elevated blood pressure into the bed of someone who JUST died of Ebola without changing the sheets or sanitizing the room (see below)
4. Neighborhoods with no running water or sewer systems where human waste (fecal matter and vomit) goes into the street or open air ditches where people and animals walk and children play.
5. Medical systems with less than 1 doctor to 100,000 people.
6. Bad decisions made by healthcare workers spawned by compromised mental states due to no sleep, extremely long work hours, exposure to a high level of death and suffering, limited resources, frustration, lack of infrastructure, and more.)
7. Belief by locals that Ebola is witchcraft, isn’t real, and therefore, they don’t need to seek medical care.
8. Hot, non air-conditioned medical spaces that make it very difficult for medical workers to wear full protective gear.
What am I trying to say? Use the news of Ebola to get prepared, but there are a dozen other diseases coming across the Southern border that I’m more concerned about for my family than Ebola.
Countries have been enamored by the thought of weaponizing Ebola for 20+ years and, ironically, it kills it’s host too quickly, isn’t contagious enough for a long enough period of time, and doesn’t spread easily enough to be considered a “weapon.” Unless and until Ebola goes airborne…and nobody’s been able to make that happen in 20+ years…it won’t be a major problem here.)
(From one of my bio-weapons experts: “In one of the articles you shared, I noticed the mortality rate was around 60%. Overall, that is the correct figure, although Ebola Zaire had a 90% fatality rate.
The current strain seems to be less virulent, which is actually bad news with this particular iteration. In the past, Ebola has burned through villages in Africa so fast that it often overran itself. It killed all of its hosts before they could spread it to someone else. This one seems to be more ‘patient’, with a lower mortality and a longer expression period. (21 days as opposed to 7-10 with Zaire)
That’s twice the amount of time for a carrier to infect more people. I think one thing that is being missed in the shuffle is the fact that men express the Ebola virus in their semen for up to 21 days AFTER they are symptom free (provided they survive the virus). That is a whopping 42 (FORTY TWO) days that a male Ebola carrier needs to be quarantined. I can guarantee you that that is not happening with the lack of health care access and supply we are seeing in West Africa.
If you do some rough math, and say 40 percent of 6000 people are surviving this illness, leaving 20 percent of those as males assuming a 50/50 split, and cut that to 10% as being sexually active males, you’ve got several hundred men running around over there who have already survived the illness who are unwittingly infecting others.
Basic epidemiological quarantine procedure operates on the Halo principle, where you put a ring around an outbreak, let the disease run its course, contain it, and move on to the next outbreak. With the dearth of willing and/or able-bodied health workers, I can also guarantee that those halos are being broken down or are virtually ineffective, until essentially everyone over there gets their turn with Ebola.” [more from him on Ebola being airborne in a bit])
On Tuesday, while writing Friday’s update on the Ebola virus, the first U.S. Diagnosed case of the Ebola was announced. At the time of the breaking news, the man’s name was withheld, as was his flight information from Liberia to the US. When questioned, CDC director Thomas Frieden stated that as the patient was not displaying symptoms of Ebola when he came to the US on September 19th/20th, he would not have been infectious.
Since the initial Tuesday announcement, it was discovered that the patients name is Thomas Eric Duncan, who is from Monrovia, Liberia. Not surprisingly, news has been flooding in about the circumstances of this first reported Ebola case in the U.S., therefore this week’s post is somewhat in-depth to get you up-to-date.
It is believed that from 80 to 100 people may have been exposed to the Ebola virus through contact with Duncan, which includes five children. It was further disclosed that when Duncan sought medical treatment on September 26, he informed a nurse that he had traveled from Liberia, but according to authorities, this information was not relayed to the full medical team. Duncan was subsequently prescribed antibiotics and released.
(David’s note: This is infuriating, but not for the reason you may think. The hospital staff gave him antibiotics without knowing what he had going on.
1. Antibiotics work on bacteria, not on viruses.
2. Over-prescribing of antibiotics and incomplete use of antibiotics leads to drug-resistant bacteria.
3. Any time antibiotics are used, they wipe out the good bacteria in the gut, along with up to 80% of your body’s immune function and a lot of your ability to release energy and nutrients from food.
This type of malpractice is happening in almost every hospital in the country, throughout the day, every day of the year. It hurts the patients immediately, in the short term, and it is setting the stage for drug resistant bacteria. If you’re in healthcare, PLEASE think twice before handing out antibiotics unnecessarily. If you’re a patient, PLEASE question any healthcare provider who prescribes antibiotics without a good reason.)
The following report is from ABC NEWS, Good Morning America, Ebola Patients Texas Contacts Zoom to 80, Authorities Say was released on October 2, 2014.
The number of people who came into contact with Texas Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, has zoomed from as many as 18 to 80, health officials in Texas announced in a statement today.
Duncan, a Liberian man who is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, is being treated in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas after being brought to the hospital by ambulance earlier this week.
Medical authorities initially said that they were interviewing and monitoring 12 to 18 people, including five children, who had been in contact with Duncan since he arrived Sept. 19. But today Dallas Health Director Zack Thompson told ABC News affiliate WFAA that 80 people who may have come in contact with Duncan are being interviewed.
Thompson said four or five members of Duncan’s family are under a “control order” to stay inside their homes.
It’s not clear if these four or five people under the control order are the five school age children who were told to stay home from school.
Dr. David Lakey, Texas health commissioner, talked addressed the control order.
“We have tried and true protocols to protect the public and stop the spread of this disease,” Lakey said in the statement. “This order gives us the ability to monitor the situation in the most meticulous way.”
Authorities say the family members do not currently have symptoms of Ebola, which include fever above 100.5 degrees, headache, nausea, diarrhea or abdominal pain. The order will continue until at least Oct. 19.
Thompson said he was aware of news reports that Duncan had been vomiting before being admitted to the hospital, but said he was not concerned about the vomiting (emphasis added).
Duncan flew from Liberia to Brussels on Sept. 19. He continued to Washington’s Dulles Airport, before flying to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport on a United Airlines flight.
Authorities with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said airline passengers and flight crew members aren’t at risk for Ebola because Duncan wasn’t exhibiting symptoms until days later, but his diagnosis has left residents in Dallas on edge, with scrutiny for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which allowed the man to leave after he told a nurse he had come from West Africa.
Duncan returned to the hospital by ambulance two days later. He remains in an isolation unit, listed in serious condition.
Mark Lester, the executive vice president of Texas Health Resources, said a communication issue was responsible for the lapse.
“Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full team,” Lester said.
Five children who members of Duncan’s family have also been told to stay home
Authorities also scrubbed down area schools , trying to contain the disease’s spread.
Duncan spoke on the phone Wednesday with family members who live near Charlotte, N.C.
“We talked today (with Duncan) and we prayed together with his mother and sister here,” said Joe Weeks, who lives with Duncan’s sister Mai.
Weeks said that the family is concerned that Duncan was admitted to the hospital and put in isolation on Sunday, but hasn’t received the experimental Ebola drugs.
“I don’t understand why he is not getting the Zmapp,” Weeks said.
The manufacturer of the drug has said they have run out of the experimental medicine.
Duncan’s former boss in Monrovia, Liberia, said the patient had been his driver for the last year or two until he abruptly left his job in early September.
“I really don’t know,” why he left, Henry Brunson, general manager of Safeway Cargo, told ABC News. “He didn’t resign. He just left the office. He just walked away.”
(David’s note: If you smell a rat with him mysteriously leaving his job, contracting Ebola, lying about it, and then flying to the US and coming into contact with more than 100 people, you’re not alone. )
You can read the entire ABC report HERE.
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A Reuters UK edition report, dated October 2, written by Lisa Maria Garza, Up to 100 possibly exposed to Ebola patient in United States, which is supplied here in its entirety:
DALLAS/MONROVIA, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Up to 100 people may have had direct or indirect contact with the first person to be diagnosed with the Ebola virus in the United States, and four of his relatives have been quarantined in an apartment in Dallas, health officials said on Thursday.
The worst outbreak of the contagious, haemorrhagic fever on record has killed at least 3,300 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, overwhelming weak health systems and crippling fragile economies and threatening to cause hunger .
Liberia has recorded nearly 2,000 of those deaths and aid agencies say they need hundreds of beds for patients.
The case in the United States has heightened concerns that Ebola could spread globally and could raise further questions about travel restrictions from the affected countries.
Liberian authorities on Thursday said they could prosecute Duncan if he returned because he had filled out a form before flying falsely stating he had not come into contact with an Ebola case, when he had actually helped a neighbour with the disease days earlier.
Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told Canadian Broadcasting Corp. she was angry with Duncan for what he had done, especially given how much the United States was doing to help tackle the crisis.
“One of our compatriots didn’t take due care, and so, he’s gone there and in a way put some Americans in a state of fear, and put them at some risk, and so I feel very saddened by that and very angry with him,” she said.
“The fact that he knew (he might be a carrier) and he left the country is unpardonable, quite frankly,” she said.
Duncan initially sought treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on the night of Sept. 25 but was sent back to the Dallas apartment where he was staying, with antibiotics despite telling a nurse he had just been in West Africa.
By Sunday, he needed an ambulance to return to the same hospital.
Police and armed security guards were keeping people about 100 yards away from the apartment on Thursday, with orange cones blocking the entrance and exit. Maintenance workers using high-pressure water were scrubbing the parking lot with bleach. The workers were not wearing any protective gear (emphasis added).
Officials said none of those thought to have had direct or indirect contact with the patient were showing symptoms of Ebola. The disease can cause fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea and spreads through contact with bodily fluids.
* * *
As of September 29, 2014 the CDC reports the Ebola virus has infected 6,574 people, leading to 3,091 deaths. Some are claiming higher numbers, which cannot be substantiated. Liberia continues to be the hardest hit, followed by Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, and Senegal that reports 1 confirmed Ebola case.
New Study Warns Of Worst-Case Scenario: 1.5 Million Could Be Infected By January Without Improved Control Measures
As reported by International Business Times, writer Jayalakshmi K, September 28, 2014, Ebola Could Infect 1.5 Million Soon, Says CDC.
The following is an excerpt:
The forecast supports drastically higher projections released earlier by epidemiologists at the VBI, who modeled the Ebola spread as part of the National Institutes of Health-sponsored project Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (Midas).
The World Health Organization (WHO) had predicted that 20,000 cases could be expected before the pandemic is controlled, but the new modeling shows 20,000 people could be infected in just one month.
If control measures are improved, the numbers could significantly reduce, said the forecast.
“If the disease keeps spreading as it has been, we estimate there could be hundreds of thousands of cases by the end of the year in Liberia alone,” said Bryan Lewis, a computational epidemiologist with the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at VBI.
The VBI’s work with Ebola began in 2000 and is largely funded by the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency: a little-known US military agency which attempts to predict global threats, including pandemics and attacks using weapons of mass destruction.
Health Care Worker’s Are Being Infected While Health Facilities Are Overrun
In Liberia, a huge concern is the dwindling health care force and available beds to care for those infected with Ebola, as Science AAS reports in September 8th, 2014, Liberia’s Ebola problem far worse than imagined, says WHO.
The following excerpt describes the battle being fought against exploding Ebola cases:
Some 152 health care workers have been infected and 79 have died. When the outbreak began, Liberia had only one doctor for every 100,000 people in a total population of 4.4 million people. Every infection or death of a doctor or nurse depletes response capacity significantly.
Liberia, together with the other hard-hit countries, namely Guinea and Sierra Leone, is experiencing a phenomenon never before seen in any previous Ebola outbreak. As soon as a new Ebola treatment facility is opened, it immediately fills to overflowing with patients, pointing to a large but previously invisible caseload.
Of all Ebola-affected countries, Liberia has the highest cumulative number of reported cases and deaths, amounting, on 8 September, to nearly two thousand cases and more than one thousand deaths. The case-fatality rate, at 58%, is also among the highest.
Situation in Montserrado county:
The WHO investigation concentrated on Montserrado county, which includes Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. The county is home to more than one million people. The teeming West Point slum, which has no sanitation, little running water, and virtually no electrical supplies, is also located in Monrovia, and is adjacent to the city’s major market district.
In Montserrado county, the team estimated that 1000 beds are urgently needed for the treatment of currently infected Ebola patients. At present only 240 beds are available, with an additional 260 beds either planned or in the process of being put in place. These estimates mean that only half of the urgent and immediate capacity needs could be met within the next few weeks and months.
The number of new cases is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them in Ebola-specific treatment centres.
For example, an Ebola treatment facility, hastily improvised by WHO for the Ministry of Health, was recently set up to manage 30 patients but had more than 70 patients as soon as it opened.
Boots On The Ground as U.S. Troops Are Confronted With Ebola
IBT, as reported by Jayalakshmi K reports on September, 29, 2014: Ebola: US Military Struggles To Keep Pace With Racing Virus.
Although it was hoped that troops sent to help with the Ebola effort would be highly trained to avoid becoming infected with the virus, the following excerpt explains the reality of what our military are experiencing:
US cargo planes have begun landing with huge rolls of plastic sheets for tents. With a poorly equipped airport at Liberia, even unloading becomes a big task, not to mention the climate of fear.
“Some companies would rather go to Afghanistan than come here,” the plane’s loadmaster has been quoted as saying, while a nervous first officer in the cockpit who shared a pen with a Liberian rushes to wash his hands, asking: “Am I going to be OK?”
One of the clinics at the airport site will only hold 25 beds meant for health workers, the ones at maximum risk.
While it is hoped that other countries will send their own nurses and doctors, as CDC’s head of Ebola response in Liberia, Frank Mahoney says: “It’s hard to know where all they’ll come from.”
WHO has estimated that 1,000 to 2,000 international health workers are needed in the region.
Out of the 2,900 beds that are currently needed according to WHO, countries have promised around 737.
This is an indication of the dire situation on the ground in West Africa and a reflection of the sporadic and half-hearted global response.
Currently, under 18% of those who report symptoms are able to find a treatment centre and a bed, the rest are sent back home.
According to experts, unless 70% of the patients can be placed where they will not transmit the virus, the epidemic is likely to worsen.
Beds fill up as soon as new centres come up, reports Fox News. And still they are not enough. Most patients are directed to holding centres where they await their turn when beds become available.
“If this outbreak continues, the sheer caseload will make it much more difficult to contain,” said Dr Bruce Aylward, assistant-director general in charge of emergencies at WHO.
“We will need more health workers to take care of them, more PPE (protective suits), more hospitals, more of everything.”
Clinics unable to afford protective equipment are reportedly washing and reusing protective gear that is meant to be worn only once.
Even Amidst The Bad News, There is Hope
Reading news of the Ebola outbreak is difficult. As Preppers, we are hard-wired to be aware of and to prepared for what challenges may come our way. It is possible that a full-blown Ebola outbreak will not occur in the U.S., but if it does, the number of trained health care professionals and the nations state-of-the-art equipment will help to combat an out of control outbreak as is being experienced in West Africa.
A September 26, 2014 CNN article, Woman saves three relatives from Ebola, written by Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, offers hope, even against incredible odds.
The following is a portion of the article:
(CNN) — It can be exhausting nursing a child through a nasty bout with the flu, so imagine how 22-year-old Fatu Kekula felt nursing her entire family through Ebola.
Her father. Her mother. Her sister. Her cousin. Fatu took care of them all, single-handedly feeding them, cleaning them and giving them medications.
And she did so with remarkable success. Three out of her four patients survived. That’s a 25% death rate — considerably better than the estimated Ebola death rate of 70%. (Note: the death rate reported here is far greater than what the CDC and WHO numbers reflect)
Fatu stayed healthy, which is noteworthy considering that more than 300 health care workers have become infected with Ebola, and she didn’t even have personal protection equipment — those white space suits and goggles used in Ebola treatment units.
Instead Fatu, who’s in her final year of nursing school, invented her own equipment. International aid workers heard about Fatu’s “trash bag method” and are now teaching it to other West Africans who can’t get into hospitals and don’t have protective gear of their own.
Every day, several times a day for about two weeks, Fatu put trash bags over her socks and tied them in a knot over her calves. Then she put on a pair of rubber boots and then another set of trash bags over the boots.
She wrapped her hair in a pair of stockings and over that a trash bag. Next she donned a raincoat and four pairs of gloves on each hand, followed by a mask.
It was an arduous and time-consuming process, but Fatu was religious about it, never cutting corners.
UNICEF Spokeswoman Sarah Crowe said Fatu is amazing.
“Essentially this is a tale of how communities are doing things for themselves,” Crowe said. “Our approach is to listen and work with communities and help them do the best they can with what they have.”
Two doctors for 85,000 people
She emphasized, of course, that it would be better for patients to be in real hospitals with doctors and nurses in protective gear — it’s just that those things aren’t available to many West Africans.
No one knows that better than Fatu.
Her Ebola nightmare started July 27, when her father, Moses, had a spike in blood pressure. She took him to a hospital in their home city of Kakata.
A bed was free because a patient had just passed away. What no one realized at the time was that the patient had died of Ebola.
(David’s note: This lesson is consistent whether you’re in the US or a 3rd-4th world hell-hole…don’t go to hospitals unless you need to.)
Another comment from my bio-weapons expert: “As an afterthought, it is misunderstood that Ebola isn’t spread through the air.
As a matter of fact, droplets between 5-10 um have been shown to spread the virus in laboratory settings. A sneeze, basically.
As a second afterthought, the reason Zmapp is in such short supply is that it’s created using monoclonal antibodies. These are the ‘magic bullet’ type vaccines that are primarily used in cancer therapy. They take a long time to create and manufacture because the antibodies are grown in mice for a specific antigen (hence the mono) and then a vaccine is developed using those antigens.
For comparative purposes, most of us are very familiar with polyclonal antibodies, as we usually receive a polyclonal vaccine every year in the form of a flu shot. They take several forms of flu that they predict will be most prevalent, mix them all together, and that’s your vaccine.)
(David’s closing note: We’re going to have a problem with Ebola until we completely prohibit travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea and prohibit anyone who’s been to any of those countries in the last 21-28 days from coming to the US. We will continue to have new cases until we effectively quarantine the countries that are having outbreaks from international travel.
I am updating lesson 5 of the Survive In Place Urban Survival Course to not only cover H1N1 flu, but also H5N1 and other flu strains, as well as Ebola, Chikungunya, Enterovirus D-68, and other viruses being rapidly introduced from Central and South America through the southern border. People who have taken the course in the past will receive the update automatically as soon as it’s available. Click >HERE< to learn more now.
Are you preparing for an epidemic, whether Ebola or another potential epidemic? Do you have concerns over reports surrounding the first diagnosed case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas; U.S. Military efforts to help combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa; or continued allowance of travel to and from West Africa? Please sound off by commenting below.
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva