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Updates on Ebola include the passing of Thomas Eric Duncan who died of complications of the Ebola virus on Wednesday, October 8. Duncan, as I’m sure you are already aware, was a Liberian who traveled to Dallas, Texas, fell ill with the virus and subsequently became the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States
Last week reader comments on the spread of Ebola indicated many are concerned about continued air travel from Ebola stricken hot zones in West Africa. David and I have voiced the same opinion. On Tuesday, October 2, the Los Angeles Times published an article written by David William, titled: Some Ebola experts worry virus may spread more easily than assumed.
. . . which highlights the potential risk to air travelers and caregivers when the latest strain of Ebola has not been studied sufficiently to understand its transmission.
The article points out that someone who has contracted Ebola and wishes to seek medical care outside the belabored hot zones has options; apparently ones that have not been considered by CDC officials, as reflected in the following excerpt.
One hundred percent of the individuals getting on planes are screened for fever before they get on the plane,” Friedan said Sept. 30. “And if they have a fever, they are pulled out of the line, assessed for Ebola, and don’t fly unless Ebola is ruled out.”
Individuals who have flown recently from one or more of the affected countries suggested that travelers could easily subvert the screening procedures — and might have incentive to do so: Compared with the depleted medical resources in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the prospect of hospital care in the U.S. may offer an Ebola-exposed person the only chance to survive.
A person could pass body temperature checks performed at the airports by taking ibuprofen or any common analgesic. And prospective passengers have much to fear from identifying themselves as sick, said Kim Beer, a resident of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, who is working to get medical supplies into the country to cope with Ebola.
“It is highly unlikely that someone would acknowledge having a fever, or simply feeling unwell,” Beer said via email. “Not only will they probably not get on the flight — they may even be taken to/required to go to a ‘holding facility’ where they would have to stay for days until it is confirmed that it is not caused by Ebola. That is just about the last place one would want to go.”
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On Tuesday, October 7, reporter Elodie Cuzin writes for AFP, Ebola contagion in Spain raises fears for Europe. The following is an excerpt.
Madrid (AFP) – Fears grew Tuesday that the Ebola epidemic was spreading outside Africa after three more people were isolated in Spain following the infection of a nurse in a Madrid hospital.
The EU demanded answers about how the disease could have spread in Spain’s most specialist unit treating Ebola where the nurse cared for two elderly Spanish missionaries who died from the virus after being flown home from west Africa.
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Although Ebola should be watched closely, and prepared for, there are other diseases we should be aware of.
As David discussed in this article >HERE< there are several diseases coming across the US southern border right now, including MRSA (drug resistant staph), scabies, chicken pox, polio, tuberculosis, measles, dengue fever, leprosy, H1N1, chikungunya, and possibly more, including and Enterovirus 68.
Today’s post will cover enterovirus, MRSA, chikungunya, and H1Ni that are being brought into the U.S. through our porous borders, as well as several diseases that could flare up should our healthcare system break down.
Having a healthy immune system can help you avoid the flu and other diseases. David goes into detail in Urban Survival Guide, but for now I’ll highlight some of what he included in his lesson series.
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy is free! Spend 15 minutes a day in the sun, without sunscreen, for vitamin D. Avoid sugar and processed food, get plenty of rest, de-stress through prayer or meditation, exercise, eat fish for omega 3 or take high quality fish oil or krill oil, wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day, and eat garlic often if you are able to.
Taking probiotics, echinacea, and astragalus will help boost your immune system. Limit caffeine and don’t smoke. Use a paper towel when opening a bathroom door after washing and drying your hands and carry your own pen to sign documents to avoid being exposed.
There is currently an outbreak of enterovirus D68 that is associated with severe respiratory illness, specifically in children. From mid august to October 9, 2014, 678 cases of enterovirus have been reported in 46 states, which has led to 5 deaths. Currently the U.S. does not have a vaccine for the enterovirus.
The CDC is investigating 10 cases in Colorado of children who were hospitalized with symptoms of muscle weakness or paralysis in their arms or legs. The investigation will test for poliovirus, West Nile virus, and enterovirus. The CDC advises for parents and children to wash hands frequently with soap and water, stay away from sick people, and disinfect objects that a sick person has touched. The virus can be spread by touching or shaking the hand of someone with the virus, touching objects or surfaces that have the virus on them, and changing the diapers of an infected child. The virus can be spread by a cough or sneeze. Washing hands thoroughly with soap and water before touching the eyes, nose or mouth will reduce contracting the virus. Nursing mothers who suspect they have contracted the enterovirus should seek medical advice.
The following was taken from the CDC on the treatment of the enterovirus:
- There is no specific treatment for people with respiratory illness caused by EV-D68.
- For mild respiratory illness, you can help relieve symptoms by taking over-the-counter medications for pain and fever. Aspirin should not be given to children.
- Some people with severe respiratory illness may need to be hospitalized.
- There are no antiviral medications currently available for people who become infected with EV-D68.
Incidents of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) has increased in the U.S. In 2011, the CDC reported 80,500 MRSA cases, but it’s estimated this represents only 20% of hospital related cases, and even fewer of clinic visits due to the lack of reporting.
MSA can cause painful skin, boils, scalded-skin syndrome and impetigo and was once often contracted in hospital and healthcare facilities, however MRSA infection is on the increase in communities.
The following can lead to MRSA infection: physical contact with someone with a draining cut or sore or someone who is a carrier of MRSA, IV drug use, sharing towels, uniforms, razors, or other personal items that hasn’t been washed, living in unsanitary conditions, contact sports, crowded conditions such as schools, prisons, military barracks, or homeless shelters is also attributed to the spread of MRSA. MRSA cases have been reported after swimming in fresh water and salt water.
Recently, there have been reports of rare strain of MRSA that causes bloodstream infections and pneumonia, which is 5 times more lethal than other strains and is sometimes resistant to antibiotics.
The best way to avoid MRSA is by washing hands thoroughly throughout the day, and avoid direct contact with anyone who is infected.
Chikungunya virus is crossing the border at an alarming rate. From 2006 to 2013 there were an average of 28 cases of chikungunya reported in the US. There have been over 1300 so far this year which occurred in over 40 states.
The symptoms of chikungunya are headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, and rash. Chikungunya does not typically lead to death, but newborns, adults over 65 and those with preexisting medical conditions are at higher risk.
Chikungunya is spread by mosquito bites and can be transferred from a mosquito biting someone infected and then infecting a person who is bitten by the same mosquito. There is no medicine available for chikungunya, but getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids and taking medicines such as inuprofen, naproxen, acetaminophen, or paracetamol will help alleviate fever and pain.
Although there hasn’t been a reported case of smallpox in the U.S. since 1949, it still remains a threat, because as of 2014, nearly 50% of Americans have not had a smallpox vaccination–which isn’t necessarily a choice, as the smallpox vaccine hasn’t been produced since 1980.
Considering that Russia’s former deputy director of the Soviet Union’s civilian bio weapons program, Ken Alibek, admitted the Soviet government produced the smallpox virus in large quantities to adapt it for use in bombs and intercontinental ballistic weapons, the threat of smallpox is still a definite threat. By international agreement, the lion’s share of the smallpox virus from the Soviets is being stored at CDC Atlanta headquarters. . . as well as Moscow.
The following in an excerpt found in a CDC report, Smallpox: Clinical and Epidemiologic Features, by D. A. Henderson:
“However, as reported by the former deputy director of the Russian Bioweapons Program, officials of the former Soviet Union took notice of the world’s decision in 1980 to cease smallpox vaccination, and in the atmosphere of the cold war, they embarked on an ambitious plan to produce smallpox virus in large quantities and use it as a weapon. At least two other laboratories in the former Soviet Union are now reported to maintain smallpox virus, and one may have the capacity to produce the virus in tons at least monthly. Moreover, Russian biologists, like physicists and chemists, may have left Russia to sell their services to rogue governments.”
You may also want to read the study: Smallpox as a Biological Weapon–Medical and Public Health Management.
Smallpox is a viral disease specific to humans that has led to an estimated 300 to 500 million deaths worldwide since 10,000 BC. In the United States, 100,000 cases of smallpox cases were reported in 1921, but by 1939, fewer than 50 Americans died each year of the disease due to the widespread use of preventive vaccines. Many who survived smallpox suffered disfiguring pockmarks, blindness, and in some cases, it led to infertility in males. The disease is spread through the air by bodily fluids such as a cough or sneeze, is highly contagious, and has a fatality rate of 30 to 40%.
The incubation period of smallpox is 12 to 14 days. The sufferer of Smallpox is not contagious to others until the following symptoms appear: fever, discomfort, headache, fatigue, severe back pain and vomiting. At the onset of symptoms, the sufferer is mildly contagious to others. It isn’t until the tell-tale smallpox rash appears on a the skin, which fill with fluid, that smallpox is the most contagious. Until all smallpox scabs fall off, Smallpox patients remain contagious to others.
Influenza ravaged the globe during the Great Influenza of 1918 (sometimes referred to as the Spanish Flu). The death toll was estimated to be between 50 to 100 million worldwide, which took place in the span of one year until it ran its course.
It is thought that an estimated 10 to 20 percent of those who were infected with the 1918 influenza died, This strain of Influenza, H1N1 Avian Influenza A Virus, is believed to have come from birds, which mutated to pigs at a major troop staging and hospital in France near the end of World War 1.
Since that time, H1N1 has become a reassorant–meaning it is now a mix of swine, bird and human flu viruses. Some call it “Swine Flu’, others “Bird Flu”. Many times, it’s refereed to as “H1N1 swine flu virus”, or just H1N1. Confusing, to say the least!
A different strain, H7N9 bird flu occurred in China between March 31 through April 30, 2013, that led to 126 reported cases. Influenza viruses mutate from flu season to flu season.
Influenza virus can be type A or type B, of which type A has more severe symptoms that include fever, headache, dry cough, fatigue, muscle aches, sore throat and a runny nose. Influenza is highly contagious, in part due to a 24 to 36 hours incubation period and because those infected with influenza can infect others one day before any symptoms occur and remain contagious from five to seven days after symptoms appear.
In the United States, just one flu season can lead to 200,000 hospitalizations and up to 36,000 fatalities.
Note: David’s recommendations can help you boost your immune system and avoid catching the flu.
It’s difficult to believe that in this day of modern technology, malaria continues to kill an average of 2 million people each year. Sadly, children under the age of 5 and pregnant women are at highest risk.
Malaria is transmitted by bite of the female Anopheles mosquito that transfers parasites via its saliva into the blood of humans. The symptoms of malaria are fever, fatigue, chills, nausea and vomiting, which typically exhibits between ten to fifteen days. Severe cases can lead to yellow skin, seizures, coma and death. If not treated, malaria can re-occur.
The CDC continues to monitor malaria in the United States since it was successfully interrupted in the 1950’s, but because the Anopheles mosquito still exists in the U.S., the risk remains.
Currently the hardest-hit areas for malaria are Africa and Asia–particularly in India and south-east Asia.
(David’s note: One important thing to note is that mosquito abatement programs exist in most counties across the US and the active spraying for mosquitoes throughout the year helps tremendously with mosquito borne illnesses. It would be great not to have all of those pesticides used, but the reduction in mosquitoes and the reduction in mosquito borne illnesses is worth it in most people’s minds.
And, remember, if there’s a catastrophic economic and/or grid disaster, mosquito abatement will go away.)
The lack of treatment of drinking water and the safe disposal and treatment of human feces is directly attributed to cholera outbreak. No geographical location is immune to cholera unless these needs are met. In the early 1900’s, New York City suffered reoccurring cholera outbreaks as its population was exposed to traders arriving from far-off ports, and city officials struggled with the safe disposal of refuse. Added to the problem was the lack of medical understanding of the cause of cholera.
Since the advent of sewage treatment, chorea had been eradicated in the United States and other industrialized nations.
Cholera continues to effect between 3 to 5 million people each year, leading to 100,000 to 130,00 deaths, occurring most commonly in Africa, Southeast Asia and Haiti. Soon after the 2010 Haitian earthquake, cases of cholera began to be reported, which ultimately led to 470,000 cases and 6,631 deaths, as reported by the CDC. Since then, clean water has been restored to most of the Haitian people and the outbreak was reduced to below the WHO 1% standard.
Cholera is caused by Vi bro cholera, a bacterium that secretes toxin in the small intestines, which can cause rapid loss of fluid. It is spread by ingesting water or eating food that has been contaminated with fecal waste. Infections can be mild, but around 5% of people exposed to cholera can have symptoms of sudden watery diarrhea, muscle cramps, thirst, vomiting and dehydration.
Treatment of cholera is done by administering fluids and electrolytes which can be given orally or through I.V. A short-term vaccine, once taken by travelers, is no longer available in the Untied States. However, antibiotics can be administered to someone with cholera, as well as those living in close proximity to someone who is infected.
During a cholera outbreak, water can be treated by boiling it for at least one full minute. Another method is to use household bleach at a rate of 8 drops for each gallon of water. The safe disposal of feces by burying it well away from a water source is a must to avoid cholera from contaminating water sources, and to avoid its spread through flying insects that can transmit contaminated fecal material. Peel vegetables and fruit and do not eat raw food, including raw or undercooked shellfish. Wash hands often with antibacterial soap to stop the spread of the disease.
Between 1918 and 1922 three million lost their lives to typhoid fever worldwide. In the United states, massive outbreaks of typhoid fever and high death rates in cities turned the nations attention to contaminated water supplies. In 1912, Congress enacted a law authorizing the Public Health Service to investigate pollution of waterways and streams, which led to safer drinking water, drastically reducing incidents of typhoid.
Typhoid is still common in third world countries, affecting an average of 21.5 million people annually, leading to 200,000 deaths. Today in the United States, an average of 5,700 cases of typhoid are reported annually, of which 75% of cases are attributed to recent travel to developing nations–particularly to Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Travelers can reduce the risk of typhoid fever through vaccination (which is 50% to 80% effective), drinking only bottled carbonated water, avoiding ice in drinks, pop cycles, shaved ice, raw vegetables and fruit or eating meals that are not served hot and steaming.
Typhoid Fever is caused by the Salmonella Typhi bacteria, which is spread through sewage contaminated by the bacteria that contaminates bodies of water used for drinking, cooking or washing. The spread of typhoid in third world countries is often caused by poor hygiene such as infrequently washing hands and the use of water that has been contaminated with sewage. Typhoid is transferred from human to human, but it can be spread by flying insects that feed on contaminated feces.
Symptoms of typhoid are a sustained fever of 103 to 104 degrees, stomach pain, weakness, headaches and a bloody nose, which occurs in approximately 25% of cases It is possible for a rash of flat, rose colored spots to appear on the body of someone infected with typhoid.
It is rare, but possible, for people who have been treated for typhoid Fever to be carriers, even after treatment. However, this is closely monitored in industrial nations. During treatment, a person infected with typhoid should not prepare or serve food and should frequently wash their hands with antibacterial soap and water to avoid passing the infection on to others. Without treatment, typhoid has a fatality rate of between a 12% to 30%.
Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics, but when treatment is delayed, complications such as intestinal perforations and hemorrhage can occur, which leads to a much higher mortality rate.
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Has existing and emerging diseases had you second-guessing overseas or intercontinental travel? Are you preparing for a time when safe water and sanitation treatment facilities may be compromised? Please sound off by commenting below.
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva