Ebola in the US Update

Of the seven Americans who have contracted Ebola, five overseas and two in Texas, all seven have survived. Comments from President Obama, focusing on how we have to be guided by the science:

“Here’s the bottom line. Patients can beat this disease. And we can beat this disease. But we have to stay vigilant. We have to work together at every level — federal, state and local. And we have to keep leading the global response, because the best way to stop this disease, the best way to keep Americans safe, is to stop it at its source — in West Africa.”

CDC Update page for the West African outbreak.

Ebola Update from Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

More here from the Whitehouse.

Comments

  1. #1 Tim
    October 25, 2014

    Change and Hope (that it’s not a weaponized strain) that reassuring dude is spot on…

    I’ve heard (yes, from infowars) that the virus *may* be transmitted more easily in the absense of water vapor. Like flu. Any thoughts?

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    October 25, 2014

    I’ve not heard that and it sounds suspicious since it is transfered via bodily fluids which by definition are already wet.

  3. #3 Tim
    October 25, 2014

    ‘Water vapor’ is much smaller than ‘water’… kinda nanu nanu, in fact.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    October 25, 2014

    Not sure what you mean by water vapor being smaller… the same mass of water as vapor is typically much larger!

    Point is, the relationship between humidity and flu is unrelated to Ebola.

  5. #5 Tim
    October 25, 2014

    I was just kinda speculating that ‘water’ sticks to itself while the vapor, still polar (large implications for lightning generation there, btw) has a propensity to ‘get into things’.

  6. #6 G
    October 26, 2014

    Vapor is the gaseous state of water. I am not aware of any virus that is transmissible via water vapor or any other gas. The best current science says that this is not possible for Ebola.

    “Aerosol” transmission refers to virus particles adhering to dust particles that remain suspended in air for extended periods of time. For this to occur, the virus particles must remain viable in a dry state, so they can become active in the wet environs of cells. It is known to occur with measles, flu, and common colds. It is not known to occur with Ebola. The best current science says that Ebola is not transmissible in this way. No cases are on record anywhere, of this type of transmission.

    “Droplet” transmission occurs when virus particles are present in bodily fluids expelled by a patient, such as through splattering of vomit, diarrhea, or blood, or through coughing or sneezing. Droplets that make direct contact with a healthy person, such as through coughing in their face, have not been ruled out as a means of Ebola transmission, but the radius is small: six to fifteen feet from the patient, at most.

    After the droplets land on an inert surface, if they dry out, the virus becomes inactive, typically in a few hours. Sanitation methods that use bleach or other strong disinfectants, can kill all virus particles present on surfaces (DO NOT ever mix different types of disinfectants, as doing so can produce toxic gases).

    Realistically we in the USA do not have to worry about Ebola becoming epidemic here. Occasionally an infected person will come in on a plane and develop symptoms later, but now we have nationwide protocols for ensuring they get correct care and the public is protected from transmission.

    Until the epidemic is stopped in West Africa, we can expect at most a few cases a month this way. At most, we can expect one or two secondary cases per primary case, and those would be their spouses and family members. But so far we have not even seen those types of transmission, and given the public awareness of the disease, they are unlikely. Health care workers are being properly trained and equipped, so their level of risk will be low.

    As for Ebola terrorism, I have good reason to believe that the various government agencies are well aware of the issue and have taken steps to ensure that any such attempt will be intercepted and prevented from occurring.

    The most important thing each of us can do about Ebola is to get our flu shot, so we don’t end up in a clinic or ER, and don’t infect others and cause them to go to a clinic or ER. The reason this is important is, we don’t want clinics and hospitals overrun with routine flu cases, that interfere with detection and treatment of any possible Ebola case that walks in the door. The principle is the same as for staying off the roads after a natural disaster, so the emergency vehicles can get through unimpeded.

  7. #7 Smart Boy
    October 26, 2014

    Learn What is Ebola? in 3 minutes Video!
    http://check123.com/videos/3870

  8. #8 Omega Centauri
    October 26, 2014

    I saw that claim, some unscrupulous types were trying to tout(sell) cinnamen root as an ebola cure, and were sreading a rumour that in the temperate zones the zirus could last longer outside the body because of lower humidity. I don’t know if there is any truth behind it.

  9. #9 climatehawk1
    United States
    October 26, 2014

    I’d be very skeptical of all claims of unusual transmission vectors, given the fact that Mr. Duncan was ill in an apartment with several other people for several days and did not infect any of those people.

  10. #10 Tim
    October 26, 2014

    Thx, G. I’ll take it as read. Though, what those selfsame “various government agencies” really do is written on the gulag wall…

  11. #11 weirdnoise
    October 26, 2014

    Ebola transmission has been studied for many years at least in part because of the potential for a filovirus biological weapon. Aerosol transmission has been shown to be possible in non-human primates (the CDC site has cites for some of this research if you want to look it up), but has not been shown to occur naturally (i.e. between infected animals). Short of contact with infected body fluids, Ebola seems nearly impossible to catch. It’s a damn poor bioweapon.

    There has been a lot of effort at contact-tracing in past Ebola outbreaks to attempt to determine modes of transmission, and there is no evidence whatever that casual contact with infected but asymptomatic individuals can transmit the disease. Contact-tracing is a boots-on-the-ground activity that doesn’t require medical training or scarce supplies, can be done by people local to the area, and along with isolation of sick individuals (and all to often, their corpses) has been the chief strategy for quashing earlier epidemics. These things appears to be a lot harder to do in West Africa, however, due to politics and geography.

    My point is, we know a lot already, and given the facts on the ground this epidemic doesn’t seem to have thrown any surprises. The idea that it will suddenly become a pandemic in a country with a decent healthcare system and indoor plumbing(!) is insane.

  12. #12 Brainstorms
    October 26, 2014

    Why do the “contacts” individuals in the lead graphic look like they’re being hung (as in “by a noose”)? What’s the subtle message here??

  13. #13 Tim
    October 27, 2014

    It’s because the opponent hasn’t figured out the word is ‘ebola’, silly bird. You spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone with customer support, do you not??

  14. #14 Ntuli PN
    April 15, 2015

    Seven Americans contract Ebola,they are cured.Thousands in africa have Ebola, they too deserve the same opportunity to life. May this ‘science’of yours save all not only Americans. At the end of the day we all humans, where african or american, black or white.
    (15063926)

  15. #15 Marilyn McDermott (u14022827)
    South Africa
    April 16, 2015

    The 7 people who unfortunately contracted Ebola in the US survived because of proper care. The country put effort into and focus on the subject, the dealt with the problem sufficiently and gave the people in the 7 cases the needed attention in order to get them better and get some control over the spreading of the virus. The South African Government should learn from the US, The Department of Health in South Africa should take sufficient precautionary measures to ensure that the spreading of the disease is under control. Those who are infected with the disease in Africa should be cared for in any possible way. It might cost the government a lot of money, but in the end they should do what the always neglect to do, which is look at the bigger picture. Due to the people’s tax money going towards the research and curing of Ebola, the politicians might not drive 7 cars anymore, but the might safe thousands of lives. What use is 7 cars when the virus has spread so far that they themselves end up with the disease. People should be treated in sanitary facilities and each person deserves a fair chance at life.

    Funding for these things is the main problem, but if the US is able to get a strong team together to get the disease under control, why can’t we.

    (u14022827)