The invasion of well-meaning quacks into West Africa continues apace


Here we go yet again.

I’ve been interested in the Ebola outbreak that’s been going on for months in west Africa for a number of reasons. First, it’s a bad disease, and this is the largest outbreak in history. over 5,000 people have died. Second, there’s been a lot of unreasonable fear mongering about the disease here in the US far beyond its actual threat level to the country. Third, of course, and perhaps most pertinent given the usual subject matter of this blog, is that the Ebola outbreak in Africa has been a godsend for quacks, cranks, and conspiracy theorists. There is no quackery or conspiracy theory too quacky or too nutty to be considered improbable by the likes of Mike Adams. (Well, maybe one.)

When last I visited this subject, I was following the saga of homeopaths bravely (stupidly, actually) plunging into the middle of the Ebola outbreak with their magic water, thinking that it would be useful. There are two issues with homeopathy for Ebola. (Well, three issues, one of them being that homeopathy is total quackery and no different than giving desperately ill patients water or little sugar pills.) One is the ridiculousness of one common homeopathic remedy, namely using the venoms of various snakes (rattlesnake, yellow viper, and Bushmaster) because they cause symptoms similar to Ebola, in particular bleeding. Given that homeopathic remedies are diluted to nonexistence, I’m not so worried about these. One, however, is very scary, perhaps because it’s most in tune with homeopathy, and that’s to use blood, saliva, or other bodily fluids from an actual Ebola victim as the remedy to be diluted to nonexistence. Given how easily containers could be contaminated with the Ebola virus and how it might stick to the vessels used to dilute the bodily fluids, the thought of a homeopath actually using the bodily fluids of Ebola victims this way is too scary to contemplate, so scary that even über-quack and über-crank Mike Adams couldn’t countenance such a suggestion.

And don’t even get me started on “auto-urine” therapy for Ebola.

So it was with a mixture of alarm and amusement that I learned that homeopaths are still at it. They’re still trying, but the World Health Organization (WHO), to its credit, has for now put a stop to them, an action that has enraged the homeopaths who “were just trying to help”:

Homeopathy could have cured Ebola if the World Health Organisation had not stepped in to prevent a trial, according to members of a group who travelled to Liberia hoping to try out remedies including rattlesnake venom and the aphrodisiac Spanish Fly.

The four doctors were the subject of widespread ridicule online after MailOnline revealed that they travelled to the West African country intent on using Ebola victims to put their controversial theories to the test.

But today the homeopaths dismissed their critics as 'armchair intellectuals' and insisted they made the 'dramatic and traumatic trip' to Liberia because they had a duty to try to help.

Organisers of the trip are still inviting donations from supporters of homeopathy - whose ranks include Prince Charles - to fund a second attempt to run an Ebola trial in Liberia.

Seriously? The WHO basically saved these homeopaths’ sorry posteriors from their own stupidity and belief in magic. They’ve also saved the suffering Ebola victims in Liberia from being subjected to homeopathic quackery. (But I repeat myself.) One thing that’s depressing that I learned in this story is that the homeopaths who think that treating Ebola patients with snake venom diluted to nonexistence while believing that the water somehow “remembers” the properties of the snake venom are...physicians.

I hang my head in shame. Fellow physicians, believing in magic water! Oh, the shame. The shame.

It gets worse:

From her office in Mumbai, India, Dr Medha Durge said they had been keen to try out their own medicines on Ebola victims alongside more conventional treatments.
'Is it possible that four doctors with over 25 years practice will go all the way to Liberia and harm/exploit Ebola victims? We wanted to help and that too because nothing was helping them,' she said.

'Also we wanted to give homeopathy along with the drips.'

She confirmed that they had used homeopathic treatments on patients, despite the instructions from health officials in the capital Monrovia not to do so. She said she had not felt the need to quarantine herself after returning to India but was monitoring her own condition for any signs of the disease.

She also affirmed that “We treated all types of cases in the hospital with homeopathic medicines.”

In other words, these homeopaths lied when they assured health officials that they would not use homeopathy on Ebola patients. Why am I not surprised? So not only are these physicians falling prey to the most magical of magical thinking, as is absolutely required to believe in homeopathy, but they are apparently insubordinate and/or dishonest as well. It does explain how they were allowed near Ebola patients, though. Given the shortage of physicians in the areas most devastated by the outbreak, a physician interested in helping would be far more likely to be allowed in to help than a homeopath. Unfortunately Dr. Durge is both. In any case, if you don’t believe that these homeopaths are almost certainly lying, check this out about another homeopath, Dr. Ortrud Lindemann:

'To say we offer false hope is ridiculous,' she said. 'We were four qualified doctors who answered a call for volunteers and put our own lives in danger to try and help. If there is something to be done on top of the conventional treatment to help a patient, then we have a duty to try.'

Back in Mumbai, Dr Durge claimed that the Liberian government had been 'very helpful, kind and accepting of homeopathy. They appreciated us arriving there under the circumstances.'

However, senior health officials involved in the fight against Ebola in Liberia told MailOnline they had not realised the doctors were homeopaths and that when they found out, they gave strict instructions that they were not to use their techniques on patients.

Trusting homeopaths not to use their quackery on Ebola patients? Those senior health officials were either naive or desperate, probably a bit of both. One wonders if these physicians even remember how to use conventional medicine, given their reliance to treat woo. The only good thing about this is that they probably didn’t hurt anyone. That doesn’t make up for the fact that these deluded homeopaths were planning to do, in essence, human experimentation without informed consent or any supervision:

He revealed that they had consulted other leading homeopaths in the hope of coming up with a potential cure that could be tested on Ebola patients.

'I've used homeopathy for 40 years and there's a lot of research various epidemics including Yellow Fever, which is similar to Ebola in symptoms,' he said.

'When we went to do this we had some of the very best international homeopathy physicians who we consulted and worked with for many months before hand.

'And again we looked at which remedies would fit the pattern to cure, we had some good ideas about what medicine works and what would be beneficial. Again, we needed the experience so that was our preparation.'

He confirmed that rattlesnake venom and Spanish Fly were among the possible cures that they wanted to test out.

And he said he was disappointed that conventional medicine had closed its mind to homeopathy.

No, I’m disappointed that there are actual physicians, who presumably graduated from real medical schools and undertook real residencies, who believe that you treat symptoms by administering something that causes those symptoms and that you make that remedy stronger by serially diluting it until it is highly unlikely that a single molecule remains behind because the water remembers the “healing essence” of the remedy.

Sadly, it doesn’t end there. If the quacks themselves can’t treat Ebola patients themselves with their quackery, they’ll teach doctors there how to treat Ebola with quackery. Witness Robert Rowan:

The President of SL, probably on arrival, will receive us. We will be taken to a non-patient center where we can begin teaching our methods and special Ebola protocols. The doctors we train will soon thereafter begin treatments in the SL treatment center.

We do not intend to treat any Ebola patients ourselves. The risk is not necessary. We will oversee the training and treatment by our trainees. We will be teaching them everything Dr. Robins knows about the Robins Method of DIV Ozone Therapy gained over the past 23 years. I will teach them everything else about ozone and other oxidation therapies, and every other method of delivery, from rectal to joints. We will prepare them to receive ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy if that equipment follows us. We will also be directly treating malaria patients. I will be carrying a ton of gloves with me.

Imagine my relief.

Those poor Ebola patients. Not only do they have to deal with the possibility of catching an infectious disease that kills over half the people who get it in a very unpleasant manner, the poverty, the decimation of their medical resources through the deaths of many doctors treating Ebola patients, but they also have to deal with an invasion of well-meaning quacks trying to use homeopathy, UV blood irradiation, ozone therapy, auto-urine therapy, and all manner of other quackery to treat them.

More like this

Jeanette Winterson offers her "defence" in the Guardian, and I can't wait for Ben Goldacre to rip into it. She starts with this classic argument from anecdote: Picture this. I am staying in a remote cottage in Cornwall without a car. I have a temperature of 102, spots on my throat, delirium, and…
I'm quite proud, under most circumstances, to be affiliated with the University of Minnesota: it's an excellent university (and the Morris campus is the best within the system, although some of the other campuses argue about that), we've got great students, and we are a secular public institution…
I have a lot of tolerance for eccentricity as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. I'm a western physician who believes strongly in modern medical science, but I'm not as rabid and offended by alternative medicine as many of my colleagues. As long as it doesn't hurt anyone. Which unfortunately it…
Morgellons "disease" is not a disease in any classic sense. There are no agreed-upon definitions of a case, so all else is meaningless. That being said, people are suffering. Since they feel ignored by doctors, they seek help elsewhere. It's a problem in thinking, in some ways. When you don't…

If this individual (to be very polite) ends up turning Ebola loose in a place like Mumbai, the consequences should be very, very serious if she survives. That would be the worst of the worst case scenarios.

How many counts of criminally negligent homicide would it take to get a life sentence India?

By Michael Finfer, MD (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

He confirmed that rattlesnake venom and Spanish Fly were among the possible cures that they wanted to test out.

So ... IRB, they don't need no stinking IRBs. Informed consent? What's that? Let's just show up and try whatever shit we think might work and see what happens.

If course, if the "drips" referred to worked, they will credit the homeopathy. And if they don't, well, they waited too long to start homeopathy or something.

By Tsu Dho Nimh (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

The fact that some physicians are susceptible to this kind of nonsense emphasizes once again that one can make it through medical training without any real understanding of what science is and how it works -- all you have to do is jump through the hoops and get the grades.

On the other hand, some physicians are excellent scientists by inclination and by training. Being equipped with blinking lights certainly helps.

By palindrom (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink


I don't think that word means what the author of the Daily Fail article thinks it means. The implied controversy does not exist: there is no plausible mechanism that would allow homeopathy to work as claimed, and anybody who has taken high school chemistry should have learned this. Unfortunately, as palindrom notes above, it is all too easy to obtain an MD without actually learning the content of the courses taken along the way. For example, a high school classmate of mine, who was known for having the best grades money could buy, eventually became a doctor practicing in Florida. I have had no contact with him since high school, so I don't know if he is into woo, but given his background I wouldn't be surprised if he were unfamiliar with Avogadro's Law.

In other words, these homeopaths lied when they assured health officials that they would not use homeopathy on Ebola patients.

Did they lie on their visa applications, or only after arriving in Liberia? The latter is bad enough. The former would be visa fraud, which is a serious offense. You are likely to be jailed or deported, and your visa cancelled, if you are caught lying on your visa application.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Considering India now has a seperate minister for yoga and traditional medicine, I’m not sure we can count on the Indian government to go after quacks.

Oh, it's worse than that. Just last month, in the 24 October issue of Science, there was a rather credulous article on page 410 titled Searching for science in India's traditional medicine, with the following summary:

The Indian government is pushing hard to show that Indian traditional medicine, or Ayurveda, is based on sound science. With hefty government support, the nascent field of "ayurgenomics" has roped in dozens of researchers from leading institutions and it has published papers on the genetic bases of Ayurvedic traits, some of them in leading journals. But the effort has also stirred a rising chorus of criticism. Skeptics point to failed attempts to derive drugs from the herbal concoctions used in Ayurveda and other schools of traditional medicine. And some say the Ayurvedic premise of body types is unscientific, which undermines any studies that rely on them.

As I started to read this story, I wondered, "What would Orac think of this?" The author did get a "balance" quote from a certain good friend of Orac's, obviously edited for brevity. But the whole story was treated in an "Opinions Differ Regarding Shape of Earth" manner. That the Indian government is funding such research is legitimate news, but the author seemed to think there was a reasonable theoretical basis for the research being funded.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Well, as most of these countries do not have actual medication to treat Ebola and therefore all they can do is mostly oral rehydration as they don't even have intravenous Celine solution available to any great extent this may be the only disease in history other than cholera that homeopathic "medications" can help with. All you need to do is give them in big enough volumes and with some added a lecture lights. Can they make homeopathic Gatorade by using it for the last dilution?

Do I have to add that this is sarcasm?

Do I have to add that this is sarcasm?

No, but these attempts to re-purpose Mx. Dion must stop.

@ The Light's Bane:

Unfortunately, we know all about PRN...
although every now and then they do pull in an unsuspecting legitimate author or someone who attempts challenging their towering walls of nonsense, nearly everything printed or broadcast is woo, conspiracy mongering or outright poppycock.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

pitbulls being a public health threat.

I personally dislike medicalizing pit bulls. They should be sold over the counter, not requiring a prescription.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

The four doctors were the subject of widespread ridicule online after MailOnline revealed that they travelled to the West African country intent on using Ebola victims to put their controversial theories to the test.

Because of course the only these controversial theories can be 'put to the test' is by treating actual patients during the outbreak of a deadly viral disease, without IRB approval and in the complete absence proper informed consent from their subjects.

The couldn't possibly test those theories instead by condcuting IRB approved, appropriately controlled and blinded clincial trials aginst less serious viral diseases, with documentation of proper informed consent from the subjects.

Oh, wait...

Mephistopheles -- you owe me a new keyboard. I just sprayed tea on mine. :-D

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

I see that in the Daily mail article there is a photo of Dr Mhedha's clinic in Mumbai.

It is shared with Dr Nisheeta, "consulting cosmetologist".

Dr Medha's advertised healthcare products are as follows:
Travel kit
Children's kit / tonic
Senior citizen kit
Injury kit / first aid kit
Weight slim
Low haemoglobin
Memory booster
Acidity and piles

I am sure she has a lot to contribute to the suffering masses in Liberia.

Now I can see how liters of homeopathy could be used for 'weight slim' but seriously 'low haemoglobin'.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Denice @15: I can see how the law of similars would lead to a homeopathic cure for low hemoglobin. Since hemoglobin carries oxygen from your lungs to your cells, a homeopathic solution of hemoglobin must be even more effective at carrying oxygen. So you drink the homeopathic solution to dilute your blood. Right? Of course that depends on homeopathic logic rather than real world logic. Same with most of the rest of that stuff. The "weight slim" might backfire, depending on your propensity to retain fluids.

The first aid kit might be useful, if it includes stuff like bandages and gauze. Sometimes, that's enough to treat an injury. Or at least enough to let you get the victim to a hospital alive, which is the point of first aid. Of course I would want a real disinfectant and a real analgesic, rather than the homeopathic versions thereof.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

The first aid kit might be useful, if it includes stuff like bandages and gauze.

Even better if it contains homepathic bandages and gauze, however: you open the sterile wrapping and there's nothing there, but when you pretend to dress the wound the bleeding stops...

I mean, if there can be homepathic 'shipwreck' why not?

‘I’ve used homeopathy for 40 years and there’s a lot of research various epidemics including Yellow Fever, which is similar to Ebola in symptoms,’ he said.

So illnesses with similar symptoms can be successfully treated with...wait. I'm not processing this.

(Oog, as Pogo would say).

Turns out the people behind the Miracle Mineral Solution have been claiming they can cure Ebola as well, though I don't know what kind of presence they have in Africa. I do know, however, they have been touring Australia and New Zealand, and the press down there went to town on them:…………

By Sebastian Jackson (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

There's a certain level of "we're better than those poor Africans" too on the quack front. Us great Northerners will come with our spectacular cures using Special Water when your poor Southern folk medicine practitioners couldn't figure out how to save your own people. What about the Ancient Wisdom? Many ethnic groups on the continent do still have traditional healers, who are every bit as "effective" as our naturopaths. (Not!) The doctor shortage is frightening, though.

By e canfield (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

The President of SL, probably on arrival, will receive us.

Not that Robert Rowan has an elevated sense of self-importance, oh no.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ e canfield:

Although I suppose colonialism is technically nearly dead, the attitude persists. However the alties would prefer we reject white man's science and accept native woo except that homeopathy is a white man's woo performed by white people.

No one asks the natives what they would prefer: I suspect it would involve hospitals, IVs and serums.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Not that Robert Rowan has an elevated sense of self-importance, oh no.

That ACAM item was from October. There's a report of their activities floating around.

Denise -- well, in this case, the Indian homeopaths did ask the Liberias what they'd prefer, in a way, by announcing that they were homeopaths here to help. They just ignored the answer.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Organisers of the trip are still inviting donations from supporters of homeopathy – whose ranks include Prince Charles – to fund a second attempt to run an Ebola trial in Liberia.

Few things would cheer my dark and stony heart as much as seeing Prince Charles hold fast to his principles and proclaim his unswerving support of homeopathy from the rooftops, each and every time he is let out in public.

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

Yes, Considering India now has a seperate minister for yoga and traditional medicine, I’m not sure we can count on the Indian government to go after quacks!

By v-pillsgold (not verified) on 20 Nov 2014 #permalink

@ e canfield:

A minor correction, no remedy can be less effective than naturopothy, although some may be more dangerous. Zero effectiveness is the ultimate baseline.

Spammer at #27!

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 21 Nov 2014 #permalink

ProgJohn @28 -- Or, it could be counterproductive.

"I make furniture to be installed in kitchens", said Tom counterproductively.

By palindrom (not verified) on 21 Nov 2014 #permalink

No one asks the natives what they would prefer: I suspect it would involve hospitals, IVs and serums.

We know that was true of Mao Zedong, who insisted on Western medicine even as he was promoting traditional Chinese medicine for his people. There, as in sub-Saharan Africa, part of the problem was a lack of doctors.

OTOH, we just saw some First Nations leaders fight in court for their right to use white men's woo rather than actual medicine. So the historical record is decidedly mixed.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 21 Nov 2014 #permalink

Well, you can feel a bit better about at least one of these so-called doctors. "Dr." Mehta Durge is not an MD. Her degree is from a homeopathy "hospital". She has no medical training, though she claims at least one of her teachers was an "alopathic" doctor. Ugh.

By Pamela Wright (not verified) on 21 Nov 2014 #permalink

In other words, a diploma mill.


Your comment about Dr Rowen is utterly contemptible. Here's a doctor who went to SL at his own expense, risking his life to train doctors in a non toxic inexpensive therapy that he and hundreds of doctors use every day to effectively treat many infectious and other medical conditions and you ridicule him. And which has very clear and plausible mechanisms of action.

Ok Now ridicule this.

I'm sure you and others here on this site will either ignore the press release describing the alleviation of Ebola symptoms, or you will find reasons to be critical of Dr Rowen's conclusion, but what I can guarantee you will not do is retract your vile characterization of Dr Rowen as a quack - because that would discredit most anything you espouse.

I apologize for not searching for PRN on here, I was on my mom's phone and it's hard to search on it. LOL, we got our pittie from a rescue, is that considered OTC or prescription? Seriously though, I was wondering if these dogs are really as dangerous as the media makes them out to be.

By The Light's Bane (not verified) on 23 Nov 2014 #permalink

Pit Bulls are relatively chill by nature. They were once the 'classic' American family dog. They are very strong, and unrelenting when angered. They usually only become dangerous when trained as fighting dogs or guard animals, a conditioning that generally involves pretty major abuse of the dog.

A genetically 'normal' pit bull that has not been trained for aggression is more safe than some breeds that are naturally aggressive. If your dog is a rescue, you'd want to know it's history probably, especially the older it is. Sometimes dogs have been trained to be hostile to a particular category of person — just men, just children, just women, just people of color, etc. — but are sweet as apple pie otherwise. My dad had a rescue dobie like that, who'd been pulled out of a car abandoned in some kind of drug-dealer apprehesion. He was a wonderful dog inside the house — sweet, lovable, fun. But on to occassions she got loose and attacked people on the street who fit her trained 'trigger' and they had to euthanize her lest her hurt someone and/or engender a lawsuit. It was so sad that someone had done that to such a wonderful creature.

Herb @35 -- I seem to have missed the "very clear and plausible mechanisms of action" in the press release.

By palindrom (not verified) on 24 Nov 2014 #permalink

Herb - If I read the press release correctly, an unnamed doctor was exposed to the Ebola virus, diagnosed himself with symptoms similar to Ebola, treated himself, and now claims to be cured. Ebola was never independently diagnosed.

Not that I doubt any of their sincerity, but can you understand how someone might want more data to confirm this?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 24 Nov 2014 #permalink

I’m sure you and others here on this site will either ignore the press release

Not only is it a press release -- that is, an advertisement fro Rowen's grift -- but the advertisement is so egregiously cringe-worthy in its self-hagiographic smarm that he can't persuade even the laziest of newsmedia to embarrass themselves by printing it, and instead we must be directed to Rowen's own website.

Self-congratulatory piffle on one's own website are not persuasive, Herb.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 24 Nov 2014 #permalink

As an antidote, dispatches from an RN working on mission in Sierra Leone. Part the first.…

I suspect that many people who know me know some of the reasons I have chosen to work in the Ebola response in Liberia; I fell in love with Africa and its people during my first trip to the continent in the late 1980s, I became a nurse because I wanted to work in Africa, I have a passion for public health and tropical medicine, I'm Catholic, and I want to set an example for my son.

There is another reason that requires some explaining.

To help reduce the spread of disease.

These interventions, isolating and treating people with EVD, contact tracing, and facilitating safe burial practices require personnel who are able to care for people with the disease and work with communities to change behaviors that place people at risk for infection.

That is why I'm going to Liberia.

(Rollosson ended up being assigned to Sierra Leone)

Ok Now ridicule this.


"Unbeknownst to Dr. Rowen, symptoms did develop on day 2 (Sunday November 16) -the doctor reported high fever, loss of appetite, abdominal distress, and significant fatigue, which symptoms were rapidly progressing, classic signs of Ebola."

So that's an incubation period of what, 1 day?

Part the second:…

I learned this week that Partners In Health (PIH) would like to send me to Sierra Leone rather than Liberia. During a conference call today I learned that we will be the first group that PIH sends to Sierra Leone and that we will be working in villages where there are no Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) but in which the communities have set up isolation units. We will be providing technical assistance while the ETUs are being built.

I'm excited about this opportunity. They told us that they were looking for people who could be flexible. I guess they figured from my background and my interviews that I fit that bill.

Part the third…

The course includes lectures on Ebola virus disease (EVD), its transmission, epidemiology, treatment, infection control, and disinfection. The focus of the training is preparing health care professionals to safely work in Ebola treatment units (ETU) in West Africa. Our afternoons are spent in a mock ETU where we practice putting on ("donning") personal protective equipment (PPE), working in PPE, and, most importantly, removing ("doffing") contaminated PPE safely. There is a lot of bleach used throughout the process.

Each time we go through we partner up with another person, assist each other with donning PPE, ensure that there are no breaches (exposed skin or tears in the material), and ensuring that our partner remains safe while in the ETU. On Tuesday only did I learn that the sleeves of an extra large Tyvek coverall are too short for my arms, the back ripped open while I was working in the ETU. I'm very glad that I learned that here and not in Sierra Leone.

Part the fourth…

If you expect me to say something like, "Nothing can prepare you for the first time you see a patient with Ebola," you're going to be disappointed.

I've read several descriptions of the clinical presentation of EVD. In general, there's nothing in the appearance of a person with EVD that distinguishes it from other acute febrile illnesses. That's one of the problems early in an Ebola epidemic. Health care providers are often exposed to ebolavirus before anyone suspects that the ill patients they are seeing have EVD. People with EVD look like they could have malaria, typhoid fever, or any number of infectious diseases that are common in developing countries. Confusing the issue even more, Lassa fever, another viral hemorrhagic fever, is endemic in this part of Africa.

Part the fifth…

Greetings from Port Loko, Sierra Leone.... We've been working in the Ebola treatment unit (ETU) 10 or more hours every day. A new crew of nurses and doctors arrived a few days ago, so now we're able to work overlapping six hour shifts. This is the first time I've been able to sit down, listen to music, and write a post. I'm tired, sore, and a little sunburned, but I enjoy the work that I'm doing.

I could tell you heartbreaking stories of the deaths that I've seen here. Several people die in the ETU every day. I've chosen not to write about those deaths in this post.

Two of the most prominent features of Ebola virus disease (EVD) are vomiting and diarrhea. Death from EVD is usually due to dehydration and loss of sodium and potassium, electrolytes that are required for normal cellular function. There are no medications that treat the viral infection itself, so treatment of EVD is aggressive replacement of water, sodium, and potassium. That can be achieved using intravenous (IV) fluids but, for most people with EVD, the risks associated with IV rehydration outweigh the benefits.

Part the sixth (today's post)

Saturday we discharged several Ebola survivors from the confirmed ward; people who had recovered from Ebola virus disease (EVD). That was the first time survivors had been discharged from this Ebola treatment unit (ETU) since it opened.

Although discharging Ebola survivors was a cause for celebration, I will not post photographs of patients on this blog or any other social media. Survivors in this epidemic and in previous epidemics have been stigmatized and even become the victims of violence.

(some paragraphs omitted)

Many of my colleagues from the U.S. have also experienced discrimination because of their work in the Ebola epidemic response. One of the physicians I worked with was asked not to return to her apartment for 21 days after leaving Sierra Leone. A firefighter I met was harassed by her coworkers. Several of my colleagues quit their jobs to come here after their employers refused to allow them time off. Several people have told me that they are not welcome at their families' holiday celebrations.

I hope you will all go to Matthew's blog and leave comments.

#35...I wasn't suggesting that the press release articulated the mechanisms of action, just that the literature on ozone describes these mechanisms. The mechanisms of action are easily discovered with a simple search.

#40 and #41 and #43. My comment was not intended to argue that ozone cured the doctor described in the press release. It was a plea for having an open mind - something in short supply in this neighborhood - instead of labeling Dr Rowen as a quack. I find that characterization so offensive, so egregious, so ignorant and so arrogant, and yet so characteristic of this blog.

Engage Dr Rowan and ozone on the medical and scientific merits. That's all I ask, and it's sad - though hardly surprising -that I should have to make that plea, and that not one person (as I predicted with close to 100% certainty) has expressed the slightest open mindedness or curiosity about this therapy, and its potential to treat ebola.

Engage Dr Rowan and ozone on the medical and scientific merits. That’s all I ask

No, you came right out of the gate with bluster. Now whimpering about having to make a "plea" and lack of "the slightest openmindedness or curiosity" does not constitute a meaningful response.

Engage Dr Rowan and ozone on the medical and scientific merits.
Loath though I am to belabour the obvious, we can't engage the self-proclaimed "Father of Medical Freedom" about the medical and scientific merits of shining red light up the nose and blowing cold smoke up the bum, because he ain't here.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 25 Nov 2014 #permalink

Herb: "Engage Dr Rowan and ozone on the medical and scientific merits."

Cough, cough.

You don't seem to understand the lack of science in that press release. Come back when the dynamic duo of Rowan and Robins have published their findings in a well documented PubMed indexed case report.


I hope you will all go to Matthew’s blog and leave comments

I just hope he doesn't get stignatised like the proverbial leper when he returns home, like Kaci Hickox did (where she received online death threats for her decision to breach the politically motivated unjustifiable quarantine restrictions placed upon her, and earned a comment from our dear antivax friend Cia Parker that she hoped Kaci would get Ebola)

#52 Orac

Well now Dr Rowen describes a doctor who contracted what appeared to be Ebola,
tested positive for Ebola, had ozone treatment, and now his symptoms have largely disappeared and now tests negative. I'd say that's worth notice...

But since you're so invested in ozone being an quack treatment I assume you'll find yet another reason to disparage if not ridicule this report. To be clear, I'm not saying that this proves ozone cures ebola, just that the treatment - and these cases - deserve respectful inquiry and not respectful insolence.

But since you’re so invested in ozone being an quack treatment I assume you’ll find yet another reason to disparage if not ridicule this report.

"Dr. Robert Rowen and Dr. Howard Robins now openly announce to the world the first CONFIRMED case of Ebola which has been apparently cured with the Rowen-Robins Ebola protocol, which features the Robins method of DIV ozone administration."

Wait, so the one that you barfed up before now isn't "confirmed"? Rowen sure the fυck made it sound that way:

"Drs. Robert Rowen, of Santa Rosa California and Howard Robins, of New York City, announce the first cure of the Ebola infection in the world with a safe treatment costing less than 40 USD."

Since Rowen claims that Dr M'Briwa was also being treated with "Advance Cellular Silver, Vitamin C and Glutathione", how are we to know which of these (not to mention the normal supportive treatment which I assume M'Briwa also received) should get the credit for his recovery?

Are "Advance Cellular Silver, Vitamin C and Glutathione" the normal protocol at Freetown's Ebola treatment centre? I cannot help wondering who prescribed them.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

Howard Robins is podiatrist in New York who has written a few quacky exercise-related tomes with Gary Null. Vitamin C megadoses, IV ozone, glutathione etc are amongst the panacaea ( protocols) prescribed for everything from hiv/aids to the sniffles. He was associated with a group of 'healers' sincs the 1980s and possibly is still involved with a woo-fraught nurse, Luanne Pennesi, who operates Metropolitan Something clinic.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

The aforementioned group is Metropolitan Wellness - the woo-nurse there can hook up clients with practitioners who prescribe the IVs. The website even mentions their own preferred blend of coffee for enemas.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

@ Narad:

And before I depart:
isn't you-know-who up against the time limit on his re-appeal of his lawsuit?

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 02 Dec 2014 #permalink

herb, can you provide a citation for any articles or studies authored by Dr Rowan, documenting evidence wupporting the premise that DIV ozone administration is a safe and effective treatment for viral infections (including but not necessarily limited to EBV), published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal?

Because if all you've got to offer in support of this claims are anecdotal accounts found on social media sites like Facebook you're wasting everybody's time, including your own.