Sunday, October 19, 2014

I'm Afraid of Ebola

A lot of people first heard about Ebola only a few weeks ago - I've been watching it for years.  The reason Ebola is so scary is not only in the way it kills people but that there is no known cure for it.  The only way to control Ebola is to contain it.    I've been watching it for so long because I'm not one of those "over there" type people.  I realize that diseases like Ebola do not care about imaginary lines on the ground, or the color of someone's skin or even where they live.  I know that if it is happening "over there" then it is happening to all of us right now.

It now appears that Ebola has escaped the imaginary lines - and moved on from just "those" people.  It's being reported in several other countries including the USA.  Once again - the only way we currently have for controlling this disease is containment - that is the most important point of this post.  And we seem to be very bad at that.  The CDC has made some gigantic unacceptable mistakes and we are now seeing what I believe will be the thing of our worst nightmares.  I sincerely hope I'm wrong.

The media is somehow saying simultaneously to not panic and to panic.  My view is panic!  Well not so much panic as immediate and drastic action - TODAY.  Actually - YESTERDAY.

Why yesterday?   I'm talking about the cruise ship incident supposedly ending today.  A person who had contact with Ebola - under medical precautions - went on a cruise ship just days later.  As of now - all looks good.  The trip is ending and the person isn't showing any signs of Ebola - the passengers are getting a refund and it looks like a happy day. Let's hope it is.  But this can - and in my opinion will - happen again any day now.  

The cruise ship is a worst case scenario for this type of disease.   The airplane incident last week was bad (and still is) but this is worse and here is why.  The ship involved was big - but lets assume for this example a smaller cruise ship with 2000 passengers and only 500 crew.  Let's say one passenger is sick with Ebola and doesn't realize it - thinking it might be flu or one of those other viruses that get people sick on cruise ships all the time.  Now they are in tight quarters with 2500 other people for a week.  That's a lot of potential contamination!  But that is just the start.  Now a week later 2000 people get off the ship and get on planes, trains, and automobiles to places all over the WORLD where they live or work - none of them seeming sick at the moment.  Multiply 2000 people by the amount of people on the airplanes, and trains alone and the number suddenly gets quite huge!  But there is something else we need to remember - there are still 500 crew on the ship waiting for the next 2000 people to board that same day.  I'm terrible at math but I'd say we are talking about a very big number.  And remember - the only way to stop Ebola is containment.  I say panic!

Hopefully the news today is true and so far the person in question is OK and not contagious.  And hopefully the CDC, WHO and other world organizations are learning to handle this better.  But it doesn't take a medical worker who was tending to a patient to start this chain of events into motion.  All it takes is ONE regular person - who happened to acquire Ebola somehow - who doesn't realize it - and is now enjoying a nice vacation on a cruise ship.  One person.  That's all it takes to potently infect hundreds of thousands of people in a very short time.  At that point - I think commerce and travel would have to stop completely in order to TRY to control the spread.  

Wouldn't it be a better idea to do it now instead?   My recommendation is a total world wide travel ban - but that's not going to happen.  So what can we do?  Until a vaccine is developed we only have one choice.  Contain Ebola - including "over there".  The entire world needs to focus on every case of Ebola - especially in Africa.  The same reaction to the few cases we have here should be happening there.  It's our only hope of containing Ebola.   Until there are no cases of Ebola anywhere for at least a month - we are all in danger.

Just for the record - I don't believe the official news about Ebola.  I think the following are likely true:

1.  Way more people are infected than is being reported.
2.  It's far more easy to transmit than we are being told
3.  The 21 day safety zone is imaginary - and dangerous to use.
4.  I think people can infect others before they show signs themselves.

With those 4 points in mind - reread this post and decide if you are also afraid of Ebola.

Update 11/17/14 - Apparently there is some sort of effective treatment or cure - for those with money.  As of today I believe we have had 5 cases of Ebola in the USA - either because they were brought here or they caught it caring for those that were brought here.  3 of those cases have been "cured" while 2 died.  In fact, the USA was "Ebola Free" for almost a week before another sick doctor was brought here for treatment.  Sadly, this doctor was already seriously ill when he arrived and he died today (death #2).  It is a very sad case - and one that sets off new alarms for me.  This doctor wisely tested himself after he began to feel ill - but the tests - 2 of them - showed he did not have Ebola.  A third test came up positive.  This means that while the doctor was symptomatic and therefore contagious, he was not quarantined.  Who knows how many people came in contact with him during that time.  Thankfully he was only brought to America after he was already in isolation.  Now the 21 day clock starts over for everyone who helped transport and care for this brave doctor.