And now the Ebola outbreak… are you scared yet?

It all seems so very strange.
I read stuff like this:

"World Population Unlikely to Stop Growing This Century" A baby boom in Africa is set to push global population as high as 12 billion by 2100, a study finds Sep 19, 2014 |By Quirin Schiermeier and Nature magazine http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-population-unlikely-to-stop-growing-this-century/ Hans Rosling, a public-health expert at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm says: “We need to plan for at least 11 billion people, and we need take appropriate action: Fighting poverty and providing education and contraceptives to those who lack them are the most effective measures to control population growth."
Then I think of some of the climate happenings, political happenings, and current happenings, {not even including the food situation} . . . . . . . ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ "The largest ever Ebola outbreak is underway in several countries in West Africa. The epidemic continues to grow and spread into new areas, threatening more lives and potentially the economies of affected countries. On August 8, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern." https://www.internationalsos.com/ebola/ Center for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/ Ebola Deaths Doubled in a Month, Health Group Says By NICK CUMMING-BRUCESEPT. 18, 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/world/africa/ebola-deaths-doubled-in-a-month-health-group-says.html ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Does any of this seem mighty spooky to you ? Soo, you think it's got the potential to be another real game changer on humanity's path towards self-destruction?
It all seems so very strange. I read stuff like this:
"World Population Unlikely to Stop Growing This Century" A baby boom in Africa is set to push global population as high as 12 billion by 2100, a study finds Sep 19, 2014 |By Quirin Schiermeier and Nature magazine http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-population-unlikely-to-stop-growing-this-century/ Hans Rosling, a public-health expert at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm says: “We need to plan for at least 11 billion people, and we need take appropriate action: Fighting poverty and providing education and contraceptives to those who lack them are the most effective measures to control population growth."
Then I think of some of the climate happenings, political happenings, and current happenings, {not even including the food situation} . . . . . . . ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ "The largest ever Ebola outbreak is underway in several countries in West Africa. The epidemic continues to grow and spread into new areas, threatening more lives and potentially the economies of affected countries. On August 8, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern." https://www.internationalsos.com/ebola/ Center for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/ Ebola Deaths Doubled in a Month, Health Group Says By NICK CUMMING-BRUCESEPT. 18, 2014 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/19/world/africa/ebola-deaths-doubled-in-a-month-health-group-says.html ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Does any of this seem mighty spooky to you ? Soo, you think it's got the potential to be another real game changer on humanity's path towards self-destruction?
Of course, but what can we do about it? Lois

Even if I contract and die from Ebola I’m not scared.
As long as I get to see Mother Nature put on a real big show of it.
I say let it rip. It’s long overdue.

Of course, but what can we do about it? Lois
That is the question. Where do we go from here? Perhaps that's why I'm thinking more and more about spending my time writing down my own immediate world and past experiences and lessons. It's better basket weaving than trying to reason with brick bats. V, remember, it's all fun and games until it happens to you. I can only imagine that I have a deeper appreciation for what loss and pain is about {the curse of empathy}. I love this place, as in the planet I inhabit, and so much of the marvelous things that happen upon her, including it's varied people with their varied lives…pageants, and the bountiful biosphere we inherited. I care about all this too much to feel the dismissive contempt some have. Lois, I'm not lost to the futility of our situation que sera sera, I was just making note of this 'thing' going on in Africa. And curious what others might be thinking about it. Besides, I'm scared this will be taking up much more of our attention before we realize it . . .
A Frightening Curve: How Fast Is The Ebola Outbreak Growing? by MICHAELEEN DOUCLEFF September 18, 2014 http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/09/18/349341606/why-the-math-of-the-ebola-epidemic-is-so-scary

Then I read stuff like this:

“World Population Unlikely to Stop Growing This Century”
A baby boom in Africa is set to push global population as high as 12 billion by 2100, a study finds
Sep 19, 2014 |By Quirin Schiermeier and Nature magazine

… and wonder what kind of bubble is that guy living in. :smirk:

Is it getting interesting yet?

In Dallas, Second Health Care Worker Tests Positive For Ebola by WADE GOODWYN October 15, 2014 http://www.npr.org/2014/10/15/356451330/in-dallas-second-health-care-worker-tests-positive-for-ebola "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the second healthcare worker in Dallas to test positive for Ebola traveled on a commercial airliner the day before she began exhibiting symptoms." ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Ebola Seems To Stay Two Steps Ahead Of Government Response by SCOTT HORSLEY October 15, 2014 http://www.npr.org/2014/10/15/356451363/ebola-seems-to-stay-two-steps-ahead-of-government-response

Despite the sensational news from Dallas and all the spin various folks are putting on it,
simply by the fact that the infection has only shown up in a couple nurses so far is evidence that the virus spreads with some difficulty.

Why Won't The Fear Of Airborne Ebola Go Away? by NELL GREENFIELDBOYCE October 17, 2014 http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/17/356966590/why-wont-the-fear-of-airborne-ebola-go-away
Though I suspect USA won't get off as easily on the economic front, and who knows what the sociological impacts will be.
http://www.citylab.com/politics/2014/10/the-social-and-economic-impact-of-ebolaphobia/381618/ In and around Dallas, concerns—or "hysteria," according to some—over Ebola are reverberating. And African-born immigrant communities there are feeling the brunt. A Texas resident originally from Nigeria was recently rejected from a college in the Dallas area because the school is denying enrollment to anyone from countries combating Ebola. (It's worth noting that Nigeria has no confirmed cases of the virus at the moment, while the U.S. does.) Other Dallas residents who emigrated from West Africa have been taunted and told to "Go Back to Liberia," the Los Angeles Times has reported. … written by SAM STURGIS
Ebola: Economic Impact Could Be Devastating World Bank LATEST ISSUE: September 17, 2014 http://www.worldbank.org/en/region/afr/publication/ebola-economic-analysis-ebola-long-term-economic-impact-could-be-devastating
Understanding the Economic Effects of the 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa Brooking.edu Amadou Sy and Amy Copley | October 1, 2014 Since March 2014, over 3,000 people have died from the relentless spread of the Ebola virus throughout the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. Despite the heroic efforts of the humanitarian and medical professionals in these countries, crumbling public health systems—which were notoriously weak even before the current outbreak began—and a lack of facilities, equipment and medical staff have tragically not been able to stem the tide in these countries. Distrust of the government—fueled by decades of civil war—has also prompted attacks on health workers by fearful groups, further undercutting crucial outreach and educational interventions aimed at sensitizing communities to the virus and breaking the chain of transmission. http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/africa-in-focus/posts/2014/10/01-ebola-outbreak-west-africa-sy-copley

Had quite the drift in interesting YouTube watching yesterday ending up with Spillover which turned out to be quite informative.
Interested in some of the background behind these various scary diseases - this interview by author David Quammen is compelling.
Did you know that bats make up fully a quarter of all mammalian species on this planet?
And that they play an inordinate part in being a reservoir for many of these spillover viruses.
New findings have revealed the AIDS origin story goes back way farther then we thought, like a century…
and what a story it is.
Life cycle of Lyme disease…
Did you realize Ebola has been decimating lowland African gorilla populations…
This is dated October 15, 2014 but feels like it was recorded before the current Ebola outbreak since it isn’t mentioned, though he discusses some details about its origins.

Spillover - Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic Published by pangeaprogressredux on Oct 15, 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9R_Rjaj7K5g Interview with Author David Quammen. Ebola, SARS, Hendra, (Lyme), AIDS, and countless other deadly viruses all have one thing in common: the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. The emergence of strange new diseases is a frightening problem that seems to be getting worse. In this age of speedy travel, it threatens a worldwide pandemic. We hear news reports of Ebola, SARS, AIDS, and something called Hendra killing horses and people in Australia—but those reports miss the big truth that such phenomena are part of a single pattern. The bugs that transmit these diseases share one thing: they originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. David Quammen tracks this subject around the world. He recounts adventures in the field—netting bats in China, trapping monkeys in Bangladesh, stalking gorillas in the Congo—with the world’s leading disease scientists. In Spillover Quammen takes the reader along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge, and he asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be?

There is some good news:

How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly? What we can learn from the boot leather, organization and quick response times that stopped Ebola from spreading in this African nation October 18, 2014 |By Katherine Harmon Courage http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-did-nigeria-quash-its-ebola-outbreak-so-quickly/ Authors of a paper published October 9 in Eurosurveillance attribute Nigeria's success in "avoiding a far worse scenario" to its "quick and forceful" response. The authors point to three key elements in the country's attack: Fast and thorough tracing of all potential contacts Ongoing monitoring of all of these contacts Rapid isolation of potentially infectious contacts The swift battle was won not only with vigilant disinfecting, port-of-entry screening and rapid isolation but also with boot leather and lots and lots of in-person follow-up visits, completing 18,500 of them to find any new cases of Ebola among a total of 989 identified contacts. Such ground-level work may sound extreme, and the usually measured WHO declared the feat "a piece of world-class epidemiological detective work." But as William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, says, "Actually what Nigeria did is routine, regular—but vigorous and rigorous—public health practice. They identified cases early—fortunately they had a limited number—and they got a list of all of the contacts, and they put those people under rigorous surveillance so that if they were to become sick, they wouldn't transmit the infection to others," he says.

It’s a little worrying. The virus is somewhat hard to spread, but I’m more afraid of the incompetence of health care workers, political appointees, airport workers, etc.
http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/dallas-county/2014/10/03/ebola-cleanup-dallas-case-apartment/16651539/ The groundskeepers hard at work.
This Ron Klain - a lawyer, has been appointed “Ebola Czar”, he has no medical, or public health experience. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Klain

There is some good news:
How Did Nigeria Quash Its Ebola Outbreak So Quickly? What we can learn from the boot leather, organization and quick response times that stopped Ebola from spreading in this African nation October 18, 2014 |By Katherine Harmon Courage http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-did-nigeria-quash-its-ebola-outbreak-so-quickly/ Authors of a paper published October 9 in Eurosurveillance attribute Nigeria's success in "avoiding a far worse scenario" to its "quick and forceful" response. The authors point to three key elements in the country's attack: Fast and thorough tracing of all potential contacts Ongoing monitoring of all of these contacts Rapid isolation of potentially infectious contacts The swift battle was won not only with vigilant disinfecting, port-of-entry screening and rapid isolation but also with boot leather and lots and lots of in-person follow-up visits, completing 18,500 of them to find any new cases of Ebola among a total of 989 identified contacts. Such ground-level work may sound extreme, and the usually measured WHO declared the feat "a piece of world-class epidemiological detective work." But as William Schaffner, chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, says, "Actually what Nigeria did is routine, regular—but vigorous and rigorous—public health practice. They identified cases early—fortunately they had a limited number—and they got a list of all of the contacts, and they put those people under rigorous surveillance so that if they were to become sick, they wouldn't transmit the infection to others," he says.
Nigeria has no worries about their methods being labeled as racist.
It's a little worrying. The virus is somewhat hard to spread, but I'm more afraid of the incompetence of health care workers, political appointees, airport workers, etc. http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/dallas-county/2014/10/03/ebola-cleanup-dallas-case-apartment/16651539/ The groundskeepers hard at work.
Well OK there were some missteps and mistakes People were caught off guard. But I'm impressed all in all and reassured by what we've seen these past weeks. The record speaks for itself
http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/19/health/us-ebola/index.html (CNN) -- For nearly 20 days, Louise Troh has had to endure tremendous fear, grief and isolation. … But day 21 is Monday: The day the quarantine period is expected to come to an end for Troh, her son and two nephews. If the four do not develop symptoms by Monday, they will have managed to not contract Ebola despite being in close proximity to Duncan.
How many other cases have there been? Two nurses in direct contact with the very sick patient who made simple contamination mistakes. :) not bad I'd say. [OK letting them nurses treat other patients at the same time they were treating ebola, that was very big screw up, But, I'll bet a dramatic enough "teaching moment" that all our health care workers got the message. Considering that three weeks have passed and no new cases have appeared among those 'potentially exposed' patients - looks like the two nurses weren't that sloppy in their clean up procedures either. Also it shows that the big virus' threat is indeed pretty much limited to immediate contact with sick patients.] And it's about time I mention the true heroes that are not getting enough notice - or financial help...
Doctors Without Borders http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola http://www.npr.org/blogs/goatsandsoda/2014/10/21/357810605/my-son-is-doctors-without-borders-thousandth-ebola-survivor My Son Is Doctors Without Borders' 1,000th Ebola Survivor by ALEXANDER KOLLIE October 21, 2014
It’s a little worrying. The virus is somewhat hard to spread, but I’m more afraid of the incompetence of health care workers, political appointees, airport workers, etc. http://www.wfaa.com/story/news/local/dallas-county/2014/10/03/ebola-cleanup-dallas-case-apartment/16651539/ The groundskeepers hard at work. This Ron Klain - a lawyer, has been appointed “Ebola Czar", he has no medical, or public health experience. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Klain
As we speak all hospitals and health care facilities are being given the latest info from the CDC and classes are being conducted to inform doctors, nurses and staff on what to look for and the methods for treatment, even here in the hinterland. Airport security has been tightened and, due to the scare tactics currently used by some conservative Reps. Travel restrictions will probably be put in place, even if they ultimately don't have any positive effect. And Ron Klain wasn't chosen to be the "expert" on Ebola; his job is to coordinate the agencies that will deal with the crises. That's what a "Czar" does and so far preventative measures are working. You have a better chance of being married to Kim Kardashian than contracting Ebola.

Is it getting interesting yet?

N.Y., N.J., Illinois to impose new Ebola quarantine rules
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/ny-nj-governors-impose-new-ebola-quarantine-rules/2014/10/24/8096e43e-5bac-11e4-8264-deed989ae9a2_story.html
By Brady Dennis, Lena H. Sun and Mark Berman October 25 at 12:21 PM
Craig Spencer crisscrossed New York City in the days after he returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa — riding the subway, going for a three-mile run, grabbing coffee on the High Line, bowling in Brooklyn.
And while the 33-year-old doctor notified authorities when he developed a fever and was quickly isolated at Bellevue Hospital Center, his own Ebola diagnosis prompted the governors of New York and New Jersey on Friday to impose a mandatory 21-day quarantine for medical workers returning from the countries hit hardest by the epidemic. Illinois later in the day imposed similar restrictions.

That action all but overshadowed the day’s good news: In Washington, a smiling Dallas nurse named Nina Pham hugged President Obama in the Oval Office after being declared Ebola-free by doctors and leaving the National Institutes of Health. And in New York, physicians said Spencer remained in stable condition, while officials fanned out to track down anyone he might have encountered in recent days. …

I hate to think of the political hysteria, if we have a real outbreak. The doctors and CDC may not be perfect, but I still trust them.
Unfortunately the politicians in charge are ignorant fools, who don’t trust science and believe in themselves way too much, they are the ones that scare me.

Meanwhile on the home front (Sierra Leone), efforts to confront this plague are taking shape as this report explains.

The Ebola Outbreak: Hopeful News from the Front Lines By Melvin Kohn, M.D., M.P.H. | October 23, 2014 | Scientific American http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2014/10/23/the-ebola-outbreak-hopeful-news-from-the-front-lines/ The coverage of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa by U.S. media has often seemed unremittingly grim. So it was with some trepidation that I boarded a plane for Sierra Leone. I was part of a field assessment team assembled by Project HOPE, the international humanitarian organization. The country’s first lady, Sia Nyama Koroma, invited us to lend our support in figuring out how best to contain the Ebola outbreak. What we found was surprising. While a great deal of work remains to be done, the inertia and disbelief that characterized the early reaction to the outbreak has largely disappeared. Sierra Leoneans, with the help of a wide range of international partners, are banding together. If their efforts gain momentum, the stage is set to contain the outbreak and prevent even more suffering and death. … Most impressively, local people were stepping up to help their communities. In one region we met a group of community members organized by the local public health unit to do some of the most dangerous and heartbreaking jobs, like staffing the local burial team. The burial team members must don full protective gear in very hot temperatures, and handle the highly infectious dead while grieving family members look on. Other community members were arranging care for children orphaned by the outbreak. I found myself wondering who in my community back home would step up to do such critical and demanding tasks were we faced with a similar situation. ...

Good way to take the attention of the public off the elections; may even make them scared to go to the polls.

Fear of ebola seems to have elicited irrational behavior in a lot of Americans that is way out of proportion to the current threat. The most significant of these irrational behaviors have to do with not recognizing and supporting what needs to be done, i.e., massively supporting efforts to address the outbreaks in west Africa.


Something that seems to me to be of significance, that is not being reported in any mainstream news AFAIK, is that there are some persons who have antibodies to the ebola virus WHO NEVER HAD SYMPTOMS OF EBOLA.
IOW, there are persons who are either innately immune, or who by some unknown process cleared the virus without ever becoming symptomatic.

Fear of ebola seems to have elicited irrational behavior in a lot of Americans that is way out of proportion to the current threat. The most significant of these irrational behaviors have to do with not recognizing and supporting what needs to be done, i.e., massively supporting efforts to address the outbreaks in west Africa. *** Something that seems to me to be of significance, that is not being reported in any mainstream news AFAIK, is that there are some persons who have antibodies to the ebola virus WHO NEVER HAD SYMPTOMS OF EBOLA. IOW, there are persons who are either innately immune, or who by some unknown process cleared the virus without ever becoming symptomatic.
Good point, though I'm not so sure "unknown processes" is accurate, I prefer 'little understood' - Check out the interesting Nature article by Erika Check Hayden
337 - Possible natural immunity to Ebola? January 2010 Scientific newssheets http://en.ird.fr/the-media-centre/scientific-newssheets/337-possible-natural-immunity-to-ebola
then there's this from the CDC - Review of Human-to-Human Transmission of Ebola Virus http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/human-transmission.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The Ebola questions
Scientists know a lot about the virus that causes Ebola — but there are many puzzles that they have yet to solve. http://www.nature.com/news/the-ebola-questions-1.16243
Erika Check Hayden 29 October 2014
To much of the world, the virus behind the devastating Ebola outbreak in Africa seems to have stormed out of nowhere. But Leslie Lobel thinks we should have seen it coming. In 2012, Lobel and a team of researchers spent six months in Uganda studying the Ebola virus and related viruses. Over the course of their stay, these pathogens caused at least four separate outbreaks of disease in central Africa, affecting more than 100 people. To Lobel, a virologist at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, the outbreaks felt like the small tremors that can precede a major earthquake. “We all said, something is going on here; something big is going to happen," he says. Like Lobel, other scientists have predicted that these viruses would one day cause a major epidemic — and the current outbreak, which has so far killed nearly 5,000 people, has proved them right. There are five species of closely related viruses that scientists refer to as 'ebolaviruses'; ... {…} <span style="color:green]section headings"> Where do filoviruses come from? {...} How widespread are filoviruses? {...} Are we making Ebola our own worst enemy? {...} Why is Ebola so lethal? {...} Can the virus be stopped? {...}
Nature 514, 554–557 (30 October 2014) doi:10.1038/514554a

Nice references, CC. Thanks.
The fact that there are multiple strains of Ebola virus certainly must increase the complexities of research. But massive research efforts are obviously going to be key to getting this thing under control.
I suspect that research that focuses on how some people are exposed to an ebola virus (and develop antibodies) without ever developing Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), could be critical in understanding how to best develop vaccines.
In the U.S., we now have a ready made population of persons who may have been exposed to the ebola virus (i.e., everyone who was directed to self monitor for the onset of fever). I would like for all of these folks to be tested for antibodies (at the point that current research suggests such antibodies could be detected). If any of them do, then an intensive personal history keying on the possible moment of exposure, might shed light on how an individual can contract the ebola virus, yet never develop EVD.

Here we are middle of May 2015 and it seems an update is in order.
Based on my knowledge I really expected The Ebola outbreak to develop into a much uglier situation, not in the US, but mainly in Africa and bubbling out from there.
Not that it wasn’t ugly enough for those living through it, but it seems undeniable that situation has been well contained and battled.
Obviously, some of “my” knowledge (the information I had gathered years ago) about Ebola’s virulence didn’t match the reality.
Go figure, progress in health care and understanding this disease continued in the ensuing years.
Just as obviously the World Health Organization, CDC, Doctors Without Borders do one hell of a fantastic job -
way better than many seem to be willing to give the credit for.

http://apps.who.int/ebola/en/ebola-situation-reports Ebola Preparedness Map http://apps.who.int/ebola/preparedness/map
Sat May 9, 2015 12:00pm EDT Related: HEALTHCARE UPDATE 3-Liberia declared Ebola-free, but outbreak continues over border http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/05/09/health-ebola-liberia-idUSL5N0Y004U20150509
Now here are real heroes, as opposed to today's political faux heroes who get metals for doing nothing more than being at the wrong place at the wrong time. These Real Heroes march right into harms way, keeping their wits about them and doing their jobs with extreme skill and compassion.
http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/our-work/medical-issues/ebola