Tag Archives | ebola

Panic over Ebola echoes the 19th-century fear of cholera

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

By Sally Sheard, University of Liverpool

On October 19 an inspector sent north from London to Sunderland reported a long-awaited arrival: the first British case of cholera. It was 1831 and as part of a second pandemic cholera had again progressed from its Bengal heartland through Europe, before reaching the Baltic ports. It was only a matter of time.

Broadsheet warning in 1831. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY-NC-SA

The British public, informed by newspaper reports, were acquainted with the symptoms: profuse watery diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and often death within a matter of hours. In advance of its arrival in Russia thousands fled from the cities. In Poland it was killing one in two victims. And unlike today, where oral rehydration solution can prevent dehydration and shock, there was no effective treatment.

Cholera was (and is) caused by vibrio cholerae bacteria and spread by poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

How the World Let the Ebola Epidemic Spiral Out of Control

By NIAID via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By NIAID via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Well, as the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20…

via The Nation:

Before Ebola became an epidemic that has killed more than 3,400 people, before it jumped borders and crossed oceans, it was a deadly, if rare, disease that had been contained during each of its twenty-four previous outbreaks. This is crucial to remember as the disease churns through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, because it underscores a troubling conclusion: today’s wildfire Ebola epidemic was not inevitable.

Despite its frightening virulence, Ebola can be contained through robust public health efforts. It thrives in chaotic and impoverished environments where public health systems are frayed and international assistance weak. Though experts will debate the roots of this current crisis for years, one point on which many agree is that local poverty and global indifference played starring roles. “This isn’t a natural disaster,” international health crusader Paul Farmer toldThe Washington Post.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

CDC: Ebola Infections to Reach 1.4 Million By January

Plague Inc. app icon.png

The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is projecting up to 1.4 million people infected with the ebola virus by January 2015 (per Reuters), which going by the conservative history of CDC projections is probably way too low. Plague players, what are you projecting?

Between 550,000 and 1.4 million people in West Africa could be infected with the Ebola virus by January 20, 2015, according to a report issued on Tuesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The top range of the estimate, 1.4 million, assumes that the number of cases officially cited so far, 5,864 according to the count kept by the World Health Organization, is significantly underreported, and that it is likely that 2.5 times as many cases, or nearly 20,000, have in fact occurred.

CDC emphasized that the projections, based on an epidemiological model that takes into account how many people each Ebola patient eventually infects as well as other factors, is based on data available in August…

[continues at Reuters]

Read the rest

Continue Reading

USA Today Whips Up Fear of Ebola In United States

With a headline that Ebola is “only a plane ride away” from the United States, the lowest common denominator newspaper USA Today sounds increasingly like a British tabloid:

The growing Ebola outbreak in West Africa serves as a grim reminder that deadly viruses are only a plane ride away from the USA, health experts say.

The outbreak is the largest and deadliest on record, with more than 670 deaths and more than 1,200 infections in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fatality rates for Ebola have been as high as 90% in past outbreaks, according to the World Health Organization.

The virus — which has an incubation period of a few days to three weeks — could easily travel to the USA through infected travelers, says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

No Bat Soup for You! Local Delicacy Blamed for Ebola Outbreak

Pic: Aboalbiss (CC)

Pic: Aboalbiss (CC)

The citizens of Guinea are going to have to lay off of the bat soup if they want to control the spread of the Ebola virus. Oh – and no grilled bat, either.

Via LiveScience:

To combat the spread of this deadly disease, Guinean officials have taken the unusual step of banning the consumption of bat soup, grilled bat and other local delicacies.

“We discovered the vector [infectious] agent of the Ebola virus is the bat,” Remy Lamah, the country’s health minister, told Bloomberg News. “We sent messages everywhere to announce the ban. People must even avoid consumption of rats and monkeys. They are very dangerous animals.”

Keep reading at LiveScience.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Don’t Panic Yet, But Ebola Could Go Airborne

Picture: Dr. Lyle Conrad/CDC (PD)

Via ScienceNews:

The Ebola virus can spread through the air from pigs to macaques, a new study suggests.

Transmission of the virus — which causes an often fatal hemorrhagic fever in people and primates — was thought to require direct contact with body fluids from an infected animal or person. But in the new study, published online November 15 in Scientific Reports, piglets infected with Ebola passed the virus to macaques housed in the same room even though the animals never touched.

“The evidence that the virus got from a pig to a monkey through a respiratory route is good,” says Glenn Marsh, a molecular virologist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization’s Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong, Australia. Marsh was not involved in the new study but has investigated Ebola and other viruses in pigs.

Although pigs transmitted Ebola in the laboratory, there is still no evidence that anyone has been sickened from contact with infected pigs in Africa, where the virus occurs naturally, or that the virus passes through the air under normal conditions, says study coauthor Gary Kobinger, an infectious disease researcher at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

New Ebola-like Virus Threatens U.S. Troops In Afghanistan

Sara Carter reports exclusively for the Washington Times:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan | U.S. military officials sent a medical team to a remote outpost in southern Afghanistan this week to take blood samples from members of an Army unit after a soldier in the unit died from an Ebola-like virus.

Dr. Jim Radike, an expert in internal medicine and infectious diseases at the Role 3 Trauma Hospital at Kandahar Air Field, told The Washington Times that Sgt. Robert David Gordon, 22, from River Falls, Ala., died Sept. 16 from what turned out to be Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever after he was bitten by a tick. The virus is transmitted by infected blood and can be carried by ticks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Radike, who is with the Navy, said the medical team “will be taking blood samples and the results may take several weeks to get back.” He called it “a precautionary measure.”

Dr.

Read the rest
Continue Reading