Noted infectious disease experts have said that the current strain of Ebola virus plaguing Africa and slowly spreading in the United States is potentially much more lethal than previous strains identified by virologists. As reported by Washington’s Blog, Dr. Michael Osterholm, the head of the Center for Infection Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, a prominent public health researcher who is nationally recognized, gave a talk in recent days explaining what another top Ebola virologist has found.
Considering the CDC’s conflicting and confusing statements – I’m not sure which is more dangerous – government incompetence or Ebola. Aside from being a grave threat to human life, an Ebola epidemic in the US would have serious consequences for our economy, inhibiting Americans from flying, going out to restaurants or to see a movie, or just going out in public in general. Just look at the public fear incurred in the past couple of days, with only one infected person (Amber Joy Vinson) travelling on a commercial airline.
The Agenda Project is a progressive non-profit political organization founded in 2010 by author Erica Payne. This ad, featuring clips of Mitch McConnell, Pat Roberts, and many other Republicans implies that austerity cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health are responsible for the 2014 Ebola outbreak. This ad will run in Kentucky and other states leading up to the election.
If there is a major Ebola pandemic in America, all of the liberties and the freedoms that you currently enjoy would be gone. If government officials believe that you have the virus, federal law allows them to round you up and detain you “for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary.” In addition, the CDC already has the authority to quarantine healthy Americans if they reasonably believe that they may become sick.
A lack of available hospital beds in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the three countries at the epicenter of the worst Ebola outbreak in history, is leaving many families with nowhere to take their sick and dying. More than 80 percent of Ebola patients, in fact, are being turned away from hospitals and sent back home, where they continue to spread the disease to family members, friends and others in the community. A major shortage of beds and healthcare workers throughout the region has created an every-man-for-himself situation in which infected folks are having to basically fend for themselves.
The World Bank released a statement Wednesday warning that the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was “already serious” and could be “catastrophic” if the international community does not take serious action soon. This Ebola outbreak is unprecendented in scope, and worsening with alarming speed. There have been 2,453 deaths counted so far, and 4,963 confirmed, probable, and suspected cases — almost half of which have been diagnosed in the past 21 days.
The Obama administration is ramping up its response to West Africa’s Ebola crisis, preparing to assign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to the afflicted region to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic.
We could potentially be on the verge of the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen. The number of Ebola cases in Africa has approximately doubled over the past three weeks, and scientific computer models tell us that this Ebola pandemic could ultimately end up killing millions of us – especially if it starts spreading on other continents. At first, many assumed that this Ebola outbreak would be just like all the others – that it would flare up for a little while and then it would completely fade away.
A top German virologist has caused shockwaves by asserting that it’s too late to halt the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia and that five million people will die, noting that efforts should now be focused on stopping the transmission of the virus to other countries. Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told Germany’s Deutsche Welle that hope is all but lost for the inhabitants of Sierra Leone and Liberia and that the virus will only “burn itself out” when it has infected the entire population and killed five million people. “The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” said Schmidt-Chanasit.
The number of Ebola cases in the Democratic Republic of Congo doubled over the past week to 62, the World Health Organization reported Thursday, and more than half the afflicted patients have died. The outbreak in the country, where the Ebola virus was first discovered nearly 40 years ago, is a distinct strain from the far more drastic Ebola crisis ravaging West Africa, where more than 2,200 people have died this year, the worst on record. The Congo outbreak, by contrast, is confined to four villages in one county, and is linked to one initial case, first reported to the health organization on Aug.
WHO and other groups have been warning that the situation in Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea is dire. It’s especially bad in Liberia, WHO said Monday. “Transmission of the Ebola virus in Liberia is already intense and the number of new cases is increasing exponentially,” WHO said in a statement.
Doctors Without Borders has returned to Macenta as well, opening a transit center more than a week ago at the site of its old clinic where it screens patients. As of the beginning of this month, the Health Ministry said 45 people from Macenta were being treated at an expanded treatment center at Gueckedou. The charity would like to open treatment centers in both towns, but it does not have enough staff.
If there can be any good news – or at least not further disheartening news – coming out of the African continent regarding this year’s Ebola outbreaks, we have one positive report this morning. The World Health Organization has just confirmed that the newly-identified cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the Democratic Republic of Congo is genetically unrelated to the strain currently circulating in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria. A WHO collaborating research center in Franceville, Gabon, the Centre International de Recherches Médicales, had previously identified six Ebola positive samples sent to the laboratory.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is “racing ahead” of efforts to control it, and controlling the epidemic will cost at least $600 million, world health officials said Wednesday. The number of people infected with Ebola has grown to 3,500, with more than 1,900 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, or WHO. “We do need a major response,” said Margaret Chan, the director-general of the WHO.
The director for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention says that the Ebola outbreak is going to get worse. Speaking to “CBS This Morning” following his trip to the West African countries dealing with the outbreak, Dr. Tom Frieden explained that they have to act now to try to get Ebola under control.
At the gravesite in a northern Liberia village, there are no religious or traditional burial rites. No ceremony, no mourning, no family members, and no final goodbyes. Nothing but a group of men dressed in space-suit-like outfits, cautiously throwing the dead body into the grave, they pause only to toss in anything else they are wearing that came into contact with the deceased.
Five West African Ebola researchers died from the virus before they ever saw their work in print. The Harvard University-led study, published Thursday in Science magazine, found that the virus has mutated over the course of the 2014 outbreak, which has killed more than 1,500 people since its March onset. The work emphasized that the rapid variations could make vaccine and treatment development difficult — a point further underscored by the Ebola deaths of its authors.