Sunday, July 7, 2019

Ebola Evacuations by Air

Here's a great story about an American company that specializes in transporting potentially infected medical personnel from the heart of Ebola country.

Despite much of the hype, Ebola - a disease that kills in a grisly manner - may not be that easily spread. If you don't touch a patient, you have a very low chance of being infected. That's not what I'm reading from many bloggers. One is Raconteur Report, who has been updating regularly on the Ebola situation for years.

My take? Don't panic, but don't travel into dicey places, either. Probably the best protection against any major epidemic is to maintain a healthy immune system; eat right, exercise regularly, stay away from crowds. Use good sense in hygiene - wash your hands, follow recommended food prep directions, when possible, grow/shoot your own food. Particularly with fresh fruits and vegetables, wash thoroughly, or, preferably, grow your own/source locally. Other countries use raw sewage as fertilizer, and may not have their production facilities inspected as rigorously as ours are (Hah! That's a joke - of COURSE they aren't all that sanitary!).

Most important? Let your kids get dirty outside. Don't scrub them within an inch of their lives, and lay off the hand sanitizer. Use soap and water instead. Seriously - just water alone with remove all but a fraction of the pathogens, and soap just increases the effectiveness of the rinse.

Hand sanitizers contain alcohol - a LOT of alcohol, which is drying to the skin. That leads to tiny cracks in the skin surface, which is an entranceway for pathogens. Instead, finish hand washing with lotion, which will lightly coat the surface, and provide a protective barrier.


Aesop said...

Totally agree, if anything more so:
You have a ZERO chance of infection as long as you aren't moving amidst a society where people with Ebola are running around unawares and loose.

Chances of getting it in NE Congo now: moderately high.
Chances of getting it in Dutch Harbor, AK now: pretty infinitesimally low. The distance from 0 cannot, in fact, be measured with existing instrumentation.

So as all those recycled WWII poster memes pointed out WRT the War on Terrorists, the point of fighting it there is so they don't come over here.

Which obvious quarantine common sense a company providing "mercy" evacuations from there to here undoes in a few hours or jet travel.

We have, AFAIK, 15 actual BL-IV beds in all of N. America wherein six hospitals have the trained staff and supplies to treat that many actual Ebola victims.

Once we get 16 patients at once, the disease is farmed out to untrained, ill-equipped amateurs (which is 99.9999% of all US health care workers, top to bottom), who will, to a metaphysical certainty, acquit themselves exactly like the clownshow that was Texas Health Presbyterian in 2014: who, because (not despite) following the exact inadequate, incorrect idiot-designed CDC protection protocols, managed to turn one case of Ebola into three, by giving it to two strictly-gowned and hazmat-protected ICU nurses, in exactly 21 days, which is the exact same r-naught Ebola achieves in Africa unaided, amongst illiterate tribal animists slam-dancing with their dead infected relatives' corpses. So just maybe it's not as hard to get it as some people would like to wish were so.

That's your CDC, and that's first world healthcare, turned loose of common sense.

Which is why your advice, great for everyday sanitation, fails where Ebola is concerned.

Aesop said...

The period at the end of this sentence is the same size as a ball of Ebola virus that would contain 100M examples of the Ebola filovirus.
The minimum number sufficient to acquire Ebola is one of them. With imaginary perfect distribution (which, thank heavens never happens IRL), three or four period-sized droplets possess the raw power to wipe out 75-90% of the U.S. (The other 10% would survive the infection, with horrific lifelong consequences, including blindness, and a reservoir of the virus every time they check, long after they're declared "cured".)

Such droplets, in coughs and sneezes, travel up to 8m, and can float suspended in air for up to 10 minutes after being launched there by coughing, sneezing, or projectile vomiting, as with late-stage Ebola in an infected person.

Lotion and handwashing isn't going to cut it.
You have to be where no one infected ever comes in, and no one inside ever goes out into the Hot Zone. And your perimeter has to be far enough away that no one could cough/sneeze/barf their Ebola-cooties into where you might come into contact with them.

I'm old fashioned about that, so my 8m buffer zone would probably be as close to a 100m free-fire zone as I could arrange.

Anything else is taking cab rides in Butembo or Malaka tomorrow, and rolling the dice.

Which becomes the problem here, the first time there's an active case.
Because it'll be 3-40+ days until you know who they infected, and who are now infecting you unbeknownst, which is why these things don't end until they kill all the people too stupid to keep quarantine.

Exactly like it will everywhere else, including your town, if/when it breaks containment inside Africa.

FYI, the 2014 W. Africa Ebola outbreak lasted there for 25 months. The one in DRC and Uganda has doubled more slowly than 2014, but only because of 140K vaccination with rVSV-ZEBOV, an experimental vaccine that looks to be >95% effective, but which will only be released in areas of active outbreak, because it can never pass standard double-blind trial protocols. Despite that tool, this latest outbreak continues to grow and spread, and they're not getting ahead of it. It's getting away from them, just like it did in 2014.

I have no idea how many doses remain, or how long to produce more of it, but there are not, for example, 300M+ doses set aside in case Ebola shows up here, again.

That's why I'm a little more strident about this being more than a little bit worrisome.