Obola – The Ebola Epidemic
President Obama’s response to the Ebola pandemic is very telling about his entire Presidency. Or maybe the media’s love affair. Or both.
First, there was H1N1. This is the flu of 1917-1918. It reared its ugly head in 2009, just a little bit after Obama assumed office. The outcry over H1N1 was worldwide, with the Obama administration stepping in, changing and suspending laws and rules regarding what hospitals and doctors could and could not do. There were hundreds of news stories every day, with Obama looking very Presidential as he handled the “crisis”, stoking the fears of the public. Obama declared a state of “National Emergency”, allowing the President to suspend or abolish rights. The media was on a frenzy, telling the horror stories from around the globe as H1N1 “stormed Asia” and threatened the world’s population. The hysteria became so bad, that Ukrainians, Russians, and Belarus banned imports of pork from the US, due to fear of the “swine flu”. Death toll: 18,000.
And now we have Ebola. The media is reporting a patient in Dallas had Ebola and died. One of his caregivers now has it. They have reported outbreaks in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Most of the doctors in Liberia are dead. The media frenzy had been growing to a fever pitch, and the Ebola patient in Dallas had now died, and the CDC is reporting every thing is under control. The only statement I can find from Obama about Ebola is him saying, “You can’t get Ebola by sitting next to someone”. Completely different response. So what’s the deal?
Is it true that Ebola is just not that scary? No.
Is it true that H1N1 or SARS is more deadly? No.
Is it true that Ebola is a self-limiting problem? No.
Let’s look at mortality first. The Black Death, or Bubonic Plague, (Yersinis pestis) wiped out somewhere between 75 million and 200 million people worldwide. The mortality rate, the rate at which the infected died, was around 40%. Some places mortality was 33%, other places 50% mortality. It required a vector between humans and rats. That vector was the flea. In other words, an infected rat could bite you, but you wouldn’t get it. But a flea that had bitten the rat could give it to you. It’s a three-step process. Flea bites rat, rat gets sick, another flea bites rat, then that flea bites a human, and now you have problems. It is a terrible disease, but it’s very difficult to get an infected rat, fleas to bite it, and the same flea to bite you. And it still killed millions, taking humanity several generations to recover.
H1N1, or Swine flu, has killed millions as well, namely 1917-1918. It killed then due to the war decimating populations, and in the US millions of soldiers came home with it, and overwhelmed our unprepared medical system. The latest outbreak worldwide killed 18,000. It’s mortality is about 0.02%. Yes, 0.02%. In 2009. SARS mortality rate is 9.6%. Both of these are spread by human contact, usually by being around someone who is infected, and breathing in the offending agent. So if you see someone coughing, you can do many things to prevent infection. You can wear a mask, or use gloves, and wash your hands frequently, and all of those precautions will help you avoid becoming ill in the first place, and modern technology and medicine can prevent deaths. For H1N1, Obama instituted a screening measure for airlines that started at the country of origin, screening for temperatures and other flu related symptoms. There were also protocols for removing sick passengers from planes quickly.
With these things in mind, let’s examine Ebola. Ebola is generally considered self-limiting in macro mainly because it kills people so quickly it doesn’t have a chance to spread beyond the population center. When you are so sick you are bleeding from your eyes, it’s tough to walk to the next village. But with advances in the economy of sub Saharan Africa, mainly oil and wood, comes advances in transportation, the main advancement is cement roads and cars, allowing villagers who couldn’t travel more than 30 miles in a couple of days, can now travel that same distance in a half hour. The person who died in Dallas was in the US less than 36 hours after having first contact with an Ebola infected person. 36 hours. It is no longer self-limiting.
Ebola is truly the monster under your bed. It hides there, and jumps out at you even if you aren’t looking for it. It spreads by the most necessary means for humans: Touch. Think about everyone you touch every day. People shake hands, and hug. Some kiss each other. We put our hands on each other’s shoulders to show support and caring. It is the most important sense. If you don’t have touch, it is a slow death. And that is how Ebola spreads. It is present in bodily fluids. All bodily fluids. Tears, sweat, spit, anything that comes out of the body. Plus, unlike most viruses, Ebola is still infectious several days after death.
It’s mortality rate currently is at 90%. WHO states the mortality rate is from 25% to 90%, with an average of 50%. However, most cases of Ebola are not discovered until after the fact, since the villages are remote, and secondly, in remote Africa, the corpses are eaten by animals. Some dogs have been found to have Ebola antibodies, along with Gorillas and Chimpanzees. Let that sink in for a minute. Dogs, Gorillas, and Chimpanzees. We import Chimps all the time for all kinds of reasons. Is there a protocol to screen them? I haven’t heard of any.
What makes the latest outbreak of Ebola so scary is the mortality rate of the healthcare workers. It is nearly 100% in Liberia. They have no doctors left, and the Chief of Medicine in Liberia said he is not going to treat anyone else. Even fully armed and outfitted medical professionals are becoming ill.
And now that you all have some information about Ebola and it’s dangers, how come the Obama administration hasn’t even implemented the protocols for SARS and H1N1?
That’s the question people need to be asking.
Patrick J. Bertroche
Patrick J. Bertroche