Friday, August 29, 2014

West Africa Ebola Outbreak 2014 Facts

If I were the CDC and DHS, I'd be pushing down something at least like this to the states, local municipalities, hospitals & other health care facilities, universities, and schools. That's tough to do, I understand, so I'm just going to do my little part and offer this up here. This is based off of my own private, limited research of the topic.

1. Ebola is spread by bodily fluids. To what degree, science does not seem certain yet, and thus fluids as innocuous as sweat and tears are still considered dangerous.

2. One strain that affected a U.S. facility decades ago was thought to possibly be aerosolized since it seemed to pass across two rooms via HVAC. This hasn't been proven, and the disease in action has not shown signs of being as easily passed as a cold or influenza.

3. It has a 21 day incubation period. During this time, it is not infectious until a patient is symptomatic.

4. Symptoms begin with a severe sore throat and high fever, quickly moving to bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

5. Quick identification and reaction to symptoms is important because:
  • The subject and those exposed must be secluded and monitored to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Most municipalities do not have the personal protective equipment and most local hospitals do not have the means to create an isolation ward, and it will take some time to acquire those means. This will be even more crucial if the disease shows in multiple regions at about the same time.
6. The current outbreak:
  • Was not well diagnosed early on, which lead to its spread to urban areas.
  • Has largely been confined to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leonne, and Senegal.
  • This is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history. This is largely due to the spread of the disease to densely populated, urban areas.
  • As of 8/20/2014, approximately 3000 have been infected and 1500 have died. This makes it a less lethal strain, as some strains approach 80% fatalities.
  • Liberia is a current location of concern. On 8/18/2014, protests in the West Point area of Monrovia looted an Ebola clinic, leaving with infected patients, bedding, clothes, and supplies. West Point has since been sealed off by the Liberian military.
  • There is a general cultural distrust of doctors in this region, and some even believe doctors are intentionally infecting them with the disease, leading people to hide their early symptoms and hide relatives with more advanced symptoms, increasing transmission rates.
  • Also contributing is a cultural habit of contact with corpses at funerals. An American who returned for his sister's funeral may have contracted the disease this way. He became symptomatic on his return travels to the Twin Cities and later died in Africa.
7. So why is this important?
  • Ebola is entirely containable, but a nation's infrastructure must be prepared to quickly identify potential victims and isolate them and monitor those exposed. If it doesn't, the disease can start to strain the first response and health care system quickly.
  • American first responders and its health care system largely do not have plans or resources in place to handle outbreaks of a disease of this type. This makes early identification all the more important. Every from teachers to police to firefighters to EMTs to health care professionals to the average American needs to be knowledgeable as to the signs of the disease to aid in the earliest possible containment of individual cases. Otherwise, it could quickly strain society's ability to handle it.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Climate Change, Man's Newest Religion

Am I the only who's noticed that the global warming/climate change movement has become somewhat religious? And by religious, I mean based more on faith and belief than actual logic. Let me illustrate with a fictional conversation with a critical agnostic:

Person 1: So, you believe in global warming?

Person 2: It's climate change.

P1: But the problem is warming, right? So it's global warming that's the issue.

P2: Climate change is too complex to understand fully, so warming isn't the only issue. But the climate changes affect all of us.

P1: But hasn't our climate been changing as long as we've been able to measure it, even before the rise of man? I mean, Ice Ages.

P2: Yes, but this is radical change. For the warmer, for the most part. Warmer temperatures will devastate us with drought, flooding, pestilence, and disease.

P1: But in other eras, life thrived. Most life forms grew larger than today because of more ideal conditions. Human society sprang from earth's warmest regions for that reason.

P2: Science tells us it's different now.

P1: Define this 'science'. 

P2: Thousands and thousands of scientists who say it's true.

P1: Okay, a lot of scientists say it's true. But a lot of scientists have studied it and says it isn't. What about them?

P2: They're apostates, heretics, blasphemers, and idiots.

P1: Okay. On what do basis do you make this claim. Have you looked at any numbers or methodology?

P2: No, I'm not a scientist. A lot of scientists say otherwise.

P1: So what you're saying is you have faith and belief in one side because they say it's so?

P2: Not because they say it, because I know it's true. It's #science.

P1: You don't understand the scientific method at all, do you?