FACTS ON EBOLA

 

     Our government, although telling the populous their actions are science based, has not told the science based facts about this disease.  In today’s hyper-connected world, their lack of complete candor is irresponsible on several levels.  If their intent is to limit panic, a connected population can discern their government is not being forthright through their own research, which realization heightens panic and distrust.  If their aim is to contain the disease, their lack of candor limits their ability to do so as, in the short term, enough of the populous believes them and takes little precaution, thus creating disease spillover into the population.

 

     Ebola takes little spillover before a major outbreak occurs.  Dr. Craig Spencer’s infected jaunts through New York City[1] may have been sufficient to elicit such a major outbreak, especially given that his fiancée works with the homeless.[2]  The number of untracked and untreated cases in a major population has an extremely significant impact on the onset of a major outbreak (see below and footnote).[3]

 

 

     As can be seen, the probability of no major outbreak in a population of 100,000 with just 5 unchecked infections is less than 10%.  As of 2013, New York City had a population of 8.4 million.  The constant line that Ebola transmission requires direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected and symptomatic carrier is also misleading (highlights added).[4]   

 

Human epidemics subsequently take off by direct human-to-human contact via bodily fluids or indirect contact with contaminated surfaces. Hence, stopping Ebola transmission should be feasible when the cases are detected early and managed properly, because this virus is not transmitted through the air or water. Nevertheless, Ebola has been shown to spread through the air under carefully controlled laboratory conditions. Hence, amplification of human-to-human transmission can result in the presence of suboptimal infection control measures in healthcare settings.”

 

“Asymptomatic infection with Ebola virus is known to occur in a certain fraction of exposed individuals.”

 

     The extreme difference in the lethality of this virus makes comparisons between Ebola and the flu laughable.  This is a serious disease.  Although panic is never good, precaution and planning are most definitely called for.  Even a 21 day quarantine, as recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and implemented by the Secretary of Defense for troops operating in infected regions[5] leaves 5% of infectious cases undetected according to data at footnote 4. 



[1] http://nypost.com/2014/10/29/ebola-doctor-lied-about-his-nyc-travels-police/

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/nyregion/new-york-ebola-patients-fiance-shares-his-altruism-.html

[3] http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/196/figure/F6

[4] http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/12/196

[5] http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2014/10/29/pentagon-adopts-quarantine-like-monitoring-for-all-u-s-troops-on-ebola-mission/