Friday, August 24, 2018

Ebola Meter

Just checking in on this one a week further on: nothing earth-shattering.
The Wiki site tally was last updated four days ago.
Things to note:

Bad News:

It's still a thing.

From outbreak onset on 8/1, there were 20 deaths originally (which is how they cleverly deduced it was Ebola).
It took another 14 days to get to 40 deaths.
It's only taken another 6 days to get to 20 more.
IOW, it's tracking with exponential spread quite nicely.

The contacts have gone from 900 on 8/3, to over 2400 now as of 8/20.
This, in a rural war-torn area teeming with 1M displaced refugees in sprawling camps, doesn't bode well for getting a handle on this anytime soon.

And as usual, it's killing the critically short ranks of health care workers there disproportionately, which means they haven't got precautions and sufficient protective apparel anywhere near in place yet.

And the 45 new confirmed cases mainly came from among those in the "suspected" category.

The case tally and lethality is bouncing around, partly because some people are being ruled out, partly because you're always dealing with people who take their shoes off to count above ten, and partly because increasing numbers of victims makes some governmental ministries there look bad. It is what it is.
Reported Ebola-attributed deaths, however, have just about exactly tripled in three weeks.

This isn't new, it's just exactly as gloomy as it looked on first glance.

Good News:

It hasn't jumped to someplace disastrous, like Kinshasa (pop. 13M), Luanda (pop. 6M), or Nairobi (pop. 3.5M). 

Also, the number of "suspected" cases tally has actually diminished, exactly as "confirmed" cases have ballooned, so either they're getting testing done more rapidly (very good), or more likely, the probables simply died, changing their status via pathology exams (very bad). You can get odds on which is likelier.

And at 111 cases, it's at Level 7 (out of 34) on the Pandemic Meter.

Better News:

No one with Ebola has hopped onto a flight to Cairo, Riyadh, Rome, London, Rio, NYFC, or Atlanta.
That we know of.


Anonymous said...

It's those italicized words that give me pause - as they should.
As with everything else though, each day it's not "here" is a day to prep.

Jennifer said...

I'm looking for more, but apparently a doctor has contracted the virus in DRC. The article is not well written, and without providing much explanation, blames his infection on his wife, not a patient.

The Gray Man said...

My thought is that Ebola kills too quickly to ever be a major problem in a country where the medical system is advanced past the 19th century.

Once the symptoms of Ebola take effect, the infected are as easily spotted as an extra on The Walking Dead, and just as easy to avoid.

We in the first world also understand quaratine, and we tend to follow those guidlines.

No one in America is going to be raiding hospitals to grab bloody Ebola laden bandages like the tribal folks did in Africa last time there was a major outbreak.

Healthcare workers in the first world have access to real PPE and they know how to use it.

My level of concern about Ebola is minimal at this point.

That said, it couldn't happen to a better continent.

Aesop said...

My answer got too big for a reply in Comments.

Imagine that, me not being able to turn off that tap.

I hope you'll take that in the spirit it was intended: a thoughtful reply to a common statement of mind on the topic.
It is not, nor was intended, as any sort of personal smackdown.
It's just that this topic and I have some wee history...

Anonymous said...

Just curious, when you say pandemic meter, what are you referring to?

Aesop said...

Exponential growth is what this disease does.
As a Rule of Thumb, it has an R-naught (google it) of 2.
It doubles.
Duncan infected precisely two nurses in Dallas in 2014, for one easy example.
That's what Ebola does.

So, start with Patient Zero.
He's one guy.
From him to every human being on the planet, it takes 34 doubles to get to 8,000,000,000, the population, give or take, of Planet Earth at the moment.

On the Pandemic Meter of 1-34, 34 being virtual planetary human species extinction, or near enough even with 10-20% survivors as to make no practical difference, the Kivu outbreak is now at Level 7.

The 2014 West Africa Ebola outbreak hit Level 17.
Level 20 is 1M.
Level 31 is 1B.
Level 34 means cockroaches are the new overlords of creation.

That's the Pandemic Meter I use, and to which I refer.
Anything, even a 7, is bad, but we have options.
14 is pretty damned grim.
20 is a nightmare.
30 is the point where entire countries and even continents cease to be.

The bigger this gets, the more impractical to impossible it is to halt the spread, and contain the progress.
Like bleeding from your femoral artery, there's a point when even a tourniquet is too little, too late.

The other thing to watch is how long a double takes.
Ebola can incubate for up to 21 days, but in a range of 5-42 days.
So when doubles take 21 days, it's moving at average progression.
Slower doubles mean you're slowing it down.
More rapid doubles mean it's picking up the pace, and getting away from you.
Kivu took 13 days to double casualties.
At last count, it's now down to 12 days.

(This all depends on the accuracy, truthfulness, and numeracy of the host casualty counts. Which in Africa, is like hiring accountants from the Special Olympics.)

But if, despite that handicap, the bodies being counted are nonetheless dropping like popcorn popping, even with the numeracy and truthiness handicaps, you're (we're!) all up Shit Creek with no boat and no paddle.

Verstehen sie?

Anonymous said...

Ja, Ich versteht. Thanks

Aesop said...

Ausgezeichnet! You're welcome.