Sunday, May 5, 2019

Ebola FAQ File

Questions from comments to yesterday's post.

Q.: Have the "authorities" identified the host species (other than humans and I use humans loosely here) yet?

A.: We have no wild idea where or from what species Ebola originally sprung, or how it spreads, other than people once there's an outbreak.
It has been found in rats, bats, monkeys, baboons, and various field hamsters and such, but generally as benign in those species.
We suspect bats improperly prepared as a possible source of the outbreaks, but there's zero empirical evidence of this.
So getting rid of it forever would probably require killing everything in Africa. NTTAWWT.

Humans are a target species, not so much the host species.
We do have the capacity to spread the disease once it's acquired, and thus far, every "survivor" of the disease tests positive for the disease as far out as we've re-checked, AFAIK.
IOW, it never goes away, and re-infection and subsequent outbreaks may be spawned by "survivors" from prior outbreaks.
Cheery thought, huh?

Q.:  While total cases have increased the percentage of deaths per total cases have remained the same. What can we make of that?

A.: A couple of things.
1) WHO and Wikipedia can't do math.
The dead are not percentage  of dead now vs. total current cases.
because the disease incubates for 2-40+ days, and takes about 21 days, on average, from acquisition to mortality.
If you take the number of cases from 21 days ago, and number of deaths now, you'll get the actual mortality percentage of this disease.
Doing it the way WHO/Wikipedia does makes it look less lethal.
Why do they do this, knowing it's wrong?
2) WHO and Wikipedia are trying to stem panic and put lipstick on the pig.
3) The disease kills a pretty static percentage, between the high sixties and low eighties.*
Roughly, 8 out of 10 people who get it will die outright, and the 2 out of 10 who don't will almost always be lifelong victims of Ebola Virus Syndrome, with blindness and other problems being a virtual certainty over time. And they'll be contagious carriers pretty much for life (blood, semen, breast milk, vaginal secretions, etc.). Good times.
In short, surviving it is only slightly better than dying from it.

*(Bear well in mind this is among Africans, with medieval sanitation, room temperature IQs, lousy health and health care - if any at all, and abysmal nutrition, already debilitated with malnutrition, malaria, dengue fever, parasitic and fungal infections, TB, and about 100 other problems last seen as widespread in the West prior to 1850 A.D., i.e prior to vaccinations, germ theory, and Florence Nightingale levels of basic sanitation.To find a representative population here like that, you'd have to sample the homeless. Now, imagine Ebola gets here, and gets to the homeless population...
Welcome to Zimbabwe/Ebolaville U.S.A.)

Q.: What role can the experimental vaccine play in these proceedings?

A.: By all accounts, Merck's invention, rVSV-ZEBOV, has shown a 97.5% effectiveness in this outbreak, i.e. nearly no one who's been vaccinated with it has subsequently gotten Ebola during this outbreak. To date, over 100,000 people in DRC have been vaccinated.
That, and that alone, is the reason this outbreak stands at 1600+ cases, and nearly 1000 deaths, rather than 10-20 times those numbers by this point in time.
Stockpiles will eventually be exhausted, as stupidity in DRC is outpacing ability to produce enough vaccine to contain the spread.

I have no idea what Merck's lead-time is for vaccine, nor how much they could produce and distribute, should  Ebola arrive (or when it actually does) in the West (London, Paris, NYFC, etc.).
I suspect that answer would (and will) lead to riots, once it's no longer merely an academic inquiry.

Creating your own defensible Ebola-free quarantine space, OTOH, will be 100% effective.
Concertina wire should be on your shopping list.
And possibly a small supply of wine bottles full of high-octane for emergency field decontamination operations.


Q.: If it's so communicable, how did the dipshit NYC doctor not infect the entire bowling alley he went to? How did Bellevue [not] have any additional cases? Seems like we shouldn't have been able to dodge this one and the one in Dallas.

A.: The dipshit doctor was asymptomatic when he went on walkabout, and it was only after he developed symptoms that he had any virus to shed and spread. He was immediately placed in full hazmat isolation for his entire stay, very nearly died, and needed 30 doctors and 100 nurses caring for him around the clock to survive. We can't do that for very many people. And we won't.

When they tried the same thing in Dallas, using the strictest CDC protocols in their ICU, Ebola there achieved the exact same r-naught as the virus in the wild in Africa, with zero protection: it exactly doubled in 21 days.

That's pretty effing contagious, and we didn't dodge anything.
Both those nurses will carry the virus for life, as will the NYFC doctor, and they can look forward to the expected sequellae of Ebola Virus Syndrome, including blindness, and being a host reservoir for the virus indefinitely.

Q.: Is the Ebola Virus effected by subfreezing temps?

A.: Yes. It gets frozen in place, and then when things thaw, there it is, right where you left it.
From the MSDS Online relevant section:
SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days. Infectivity is found to be stable at room temperature or at 4°C for several days, and indefinitely stable at -70°C.
IOW, sub-freezing just preserves it until it thaws. Forever.
At anything above 39° F, it's still fully infectious. And it thrives at the equator.
You want to make it go away, you want fire.

Two other cheery thoughts from the MSDS on EVD: 1-10 organisms will infect. That's one virus.
Vectors: unknown. Not a clue.

I hope that answers the questions regarding this outbreak adequately.
Short of this thing escaping containment, I'm unlikely to look at it further this side of June.
If you've got further questions, ask it in comments to this post.
Even if I've posted the answer 50 times before, I'll probably cover the ground again.
And remember, just like my drill instructor said,
"There are NO stupid questions, there are only stupid people."


Irish said...

Interesting, I just saw an ad for a new three part mini series on Ebola. It’s starting this month on NATGEO. Does this mean they are preparing us?

Anonymous said...

If it's so communicable, how did the dipshit NYC doctor not infect the entire bowling alley he went to? How did Bellevue have any additional cases? Seems like we shouldn't have been able to dodge this one and the one in Dallas.

tweell said...

At this time, Ebola isn't an airborne disease. It requires bodily fluids to spread. Americans, with our large personal space culture and our cleanliness routines, are less likely to spread the disease. This doesn't mean that if Ebola gets over here again we won't get it, just that the disease will spread more slowly.

We were lucky AF that it wasn't worse, given the behavior of the exposed health care professionals. Who wants to depend upon luck when dealing with a disease that has an 80% death rate?

Anonymous said...

Alright, I’ll bite. For a typical civilian prepper on a limited budget, not someone who can build their own hospital containment ward, is there anything short of the “bug out to an old missile silo with concertina wire & clear fields of fire” separation protocol that is even worth doing against Ebola? Is the vaccine available to regular folks in the USA? Are the less rigorous measures (N95 masks, nitrile gloves, bleach) that are recommended against milder threats just a total waste of time (or worse) or will they still marginally improve your survival odds? Or instead, would you suggest we save that expense and buy a case of scotch and cigars to enjoy the very short time we have left? Because rereading your many posts, the overriding message I take away is this going to be the Mother of all apocalypses and the few people in position to be doing something to avert it aren’t..

S18-1000 said...

@ Anonymous at 5:17 PM,

IIRC, Aesop covered this a few months back; and may he correct me where I go astray. He said something to the effect of

"Ebola isn't going to low-crawl up your driveway" or something like that.

If you can keep people out of your house, and you and yours can remain inside with no need to go out, for the traditional 40-day quarantine that ought to be a good baseline to start with. N95 masks, gloves, and bleach help, and I would add plans to safely burn anything, and anyone, that is contaminated. It would be a horrific event to watch to be sure, but certainly survivable.

If you scroll back through the 'Ebola' tag, there were several topics discussing this; I know my memory needs refreshed.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who noticed that Mongolia quarantined a planeload of people who had been exposed to a passenger who died from the black plague? for a concise article.

tweell said...

Quarantine is the best option. If you aren't exposed, you can't get the disease. If you must interact with others, masks, gloves and bleach are better than nothing, but you'd better be quarantining yourself afterwards. Remember, two nurses were using that protocol with the Dallas patient and came down with Ebola.

No, the vaccine is not available to regular folks in the USA. If it weren't for the danger this outbreak poses, it wouldn't be used at all. IF/when Ebola makes it here, expect that you won't get vaccine, it'll be saved for health workers, sanitation workers and VIPs.

Forget the cigars, but the scotch may actually be useful. An account I read from a doctor there stated that he got sprayed with blood in the face from a dying patient. After he cleaned himself off, he quarantined himself, and expecting that he would die soon, went on a monumental bender. He didn't get sick. Was it the booze, did he have an incredible immune system, or was it luck/the hand of God?

Anonymous said...

One thought that I have is that preparing for an Ebola outbreak like 2014 maybe like most military forces making preparations for the last war that they fought. In other words, Ebola has spread previously only through direct contact. However, if it mutates into something that spreads more easily like the common cold... then you start with that one infected person that travels through a crowded airport, or maybe a crowded greyhound bus terminal, and wherever that person is going shall be doomed as well as all the other destinations of all the other passengers that got infected in the meantime!

Ah...duty is calling me away from all the things I’d like to say in this comment! I would even dare to call it “divine intervention” and I know at least a few readers here would vigorously disagree with such a concept! And to quickly conclude my comment, for the good of the readership here I shall mention SSgt Daniel Clay’s letter (R.i.P.) as well as Psalm 91. ( please utilize Google if you are curious to find out more! )

Anonymous said...

Yes? (maybe all 3?)

Aesop said...

Ebola spreads by contact and droplet transmission, and always has.
A single droplet of infected blood in a sneeze can travel something like 8+ yards, and the droplets can remain suspended for up to 10 minutes.
That's not "direct contact".
I've lived in everyday apartment complexes where the doors weren't even 8 yards apart in either direction.

That's a minimum 10-yard isolation zone, and 15 minutes, in a negative airflow room, for patients who will be sneezing, projectile vomiting, and evacuating bloody diarrhea, essentially as one-person Ebola fountains if infected.

horsewithnonick said...

Essentially, then, as soon as cases start showing up in a city, every ER and doc-in-the-box in town has to start treating every walk-in with flu symptoms as a potential Ebola case, because otherwise they've exposed their whole facility by the time the test comes back.

Aesop said...

Right, exactly.
Which would require them to put their triage staff, for example, in hazmat gear 24/7/365, which they won't do, because that would be hard, and upset people.
And create a separate waiting area.

Thus insuring that when it gets here, the first ER to have a case can count on a substantial risk of sacrificing their entire staff, just for openers. As well as exposing anywhere from several to several dozen bystanders to Ebola while the otherwise low-level patient is left to wait among them for some period of time, up to several hours. ("It's just flu-like symptoms.")

Now you see the difference between what should happen, and what will happen.
When it gets here, it's going to spread, and swamp the pitifully small capacity to handle it. And then, we're Ebolaville, a la Liberia or Congo.

Linda Fox said...

The only positive is that America is far more spread out, outside of the coasts, than most countries. Our homes have more space inside, as well as between our neighbors.

With good food supplies (pre-plague) and refrigeration, as well as indoor plumbing and drinking water, we have the infrastructure to essentially isolate most of the population for extended periods of time.

With food/medicine delivery available by drone, we could manage a quarantine, if needed.

However, the Federal government, and the CDC, need to prioritize the production of the Ebola vaccine, and administer it ASAP to all first responders. Then, the rest of the citizens. The governors of the states that think it's peachy to harbor the homeless and illegal aliens should be brought into a meeting with Trump, and given an ultimatum - either clean up your state, and get the bums off the streets, or we will NOT make any attempt to save your citizens, in the event of an outbreak. You will be on your own.

Aesop said...

We couldn't muster the commons sense to keep one yappy Nurse Mimi Crybabypants under quarantine for 20 effing days.

There will be no quarantines until it's too late for them to do any good.


Reltney McFee said...

Mr. Aesop: Broadly, I agree with you (YOYO). OTOH, there MAY be quarantines in effect, along the lines of "If you cross this line, you are within my kill zone. DO NOT APPROACH!"

AND Ms. Fox's alluded to food/meds/water reserves sufficient for a 6 + week (is 2 months overly optimistic?) stores put aside.

Fire fixes a multitude of problems. (if you can overcome the problem oh how, exactly, it is, that you get the needtabeburned stuff into the burn pile, that is)

God help us all. Seriously.

Domo said...

People like alpharubicon will walk you through years of food stores, but they're serious people spending serious money for serious amounts of time.

*YOU* aren't surviving regular contact with ebola.

The only people who might are NBC units, once or twice, and trained lab staff, in a lab.
If your plan uses a burn pit, it's a bad plan.

Domo said...

Lock your door.
Wait for it to be over.

A loose fitting silk shirt can stop a bullet
But your better off not getting shot or wearing full ballistic plate

Dog Boy said...

Is the Ebola Virus effected by subfreezing temps?

Aesop said...

Yes. It's affected such that it's preserved in perpetuity.
See the answer in the post, where I added your Q.

Anonymous said...

Shoot down (figuratively speaking) to the Supermarket. Buy Rice. Lot's of rice. 1/2 a kg per person per day for 40 days. Buy water for drinking, buy a filter, store plenty of water. Buy a propane cooker, buy a .22lr and a few boxes of ammo. Buy torches, batteries.

There, you're good to go for Ebola. You've got calories, a firearm to discourage visitors (you're not going to war, just keeping people away), got water and a way to treat it. Now you've just got to sit tight


Anonymous said...

Just like the aids epidemic had its beginning from an airline steward screwing chimpanzees in Africa, this will spread through the homosexual community like wildfire.

Anonymous said...

Aesop is right on this one. NOVA did an expose a few years ago about the WHO and CDC doing a joint investigation into EBOLA. They found that EBOLA was sill present in blood and other samples collected by the Belgian government during an outbreak 100 years ago, when the DRC was still the Belgian Congo. They never found the vector(s?). If this crosses the wide open Mexican border and hits the homeless population in San Fran. or LA you can place bets on a declaration of Martial law within 24 hrs. at even money. This infection has the potential to become the catalyst the globalist have lusted for. Aesop you were right and I was wrong on this one. This has the makings of one of history's great shit storms.---Ray

Aesop said...

I hope to be wrong.

But TPTB keep juggling lit road flares in a wading pool full of gasoline, and sooner or later that's going to leave a mark.

IndispensableDestiny said...

Merck did not invent rVSV-ZEBOV. Merk manufactures it. The Public Health Agency of Canada created it, NewLink Genetics developed it.

Hauptman said...

I'm sorry to still be confused on the issue of fire. I thought that fire (burn pit, etc.) was helpful in destroying the virus and any material it clung to. Is that correct?

Aesop said...

@Indispensible Destiny
As the details at the provided link make clear.
Nonetheless, it is an invention, and it is Merck's, under license.
Pedantry illuminates no one, and is best avoided.

Fire is the surest way to kill the virus in terms of infected materials, to include corpses.
But it's best not to doing any of that inside your perimeter.
A burn pit should be something well away from you.

jackalope said...

Any elements of US military being vaccinated yet? Other than SOF types?

CJ said...

Jackalope - as a full-time member of a National Guard Homeland Response Force, one of the first to respond to a major CBRN incident in the US next to the Civil Support Teams, we're not being vaccinated against Ebola - just Anthrax and Smallpox. Additionally, our J2 (intel) section has no visibility on the situation. Wish I had better news for you.

Domo said...

Fire purifies
The problem is you need to get contaminated PPE away from you to burn, and you can't do that, without infecting the layer below.

How do you get you hazmat gear off you and in the burn pit without contaminating yourself

And the answer is, you don't, and you will die if you try.

The people who do, wear hazmat gear that's designed to be taken off without contamination, in rooms designed to do it in.