Is the government telling us all it knows about the Ebola virus? Does it really understand the disease? A PDF published by the DEFENSE THREAT REDUCTION AGENCY indicates much remains to be known about the current strain of Ebola. The information below comes from a.gov website. In public announcements it looks like information is being withheld from the public. The reasons are understandable. The government wants to avoid panic and wants to appear to have Ebola under control. This may have short term benefits but could have disastrous long term consequences. The more we understand about Ebola the better we can take steps to avoid infection.
Under item 2.2.4. “Ebola is aerostable in an enclosed controlled system in the dark and can survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks.”
2.2.4. Ebola Characterization
The means by which Ebola virus is maintained in nature remains unclear. One reservoir of this zoonotic pathogen is believed to be in bats, but it is unknown what other natural reservoirs exist. Distinct Ebola viral sequences have been identified in infected but healthy mice and shrews. (Pourrut et al., 2005) indicating there may be other unknown reservoirs.
A better understanding of Ebola persistence under a variety of environmental conditions may help us identify other possible reservoirs and hosts to research reservoirs and other modes of transmission.
While current science indicates the disease can only be transmitted by contact with contaminated body fluids, it remains unclear if other transmission modes are feasible. Filoviruses are able to infect via the respiratory route and are lethal at very low doses in experimental animal models, however the infectious dose is unknown. There is minimal information on how well filoviruses survive within aerosolized particles, and in certain media like the biofilm of sewage systems.
Preliminary studies indicate that Ebola is aerostable in an enclosed controlled system in the dark and can survive for long periods in different liquid media and can also be recovered from plastic and glass surfaces at low temperatures for over 3 weeks (Piercy, et al., 2010).
Dimity Orlov is someone worth listening to. His blog, http://cluborlov.blogspot.com , posted the full text of a political speech made by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 24,2014 that says it’s time for adult leadership and Russia will lead the way. Hate him or Love him, when you compare Putin’s speech to the propaganda, half truths, and lies favored by Western politicians it is easy to see which psychopaths are adults. (All world leaders are psychopaths)
Washington must be scared. Sanctions are not going to work and are pushing Russia into forming a power block of nations tired of the double standards of the United States. Our failed foreign policy is there for the entire world to see.
Putin to Western elites: Play-time is over
Most people in the English-speaking parts of the world missed Putin’s speech at the Valdai conference in Sochi a few days ago, and, chances are, those of you who have heard of the speech didn’t get a chance to read it, and missed its importance. (For your convenience, I am pasting in the full transcript of his speech below.) Western media did their best to ignore it or to twist its meaning. Regardless of what you think or don’t think of Putin (like the sun and the moon, he does not exist for you to cultivate an opinion) this is probably the most important political speech since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain”speech of March 5, 1946.
In this speech, Putin abruptly changed the rules of the game. Previously, the game of international politics was played as follows: politicians made public pronouncements, for the sake of maintaining a pleasant fiction of national sovereignty, but they were strictly for show and had nothing to do with the substance of international politics; in the meantime, they engaged in secret back-room negotiations, in which the actual deals were hammered out. Previously, Putin tried to play this game, expecting only that Russia be treated as an equal. But these hopes have been dashed, and at this conference he declared the game to be over, explicitly violating Western taboo by speaking directly to the people over the heads of elite clans and political leaders.
The Russian blogger chipstone summarized the most salient points from Putin speech as follows:
1. Russia will no longer play games and engage in back-room negotiations over trifles. But Russia is prepared for serious conversations and agreements, if these are conducive to collective security, are based on fairness and take into account the interests of each side.
2. All systems of global collective security now lie in ruins. There are no longer any international security guarantees at all. And the entity that destroyed them has a name: The United States of America.
3. The builders of the New World Order have failed, having built a sand castle. Whether or not a new world order of any sort is to be built is not just Russia’s decision, but it is a decision that will not be made without Russia.
4. Russia favors a conservative approach to introducing innovations into the social order, but is not opposed to investigating and discussing such innovations, to see if introducing any of them might be justified.
5. Russia has no intention of going fishing in the murky waters created by America’s ever-expanding “empire of chaos,” and has no interest in building a new empire of her own (this is unnecessary; Russia’s challenges lie in developing her already vast territory). Neither is Russia willing to act as a savior of the world, as she had in the past.
6. Russia will not attempt to reformat the world in her own image, but neither will she allow anyone to reformat her in their image. Russia will not close herself off from the world, but anyone who tries to close her off from the world will be sure to reap a whirlwind.
7. Russia does not wish for the chaos to spread, does not want war, and has no intention of starting one. However, today Russia sees the outbreak of global war as almost inevitable, is prepared for it, and is continuing to prepare for it. Russia does not war—nor does she fear it.
8. Russia does not intend to take an active role in thwarting those who are still attempting to construct their New World Order—until their efforts start to impinge on Russia’s key interests. Russia would prefer to stand by and watch them give themselves as many lumps as their poor heads can take. But those who manage to drag Russia into this process, through disregard for her interests, will be taught the true meaning of pain.
9. In her external, and, even more so, internal politics, Russia’s power will rely not on the elites and their back-room dealing, but onthe will of the people.
To these nine points I would like to add a tenth:
10. There is still a chance to construct a new world order that will avoid a world war. This new world order must of necessity include the United States—but can only do so on the same terms as everyone else: subject to international law and international agreements; refraining from all unilateral action; in full respect of the sovereignty of other nations.
To sum it all up: play-time is over. Children, put away your toys. Now is the time for the adults to make decisions. Russia is ready for this; is the world?
Text of Vladimir Putin’s speech and a question and answer session at the final plenary meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s XI session in Sochi on 24 October 2014.
President Obama says it’s a “different situation” for military troops than for returning health workers. He is right about that. Health workers that’ve been in close contact with Ebola virus infected patients will not be quarantined by federal law (Some states will require quarantine), while US troops involved with the construction of hospital facilities and clients will be quarantined. Make sense?
We seem to be getting a confused message about quarantine. Ebola medical experts say a quarantine will be counterproductive, while Chuck Hagel has ordered a quarantine for the military and politicians are divided.
Hagel orders quarantine for US troops returning from W. Africa
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Wednesday ordered a 21-day quarantine for all US troops returning from West Africa, calling it a “prudent” measure to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.
The move means the military is adopting much stricter measures than those in place for civilian health workers sent by the US government to Liberia and Senegal, and the order came amid a debate about how to treat Americans who may have come in contact with those suffering from the deadly disease.
“The secretary believes these initial steps are prudent, given the large number of military personnel transiting from their home base and West Africa, and the unique logistical demands and impact this deployment has on the force,” his spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
The quarantine was being introduced even though officials say the soldiers will be focused on building medical clinics and will have no contact with those infected with the virus.
But Hagel said the decision was taken partly because military families urged the quarantine.
“This is also a policy that was discussed in great detail by the communities, by the families of our military men and women, and they very much wanted a safety valve on this,” Hagel said at an event in the US capital, the “Washington Ideas Forum.”
The US Army had already ordered a 21-day quarantine for its troops coming back from Liberia and Senegal. Hagel’s order extended the measure to all branches of the military.
Under the decision, Hagel asked the chiefs of the armed services to deliver a detailed plan within 15 days on how to carry out the quarantine. And he directed the chiefs to review the new regimen within 45 days and advise whether to continue with the measures.
Medical experts have sharply criticized recent strict quarantine orders adopted in New York and New Jersey as based on politics rather than science.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to respond to the virus with “facts” rather than “fear.”
But Obama endorsed the military’s approach, saying the armed forces presented a “different situation” than civilian health workers.
The 2014 Ebola outbreak is far worse than previous outbreaks dating back to 1976. One look at the chart below shows you have unprecedented the current outbreak is. While the chart is already outdated the difference between Ebola 2014 and every other outbreak is clear. We must make every effort to contain the outbreak to West Africa. An outbreak in developed countries would overwhelm even advanced medical facilities.
The Ebola Outbreak — A Black Swan
A friend recently asked us whether the massive Ebola outbreak in West Africa could be regarded as a “black swan” in the sense of Nassim Taleb’s definition of the term. After thinking it over, we concluded that yes, it can definitely be characterized as one. Evidently, something is very different about this year’s outbreak compared to previous ones, and a number of unexpected developments have occurred. Chief among them is that a hitherto firmly held belief had to be abandoned. It was thought that the very thing that that makes the illness rather terrifying, namely its high mortality rate, helped in containing outbreaks.
We can definitely state that the current outbreak is anything but “well contained”. Below is a statistical table that shows all Ebola outbreaks since the discovery of the disease in 1976. Note that this graphic is already dated by now — the 2014 event has literally “gone off the chart” in the meantime. Even so, this graphic gives a good impression of how small the previous incidences of Ebola outbreaks were by comparison.
From a statistical viewpoint, the 2014 outbreak definitely must be regarded as a “black swan” — it was hitherto held to be impossible for the illness to propagate in such fashion (source: news.au.com)
Another way of looking at the “black swan” quality of the current outbreak is its geographical spread. All previous Ebola outbreaks were confined to a few isolated locations at most, mainly because they occurred in remote villages in the bush. As a result sick (and therefore infectious) people simply didn’t manage to reach any other villages to spread the virus further. Moreover, since also many of those who catch the illness quickly die, the virus was thought not to propagate very easily. Death is obviously the ultimate impediment to mobility (the dead do however remain infectious for quite some time).
The fact that the outbreak already has “black swan” qualities makes it more likely that a few other strongly held beliefs could also turn out to be wrong. There is already an intense debate over how the virus actually moves from person to person. Given that it is present in sputum, a number of virologists have stated that if one were for instance bathed in a gentle spray of saliva emitted by a coughing and sneezing person that has been infected, one will probably catch it. In fact, a recent warning issued by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is mainly noteworthy for its admission regarding the uncertainties about possible transmission vectors.
It recommends that health care workers be fitted out with proper respirators to ward off infection via aerosol particles.
Before hearing about this, we remarked as follows in a recent email conversation: Even considering the low standards of hygiene and certain cultural idosyncracies that make it more likely for the disease to spread in African countries, it seems not as difficult to get infected as was generally held. One must also keep in mind that the official numbers almost certainly understate the number of infected people by a fairly big margin — many people reportedly get infected and simply die without ever making it into the statistics.
The progression of the outbreak shows that many hitherto widely accepted nostrums about Ebola and the likelihood of it spreading beyond a fairly small group of people have proved wrong. There is therefore possibly one more article of faith that may prove wrong as well, namely that there is no reason to worry that it could spread in developed countries.
What if it did?..
The Pentagon has decided, at least for now, to quarantine troops returning from West Africa. This goes against the wishes of many medical experts, but is in line with New York, New Jersey, and Illinois requiring quarantines for returning health workers, or for anyone having contact with Ebola victims in West Africa. What do you think? Should everyone be quarantined or allowed to return and self monitor?
One factor that may have aided the Pentagon’s decision. The first returning troops are returning to base in Italy. The host nation may have insisted on a quarantine.
Army major general, troops quarantined after Ebola aid trip
By Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent
Army Major General Darryl A. Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa, and approximately 10 other personnel are now in “controlled monitoring” in Italy after returning there from West Africa over the weekend, according to multiple U.S. military officials.
The American personnel are effectively under quarantine, but Pentagon officials declined to use that terminology.
William’s plane was met on the ground by Italian authorities “in full CDC gear,” the official said referring to the type of protective equipment warn by U.S. health care workers.
There is no indication at this time any of the team have symptoms of Ebola.
They will be monitored for 21 days at a “separate location” at the U.S. military installation atVicenza Italy, according to U.S. military officials. Senior Pentagon officials say it is not a “quarantine,” but rather “controlled monitoring.” However, the troops are being housed in an access controlled location on base, and are not allowed to go home for the 21 day period while they undergo twice daily temperature checks.
It is not clear yet if they will be allowed visits from family members.
Williams and his team have been in West Africa for 30 days, to set up the initial U.S. military assistance there and have traveled extensively around Liberia. The team was in treatment and testing areas during their travels.
Speaking to reporters two weeks ago while he was still overseas in Liberia, Williams spoke of the extensive monitoring that he was given.
“We measure, while we’re here — twice a day, are monitoring as required by the recent guidance that was put out while we’re here in Liberia. I — yesterday, I had my temperature taken, I think, eight times, before I got on and off aircraft, before I went in and out of the embassy, before I went out of my place where I’m staying,” William said during the October 16 press conference.
“As long as you exercise basic sanitation and cleanliness sort of protocols using the chlorine wash on your hands and your feet, get your temperature taken, limiting the exposure, the — no handshaking, those sorts of protocols, I think the risk is relatively low.”
Officials could not explain why the group was being put under into controlled monitoring, which is counter to the Pentagon policy. The current DOD policy on monitoring returning troops says “as long as individuals remain asymptomatic, they may return to work and routine daily activities with family members.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that the Defense Department “has not issued a policy related to their workers that have spent time in West Africa.”
“I know that there was this decision that was made by one commanding officer in the Department of Defense, but it does not reflect a department-wide policy that I understand is still under development,” Earnest said.
The Pentagon has, though, published plans that detail how it will handle troops who are deployed to the region — including potential quarantines.
Jessica L. Wright, the undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, issued an Oct. 10 memo that said troops who have faced an elevated risk of exposure to Ebola will be quarantined for 21 days — and that those who haven’t faced any known exposure will be monitored for three weeks.
Wright’s memo also lays out the Pentagon’s plans to train troops before they’re sent to West Africa and to monitor them during their deployment to the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak.
Russian President Putin has Europe over a barrel. Europe depends on Russia for a large percentage of its energy needs. With Winter near European solidarity on sanctions is likely to erode.
France’s ambassador to the U.S. said sanctions were the only weapons used against Putin as “we were not ready to die for Ukraine”. He calls for even more sanctions.
But is he right? Entering into a cold war with Russia is dangerous. Putin is not the type of leader to back down. Now going beyond sanctions, the effort by the US and Saudi Arabia (The Saudis cut production) to punish Russia by lowering oil prices may backfire. Income from energy sales is all important to Russia. The Russian chess master and poker player may find a way to raise tensions and oil prices. One thing for sure. We’re back in the cold war game.
‘Poker Player’ Putin Bluffed and Won, French Envoy Says
By Indira A.R. Lakshmanan, Bloomberg
Vladimir Putin has outmaneuvered his opponents and humiliated Ukraine by continuing to back pro-Russian separatists and flouting a cease-fire, making it crucial that sanctions on Russia remain firm, France’s ambassador to the U.S. said.
The Russian president “has won because we were not ready to die for Ukraine, while apparently he was,” Ambassador Gerard Araud said yesterday at a Bloomberg Government breakfast in Washington, in remarks he said represented his personal opinion. Echoing the view of other European envoys in Washington, Araud expressed concern that the Ukraine conflict has hit an impasse, leaving Putin the winner by default.
While many observers have called Putin a geopolitical chess player, he said, the Russian leader is more a “poker player really, putting all the money on the table, saying, ‘Do the same,’ and of course we blink. We don’t do the same.”
Standoff in Ukraine
The economic sanctions against Russia must stay in place to prevent Putin from going further, said Araud, who moved to Washington in September after serving as the French ambassador to the United Nations.
“The question is there on the table: When is Putin going to stop?” Araud said. “That’s the reason that we need to keep the sanctions” because, “let’s be frank, it’s more or less the only weapon that we have. We are not going to send our soldiers in Ukraine. It does not make sense to send weapons to the Ukrainians, because the Ukrainians would be defeated real easily, so it will only prolong the war” and lead to a “still bigger Russian victory.”
Araud said that while it was natural to expect Putin to be “more open and reasonable” after the cease-fire agreement was reached Sept. 5, the opposite proved true. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was reduced to thanking Putin at joint remarks in Milan. Poroshenko is “kneeling in front of Putin with the cord around his neck and saying, ‘You know, you have won,’” and Putin is still not backing down, Araud said.
“We know that Russian weapons are still flowing to Ukraine and, as you know, the separatists are still fighting and incidents — there are multiple incidents on the border,” he said.
Asked about the delivery of two French Mistral-class helicopter-carrying assault ships sold to Moscow, a 1.2 billion euro ($1.6 billion) deal signed in 2011, Araud conceded there are no good options for his government. The first ship was to be delivered this month, but the French government put the deal on hold Sept. 3 over Russia’s armed incursions in Ukraine.
No Good Choices
“Whatever we decide is a disaster for us,” Araud said, again expressing his personal view. On one side, he said, lies France’s credibility as an arms supplier who delivers on contracts, and on the other, the difficulty of delivering a weapons system to Putin, who might use it against Ukraine or a European ally.
The Mistral contract requires a refund of money paid by Russia, plus penalties estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars for non-delivery. Cancellation of the contract would be a blow to the French shipyard, where many jobs would be lost, Araud said.
The following is from the CDC website, where extensive information on the Ebola Virus Disease is presented. Note the use of the word “aerosol” rather than “airborne”.
Be sure to scroll down the page to the section titled: Key Components of Standard, Contact, and Droplet Precautions Recommended for Prevention of EVD Transmission in U.S. Hospitals.
Note the use of the word “droplet” instead of “airborne”.
As I understand it aerosol and droplet refer to the suspension of viruses for a short distance, while airborne would mean transmission over longer distances. Perhaps a medical professional could clarify this by leaving a comment. Your help, and the help of all healthcare workers, in dealing with the Ebola virus is appreciated.
Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Virus Disease in U.S. Hospitals.
Standard, contact, and droplet precautions are recommended for management of hospitalized patients with known or suspected Ebola virus disease (EVD) (See Table below). Note that this guidance outlines only those measures that are specific for EVD; additional infection control measures might be warranted if an EVD patient has other conditions or illnesses for which other measures are indicated (e.g., tuberculosis, multi-drug resistant organisms, etc.).
Though these recommendations focus on the hospital setting, the recommendations for personal protective equipment (PPE) and environmental infection control measures are applicable to any healthcare setting. In this guidance healthcare personnel (HCP) refers all persons, paid and unpaid, working in healthcare settings who have the potential for exposure to patients and/or to infectious materials, including body substances, contaminated medical supplies and equipment, contaminated environmental surfaces, or aerosols generated during certain medical procedures.
HCP include, but are not limited to, physicians, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, technicians, emergency medical service personnel, dental personnel, pharmacists, laboratory personnel, autopsy personnel, students and trainees, contractual personnel, home healthcare personnel, and persons not directly involved in patient care (e.g., clerical, dietary, house-keeping, laundry, security, maintenance, billing, chaplains, and volunteers) but potentially exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted to and from HCP and patients. This guidance is not intended to apply to persons outside of healthcare settings.
As information becomes available, these recommendations will be re-evaluated and updated as needed. These recommendations are based upon available information (as of July 30, 2014) and the following considerations:
High rate of morbidity and mortality among infected patients Risk of human-to-human transmission
Lack of FDA-approved vaccine and therapeutics
Did you like reading our collection on Ebola virus? We update new information on Ebola Virus weekly. We would like to see you back on our website to enjoy more valuable reading. There is a lot we still have to cover on this fast moving story.
For such a nasty, often deadly, disease the initial Ebola virus symptoms usually start out mild. One of the early symptoms is usually an elevated temperature. The number 101.5 was initially given by the CDC as a danger point. It was then lowered to 100.4 with the caution that some infected with Ebola virus may not show a fever at all.
Early signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within five to 10 days of infection with Ebola virus. Early signs and symptoms include:
Joint and muscle aches
Over time, symptoms become increasingly severe and may include:
Nausea and vomiting.
Diarrhea (may be bloody)
Chest pain and cough.
Severe weight loss.
Bleeding, usually from the eyes, and bruising (people near death may bleed from other orifices, such as ears, nose and rectum).
As the disease progresses the virus multiplies. A person near death, or a person killed by the virus, has bodily fluids full of the Ebola virus. Health workers caring for seriously ill Ebola patients or people handling the bodies of those killed by the virus are at the most risk of infection.
Many of the early signs are similar to that of the flu. With flu season approaching doctor offices and hospital ERs are likely to be flooded with anxious patients.
For the typical American if you experience any of the above symptoms you probably have a cold or the flu. If you’ve recently returned from West Africa or been in close contact with someone infected with Ebola you should immediately seek medical help. You may not be infected with Ebola, but you want to be sure.