Friday, October 24, 2014
And what can one say?
I hope Dr. Spencer pulls through. I really hope he was not shedding virus in the NYC subway system Wednesday evening. Or into the NYC sewer system, with the large resident rat population.
Will rats spread Ebola!?! Gasp! We just, plain, totally, absolutely DO NOT KNOW.
I guarantee you will hear a pundit from NYC today scoffing at the idea of rats becoming infected, probably citing the CDC, and, dripping scorn, "Oh, this has just never been known to happen!" And that's totally true. "We" haven't seen it. You need to learn to recognize that language as intentionally misleading, however. This is what the CDC has to say, buried in the technical bits:
"...these viruses naturally reside in an animal reservoir host or arthropod vector. They are totally dependent on their hosts for replication and overall survival. For the most part, rodents and arthropods are the main reservoirs for viruses causing VHFs. The multimammate rat, cotton rat, deer mouse, house mouse, and other field rodents are examples of reservoir hosts. "
Generally, for the entire class of viral hemorrhagic fevers. Spencer had diarrhea before he went in to the hospital. Ebola is known to be able to survive for 1-2 days outside the body.
And what can you do about it? Not a darned thing. What can the Mayor of NYC, and the Governor of NY do about it? Not a thing; we'll just have to wait and see.
Amid all the utter nonsense still being broadcast by the major media; I found the video below yesterday. I recommend it highly; and I'll say that scientifically, I'm in 100% agreement with this man's views. But so far, he's the only one from the inside of the Epidemiology world who is pushing these points. Keep in mind this is a talk to an audience primarily of his peers; highly educated public health workers. Sometimes he talks very fast, and in jargon; but most of it is quite easily understood.
I admire Dr. Osterholm greatly- he has huge courage; and stamina, to speak out in this fashion. It will make him no friends, and change few minds, and no one will ever thank him. And he knows it; and keeps at it. Someone made the mistake of placing him as Director of The Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. How a diligent, intelligent, articulate, and fully competent scientist wound up in that seat, I do not know.
I won't try to imbed the video here, that seems to go goofy; so just go right to YouTube.
Incidentally, I am not at all a fan of the person who posted the video; I'd have chosen differently, but this was the only version I could find.
And in Mali. That story is a complete heartbreaker. The stories haven't settled yet, but it's clear it was a small child- whose mother/ or father/ or grandmother (I've seen all 3) died of Ebola in Guinea; and relatives took the the child into Mali to place it with a relative who could care for it. Ebola rode along; on "public transport"; the child has Ebola.
As Osterholm states, repeatedly; we don't know anything about the virus in this outbreak. And the very most dangerous thing you can do; regarding controlling panic in the population - is lie to them, Us. When all the people in NYC do not believe what the "authorities" tell them- then we'll have chaos.
So; gloomy. One weird cheerful aspect; a pessimist blogger is already on record as betting that now, no more doctors will travel to West Africa to help; because they are not truly protected.
I know a bunch of doctors. I'm going to bet the opposite. I will bet you there is a substantial uptick in US doctors volunteering to go. You have to be crazy to want to be a doctor in the first place, right? There you go. Doctors want to be needed; it's a basic motivator. Nobody needs them more than West Africa.
And hopefully, next time- returning doctors will go to a lovely lodge on an island off Maine; and stay there relaxing for a month. No, not 21 days. We utterly do not know that's a real limit; it's just the one we've seen so far.