How is it that the World Health Organization can tell the planet that there is no need to be concerned about the deadliest outbreak of hemorrhagic fever in human history when the incubation period is 21 days and the disease is being transmitted readily to health care workers and flown all over the world?
The WHO website says "WHO does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions be applied except in cases where individuals have been confirmed or are suspected of being infected with EVD or where individuals have had contact with cases of EVD. (Contacts do not include properly-protected health-care workers and laboratory staff.)" note that exception...contacts do not include health care workers. Really? They account for 10% of the death toll and are flying all over the world. The "experts" on the disease who fashioned the "safe practices" for treating patients with the illness...they've all died from it subsequently. Also the WHO makes it clear that clothing and articles handled by infected persons are a definite threat but they're throwing their baggage on the carousel at an airport near you, crossing their fingers for 21 days and watching the outbreak migrate throughout the world as we speak.
Over 100 passengers from the infected area landed in New Delhi today, several quarantined with symptoms and still we hear "no need to worry" as the rest of the passengers collect their infected baggage and airport workers carry the disease off to their homes. This is clearly madness.
Historically, Ebola outbreaks have burned themselves out by now but this round is just ramping up at an unprecedented rate moving smoothly from 12 deaths a day 2 months ago to over 100 per day in the past week. Mathematically, this exponentially growing trend puts the death toll at around 120,000 by New Year and that's IF it stays regional which is highly unlikely with the current practices in place. What could happen in 2015 if this outbreak isn't stopped is an unspeakable situation.
Of course I understand that if the medical community sees progress in the fight and slows the spread this will not be the case...and that's what we hope for...but so far the virus is winning the fight in a horrible manner.
I should note that a Harvard study released yesterday showed that the poorly educated are more likely to fear this disease spreading to America than those with a higher education...so we should probably have someone with a college degree check my math. I'm probably not educated enough to perform trend analysis.
Meanwhile, the President of Liberia has fired several high ranking cabinet members as they have refused to return from abroad to the homeland. I guess they've decided unemployed beats dead.
Airlines everywhere have ceased flying into the affected areas, for obvious health reasons and as we all know, because the public will not want to board planes that have been there (which seems reasonable to the uneducated like myself) thus lowering profits dramatically.
There is good news though...the drug company Tekmira who signed a 140 million dollar contract with the US Department of Defense to develop a vaccine effective on Ebola back in 2010 has a new investor! Guess who? Oh come on...that's too easy. Monsanto!!
Of course Monsanto. Why wouldn't an agriculture based company get invested in the germ warfare game.
On a side note the US branched out on the moral fiber front a few years ago and Patented its own strain of Ebola. That's right. We own a US Patent on ebola. Read more about that at http://www.google.com/patents/US20120251502
Interestingly in this patent you will find that the CDC extracted their virus from patients...then patented it as an invention. Where would they do this? That's right. Atlanta at Emory. The same place they shipped our first two Guinea pigs during this new and obviously ferocious strain. Look for another patent on this one I would guess.
I've gotten sidetracked.
Back to the good news. Investors in Monsanto or Tekmira can look for huge returns as a vaccine is expected very soon and I would guess this latest tragedy should adequately inspire more vaccinations than one would need to get rich. Since our Government categorizes Ebola as a bio weapon (and our testing facility is set up in Sierra Leone...) I'm sure military use will be mandatory making this a golden opportunity. That's what we do isn't it? Find the money.
Although I cannot find my source right now I saw in one of the very early releases that Sierra Leone officials had asked USAMRIID to halt biowarfare ebola testing during the outbreak. Isn't that strange...
Ok. Back out of the conspiracy theories...beep...beep...beep.
There are 245 million people in West Africa and while the disease has killed far too many people we are indeed talking about a very low percentage of infected people. Things could get far better very quickly and I sincerely hope for that as does every decent human being. The past outbreaks were mostly isolated in rural locations making them much easier to handle and maybe soon we'll have this more complicated problem solved.
Regardless, I believe taking every imaginable caution would be the way to go here. Even the director of WHO says that attention to every single detail is the key (even if he does say don't count the medical community when you're talking about threats as carriers...I'll never get past that one). So if that is indeed the key, then travel should be solely for medical reasons. A mass exodus from the infected region could spread the disease to a range so far and wide it would be unstoppable.
Don't panic. That's not why I wrote this. Use common sense. Urge those around you to use common sense. Don't be caught dead near an airport. And most of all, don't let the Harvard study get you down. You're not dumb because you don't have a BS in business management.
In the immortal words of Curt Cobain "just because you're paranoid don't mean they're not after you."
Good luck out there.