Culture, Science & Faith

Ebola — Just the Facts

The disease is certainly lethal, but how concerned should you be?

Oct. 15, 2014

On Aug. 2, many Americans were rightly focused on the epidemic of ISIL violence in Iraq. On that day, Dr. Kent Brantly, a physician with the Christian ministry Samaritan’s Purse, was admitted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta after contracting Ebola while treating patients in West Africa. He survived.

Under intense political pressure to put “boots on the ground” to combat ISIL, Barack Obama, who assured the nation, “The chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low,” put boots on the ground in Africa to help contain the Ebola outbreak there. In fact, the number of U.S. military personnel deployed to the region will soon top 4,000, and the support personnel associated with that deployment substantially increases that number. Inevitably, there will be some number of our uniformed personnel who contract Ebola.

So Obama deems the outbreak serious enough to deploy troops, but not serious enough to severely restrict travel to the U.S. by those from Ebola-strickened regions.

On Sept. 20, Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan flew into the U.S. after lying about his symptoms and contact with Ebola patients in Africa. On Oct. 8, he died in a Dallas hospital.

Subsequently, two health care workers involved in Duncan’s care have been diagnosed with Ebola. The second of those two was on a commercial flight the night before she was diagnosed, and the CDC is now contacting others on that flight. Additionally, another American, Ashoka Mukpo, who was covering the Ebola outbreak in Africa for NBC, is being treated for the virus in a Nebraska hospital.

From West Africa’s first human Ebola diagnosis in 1976 until 2013, the UN’s World Health Organization reported 1,716 cases worldwide. In March 2014, the WHO reported an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, which began with the death of a child who contracted the disease in December 2013. Ebola spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria, and as of today there are approximately 8,500 cases diagnosed and 4,200 deaths reported.

The viral epidemic will continue to spread in Africa and may eventually reach pandemic status, primarily because third world countries have only rudimentary skill in proper diagnosis and the practices of dealing with those who are infected or have died.

The last African epidemic, HIV/AIDS, killed approximately 36 million people on the continent and worldwide before methods of prevention and treatment contained the disease. There are now approximately 30 million people living with HIV globally.

However, Ebola, though transmitted through bodily fluids and waste, is much more virulent and lethal than AIDS. Because the incubation period for Ebola is up to three weeks, the pool of people exposed to the virus can be much larger. Between 50% and 70% of those infected with Ebola will die. Some “experts” have warned that the virus will soon mutate and become an airborne – a possibility but highly improbable.

So, how concerned should you be? Certainly not as concerned as all those media outlets that depend on hyperbole for market share and advertising dollars.

To put things in perspective regarding the current Ebola cases in the U.S., according to the CDC almost 54,000 Americans died last year from influenza and pneumonia. Currently, Enterovirus D68 is in 43 states and is killing otherwise healthy elementary age school children.

As for prevention in Africa, despite 66 years of financial and other assistance from the WHO, health and medical conditions there are prone to produce disease rather than cure it. Africa has very few doctors and nurses, and few hospitals and clinics, while equipment and supplies are spread extremely thin. Conditions outside cities are very unsanitary. Because of scarcity, doctors often reuse the same syringe on several people, possibly transmitting any of a dozen diseases in the process. And now, the WHO warns that there will be 10,000 cases of Ebola before year’s end. They insist, with hands out for U.S. taxpayer funds, that we must stop it before Christmas.

So what to do? We have consulted two epidemiologists on The Patriot Post’s National Advisory Committee for advice.

First, the U.S. should severely restrict all visas into the U.S. from African nations where the disease is spreading. Regarding the 13,000 visas currently issued to people in those countries, step up the assessment of those entering the U.S. and quarantine any of those who may have been exposed to the virus. This should be done now, and the Obama administration’s argument against these measures – asserting that such restrictions would limit aid into Africa – is patently false.

Second, secure our borders. If Ebola achieves pandemic status, there will be a flight to safety, meaning into the U.S. anyway possible, and the easiest path into the U.S. is across our southern border. Additionally, there is the threat that Jihad terrorists seeking a meeting with Allah could intentionally carry infection across the borders in an effort to expose Americans in urban centers.

Third, while an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. is in fact highly unlikely, you should hope for the best but prepare for the worst by familiarizing yourself with this two-step action plan concerning the minimum requirements to shelter in place – the ultimate defense against a pandemic threat.

Fourth, all of those who have been in contact with Ebola victims, including health care workers, should be restricted from activities that might greatly increase the potential exposure lists until they are beyond the incubation period for Ebola and test negative. For example, they should not use commercial transportation, especially flights through major airline hubs.

And finally, turn off the 24-hour news recycler “alerts.” You are at far greater risk of being murdered by one of Obama’s urban poverty plantation constituents than of dying from Ebola.

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