Every year a few hundred thousand people across the globe die of influenza. Not an exotic strain, or a new strain that seems hellbent on finishing us all, just regular, common, flu. This year, things could be very different though.
Isolating suspected bola patients who are feverish, coughing and generally feeling crap is one thing, but having the facilities to isolate thousands of people in a given area because they have symptoms that could be Ebola is something else altogether.
This coming flu season, is in my mind, going to be he most dangerous one we have ever faced. This is the one where it’s more than likely, an Ebola sufferer is going to slip through the net. An Ebola sufferer with influenza, or even a common cold is the stuff of nightmares. Every cough, sneeze and wheeze will be spreading not only seasonal flu but Ebola virus at the same time.
Now many people will say that Ebola is not airborne…I disagree. Scientists confirmed a long time ago that all Ebola viruses act in the same way but vary in their virulence. Ebola Reston exhibited airborne transmission as far back as 1990.
Yesterday Kim Paxton reported:
A CDC advisory entitled Interim Guidance about Ebola Virus Infection for Airline Flight Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel reveals that the federal agency is concerned about airborne contamination.
The advisory urges airline staff to provide surgical masks to potential Ebola victims in order “to reduce the number of droplets expelled into the air by talking, sneezing, or coughing.” (emphasis mine).
The CDC is also directing airline cleaning personnel to, “not use compressed air, which might spread infectious material through the air.” (emphasis mine).
The CDC’s concern about the Ebola virus being spread via the air is understandable in light of a 2012 experiment conducted by Canadian scientists which proved that, “the Ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species.”
Researchers demonstrated that the virus could be transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact by placing the two animals in pens separated only by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the monkeys were found to have symptoms of Ebola likely as a result of “inhaling large aerosol droplets produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs.”
The results of the study led scientists to conclude that, “limited airborne transmission might be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa,” although they cautioned against making comparisons to the airborne nature of the influenza virus.
In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada’s official website states under a section entitled “mode of transmission,” that “airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated.” (source)
The only way to avoid catching any infectious disease is not to go anywhere near a source of that disease. Social distancing, often called self imposed isolation is a sure fire way of avoiding contagion, but for millions of people who are totally unprepared for a crisis it won’t be an option. Most people hold no more than a few days of supplies in their homes and they will venture out to replenish their supplies. This risks not only their own life, but the lives of their families and anyone else who comes into contact with them.
If Ebola is not brought under control very soon I would expect to see the following this autumn and winter:
-Hospitals overwhelmed with flu sufferers concerned they have Ebola.
-Sporadic cases of Ebola occurring in the West due to people slipping through the net.
-Government bans on large gatherings such as football matches and other sporting events, rock concerts etc.
-Closure of cinemas and theatres, universities and collages followed by school closures.
-A military presence on the street in areas where Ebola has been found to prevent people entering or leaving the area.
-The rounding up and forced detention of the homeless, initially those who sound or look ill then everyone else that is unfortunate enough not to have a permanent address.
-If the situation continues to worsen there will most likely be travel bans in place. These could be international or local depending on the situation.
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