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Ebola: Science vs. Mass Hysteria

 
 
Reply Wed 22 Oct, 2014 06:35 am
A disease outbreak is one of the problems that science is the best at tackling. Using Science we understand organisms, measures transmission and mortality rate and can measure and calculate growth. Science can calculate the effectiveness of strategies and can can gather feedback to correct itself.

And science has great success at responding to, understanding, controlling and even eradicating diseases.

It is obvious that to respond, as a society, to the ebola outbreak, we want a scientific response. We want people with training, experience, knowledge of infectious diseases and experience with Ebola in particular.

The scientists, the people who really understand the disease, are the people who should be setting the ebola response for our society.

It is frustrating how mass hysteria has taken over. We have schools being closed, tropical cruises being ruined. Some are even demanding an air travel banned. All of these things are counter to the science.

The press is ridiculous reporting breathlessly about nurses on an airplanes. I think many scientists have thrown up their hands. They are now doing things they know are scientifically meaningless for the hope of calming the public hysteria. Sure, it doesn't do a thing to reduce the risk of anyone of catching ebola, If it makes the hysterical public feel better, isn't it worth the millions of dollars and inconvenience of school closing or airplanes being sent back.

The problem is when the hysterical public demands something that is more than a costly inconvenience and actually causes harm. The airplane ban is a good example of this. I hope that we as a society can come to our senses enough to avoid doing this.

I think our inability to act in a reasoned, scientific way to a threat that is best responded to by science, is frustrating. As much as we depend on science, the general American public neither understands or trusts it.
 
Kolyo
 
  3  
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2014 10:16 pm
I recently read an article that calmed my own individual hysteria somewhat.
This one:
http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/13/ask-well-ebola-on-airplanes-ebola-in-sneezes/

Two of questions that have tormented me for the last fortnight are:

(1) If Ebola spreads through contact with bodily fluids, and if mucus can be thought of as a bodily fluid, should I worry about catching the disease from the sneezes of an infected person?

The article's answer:

Quote:
If Ebola was transmitted like influenza, experts point out, an outbreak would echo the spread pattern of the 2009 flu pandemic, and by now there would be millions of cases around the globe.

Ebola does not typically cause sneezing or coughing and saliva does not normally build up large viral loads until late in the disease. But because patients can cough vomitus or blood, or vomit violently, caregivers routinely wear masks and goggles.


(2) What is the probability Ebola will become airborne?

The article says this:

Quote:
No one can say exactly what the likelihood is that the virus will mutate to definitively become airborne, but it is not thought likely. No virus has ever been known to change its mode of transmission. H.I.V. mutates incredibly rapidly — as much in one day as flu does in a year, according to C.D.C. scientists, and H.I.V. has not become airborne.


Another question some may be asking after the first NYC case is: "how likely is it he gave it to people on the subway?"

The article, again:

Quote:
Patrick Sawyer, the Liberian-American who brought the virus to Nigeria in July, was so sick he had to be helped off the plane in Lagos. He had vomited while on board. There were about 200 passengers on the plane, according to Nigerian health authorities, and not one of them got infected.
0 Replies
 
One Eyed Mind
 
  1  
Reply Thu 23 Oct, 2014 10:40 pm
@maxdancona,
100% agree.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Sun 7 Dec, 2014 08:29 am
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 11:05 am
Ebola vaccine trial proves 100% successful in Guinea
Source: The Guardian

A vaccine against Ebola has been shown to be 100% successful in trials conducted during the outbreak in Guinea and is likely to bring the west African epidemic to an end, experts say.

The results of the trials involving 4,000 people are remarkable because of the unprecedented speed with which the development of the vaccine and the testing were carried out.
...
When Ebola flared up in a village, researchers vaccinated all the contacts of the sick person who were willing – the family, friends and neighbours – and their immediate contacts. Children, adolescents and pregnant women were excluded because of an absence of safety data for them. In practice about 50% of people in these clusters were vaccinated.

To test how well the vaccine protected people, the cluster outbreaks were randomly assigned either to receive the vaccine immediately or three weeks after Ebola was confirmed. Among the 2,014 people vaccinated immediately, there were no cases of Ebola from 10 days after vaccination - allowing time for immunity to develop - according to the results published online in the Lancet medical journal (pdf). In the clusters with delayed vaccination, there were 16 cases out of 2,380.



Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/31/ebola-vaccine-trial-proves-100-successful-in-guinea
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 08:26 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
bobsal u1553115 wrote:
To test how well the vaccine protected people, the cluster outbreaks were randomly assigned either to receive the vaccine immediately or three weeks after Ebola was confirmed. Among the 2,014 people vaccinated immediately, there were no cases of Ebola from 10 days after vaccination - allowing time for immunity to develop - according to the results published online in the Lancet medical journal (pdf). In the clusters with delayed vaccination, there were 16 cases out of 2,380.

That's incredible. I had no idea they could produce a vaccine so quickly. I thought it would take them decades.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2015 09:11 pm
@rosborne979,
Probably a highly expedited approval process.
0 Replies
 
bobsal u1553115
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Aug, 2015 06:35 am
@rosborne979,
There's been research for years, but the drug industry had dragged its feet because Africa is not a money rich environment.
0 Replies
 
HesDeltanCaptain
 
  1  
Reply Wed 5 Aug, 2015 10:43 am
@maxdancona,
Was reminding people during the ebola freakout than bubonic plague is still around too. Half a dozen or so die every year in the desert southwest of the US from it. Don't see anyone freaking out about it though dya.
0 Replies
 
 

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