Ebola in the air? A nightmare that could happen – ‘would be one of the most devastating things to ever hit the world’

September 2014AFRICAToday, the Ebola virus spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids, such as blood and vomit. But some of the nation’s top infectious disease experts worry that this deadly virus could mutate and be transmitted just by a cough or a sneeze. “It’s the single greatest concern I’ve ever had in my 40-year public health career,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “I can’t imagine anything in my career — and this includes HIV — that would be more devastating to the world than a respiratory transmissible Ebola virus.” Osterholm and other experts couldn’t think of another virus that has made the transition from non-airborne to airborne in humans. They say the chances are relatively small that Ebola will make that jump. But as the virus spreads, they warned, the likelihood increases. Every time a new person gets Ebola, the virus gets another chance to mutate and develop new capabilities. Osterholm calls it “genetic roulette.” As of Friday, there have been 4,784 cases of Ebola, with 2,400 deaths, according to the World Health Organization, which says the virus is spreading at a much faster rate now than it was earlier in the outbreak.
Ebola is an RNA virus, which means every time it copies itself; it makes one or two mutations. Many of those mutations mean nothing, but some of them might be able to change the way the virus behaves inside the human body. “Imagine every time you copy an essay, you change a word or two. Eventually, it’s going to change the meaning of the essay,” said Dr. C.J. Peters, one of the heroes featured in “The Hot Zone.” That book chronicles the 1989 outbreak of Ebola Reston, which was transmitted among monkeys by breathing. In 2012, Canadian researchers found that Ebola Zaire, which is involved in the current outbreak, was passed from pigs to monkeys in the air. Dr. James Le Duc, the director of the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas, said the problem is that no one is keeping track of the mutations happening across West Africa, so no one really knows what the virus has become. One group of researchers looked at how Ebola changed over a short period of time in just one area in Sierra Leone early on in the outbreak, before it was spreading as fast as it is now. They found more than 300 genetic changes in the virus. “It’s frightening to look at how much this virus mutated within just three weeks,” said Dr. Pardis Sabeti, an associate professor at Harvard and senior associate member of the Broad Institute, where the research was done.
Even without becoming airborne, the virus has overwhelmed efforts to stop it. The group Doctors Without Borders says Monrovia, Liberia, needs 1,000 beds for Ebola patients but has only 240, and it has had to turn patients away, sending them back to neighborhoods where they could infect more people. This week, a Pentagon spokesman said the United States is sending a 25-bed field hospital to Monrovia. “A 25-bed hospital with nobody to staff it? That’s not the scale we need to be thinking about,” Le Duc said. “It’s an absolute embarrassment. When there was a typhoon in the Philippines, the Navy was there in 48 hours and had billions of dollars in resources.” Osterholm commended groups like Doctors Without Borders but said uncoordinated efforts by individual organizations are no match for Ebola spreading swiftly through urban areas. “This is largely dysfunctional. Nobody’s in command, and nobody’s in charge,” he said. “It’s like not having air traffic control at an airport. The planes would just crash into each other.” –CNN
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10 Responses to Ebola in the air? A nightmare that could happen – ‘would be one of the most devastating things to ever hit the world’

  1. The “experts” are still insisting Ebola cannot yet be spread by coughing and sneezing >.< Come on, folks, that's such an obvious lie. Why can't they just be honest? Sure people would panic, but at this rate there's going to be a certain amount of panic anyway,

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  2. Joseph Sonny Skies says:

    With viruses being found in cold antarctic waters I would think some from Africa could find their way eastward in a tropical depression, which develop in that part of the world this time of year, towards the Caribbean and western Atlantic if it mutated that much.

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  3. niebo says:

    “genetic roulette” (a poem)

    through direct contact
    bodily fluids, blood and vomit.
    virus could mutate, be transmitted by
    a cough or a sneeze
    Every time, another chance
    to develop death
    spreading faster
    300 changes ‘in three weeks

    embarrassment, dysfunctional
    “Nobody’s in charge” so nobody knows
    what the virus has become
    death
    could mutate, be transmitted by
    could be transmitted by
    could be, by
    could, by

    Like

  4. By Jon Rappoport

    The hypnotic power of germ propaganda.

    There are many reasons for illness. Don’t automatically buy into the “germ-language horror movie.” The movie is designed to prey on people’s fears, while also stimulating a fascination for The Virus, the “tiny, invisible, diabolical force at work.”

    Achieving both objectives is how the directors of that horror movie earn their living. It’s how they make people into believers who flock to The Church of the Virus. http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/the-hypnotic-power-of-germ-propaganda/

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  5. Snarky observer says:

    So let’s keep the country open to new Ebola patients; there’s a strategy!! Keep that Mexican border nice and porous too. Maybe a couple/few can get in that way as well. Come one, come all!!– to the close out of Amer’ka!! Courtesy of our caring Plutocrats.

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  6. Shelby says:

    I have a co-worker from Ethiopia who asked me a very poingnant question. He said ‘America has led in the past. Where are they now?’. We put $2.8 billion into Haiti after the earthquake and countless volunteer hours to help. This situation is desperate and we are one of the few leading nations that can help. Why aren’t we doing more?

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  7. Roger says:

    I would not call it “Germ Propaganda.” The facts are right in front of us,hundreds of thousands are infected,and millions are going to die. I would rather prepare for something like this , rather than doing nothing and act like its no big deal. And it biting me in the butt.
    I say they should put down the infected before it becomes to late!

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    • lindeelou says:

      That is impossible Roger!

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    • Yellow Bird says:

      so… if (GOD forbid, when) YOU become infected, Roger- will you be pleading for treatment or demanding to be “put down”?
      what about if/when it happens to your loved ones?

      other than living on the front lines of this disaster, what makes the West African peoples any different than you? what makes their loved ones less valued? or less valuable?
      and who exactly is the “they” you would command to do this “putting down of the infected” should you (again, GOD forbid) have the power?

      we are all afraid! …but some statements smack of cowardice.

      Like

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