As of 8 October 2014, approximately 4,000 people have died of the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak. From the CDC website:
As of October 8, 2014
(Updated October 10, 2014)
Total Cases: 8400
Laboratory-Confirmed Cases: 4656
Total Deaths: 4033
Now let’s rank the top 10 killer viruses:
# 1 Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Global deaths per year: 3.1 million
# 2 Rotavirus
Global deaths per year: 611,000 (NCBI)
# 3 Hepatitis B
Global deaths per year: 521,000
# 4 Influenza
Global deaths per year: 500,000
# 5 Hepatitis C
Global deaths per year: 500,000 related (56,000 directly attributable)
# 6 Measles
Global deaths per year: 197,000
# 7 Hantavirus
Global deaths per year: 70,000 (NY Times Health Guides)
# 8 Rabies
Global deaths per year: 55,000
# 9 Yellow fever
Global deaths per year: 30,000
# 10 Dengue
Global deaths per year: 25,000
Tuberculosis (TB) is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent… In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died from TB. _ WHO TB
Ebola can be scary — causing many to quake in their boots. (via Outside in) Until this year, it was believed that there had only been 1,716 cases since 1976, when the virus was identified. This year alone, there appear to have been over 8,000 cases (over 4500 cases confirmed by lab testing). Roughly half of the infected cases have died in the 2014 outbreak.
Public health officials are caught in a political vice. Because this epidemic is taking place in Africa, it is not politically correct to quarantine the countries that are the source of the current outbreak. On the other hand, officials cannot reassure residents of western countries that everything is under control, because the virus is deadly, and with anything at all connected with Africa — nothing is under control.
Political correctness is a deadly weakness for modern western societies, in many ways. Refusing to protect its citizens in the name of political correctness is a particularly egregious offense for any government or governmental agency.
How Contagious is Ebola?
Ebola may yet leap out of its reservoir in rural Africa, and attack denser, more popular areas that are still too poor to mount an effective response in the face of an epidemic that is most likely to kill caregivers. That is, as Levin says, the greatest threat to billions of people in the developing world, and also to us. If the world stops this from happening, it will probably be because we got
really scared of[serious about – ed.] Ebola, and took the steps we needed to make sure it didn’t spread. __ Megan McArdle
Ebola is not the end of the world. Assuming effective quarantine measures are instituted, this outbreak will burn itself out like all the others. We will need to determine why so many more people were affected this time, but the answer may be obvious.
As the ongoing sub Saharan African population explodes in size, forcing more and more impoverished people into overcrowded and unhygienic conditions, public health officials should expect infectious disease rates of all kinds to rise alarmingly — from a wide range of pathogens, including HIV and TB. A growing human population in Africa is probably impinging upon the wildlife habitats of the animal reservoir(s) of the Ebola virus, with “bush-meat” hunters and poachers at higher risk of contacting the virus in the wild.
The possibility that some of the viral spread within Africa was carried out by intention cannot be ruled out. And it is certain that viruses are constantly mutating, changing transmissibility, virulence, lethality, and other characteristics of phenotype along with genotype alterations.
Unless you live in sub Saharan Africa (or Russia), this is not the time to panic. But eventually, a more contagious disease with a longer silent incubation time and a higher mortality rate, will escape from Africa, Asia, or South America. And then, countries that pride themselves on the “openness” of their societies, will find the commons at deadly risk.
The laws of the jungle could easily accompany “jungle viruses” from their sites of origin to the more developed world, disrupting economic markets, commerce, transportation, institutions of education, and free assembly of all kinds. If broadcast facilities and the internet go down at the same time, you could be forgiven for thinking that it is then time to panic.
Not yet. But provisions should be made, just in case.
HFTB. PFTW. NTLTHADC.
More from the hard-core: http://drjamesthompson.blogspot.com/2014/08/solving-ebola.html
Gregory Cochran’s takedown of pseudo-expert Laurie Garret on travel quarantines In a global world, meaningful quarantines for serious infectious diseases are international in nature.
Note to readers: As I said above, Ebola is a deadly disease and has to be respected as such. But had basic quarantine measures been followed, the epidemic would have burned itself out months ago. It is the failure to treat Ebola seriously and the refusal to use sensible quarantine measures that have allowed levels of uninformed global hysteria to build.
Anyone who still misunderstands what I am saying should perhaps read this blog posting from James Thompson, if you have not already done so. While what he writes may seem harsh, it is a more suitable approach for Africa than what the foreign medical workers and NGOs have been trying.
More panic: If public health officials do not recover from the “epidemic of political correctness” this is what may happen …
Peter Piot, who helped discover and name the virus, told the Guardian about his concerns with an outbreak in India:
But an outbreak in Europe or North America would quickly be brought under control. I am more worried about the many people from India who work in trade or industry in west Africa. It would only take one of them to become infected, travel to India to visit relatives during the virus’s incubation period, and then, once he becomes sick, go to a public hospital there. Doctors and nurses in India, too, often don’t wear protective gloves. They would immediately become infected and spread the virus.
As Vox’s Julia Belluz previously explained, this is one of the nightmare Ebola scenarios that keeps scientists up at night. It’s good, then, that the chance of Ebola spreading to India and China seems fairly remote. ___ Vox
When anticipating the conversion of an “epidemic” into a “pandemic” one must consider viral reservoirs. Africa clearly has a viral reservoir for Ebola somewhere in the animal population. If fruit bats are the main reservoir, the virus might have already traveled via fruit bat to tropical parts of South Asia, such as Bangladesh. There is slim evidence for that speculation. A quarantine against the international trade of all potential Ebola reservoirs makes sense. Stronger measures against particular animal populations may be necessary as we learn more, if public health officials cannot re-learn basic quarantine and disease eradication procedures.
If you are deeply concerned about a possible killer virus epidemic in your area, consider being trained in TEOTWAWKI preparedness. If you know that you can handle the worst that can happen, everything else should be easy.