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One more thing to worry about: Ebola

A friend of mine has given up following "the Great Game" being played on the Black Sea and around the Mediterranean basin in favor of following an Ebola outbreak on the former Slave Coast of Africa:

Since March, medical professionals in western Africa have been battling a raging Ebola epidemic. Now, it has officially become the most deadly outbreak of the virus ever.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the epidemic has so far killed more than 390 people and afflicted more than 600 in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where the current outbreak originated. That's deadlier than the virus's first outbreak in 1976 near the Ebola River in the current-day Democratic Republic of Congo which killed 280 people.

Resources are also wearing thin. "The epidemic is out of control," Bart Janssens, the director of operations for Médecins Sans Frontières (the French version of Doctors Without Borders) said in a statement. "We have reached our limits. Despite the human resources and equipment deployed by [Doctors Without Borders] in the three affected countries, we are no longer able to send teams to the new outbreak sites."

Here's a map; I've helpfully indicated the international airports:

The incubation period is 2-21 days. Ebola spreads by contact with body fluids.

I'd like to know more about the social conditions Ebola arises in. I'm guessing they're not pretty.

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goldberry's picture
Submitted by goldberry on

Usually, quarantine works with ebola because the next victim has to come in contact with bodily fluids to become infected. Even aerosolized droplets from coughing can only go so far. The virus doesn't survive outside of a body.
So, we probably have to attribute the persistence of this outbreak to overcrowded conditions and poor quarantine practices. This is not to say that Doctors without Borders are doing anything wrong but it could be that some cultural practices are preventing the quarantine area from being completely sealed.
I wouldn't worry about it too much though. Ebola is self-limiting once the quarantine is strictly enforced. It's not going to cause a global epidemic like the Spanish Flu unless it becomes airborne and persistent. I'd worry much more about people with access to DNA clones and incubators cooking something deadly up in their garages.
Yes, it could happen.

Submitted by lambert on

.... but coudn't one person with the sniffles on a plane to Europe to a lot of damage?

I know Ebola burns out fast exactly because it's so virulent, and the borders between Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and Guinea are poroous, which make quarantine hard, but right now the international border seems a little porous, too.