The insane Christian conservative reaction to Ebola

November 2, 2014

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Good afternoon:

Crane and I went for a hike today.

This is going to be a really short post.

We recommend everyone read Dangerous Rhetoric in Slate Magazine by Joel Baden and Candida Moss. It compares the shameful treatment by the media, politicians, and the public of Ebola patients Thomas Eric Duncan and Dr. Craig Spencer.

Guess which one was treated like a criminal.

While we’re on the subject of Ebola, here’s Five Crazy Conspiracy Theories About Ebola That Conservatives Actually Believe by Brian Tashman in Right Wing Watch.

If you are wondering why right wing self-described Christian fundies are so freaking crazy, here is an interesting article that offers mental illness as an explanation. The article at Alternet is How Conservative Christianity Can Warp the Mind by Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico.

Have a pleasant evening and let us know what you think.


Louisiana health officials deserve a Darwin Award for catastrophic stupidity

October 31, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Good morning:

I nominate Louisiana health officials for a Darwin Award. In what has to be one of the most insanely stupid, anti-science and fear driven decisions ever made, Louisiana health officials have decided to sabotage the world’s best hope for the discovery of a cure for Ebola and other hemorrhagic and tropical diseases as well as the development and implementation of practical and effective policies for dealing with outbreaks of those diseases.

Yes, I kid you not. The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is scheduled to have its annual conference at the Sheraton New Orleans this weekend, but the researchers who have spent time in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone studying the outbreak recently will not be attending the conference because, if they do, the Louisiana health officials are going to quarantine them in their rooms for 21 days.

NPR reports,

Dr. Piero Olliaro had big plans for the conference.

“This is the place to be,” says Olliaro, a researcher at Oxford University who specializes in setting up clinical trials to test drugs in the developing world. “It’s once a year. This is where you get to meet all the others.”

Olliaro was going to present several papers on his recent work involving treatments for malaria and river blindness. But two weeks ago he was in Guinea for the World Health Organization scouting a site to test an experimental Ebola medication.

Yesterday Olliaro got a letter from the Louisiana health department saying that anyone who’d been in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the past 21 days would be quarantined.

The letter goes on to say, “We see no utility in you traveling to New Orleans simply to be confined to your room.”

Fear is the mind killer.

We will never know, but the inspiration for a cure to Ebola that might have come from the cross-fertilization of ideas that occurs at meetings like this one will not happen for another year.

Meanwhile, the catastrophic suffering and loss of life will continue to increase exponentially.


Policy should never be determined by fear

October 26, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good morning:

Policy should never be determined by fear.

For example, on Friday, Governor Cuomo of New York and Governor Christie of New Jersey imposed a mandatory 21-day quarantine on people arriving from West Africa who have had contact with Ebola patients. They acted without consulting infectious disease experts or giving much, if any thought to how or by whom the quarantine should be implemented.

They also failed to give due respect and consideration to our returning medical volunteers whose heroic and selfless efforts to comfort and save those afflicted with Ebola deserve recognition and our heartfelt thanks.

Instead, read what happened to Kaci Hickox, a nurse who has basically been jailed in mandatory quarantine in a New Jersey hospital for 21 days after returning from Sierra Leone on Friday, despite testing negative for Ebola.

In her letter to the Dallas News, she describes “a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.” Her letter begins,

I arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport around 1 p.m. on Friday, after a grueling two-day journey from Sierra Leone. I walked up to the immigration official at the airport and was greeted with a big smile and a “hello.”

I told him that I have traveled from Sierra Leone and he replied, a little less enthusiastically: “No problem. They are probably going to ask you a few questions.”

He put on gloves and a mask and called someone. Then he escorted me to the quarantine office a few yards away. I was told to sit down. Everyone that came out of the offices was hurrying from room to room in white protective coveralls, gloves, masks, and a disposable face shield.

One after another, people asked me questions. Some introduced themselves, some didn’t. One man who must have been an immigration officer because he was wearing a weapon belt that I could see protruding from his white coveralls barked questions at me as if I was a criminal.

To read the rest of her letter, go here.

This policy is ill informed and wrong on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin. Not only does it violate civil liberties and disrespect people who have risked their lives without financial compensation to save lives, but it also discourages others from volunteering at a time when medical assistance is desperately needed to prevent Ebola from spreading.


Friday Evening Poolside BBQ and Beer Fest

July 11, 2014

Friday, July 11, 2014

Gather round and welcome to the first Friday Evening Poolside BBQ and Beer fest where off topic is on topic. You will want to save this since it will be famous someday and at least 1 million people will say they attended. Make a comment and you will have proof you were here.

Here are some topics to get the conversation up and running until we get the keg tapped and the brats off the grill.

Let’s begin with health which has been in the news this week:

(1) Bad news about HIV. The Utah People’s Post is reporting:

Three years ago there was a huge breakthrough in the treatment of HIV for children born with the HIV virus. A young girl (18 months) infected with the virus was cured by an aggressive drug treatment and was virus-free. The medical news took the world by storm and the doctors involved with her treatment and therapy had hoped that this would be the beginning of a new treatment for those born with the HIV virus. Unfortunately it has been revealed today that the girl who is now 4 years old is again HIV positive.

The Mississippi girl had stopped taking her medicine after the doctors couldn’t find any trace of the HIV virus in her system. During a routine checkup it was discovered that the HIV was back, or more accurately put it was detectable. Also, she had a decreased white blood cell count and HIV antibodies; both of these are the tell-tale signs that HIV is present and replicating inside the human body.

The good news is that her doctors put her back on antiretroviral therapy which appears to be working without any side effects.

She was got the virus from her mother who did not know she was infected.

The research for a cure continues.

(2) Bad news about Ebola. Al Jazeera is reporting,

Ebola continues to spread in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, with a combined 44 new cases and 21 deaths between July 6 and 8, the World Health Organisation has said.

This brought the total in West Africa’s first outbreak of the deadly disease to 888 cases, including 539 deaths since February. It is the largest and deadliest so far, the UN agency said.

“The epidemic trend in Liberia and Sierra Leone remains precarious with high numbers of new cases and deaths being reported,” the WHO said on Friday.

The good news is that only one new case has been reported in Guinea where the outbreak began.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified how it spreads (via contact with blood and other bodily fluids, including sweat and diarrhoea) and the most common circumstances in which it spreads (traditional burial practices including washing a victim’s corpse, dense populations in and around the capitol cities of Guinea and Liberia, and regional trade across porous borders.

Since an infected person can be symptom free for 2-21 days before flu-like symptoms appear, he or she potentially could travel anywhere in the world before experiencing the onset of symptoms.

(3) In the oops-careful-with-that-box-Eugene category we have this report in USA Today,

Following a string of public-safety scares, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be shutting down two research labs, temporarily stopping all transfers of samples from high-level biosafety labs and strengthening its laboratory safety precautions, the CDC announced in a report Friday.

The new precautions came following an internal review of the CDC after three separate incidents of possible exposure to dangerous diseases at CDC labs and an FDA lab at the National Institutes of Health’s Bethesda, Md., campus, all disclosed in the past three months. The latest, reported for the first time on Friday, involved the cross-contamination of an animal flu strain with a highly dangerous strain of bird flu.

(4) With antibiotic use increasing around the world by 36% this year and antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria evolving faster than scientists can develop new vaccines to eradicate them, medical researchers turn their attention to our vanishing tropical rainforests for new cures. Here’s Crane-Station’s article from Wednesday with a great 21-minute video on why they are searching in the rainforests.

Water is fine. Come on in.

Marco?

What’s on your mind tonight?

This is our 1130th post. If you appreciate what we do, please toss some money into the hat. We need it to keep the lights on.

Thank you,

Fred


Ebola Virus Disease a Crisis in West Africa

June 25, 2014

by Crane-Station

According to a report published in Business Insider on Monday titled, “Current Ebola Outbreak Is Now The Worst In History And ‘Totally Out Of Control’,” Doctors Without Borders’s Bart Janssens told the Associated Press that the current epidemic in Guinea is “now in a second wave” and that it is “totally out of control.” The World Health Organization (WHO) held a meeting on Monday, and posted information on the WHO website:

Ebola virus disease, West Africa – update

Disease Outbreak News
22 June 2014

Guinea

Between 16 and 18 June 2014, a total of 3 new cases and 3 deaths were reported from Gueckedou (3 cases and 0 death), Telimele (0 case and 2 deaths), and Boffa (0 cases and 1 death). This brings the cumulative number of cases and deaths reported from Guinea to 390 (258 confirmed, 88 probable, and 44 suspected) and 267 deaths.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Highlights

-June 16, 2014, the Guinea Ministry of Health announced a total of 398 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), including 264 fatal cases.

-Affected districts include Conakry, Guéckédou, Macenta, Kissidougou, Dabola, Djingaraye, Télimélé, Boffa, Dubreka, and Kouroussa (see map).
254 cases across Guinea have been confirmed by laboratory testing to be positive for Ebola virus infection.

-In Guinea’s capital city, Conakry, 68 suspect cases have been reported to meet the clinical definition for EHF, including 33 fatal cases.
June 17, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone reported a cumulative total of 97 clinical cases of EHF (including 92 laboratory confirmations) and 49 fatal cases according to WHO.

-June 16, 2014, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia reported a cumulative total of 33 suspect and confirmed EHF cases, including 24 reported fatalities and 18 laboratory confirmations.

-Genetic analysis of the virus indicates that it is closely related (97% identical) to variants of Ebola virus (species Zaire ebolavirus) identified earlier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Gabon (Baize et al. 2014External Web Site Icon).

-The Guinean Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Liberia are working with national and international partners to investigate and respond to the outbreak.

Ebola virus disease (EVD) or Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) is a virus that has no known cure, but education remains important, as does the provision of care to patients that do become infected. Also, standard precautions are critical and require supplies. For the health care workers in the field to ensure their own protection, increased precautions and equipment are also necessary. In addition, there are only a few laboratories in the world that are equipped to handle and perform research on Ebola.

The virus was first reported in the Congo in 1976, and is considered to have come from fruit bats initially. Ebola is associated with very high death rate (up to 90 percent). Ebola Virus is named after the Ebola River, where the first outbreak occurred in the Congo.

Photographs on flickr, creative commons:

Ebola in West Africa by European Commission

Ebola in Guinea, a Doctors Without Borders worker in protective clothing, by European Commission.

Guardian on Monday:

global development
West Africa Ebola epidemic is ‘out of control’
MSF warns that doctors are struggling to contain second wave of disease in region amid poor monitoring and communication
• Tackling the Ebola epidemic in west Africa: immediate medical action is not enough

Unrelated:

Last Wednesday, two of the three Decorah Eagles, D-18 and D-19 fledged, and the third, D-20, fledged on June 20.

Unfortunately, a short time later, two of the juveniles, in separate incidents were found down. D-20, the youngest, was weak and hungry. RRP believes it is a female. They fed her, re-released her, and the eagle father then located her. The second eagle was found in a creek, and the vet determined by x-ray and exam, that there is a humerus fracture on the wing. The Decorah Eagle Juvenile is at Save Our Avian Resources (SOAR), a rescue in Iowa, where surgery is planned to pin the fracture.

~Update on the Decorah Juvenile Eagle: June 23, 2014~

From Kay Neumann, Executive Director, SOAR

“X-ray shows oblique humerus fracture about an inch from the shoulder joint. Dr. Dirks will do surgery on Wednesday to pin. Will get plenty of food and fluids in him/her between now and surgery”

[The humerus is the large bone between the coracoid (shoulder) and the radius and ulna (elbow)]

There are two sites to visit for updates on the Decorah Eagles:

Decorah Eagles on Facebook

SOAR on Facebook


Ebola deaths exceed 140 and may have spread to Italy

April 22, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Good afternoon:

Inquitr is reporting today that the death toll from ebola has topped 140 and the disease has spread out of west Africa and reached Italy.

Almost as bad, the Italian authorities are attempting to disappear the story to prevent widespread panic.

Not a good idea with ebola.


Deadly Ebola epidemic in Guinea may spread beyond its borders

April 2, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Good afternoon:

I write today about an outbreak of Ebola in Guinea. The Canadian Press is reporting today that at least 70 people have died since last week.

The Ebola virus causes severe hemorrhagic fever in patients, in some cases leading to grisly deaths as patients bleed both internally and externally. Its initial symptoms — high fever, headache and weakness — can mimic malaria.

Joseph Gbaka Sandouno, a program unit manager with Plan International in the village of Gueckedou, said it’s been especially difficult for people to stay calm after having witnessed “frightening scenes where people have died with severe bleeding.”

Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world. The disease first appeared in a remote corner of southern Guinea and has spread to Conakry, the seaside capitol with a population of 2 million people. Most of them live in slums without sanitation and access to clean water. Medical care is generally not available. Now that the disease has appeared in the capitol, health officials are concerned that it may spread rapidly throughout the slums killing many people.

Conakry is a port city with an international airport and it may be difficult to prevent the disease from spreading beyond Guinea’s borders. There is no cure for Ebola and this particular strain of the virus has up to a 90% fatality rate.

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Fred


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