Posts Tagged ‘Ebola’

Ebola’s rank among deadly contagious diseases

November 12, 2014
Double click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

Source: Information Is Beautiful.

This chart shows the contagiousness and deadliness of infectious diseases.  The higher on the chart, the more deadly.  The further to the right, the more contagious.  Ebola can be found in the upper left part of the chart, just below untreated HIV and rabies.

It is deadly, but not extremely contagious.

The passing scene: November 7, 2014

November 7, 2014

Millennials Aren’t Cheap, They’re Broke by Lynn Stuart Parramore for AlterNet.

Millennials are the generation of Americans born between 1980 and 2000.  There are about 80 million of them, about a quarter of the U.S. population.

A writer in the Atlantic wondered why, compared to previous generations, more of them live with their parents and more of them refrain from making major purchases, such as automobiles.  Lynn Stuart Parramore doesn’t find this hard to understand.

  • Millennials have the highest unemployment rate of any generation.
  • They have more student loan debt than Gen Xers and Boomers did at their age.
  • More millennials live in poverty than previous generations did at the same stage of life.
  • They make up 61 percent of Americans making minimum wage.
  • Having entered the workforce during an economic downturn, the effects on their future wages will likely be permanent, even if the economy bounces back.

The battle for a surgeon general by Rebecca Cooney for The Lancet.

Rebecca Cooney wrote that the reason President Obama appointed Ron Klain, a lawyer, as his Ebola “czar” is that Republicans have blocked Vivek Murthy, his nominee for Surgeon-General.  Republicans in Congress have blocked Murthy on the trivial grounds that he sent Twitter message about a year ago saying that guns are a public health problem.

Point taken.  But this still doesn’t explain why Obama appointed a political supporter rather than a specialist in infectious diseases to head his Ebola team.

Then, too, Cuba is sending trained medical specialists to help in west Africa while the United States is sending troops.  What are the troops supposed to be doing?  Is this security, security theater or something else?


The foreign scene: November 4, 2014

November 4, 2014

EU unblocks ‘unprecedented levels’ of cash to secure gas for Ukraine on the EurActiv news site.  (Hat tip to Bill Harvey)

Ukraine Dips Into Dwindling Reserves to Pay Gazprom by Kenneth Rapoza for Forbes.

The International Monetary Fund will lend Ukraine the money needed to buy gas from Russia’s Gazprom, which will continue to sell gas to Ukraine at a subsidized rate.  This means Ukrainians, but European Union members who depend on Russian gas, will get safely through the winter.

It also means Ukraine will be in hock to the IMF, which will have to impose austerity on the Ukrainian people and sell off national assets, such as agricultural land, to pay back the IMF loan.  It is a win-win deal for everyone except the unfortunate Ukrainian people.

Dr. Adadevoh

Dr. Adadevoh

Doctor Stella Adadevoh Isolated Ebola Case, Stopped Nigaria Outbreak by Jonathan Cohn for The New Republic.

Nigeria is free of new Ebola outbreaks, and has been for more than six weeks.   This is an important accomplishment.  It would not have been the case except for a brave Nigerian physician, Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh, who acted promptly to isolate an Ebola carrier and lost her own life to infection.

North Korea’s Gulags: a horror “without any parallel in the contemporary world” by Max Fisher for Vox.

The biggest CIA-drug money scandal you never read by Mark Ames for Pando Daily.


One person’s perspective on the Ebola threat

October 21, 2014

I’m much more likely to be mistakenly killed by a police officer in this country than to be killed by Ebola

via Mother Jones.

Why we shouldn’t panic about Ebola (yet)

October 18, 2014

I almost never watch Fox News, but I think this is a sensible and factual report.

While I as an individual am not fearful of the Ebola virus, I believe that my government and the rest of the world’s governments need to take action against the spread of this virus, and to be prepared for the emergence of new mutant diseases that are immune to our drugs and treatments.

I think we Americans need to do better in making sure our hospitals are prepared for such emergencies.  I think we should help poor countries maintain good sanitation and public health services, rather than siding with banks and international organizations who demand that public services be sacrificed so debt could be collected.

If nothing is done, someday there will be reason for Americans to panic, but that day is not here.

How Ebola came to be a global problem

October 9, 2014

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My local newspaper, the Democrat and Chronicle, from time to time runs a article on local history.  Some time back the topic was how the Rochester, N.Y., public water system came to be built.

The article said the construction of the water system was controversial, because the affluent section of the Rochester community already had plenty of clean water, and opposed having to pay to provide a public water supply for poor people.

But then it was pointed out to them that infectious diseases that originate from contaminated water did not stay in the slums.  They affected everybody, rich and poor.

I think many of us Americans thought the same way about lack of sanitation, good health care and nutritious food in West Africa.  It was sad, but not our problem.

Well, guess again.  Those conditions are the equivalent of a Petri dish for breeding infectious disease.  And disease, as we’re now learning once again, does not respect national boundaries.


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I’ve heard Americans say it is the Africans’ own fault they are so poor, but, as Ian Welsh pointed out on his web log, many of the problems of Africa stems from the 1970s and 1980s when International Monetary Fund and international banks insisted that African governments cut back on education and health care in order to give priority to paying back their debts in full.

Southern Europe is a destination for unauthorized African immigrants, and Spain, Italy and Greece also are cutting back on spending for health care in order to give priority for debt service.

Here in the USA, there are still 40 million people without medical insurance, Welsh pointed out.  How many of them are going to go to a clinic for a diagnosis of an illness whose symptoms are the same as plain ‘flu.

The other day, a friend of mine asked me which I feared most, ISIS or the Ebola plague?  I replied that I’m not afraid of either one of them, but I think that in the long run, the world’s people are at greater risk from mutant killer diseases than they are from international terrorism.   And we’re all in Lifeboat Earth together.


 Why Africa Can’t Handle Ebola: the Destruction of the 3rd World by Ian Welsh.  [subsituted 10/11/14]