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Ebola Pandemic: Bertrand Russell’s Black Death?

  • Ebola Pandemic: Bertrand Russell’s Black Death? 
    Leading U.S. Public Health Expert Declares Complete Failure of Present U.S. Measures Against Ebola–Calls for International Mobilization to Avoid Catastrophe

    Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a leading expert on bioterrorism provided a stark warning and analysis yesterday concerning the failure to contain the Ebola epidemic. In remarks at John Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health, Dr. Osterholm emphasized:

    (1). The disease is spreading on virus time rather than on political or bureaucratic time and the virus has the complete upperhand. The result will be mass death. Traditional public health measures are a complete failure in the areas of Africa where it is now spreading and where there are no viable public health systems which can contain the disease.

    (2). Public officials in the U.S. have engaged in a public relations campaign telling the public all sorts of things about their knowledge about the virus and how it spreads which simply are not true, purportedly to avoid scaring the public. For example, running a fever is not a sure indicator of the disease and many cases present without fever. It is unclear whether or not the virus can spread in an airborne fashion, particularly in situations of close contact, such as healthcare workers. While promising field hospitals and troops to run them, the U.S. has not fulfilled even that minimal, woefully inadequate response as the disease process on virus time rather than Washington budget cycle time. The only country which has set up a functioning hospital in the contagion zone is Cuba.

    (3). Rather than public relations, the world needs a plan to address the spread of the disease to urban areas of Africa, a spread which is already beginning to happen, and a crash international effort on research and a vaccine. Dr. Osterholm particularly cited the U.S., Japan, Russia, and China as critical in the vaccination effort and in building the type of bio-hazard containment facilities which might have a chance against the virus.


October 31, 2014 - Posted by | Medicine & Health | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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