Category Archives: Ebola

Will Ebola Thrive in ‘Refriger-Nation’ This Winter?

In The Old Farmer’s Almanac prediction for this winter, editor Janice Stillman used some choice words to describe another teeth-chatteringly cold winter that’s on its way across the United States:  “Colder is just almost too familiar a term. Think of it as a refriger-nation.” Coupled with recent news reports about Ebola, this prediction makes me think we might be in for one of the roughest winters ever.

Among the Ebola-related news items that surfaced this week, two stand out when it comes to this winter weather prediction.

The first involves officials at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Today, they admitted that droplets from a person’s sneeze could spread the Ebola virus. Rumor has it that they made their admission after watching a snotty public service announcement (above) in which South Australians are urged to get their flu shots.

Two days ago, the world learned about Ebola being able to survive on surfaces for almost two months when stored at low temperatures. Winter temperatures.

While I hope the folks at The Old Farmer’s Almanac are wrong, they claim to have an 80-percent-accurate track record when it comes to predicting the weather. At the same time, the folks at CDC (a.k.a., “Masters of the Obvious”) have no such track record to tout. As a result, this winter could turn out to be very cold and very deadly for folks in the United States. I hope and pray that it turns out otherwise.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Could Winter Temps Cause Ebola to Spread Like Wildfire?

There might be more to Ebola than federal government information brokers want you to know. According to scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md., the deadly virus seems to thrive at lower temperatures and in lower humidity.

Click image above to download study (PDF).

Click image above to download study (PDF).

Three days ago, I came across a 1995 report (PDF) about an Ebola study, titled Lethal experimental infections of Rhesus monkeys by aerosolized Ebola virus. Though nothing in the report’s complex scientific summary (see graphic above) caught my eye, something else did. Temperature — and I’m not talking about skin temperature.

On page 7 of the report, I found this:

We also demonstrated aerosol transmission of Ebola virus at lower temperature and humidity than that normally present in sub-Saharan Africa. Ebola virus sensitivity to the high temperatures and humidity in the thatched, mud, and wattle huts shared by infected family members in southern Sudan and northern Zaire may have been a factor limiting aerosol transmission of Ebola virus in the African epidemics. Both elevated temperature and relative humidity (RH) have been shown to reduce the aerosol stability of viruses (Songer 1967).

So, if this government study about Ebola is correct, I wrote on my Facebook page Saturday, lower temperatures and lower humidity — as in North American fall and winter conditions — increase the virus’ ability to become airborne. Interesting read.”

Ponder that for a moment, then consider this tidbit I came across today in the Mail Online: Ebola can survive on surfaces for almost TWO MONTHS: Tests reveal certain strains survive for weeks when stored at low temperatures.

So what’s the takeaway from these bits of Ebola-related news you’re not reading about in U.S. news reports?  I suppose we will need to: (1) turn up the heat inside our homes this winter; (2) avoid contact with anyone and anything; and, oh yeah, (3) SEAL THE BORDERS!!!

UPDATE 10/30/2014 at 8:09 a.m. Central:  Now, the CDC admits droplets from a sneeze could spread Ebola. Thanks for the timely info! < sarc >

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Six Years Later, Terrorists Still Don’t Care Who They Hurt

“Terrorists Don’t Care Who They Hurt.”  That was the overarching message of a direct mail piece (below) from the Republican National Committee that arrived in my mailbox six years ago today. Sadly, little has changed since then, except that we have more terrorists and are doing less to fight them.

GOP Mailing 10/20/2008

Hope we don’t fight Ebola with the same lack of fortitude. Oh wait, we already are.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Second Dallas Hospital Receives Possible Ebola Patient!

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas received its first possible Ebola patient Thursday night, a hospital spokesperson confirmed today.

Ebola_pink

Baylor spokesperson Craig Civale confirmed during a phone conversation at 8:21 a.m. Central, that a patient arrived at the hospital around 8:30 p.m. Central Thursday. After being brought into the facility through a private entrance and put into isolation, the patient was monitored for a few hours before being transferred to Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas.

Careful not to reveal anything about the patient’s identity, Civale emphasized the patient had only screened positive (i.e., reported risk factors and showed symptoms that could indicate an infection) for Ebola, but had not yet tested positive for the virus.

If further tests reveal an infection, this patient will become the fourth Dallas-area Ebola patient to date.  The list of others includes Nina Pham, who was transferred Thursday to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and Amber Vinson, who was transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta two days ago. Both women are Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas nurses who had been involved in the care of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberia native who was the first person in the United States to die from the virus.

Baylor UMCD is one of three Dallas area hospitals to have set up. Parkland Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Dallas are the other two, according to a Dallas News report ten days ago.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay tuned for updates if anything new develops.

UPDATE 10/17/2014 at 2:41 p.m. Central:  Baylor UMC_Dallas issued the statement below at 1:45 p.m. Central which pretty much repeats what Civela told me this morning:

Baylor Scott & White Health has not received any confirmed cases of Ebola.

A patient presented at Baylor University Medical Center Thursday evening reporting Ebola symptoms and indicated contact with someone with the disease. The patient was transferred within hours to Texas Health Presbyterian as directed by the Dallas County Health Department.

Upon arrival to Baylor University Medical Center, the patient entered the hospital through a private entrance. That entrance was then closed, and the patient was immediately isolated. While again, there is no confirmation this patient is infected with Ebola, we are following all CDC disease-containment guidelines.

UPDATE 10/17/2014 at 7:08 p.m. Central:  Boston.com reported at 6:45 p.m. tonight that the patient was released. Stay tuned for more updates as they develop.

See also: INSIDER: Ebola Fears Drive Patients From Dallas Hospital and Six Reasons to Panic.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

INSIDER: Ebola Fears Drive Patients From Dallas Hospital

UPDATE 10/23/2014 at 10:18 a.m. Central:  A CNBC report confirms what I shared almost two weeks ago. Among other things, the article points out a 21 percent drop in average daily patient occupancy and a 25 percent decrease in surgeries.

UPDATE 10/18/2014 at 5:59 a.m. Central:  In an article this morning, ABC News expanded on the news I shared eight days ago.

UPDATE 10/16/2014 at 8:32 a.m. Central:  My friend in Dallas tells me he observed a CDC representative at his place of employment (i.e., a major medical center in Dallas) “observing an in-service on one of the ICU units,” a possible indication they could be getting a patient soon. Same person said he’s “heard rumblings from Presby that nurses are threatening to walk out” after “being thrown under the bus” by CDC director and others.

The number of patients seeking care at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas on any given day has nosedived since Thomas Eric Duncan began receiving treatment after contracting the Ebola virus, according to an employee at the hospital. Following his death, many tough questions face this hospital and others as Ebola looms as a nightmarish threat.

Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

Two days ago, I spoke with a friend who works at a major medical center in Dallas, but NOT the hospital — known to locals as “Presby” — where Duncan sought treatment once, was mistakenly sent home, and later returned for before dying days later. My friend told me that a friend of his who DOES work at Presby shared the disturbing news about unwanted side effects of the hospital’s involvement with Ebola.

Specifically, that friend of a friend said the number of patients at Presby receiving care (a.k.a., the “census”) nosedived after news broke about Duncan being treated there for Ebola and, as a result, many employees — including nurses, nurse assistants, housekeepers and others — have had their shifts cancelled due to a shortage of patients.

In other words, people are choosing to go to other hospitals for care.

This morning, I called Presby’s public relations office to inquire about the hospital’s census numbers. Not surprisingly, no one answered and I had to leave a message asking for a return call. I do not anticipate a quick response — or any at all for that matter — as I suspect they have been flooded with media inquiries.

If what this friend of a friend insider claims is true, this news only adds to the hospital’s woes.

According to a Dallas Morning News report Oct. 2, Presby has lagged behind its peers on emergency room care and lost some federal funds the past three years because it had high discharge rates of patients who later had to return for treatment.

It will be interesting to see if, despite its best efforts to educate people about Ebola, Presby can survive. Likewise, it will be interesting to see what happens if it does not survive and other hospitals are forced to deal with Ebola and the fears people have about stepping inside a healthcare environment where Ebola-infected patient(s) have received treatment and/or died.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I will update this article if or when I receive a reply from the PR folks at Presby.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.