Tag Archives: ebola

Error-Prone CDC Figures Prominently in New Fiction Novel

A Washington Post article caught my attention yesterday, because it reminded me of how the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta fits into the mystery in my just-released crime-fiction novel, The National Bet.

Ebola

Ebola

After receiving some critically-important news from the CDC director, the book’s main character, FBI Special Agent “Joe-L” Wilson, remains unfazed. Excerpted from page 207 of the paperback version of the book, the paragraph below explains why:

The news didn’t register as much of a shock to Wilson, because he remembered reading reports during the past two years about a half-dozen incidents involving CDC employees and the mishandling of some potentially deadly pathogens, including smallpox, anthrax, botulism bacteria, and a virulent bird flu virus. And who could forget the Ebola debacle.

If you like crime-fiction stories that seem as if they could have been ripped from the headlines, I think you’ll love The National Bet as much as others have already. See the reviews here and here.

To learn more about the book, click here. To order copies, click here.

UPDATE 4/19/2015 at 1:27 p.m. Central: Check out the limited-time free-books offer here.

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Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

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 >

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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.