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new-logo25Dick Eastman M.S., M.A.

 

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Action for what purpose? A debate.

Does Ebola deserve the attention it’s been getting lately? Is it as dangerous as some so-called “alarmists” (e.g., Mike Adams, Donald Trump, etc.) are suggesting? Or is it the easily manageable threat others (like the CDC) are proclaiming? Actually, the truth may lie somewhere in the middle.

Ebola as a contagious disease deserves appropriate action. The disease exists and it is on the loose. But there something else in play here. The disease is obviously not being handled intelligently and those whom are generally thought to be the responsible authorities, government, American medicine and the Center for Disease Control are clearly not taking measures to address this un-contained fatal virus.

This president who signed in a medical reform bill that seems to have been written for the profit of the financial sector and the big pharmaceutical companies has not taken the steps that must be taken now. A national quarantine of everyone — with absolute minimization of contact, including schools and, simultaneously, the closing airports and border crossings — except for minimum personal contact imports, say from container ships or trucks carrying products in which the truck drivers are limited in whom they may contact. The system will not be perfect and there is no time to perfect it – it simply must be done now — while containment is still possible. With an incubation period of 20 days and people exposed wandering freely about right now, the option of containment as I have described will not be open for long.

Yes, infectious disease experts may know the most about the viruses that cause Ebola virus disease (EVD) and the other hemorrhagic fever diseases; scientific facts are always preferable to unfounded theories and worst-case prognostication; and some people do attempt to profit/benefit from the hysteria that comes from potential threats.

Notwithstanding these truths, some skepticism and cynicism can also play a useful role, especially if the so-called “experts” turn out to be wrong, circumstances change, or new facts come into light.

After all, none of the experts alive back then expected the flu epidemic of 1918 to get out of control as quickly and voraciously as it did. In fact, some people have argued that part of the reason the epidemic became so deadly is because the plague (at least at the beginning) was grossly underestimated, public health measures meant to keep the disease in check were not implemented as efficiently and aggressively as they needed to be, and government officials (probably worrying too much about political correctness) did not forcibly detain and isolate infected people quickly enough.

I know from long and careful observation that the experts in positions of authority often do not take the necessary steps dictated by cold regard of the facts and a desire to serve and protect the general population. I know too that agencies at all levels of government are to a terrifying extent taking orders from international organized crime and that this crime, among all of its crimes, has been murdering microbiologists for a number of hears. We also know that the top levels of this organized crime is separated from the general public by distance, barriers, law and money. A pandemic here would not affect their close friends and associates, but it will help reach their well-known goals for population reduction and the elimination of people’s whom the organized crime world oligarchs view as their natural class enemies.

After all, who (either in 1918 or today) wants to send in the army (if that is what is called for) to put people in concentration camps (for lack of another term)?

Do you really expect names when you ask that question? If the military is deployed to put people in concentration camps, Ebola may be the excuse, but it will certainly not be part of a rational plan to contain Ebola. The transportation of the people and their mixing with the army would not make sense from the containment point of view. Far better is the national self-quarantine plan while will stop entry and, while keeping people from high and moderate contagion risk (closing schools for 20 or 30 days – until all of those infected by those how have brought Ebola virus into the country become known). I attach a letter below which further describes the measures for this simultaneous containment, isolation and exclusion.

What about AIDS? Some experts have argued that the disease was allowed to spread because the government was so worried about political correctness that it failed to, just as in 1918, forcibly isolate people with the disease—instead opting to let people voluntarily report their disease status, as well as insisting that reported cases be made/kept anonymously. This may be fine when you get prompt and consistent cooperation but history has shown (as in the case of tuberculosis) that this is often not the case. For obvious reasons, people object to and actively fight against public health measures—even if it’s for the common good.

Others have presented their reasons for concluding that AIDS was a biological weapon from the first. The case appears strong enough to convene and convince an impartial grand jury, but those accused are so powerful in this society that such a step to justice is all but politically impossible. From what I have seen the case is easily as strong as that of organized crime and foreign power direction of 9-11, which was not the work of men with box cutters under orders from bin Laden. We also have the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the leaks of radioactive particles that will harm plant and animal life for thousands of years — all handled with the same studied insufficiency as the Ebola outbreak is receiving.
Clearly, public health measures were not followed appropriately with the HIV virus and, now, the disease has spread beyond epidemic proportions.

Yes, that is indeed very clear. And I have the same sinking feeling in my stomach when I see the same foot-dragging and vital measure omissions with Elboa that we saw with AIDS. But Ebola is far easier to contain, because of the pronounced symptoms and the known 20 day incubation period always followed by clear onset.
This is all to say that, since Ebola is mostly an unknown variable (i.e., there is more about these viruses that we don’t know than we know), maybe downplaying their capacity for destructiveness may be as irresponsible as sensationalizing it. Some experts, for example, in making fun of Mark Adams and Donald Trump, make these viruses sound as if they are stable, predictable pathogens. They are not. A virus can mutate repeatedly. During each mutation, its properties (including virulence) can be altered drastically.

Ebola is not unknown to those who have been investigating it. And I see that you present many important facts about this virus which you well soon be outlining here. The public is at a disadvantage because, for good reason, they cannot put their faith in what they are being told by government, the CDC corporation and medicine. That is why I favor the national self-quarantine program, which is fool-proof and the reason for it and the reason why it will work are all clearly understood by everyone. I have no great admiration for Donald Trump and no great trust in any of his opinions, but Dr. Adams has earned credibility with me over the years. I know what side he is on and I know the general power of his analysis of the subjects he discusses. You rightly mention that fact that Ebola can mutate and that different strains are now appearing. That puts us — to borrow from hurricane jargon — in a category 5 pandemic. It’s on the loose and it can become anything. The two things on our side are that the spread is still small enough to allow with National Self Quarantine procedure to work, but only if there is no mutation to a widely variable incubation period. All the more reason for a general self-quarantine of the entire public immediately. But I do not see this president breaking from the interests who put in office without tremendous political pressure — but without purpose-defeating mass demonstrations, thank you! — we need phone calls and internet and starting yesterday — if the American attention span and priority making is up to it.
In other words, the Ebola viruses can become airborne without any fanfare or warning at any time. This is especially true if the strains that have sprung up recently (which are not necessarily and, in fact, probably are not) are not the same as those that sprang up in the 70s and 80s in Africa; this is of even more concern if said strains have been tampered with genetically.

Since bio-terrorism is an ever-present threat these days, who is to say with 100% certainty that this is not what we are seeing today?

Yes. It is a race against time to contain it now before it reaches more people. The more people it reaches the bigger breeding ground for mutations. Also the more people it reaches the easier it will be for those with a depopulation agenda to spread the disease through deliberate acts introducing the virus to individuals and communities. We need the people to get behind the one method they can understand as adequate to stop the disease. This knowledge of what the nation must do to protect itself must spread incredible fast to save us from this peril. There is nothing to wait for to see. We know enough that these measures are necessary.

But you have the putative facts to present. I am grateful to you for assembling them.
What, Then, Do We Know for Sure—if We Should Rely on Facts?

These are the facts in a nutshell:

1) We are dealing with 3 genera and 5 species of viruses belonging to the Filoviridae family. In other words, we are not talking about one single type of organism but several.

2) These are RNA viruses, which have proven to be more pathogenic and dangerous than DNA viruses, probably because these viruses replicate more quickly and easily, their shape is uniquely tied to their pathogenicity, and they are often enveloped (meaning that they are more difficult to detect and attack by the immune system).

3) These are zoonotic pathogens—i.e., the original hosts were animals. The influenza virus, Variola (smallpox) and HIV (three of the most lethal viruses known to man) are also zoonotic. In other words, this puts Ebola under a very dangerous category.

4) Although the transmission pathways identified thus far appear to require direct contact with infected bodily fluids (as is the case with AIDS), there is nothing to prevent these viruses from mutating into airborne pathogens—in fact, it’s reasonable to assert that, with time, they might mutate in that direction.

5) These viruses are, so far, restricted to only certain countries in Africa; they are not yet a palpable threat to the US or any other developed country.

6) There are several methods for diagnosing the diseases these viruses can inflict. These include ELISA, RT-PCR, antigen-capture detection, serum neutralization, and cell culture virus isolation.

7) These pathogens are too small for the strongest microscopes; in fact, they require electron microscopes. The high cost and difficulties in using this most effective way to identify Ebola is one of the impediments faced by third world countries.

8) It is not true that there is nothing that can be done for Ebola patients. The use of certain measures (e.g., anticoagulants and rehydration fluids/electrolytes) can reduce mortality rates. Also, several experimental drugs (Zmapp, TKM-Ebola, etc.) and a vaccine are expected to be available in the future.

9) Infected persons, furthermore, can benefit from oxygen/blood pressure monitoring and treatment of concomitant infections.

10) The main symptoms for Ebola-related disease include: severe headaches; fatigue; diarrhea; vomiting; muscle pain; fever; peculiar hemorrhaging; etc.

11) The most efficient ways to prevent/avoid the disease is by avoiding places (including healthcare facilities) where infected people have been; not touching objects or clothes or body parts of infected persons; immediately isolating infected persons; approaching infected persons while wearing disposable gloves, face masks, etc.; immediately taking infected persons to a healthcare facility; practicing good hygiene (including washing hands frequently) etc.

12) Persons infected with Ebola are most dangerous after they exhibit symptoms/signs.

13) The incubation period is between 2 and 21 days (i.e., the time required to show symptoms after becoming infected); the average time required for this event is about 8 to 10 days.

14) People having their temperature tested at check points and airports is, at best, an imperfect way to check for infection. A person may not show a temperature for up to 21 days or they may have a temperature for reasons other than Ebola.

15) Some of the reasons the infection and mortality rates are so high in Africa are because of inadequate medical facilities and medicines; cultural practices which prompt people to have contact with diseased persons;

superstitious believes (e.g., that Ebola is the result of bad magic); re-use of medical tools (i.e., syringes); etc. Since these conditions may not apply to more developed countries, the threat posed here may not be as great or produce the same results. Also, there is less eating of raw meats or the consumption of hunted game in the west.

16) Although the prevalence/incidence and mortality rates seem high at this time, they are still manageably low (under 10,000). Also, as long as the Ebola viruses do not undergo mutation into an airborne pathogen, they can reasonably be controlled at this time.

17) Western countries around the world are mobilizing resources in order to help the affected countries better deal with the epidemic. This should reduce the risk that Ebola will spread out of control.

18) Infected patients can be transported out of Africa into western hospitals with very limited chance for an outbreak as long as disease-containment protocols are followed and the patients remain isolated while recovering.

19) Some of the people who contract Ebola do survive (e.g., Dr. Kent Brantly). As more people develop immunity, the disease as whole becomes less of a threat. It should be noted, however, that immunity may be of limited-time scope and may be irrelevant once the original virus one was infected with mutates.

20) Our understanding of viruses is improving with each day. More importantly, we have won significant battles (although the “war” is yet raging) against viruses. For example, smallpox was eradicated from the face of the earth through vaccination. There is no reason for thinking that a similar vaccine (or some other type of medicine) cannot be developed for Ebola.

I do not like the way you presented the risks of contagion reaching us from Africa when we bring patients to the us. You wrote: “Infected patients can be transported out of Africa into western hospitals with very limited change for an outbreak as long as disease-containment protocols are followed and the patients remain isolated while recovering.”

There are dead hospital workers in Africa and the soldiers and newsmen in Africa are not familiar with the protocols and no one is holding everyone to those protocols. Furthermore Africans who have had contact with Africans who were carrying Ebola virus during its incubation period – but still contagious means that the protocols for medical workers are no line of defense at all against Ebola from invading our population. Are you trying to put people asleep when they should be going all out to make the necessary measures known.

The most important facts are that the mortality rate is high, the onset is obvious and the incubation period is not longer than 25 days, and that it may be carried on particles in the air. That is enough upon which to design a rational defense. That rational defense is described below.

While everyone needs to take the Ebola problem seriously, there is yet no reason to panic—much less to fan the flames of sensationalistic fear-mongering. Having said that, it is just as irresponsible to downplay people’s fears out of arrogant optimism or the unswerving assumption that Ebola couldn’t possibly turn into a “Flu Epidemic of 1918” type disaster.

What are you telling people, you imbecile! There is never reason to panic. Panic is always a bad development. And people must do more than stop telling jokes and making puns and “get serious” — they need to understand the broad outline of the problem There is a virus in Africa that is not contained. People can have the virus and not know it for up to 25 days, time in which they can infect others, who in turn can infect others. We know that measures have not been taken to stop the spread so that it is certain that that kind of biological bomb is coming here and will spread in that way unless we do something fast — fast, like last month. This is not sensationalistic — this is fact.

My intention is not to monger fear but to persuade people to take fast action because survival demands the fastest action possible to impose the containment procedure that alone can protect the population from a general plague as bad or worse than any known to history.

At this moment, whatever threat Ebola poses is under the capable hands (for the most part) of the CDC. A concerned citizen, though, who was participating in a discussion about Ebola recently asked, “How much can we trust in the CDC?”

The response he was given was “as much as you can trust the IRS, the FDA, FEMA, or any other government agency . . .”

Why don’t you be a man and draw the necessary conclusion. All you are saying is that the “authorities” are saying they are doing everything that can be done and that people do not believe them. You need to go further. You need to tell them that action to contain must be taken now because a point will be reached after which containment to save millions of lives will be impossible.

Considering what happened during Katrina and other mismanaged disasters in the US’s history, maybe Donald Trump is not being completely out of line for telling people to worry—even if, at this time, the facts don’t support the need to over-react or panic.
Then again, skepticism and cynicism may actually be a good thing, if it prompts all of us to remain vigilant (rather than blindly trust in any government agency), keep a close eye on new developments, and take steps to be prepared for whatever disaster comes our way—whether it be biologic, political, economic, or some other type.

So your conclusion is that “Donald Trump may not be completely out of line,” and that “facts don’t support the need to over-react or panic.” That is the wrong conclusion. The fact is that Ebola is a known killer with mortality rate and incubation period set just right for rapid spread throughout the world. We are very close to the point where the spread, which will grow geometrically in each population it invades, where we will not be able to contain it even with the method I describe below — which I call National Self Containment.

Here is the letter that I ask you to read, and after reading it, to decide that you will immediately act upon — getting the world out. I lead no organization and I have no platform from which to promote these measures. I ask you to do what I am doing — spread the word about what circumstances require, about what we must do to save ourselves from a new Black Death.

We need the 25 to 30 day self-quarantine, because that is the only way that we can catch all of those who are carrying the disease in this country today before they spread it to others who in turn will carry and spread it for up to 21 days before showing the world that they have Ebola.

Dick Eastman M.S., M.A.

Yakima, Washington