West Point, Monrovia, Liberia, responds to Ebola

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Can Ebola be stopped where it already has a grip on a town? About a half square kilometer of sand called West Point will soon demonstrate to the world if seventy thousand people crowded together with few amenities can beat Ebola. There is a  poster campaign and plenty of word-of-mouth communication. The living conditions at West Point are poor for people, but they are ideal for Ebola.

West Point - Monrovia, Liberia

Downtown Monrovia, Liberia, at the bottom and West Point peninsula at the top. 1km yellow line

West Point, Monrovia compaction

West Point, Monrovia, showing the single road going the length of the peninsula. Seventy thousand people live here.

Vertical close up view of West Point

Central West Point has one road and very narrow passages between tiny homes. Center is at lat/lon 6.3274 -10.8060

For scale – there is a 10 meter yellow line to the right of the red roof in the lower right corner. There is a truck on the road at the bottom of the road, and a car at the top of it. Notice that there are no spaces between these homes because the roofs overlap.

From a sign posted in West Point:

 THE 10 COMMANDMENTS OF EBOLA

1. Thou shalt not HIDE ANY SICK person even family member or friend;
2. Thou shalt not SHAKE HAND or TOUCH someone with high fever who is very sick;
3. Thou shalt not TOUCH DEAD BODY even if it is your family member or friend who has died;
4. Thou shalt not PUT MAT DOWN for dead people not even your family member;
5. Thou shalt not EAT or DRINK from the same pan, place or cup with any family member, friend or anybody;
6. Thou shalt not allow anybody even family friend to spend time;
7. Thou shalt not HAVE SEX with strangers; be very careful of the person you have sex with, they could have the EBOLA virus — No sleeping around; Stick with the person you know very well;
8. Thou shalt not PEE PEE OUTSIDE, use a plastic bottle and wash your hands;
9. Thou shalt not TOILET OUTSIDE; use a plastic bag and wash your hands;
10. Thou shalt call this TELEPHONE NUMBER 4455 for Response Center #1 right away when you have a sick person or a dead body in your house.

What bothers me is that there is no mention of how to survive Ebola. The primary way a person not in a hospital can help themselves is to stay hydrated. Unfortunately, just drinking pure water doesn’t work because with severe diarrhea it goes right through. When a person has diarrhea they need to put 1 level teaspoon of salt and 8 level teaspoons of sugar into a liter of water. That water will stay in your system better.

Until a vaccine is available – the only effective control of Ebola is the physical separation of the virus from people.

Check Probaway [EBOLA UPDATES] for links to other articles.

The coming confusion of flu symptoms with Ebola symptoms

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Now that our normal flu season is beginning there will be great concern about Ebola, because the first three days of Ebola symptoms are the same as those of the common cold or flu. First the victim feels tired and temperature challenged, the next day there’s an irritation somewhere like the nose or throat, then a temperature rise. Then, sourced from The Huffington Post, about the fourth day after the beginning of the mild onset an Ebola victim will begin vomiting and diarrhea, and as the bodily tissues lose fluids the blood pressure will drop. About 7-10 days after onset spontaneous bleeding from the nose or eyes may occur, with non-visible bleeding in the tissues and organs. Without any supportive care the death rate is 90-100 percent. With excellent care from the first onset of symptoms the death rate may be 20-0 percent. The supportive care begins with maintaining bodily fluids, and outside of a hospital that means drinking water with both 1 spoon salt and 8 spoons sugar added to 1 liter of water. Drink enough of this sugared salt water to maintain body weight.

How rapidly a victim develops Ebola is probably dose-related, and a person with a very slight exposure takes 21 days to get sick, and has the best chance of recovery. A person who gets a large dose from directly contacting the fluids of a very sick Ebola victim, probably has a sudden onset in a few days and has a poor prognosis. Being infected with a large dose doesn’t give the body enough time to develop antibodies for eliminating the Ebola virus.

Check Probaway [EBOLA UPDATES] for links to other articles.

Ebola S1 [Subject 1] Emile Ouamouno of Meliandou, Guinea

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Aerial view of Meliandou

Meliandou village, nestled in the hills, appears so picturesque and safe. GoogleEarth view

Just outside of Meliandou is a grave marked only by stones. It is the last resting place of a two-year-old boy named Emile Ouamouno.

A photograph of the grave of  Ebola S1

The vegetation grows quickly since December 6, 2013 when Emile died.

Two years earlier here is baby Emile in his father’s arms; they all appear content with their new role in life.

Two years earlier here is baby Emile in his father’s arms; they all appear content with their new role in life.

A family photo with Emile still in his father's arms.

Here is the Ouamouno family when Emile is about two, shortly before he caught Ebola.

A one year old being held by a five year old.

The babies in Meliandou are like babies everywhere and they put things in their mouths. The probable source of Ebola is a fruit bat guano.

Downtown Meliandou

The main path into Meliandou village (at 8.6224 -10.0649) shows a wonderful place to live a basic lifestyle. Click picture and see 21 people living there, and two sheep.

A photograph of the village log of deaths.

The list of fatalities in the first few months of Ebola.

Etienne Ouamouno the father of the first Ebola victims.

Etienne Ouamouno, Emile’s father, lives on without his two children, his wife and her mother, all taken by Ebola.

All of these photos were clipped from a movie provided by UNifeed and created by the UN’s Department of Public Information and UNICEF. They are free for news purposes when their source is quoted. I cleaned and adjusted them for better visibility.

Check Probaway [EBOLA UPDATES] for links to the other Ebola articles.

Some problems with Ebola reporting.

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Statements about Ebola that are obviously misleading:

NBC New York“It can’t be contracted simply by being near someone who has Ebola, and the disease can only be spread by people who are extremely sick.” That statement is too optimistic in its attempt to prevent hysteria. Ebola can only be contracted by direct contact with an Ebola virus, and so you must be near someone who has put out some virus. The virus resides in a sick person’s bodily fluids, and the sicker they are the greater the possibility of contagion, but a single Ebola virus can infect another person. Every case begins with a single virus. Even a healthy-looking person has a frequent output of liquids, and if the person has early stages of Ebola these probably contain a low concentration of virus.  Usually it will take a great number of viruses to infect a healthy person, because at least one virus must find an exact entry point within a person. Once a virus is within a cell it can reproduce itself. The Ebola virus probably can’t enter through healthy skin. The virus would usually enter through injured skin or through eyes, nose, mouth, anus or sex organs. The problem is that people frequently touch objects with their hands, and they also frequently scratch itches wherever they are, with their hands and fingernails. For the next several months – the only effective control of Ebola is the physical separation of the virus from people.

From today’s Forbes“The absolute fact that every infectious disease expert has stated time and again is that his activities represented no threat to the rest of us.” This was in response to the wacky statement about Ebola victim Doctor Craig Spencer, “running around a city of 11 million [New York] like a chicken with his head cut off.” He had just returned from West Africa where he had been treating Ebola patients, when he rode all over the city on public transportation, but this was before he was really sick. The more responsible statement about transmission to a person on a bus with Dr. Spencer would be that “the risk is very low, but it isn’t zero.” It isn’t as bad as the 2-year-old child in Mali, Africa, whose parents had just died from Ebola, being sent by bus over 600 miles to where its grandparents lived. That busload of people were contained for most of a day with an Ebola victim. The whole busload of people are now in 21 day quarantine. Ebola will be contained if there is no contact between Ebola carriers and other people. When there are only a few carriers only a few people will be quarantined, but if we wait until the disease has become widespread quarantine will not be enough. If that tragedy develops we will be forced to wait for an effective vaccine to be provided in quantity, or for the disease to run its natural course. Looking back at the problem from twenty years in the future, people will say, “Why didn’t they just shut down the air flights from West Africa until the vaccine was available? The ground or sea  transportation was slow enough to provide an automatic quarantine.”

Until a vaccine is available – the only effective control of Ebola is the physical separation of the virus from people.

Check Probaway [EBOLA UPDATES] for links to other articles.

A distribution plan for an Ebola home treatment kit and posters.

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[Check EBOLA UPDATES] It has been reported that when hospitals are overwhelmed they send away potential patients. In medical use they call it triage; that is, they assign degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment when faced with a large number of patients or casualties. The sickest patients are given beds and they are the ones most likely to die. At present triage in East Africa means sending a fevered person home with only a bar of soap, in hope they may get better on their own. The soap may help to prevent the spread of disease, but it won’t help the fevered person get well. If they have Ebola their chance of survival at home is poor, perhaps only twenty percent.

With Ebola diarrhea causes dehydration because the body can’t absorb water when there isn’t a balance of salt and sugar in the intestine. Water can pass from the intestine into the body best when the water has a balance of 1 level teaspoon of salt, to 8 level teaspoons of sugar, to 1 liter of water. Drinking that solution will help a person suffering from diarrhea survive. This isn’t a cure for Ebola, it is a way to survive dehydration while the body develops a response that clears Ebola from the body. If a person stays hydrated their chance of survival improves. Also, when the diarrhea is controlled they can keep food in their digestive system, and that will prevent loss of the other nutrients the body needs. In a Scientific American interview with the Ebola doctors in Texas they reported that potassium and proteins are abnormally low in Ebola victims. In a home setting this would be helped by eating good food, and keeping it inside. That may be difficult, but do what is possible. Also, prevent bleeding as much as possible, and in the home that may mean keeping a gentle pressure on the bleeding area.

A hospital compelled to send people home could give them an Ebola home treatment kit. It would consist of a plastic bag with a package of 250 grams of salt, a package of 2 kilograms of sugar, a 1 liter plastic bottle and an instruction sheet. Ideally it could also have 10 standard vitamin pills with zinc and a plastic measuring spoon. This formula is similar to Oral rehydration therapy (OTR) which is already available prepackaged for fluid replacement. The WHO formula on one package of NAVA Jeevan is sodium chloride 2.6, trisodium citrate 2.9, potassium chloride 1.5, glucose anhydrous 13.5.

The exact formulation isn’t critical because the intestines will choose what they need to transport the water, but it must be inside the person and not on a committee paper. One advantage of what is proposed here is that any person can go to any grocery store and purchase salt and sugar. Most people will already have these common substances in their home; it is just a matter of mixing them and drinking enough to keep hydrated.

To find out what the East African public can see, I Googled Ebola Posters, and looked at almost a thousand images there, All the posters were on how to avoid catching Ebola, and not one word on how to treat Ebola. There should be handouts and posters showing how to treat Ebola victims. The formula for treating diarrhea should become common knowledge of everyone on Earth, even children. It is a treatment that is useful for many diseases. Drink as needed sugared, salted water, and keep eating nutritious food.

For diarrhea drink a quart of water with 1 teaspoon salt plus 8 teaspoons sugar.

Check Probaway [EBOLA UPDATES] for links to other articles.

The Tao Teh Ching – #7 – Revealed by Lao Tzu – Rendered by Charles Scamahorn

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7

The Universe is eternal and the Earth is long-lasting;
They have existence, yet they do not strive for self.

Likewise, when you openly put yourself last,
You are soon in the foremost place;
When you openly reject your self,
You are preserved by others;
Isn’t it when you have no interest in your self
That you may best serve the interests of others’ selves?

8

Probaway’s handout kit for treating Ebola

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One of the ways Ebola kills people is from dehydration associated with diarrhea. The methods for treating diarrhea are well known, and they can be administered at home by untrained people.

Unfortunately there is a lack of real information getting through to those most at risk. They don’t know what they should do to save their own lives from dehydration. Below is an example of information from the primary authority The World Health Organization (WHO). It doesn’t tell the reader what rehydration salts are, where to get them, how much to take, and how to take them.

Treatment of cholera

Cholera is an easily treatable disease. The prompt administration of oral rehydration salts to replace lost fluids nearly always results in cure. In especially severe cases, intravenous administration of fluids may be required to save the patient’s life.

Left untreated, however, cholera can kill quickly following the onset of symptoms. This can happen at a speed that has incited fear and paralyzed commerce throughout history. Although such reactions are no longer justified, cholera continues to be perceived by many as a deadly and highly contagious threat that can spread through international trade in food.

That was the cure for cholera from the highly respected WHO web page and from the Mayo Clinic.

Cholera is a bacterial disease usually spread through contaminated water. Cholera causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Left untreated, cholera can be fatal in a matter of hours, even in previously healthy people.

Modern sewage and water treatment have virtually eliminated cholera in industrialized countries. The last major outbreak in the United States occurred in 1911. But cholera is still present in Africa, Southeast Asia, Haiti and central Mexico. The risk of cholera epidemic is highest when poverty, war or natural disasters force people to live in crowded conditions without adequate sanitation.

Cholera is easily treated. Death results from severe dehydration that can be prevented with a simple and inexpensive rehydration solution.

When people are sick they don’t have the time to wander around the internet with useless generalities as found in the quotes above; they want to know what to do right now, and how to do it.

After some searching I found the doctor’s formula for Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS). This would be helpful information if the sick person could read, knew what the chemical formulas meant, had access to these chemicals and had the measuring equipment to get the proportions right. Few people can use this information.

(g/L) grams per liter — table salt 2.6, glucose 13.5, potassium chloride 1.5, trisodium citrate 2.9, and apparently a standard zinc “vitamin” pill.

Below is the at-home preparation Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT), a more user-friendly interpretation, that would be similar to what a doctor would prescribe. Of course bedridden cholera and Ebola victims will have little access to a doctor but most will have access to salt, sugar and water.

An example of a home formula is — 1 level teaspoon of salt, 8 level teaspoons of sugar, and (optionally) 4 ounces (113g) of orange juice; mixed into 1 liter of clean water. If the water source is questionable, it should be boiled for 10 minutes and allowed to cool before mixing the solution, but dirty water is better than no water.

What is provided in that last box is advice that would make a real difference for acute diarrhea and would save many sick people’s lives. It is easier for an ordinary person to do because the terms are well known, and the materials are readily available. The reason this solution works so well at reducing dehydration deaths is because the intestine needs both salt and sugar to pass water through the intestinal walls into the body.

Here is another official treatment for disease, but it isn’t very helpful either.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) Treatment for Ebola

“No FDA-approved vaccine or medicine (e.g., antiviral drug) is available for Ebola.

Symptoms of Ebola are treated as they appear. The following basic interventions, when used early, can significantly improve the chances of survival:

  • Providing intravenous fluids (IV)and balancing electrolytes (body salts)
  • Maintaining oxygen status and blood pressure
  • Treating other infections if they occur

Experimental vaccines and treatments for Ebola are under development, but they have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.

Recovery from Ebola depends on good supportive care and the patient’s immune response. People who recover from Ebola infection develop antibodies that last for at least 10 years, possibly longer. It isn’t known if people who recover are immune for life or if they can become infected with a different species of Ebola. Some people who have recovered from Ebola have developed long-term complications, such as joint and vision problems.”

The CDC’s three treatments don’t give an infected person a clue as to what they can do to save their life. They don’t have needles, intravenous fluids, or the slightest idea of how to use them. They have no clue as to how to maintain oxygen status or blood pressure other than to keep breathing. They have no suggestion on treating other infections if they occur. The only possibility of self-help is with maintaining their electrolytes (body salts), but there is no suggestion as to how they can do it.

A home treatment a kit could be prepared and sent home with the victim or with their caregiver. The kit would contain picture instructions, enough salt, sugar and a liter jar. This kit would be helpful for all forms of diarrhea. The kit could be given to everyone in an infected area, so they could start treating themselves at the first sign of diarrhea.

At the first sign of feeling sick or hot begin drinking the salt and sugar solution. The sugar and salt keep the water inside you and slows diarrhea. When people get too dry they die. Vomiting and diarrhea prevent water from getting into your system, so drink enough water to maintain your normal body weight. The problem is that regular fresh water doesn’t go through the intestinal wall when a person is sick with diarrhea. A liter of water with 1 teaspoon salt and 8 teaspoons sugar does go through the intestinal wall and rehydrates the body. Drink enough to maintain comfort.

What I recommend for hospitals if they must send feverish patients home is to give the victims a kit to help them survive. The kit below is good for the first ten days. Diarrhea fluids must be replaced and the list below assumes a flow rate of 4 liters that must be replaced.

The Probaway 10-day Ebola survival kit.

  • Into a 1 liter jar of water mix 1 teaspoon of salt, 8 teaspoons of sugar and drink as needed until diarrhea is over. Below is based on 10 days of 4 liters per day.
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6 grams) 4 times per day times 40 = 240 grams of salt
  • 8 teaspoons sugar (48 x .8 = 38 grams) 4 times 40 = 1.5 kilograms of sugar
  • and if available citrus 2.9 grams 4 times 40 = 116 grams trisodium citrate
  • and a vitamin 1 time per day, if available 10 standard vitamin pills with zinc
  • an instruction paper showing in pictures how to prepare the life-saving drink.
  • If possible include a plastic spoon the size in the pictures in the handout.
  • All of this is contained in a large plastic bag.

They must have a home supply of water, and that will mean 4 liters a day or access to 40 liters minimum of drinking water. If possible, a caregiver should monitor their progress.

The problem with faith unlimited by reality.

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Saint Augustine (354 – 430) said Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. This is a clear contradiction of common sense, and it is strange that a man renowned in the Roman Empire for his good sense would make such a statement. Augustine’s mother was a devout Christian and presumably so was he when a child, but he was a practicing Manichean from adolescence until the summer of 386, when at the age of 32 he converted back to Christianity. Before becoming one of the founding fathers of Medieval-style Christianity he was a professor of rhetoric, and in the year 384 at age thirty, Augustine won the job of professor of rhetoric in the most visible academic position in the Latin world at the time. He was baptized in 387 in Milan, soon went back to Africa and later became Bishop of the city of Hippo. That was a post he held until his death in 430 at the age of 76.

Hypatia of Alexandria (370 – 415) was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher in Roman Egypt. She was sixteen years younger than Augustine, and was raised as a scientist by the head of the Library of Alexandria. At age 45 she was murdered in a grisly flaying ritual on an Alexandrian church altar. The instigator of that horror was later created a saint by the church and is still revered as Saint Cyril. Her crime was that she had written some books on astronomy, and astronomy didn’t recover for a thousand years because astronomy books were burned. The essence of Hypatia’s crime was that she was basing her thoughts on observation of natural reality, and discounting Augustine’s ideas based of absolute belief created by authorities.

Ideas can kill people. When ideas are founded on beliefs that have no foundations in reality there are no limitations on what they are and thus who will be killed. The belief can be twisted by those in charge to encompass whomever they choose because they choose the beliefs that will maximize their personal political power. Thus to promulgate the concept “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe” sets in place a system that rewards submission to human authority and discounts natural reality, or published laws. After a thousand years of magical thinking the Europeans were still using roads built by the practical Romans, but the infrastructure of European society was in ruins.

Nature’s Imperative is to survive and reproduce.

The goal of life is to survive and reproduce. That is the Darwinian goal, but of course there’s more that occupies our time and attention. The thrust of our DNA is strong and should be obeyed, but in the longer view of planning to build upon those natural processes, it is better for our species that we die after we have provided for our offsprings’ future. That leaves more provisions for our children to thrive and for their offspring too.

When we observe humanity it appears that many people have lost contact with those basic functions of life, but most people by the time they reach reproductive age are out trying to acquire physical goods and earn a living. That striving for worldly success works well for advancing their personal survival and reproductive success, but they have often forgotten their basic reason for living. I know this for a fact, because many times I have asked groups of people, “What is the meaning of life?” and most of the time it comes down to their being happy and having enjoyable entertainment.

But, here’s my problem, “Why do people seek enjoyment in dangerous entertainment?” Here in Bend, Oregon, a recreational city, most people routinely engage in dangerous activities like skiing, rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, mountain climbing, and many more. Also, these people commonly drive ten miles per hour over the posted speed limits even though the time saved is minimal. What these risky activities seem to provide is a sense of purpose to their lives that is lacking in their employment and family lives. Risk-taking seems to generate the pleasure of beating the system. But risking one’s life climbing up a vertical rock wall has no payoff and plenty of opportunity for deadly failure. When I ask them why they do these things, they claim it adds zest to their life, but that is in direct violation of Nature’s Imperative to survive and reproduce. To me those non-essential risky activities seem counterproductive and a direct violation of common sense. I would humbly suggest …

Never challenge Nature’s Imperative to survive and reproduce, because you are going to lose.

Ebola and sex

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Ebola patients are being released from hospitals after the acute symptoms, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, have subsided, and their blood tests are clear of Ebola virus. Unfortunately, as the chart below demonstrates, there are still live viruses within the body of the victim, and it is not known what the rate of transmission of these viruses are.

Ebola labratory tests of Ebola victims bodily fluids.

This data is from an earlier outbreak of Ebola, but the new form should be similar.

From Journal of Infectious Disease – Assessment of the Risk of Ebola Virus Transmission from Bodily Fluids and Fomites

In the summary:
“The isolation of EBOV from semen 40 days after the onset of illness underscores the risk of sexual transmission of the filoviruses during convalescence. Zaire EBOV has been detected in the semen of convalescent patients by virus isolation (82 days) and RT-PCR (91 days) after disease onset. Marburg virus has also been isolated from the semen and linked conclusively to sexual transmission 13 weeks into convalescence.”

The earlier outbreaks of Ebola have been contained locally to villages, and the disease was eliminated from the population. The situation is different this time because the disease has become widespread, and appears to going beyond West Africa. The Ebola outbreak will not be over until every case of it has been eliminated from humans. A single case on December 1, 2013 became 10,000 by October 2014. The American medical establishment has what may prove to be excessive hubris when they claim they can control an outbreak in this country. Time will tell. The US and other advanced countries may be able to cope, but what will happen when the disease reaches densely populated areas with very little medical resources. Until a vaccine is available humanity will suffer.

The report above is bothersome because if the virus has been observed to live in the semen for 91 days after onset of symptoms, that means there is a risk of transmission that would not show up for 100 days. That makes discovering and isolating the carrier difficult. If the carrier is a truck driver he may have many partners before he is even suspected. If transmission via semen is impossible then there is no worry, but since the virus has been shown to prefer warm wet environments it will have time to find a new host. The male victims are being told not to have sex for three months, but that is like telling water not to run downhill. It may turn out that if the Ebola virus can live for 91 days in a male’s reproductive system, it may well make the adaptations to reside there permanently. If that happens Ebola will be with us until a vaccine is developed to totally rid the body of it, and that may not be possible.

With 80,000 cases by New Year’s 2015, half dying leaves 40,000 survivors, half are male and that leaves 20,000, and of those perhaps 10,000 are sexually active, and of that there would be 30 exposures times 10,000 or 300,000 exposures. That is a huge number so we must hope there is zero chance of transmission via sex.

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