[Click here] for all of Probaway’s EBOLA posts arranged by date. The recent posts will be at the top, and there is good information covered earlier and not repeated.
The recent data used for this chart is from WHO Ebola Situation Report – 2 December 2015. “No confirmed cases were reported in the week to 29 November.” The numbers used in this chart each month were always from the current data, but the information WHO used in their data charts were updated as more accurate information came in from outlying areas. Because of that my graphs could be bumped around a bit from the most recently updated information, but probably any differences would be within the error bars of the original data.
The media has blathered their guilt toward the various authorities that were slow to respond to the Ebola outbreak, but if you look at this chart for March 20, 2014 you will see that there were about one hundred cases of Ebola. That is significant and a clear warning, but all other outbreaks of Ebola had been self-limiting because they were confined to rural areas. This outbreak quickly made it to more populous areas and thus could spread more easily. Another factor for WHO being slow to respond was that there were currently some 70 million AIDS/HIV victims that needed help. That is, there were approximately a million AIDS victims at that time for every Ebola victim, and those people were infectious too, and dying.
Here is what can be done and should be done soon.
- Create vaccines for all potential diseases. They need not be distributed, but if a few thousand doses were available they could reach outbreak victims within days.
- Create digital response packages for all potential diseases. This would be instantly available information such as handout flyers, posters, radio and TV announcements, doctor’s information packets on how to identify and treat the emergent disease. Public administrator packets could be created on what has worked in previous outbreaks.
- Make free medical care available to all people who have symptoms similar to the outbreak disease.
- Give free cell phones to people who have been exposed to contagious diseases. These phones could be worn on a necklace and be contacted every day, and the person checked for symptoms. It could have built-in symptom monitors.
- Search the world for disease-spreading behaviors, and promote safer methods for accomplishing the same thing. Create similar but safer funeral practices.
The lesson the CDC and WHO should have learned is that it is much cheaper in money spent and lives lost to kill a disease before it becomes epidemic. Now is the time to attack future disease outbreaks, while there is still the political interest needed for action. Kill diseases before they appear!!! That would have sounded impossible a year ago, but the development of vaccines to fight Ebola using modern CRISPR techniques proved it could be done in less than a year. It would now be possible to create vaccines for known diseases that haven’t yet moved from their wild sources to humans. When it becomes routine to create vaccines for these known human diseases it would make sense to search out and vaccinate animal reservoirs of probable disease vectors that would attack humans. If we can presently give animals routine antibiotics in their food to fatten them up, it would seem simple enough to add some vaccine that would prevent them from getting sick.
Until a vaccine is available – the only absolute prevention of an infectious disease is the physical separation of the virus from people.