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How does Ebola compare to other historical diseases and wars? This chart illustrates the risk to humanity of disease and wars, and demonstrates that there is little risk to humanity from Ebola at this time. It is unlikely that it will become as dangerous as the 1919 influenza epidemic that killed an estimated seventy million people.
The chart’s red and black lines are based on data publicly available from the World Health Organization (WHO). The yellow and red disks and the black Xs are based on published data. This data when plotted on a logarithmic chart forms a strikingly straight line. What I have done on the chart is to take the data point from 1 April 2014 and draw a straight line through it to the data point on 1 October 2014 and continued that line for double that time until 1 October 2015. That was done for the case line in red, and the death line in black. Those lines are totals to their dates labeled at the bottom, and when the epidemic is over those lines will become horizontal.
Below the red and black lines are red disks for cases and black Xs for deaths. These represent the number of cases for the preceding month. As the epidemic comes to an end these red disks and black Xs will trend toward zero. I have colored these projected possibilities in lighter colors, and shown them as trending upward until a vaccine is provided in quantity. When that happens the disease will trend back to zero quickly. The sooner an effective vaccine is available the sooner the trend line will roll over and dive to zero. Only when they reach zero and stay there can we relax our efforts to end the epidemic.
If Ebola went from a single case to ten thousand in ten months it has the potential to do that again, if it can get started. Hopefully the vaccines now in development will provide an effective protection for the public, and Ebola will become a disease of humanity’s history.
The flu is easy to catch, because it transmits easily through moist air, but Ebola usually requires physically touching an infected person’s bodily fluids, and that is easily avoided. Even so, being close to an infected person is dangerous, because it is easy to touch the virus-laden fluid and then touch your lips, and that is all that is needed to become infected. Until you have been vaccinated or actually survived the disease, the further away from an infected person you can stay, the less likely you are to catch Ebola.
Ebola is a deadly disease if the victim can not maintain bodily fluids because of diarrhea, but replacing fluids can be done in a hospital setting intravenously. That is why you want to get to a hospital immediately if you suspect Ebola disease. That intravenous procedure reduces the death rate to below ten percent. Home-bound victims can improve the chance of survival from near zero to probable by keeping hydrated. They can help hydrate themselves when sick by adding one teaspoon of salt plus eight teaspoons of sugar to a quart of water and drinking enough to maintain body weight. When a person is dehydrated they can not fight off infections and then they get much sicker and often die.
Until a vaccine is available – the only effective control of Ebola is the physical separation of the virus from people.
[SEARCH here] for all of Probaway’s EBOLA Posts arrange by date. The recent posts will be at the top.