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> Ebola and the lack of response in the west, a world crisis in the waiting - dodging the bullet
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 8 2014, 07:49 AM
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There are plenty of world problems but this is the one that everyone should be worried about. The maths of the situation is very worrying: cases are doubling every 3 weeks and nothing was effectively done while it was at a manageable level. This is frighteningly lethal and contagious, and if the West doesn't get involved NOW just project a doubling of cases every 3 weeks forward and it becomes a terrifying global epidemic affecting the whole world within 2 years.

That might be simplistic, but politicians need to drop everything and deal with this rather than reassure everyone that we have controls in place to stop it. No we don't. A sneeze is all it takes from someone on a plane or train or boat. It's highly contagious.

We quietly dodged one bullet this week (a massive asteroid grazed the planet within the orbit of satellites and will be back in 30 years) but this is a second one, at least for the well-being of homo sapiens...
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Qassändra
post Oct 8 2014, 08:03 AM
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It isn't an airborne disease, so it's not quite as simple as 'a sneeze is all it takes'. Handwashing is all it takes to limit it - there's a reason it hasn't spread to the West en masse already through transport, as something like smallpox would have done by now.
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Doctor Blind
post Oct 8 2014, 08:45 AM
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I think this whole epidemic has been blown out of all proportion IN THE WEST (and I stress that for a reason). Whereas sadly in W Africa in places like Sierra Leone and Liberia this is a very serious and catastrophic outbreak which sadly sees little chance of an end in sight.
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 8 2014, 12:37 PM
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QUOTE(Kärenfanghoney @ Oct 8 2014, 09:03 AM) *
It isn't an airborne disease, so it's not quite as simple as 'a sneeze is all it takes'. Handwashing is all it takes to limit it - there's a reason it hasn't spread to the West en masse already through transport, as something like smallpox would have done by now.


I shouldve been more specific - a sneeze from an infected person with droplets of spit hitting the eye or open wounds. Or, apparently, wearing protective suits which get a bit sweaty around victims and aren't sealed properly.

Liitle-known fact: recovered victims semen remains infected for 3 months afterwards, so I read....
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Suedehead2
post Oct 8 2014, 06:42 PM
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It is true that it does not pose a major threat to the west at the moment. As long as it does not mutate into a form that can be passed on more easily (and, as far as I understand it, that is unlikely), it will almost certainly be limited to isolated cases which are treatable.

However, the epidemic in Sierra Leone shows the value of overseas aid. There was a Tory idiot on the radio last week saying that the aid budget should be for emergencies only. We are now seeing the consequences of that attitude. Most of the reasons for its rapid spread are to do with lack of money. That is why, for example, needles are reused without being sterilised. Better facilities would not have prevented the outbreak altogether but it may well have fizzled out in the same way as previous outbreaks.

It is to the credit of this government (and I don't say that very often) that they have maintained the aid budget, one of the few promises Cameron has actually kept.
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 8 2014, 07:20 PM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 8 2014, 07:42 PM) *
It is true that it does not pose a major threat to the west at the moment. As long as it does not mutate into a form that can be passed on more easily (and, as far as I understand it, that is unlikely), it will almost certainly be limited to isolated cases which are treatable.

However, the epidemic in Sierra Leone shows the value of overseas aid. There was a Tory idiot on the radio last week saying that the aid budget should be for emergencies only. We are now seeing the consequences of that attitude. Most of the reasons for its rapid spread are to do with lack of money. That is why, for example, needles are reused without being sterilised. Better facilities would not have prevented the outbreak altogether but it may well have fizzled out in the same way as previous outbreaks.

It is to the credit of this government (and I don't say that very often) that they have maintained the aid budget, one of the few promises Cameron has actually kept.


Yes I'm more reassured now a troop ship is being sent, and it's the UK that seem to be getting involved. Better late than never, but hundreds, if not thousands have already died/will die and governments who should know better just sat there letting volunteer organisations deal instead of hammering it right away. It would have been enormously cheaper if nothing else to go in early rather than wait for the epidemic to get a hold in at least 3 countries, none of whom have resources to do it themselves. An international epidemic "hit" squad needs to be set up and sent in wherever and whenever needed, it would cost very little in the scale of things, peanuts.
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Doctor Blind
post Oct 9 2014, 10:56 PM
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The government seems to be in total panic mode with the sudden announcement this afternoon of immediate implementation of airport/border screenings at Heathrow/Gatwick and Eurotunnel in order to capture those travelling from at risk nations who may be infected. This despite the fact that there are ZERO direct flights from Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is difficulty in determining which passengers have travelled from these counties, and that the incubation period can be up to 21 days during which the infected person will show absolutely no signs of ebola whatsoever.

It seems like an utterly pointless exercise brought in to appease Daily Mail readers, and serves only to fuel more panic and hype to what is currently a catastrophe in W Africa only.
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Suedehead2
post Oct 10 2014, 07:03 PM
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QUOTE(Doctor Blind @ Oct 9 2014, 11:56 PM) *
The government seems to be in total panic mode with the sudden announcement this afternoon of immediate implementation of airport/border screenings at Heathrow/Gatwick and Eurotunnel in order to capture those travelling from at risk nations who may be infected. This despite the fact that there are ZERO direct flights from Sierra Leone and Liberia, there is difficulty in determining which passengers have travelled from these counties, and that the incubation period can be up to 21 days during which the infected person will show absolutely no signs of ebola whatsoever.

It seems like an utterly pointless exercise brought in to appease Daily Mail readers, and serves only to fuel more panic and hype to what is currently a catastrophe in W Africa only.

The government faced one of those dilemmas that all governments face from time to time. The press stirs up a panic which leads to a demand for the government to "do something". The government know that the risk is tiny and that there is very little they can do. However, because of the pressure to do something they introduce measures which are worse than useless.
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 10 2014, 09:39 PM
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...and which in any case is not the proper response, which is not "ooh we might die" but "what can we do right now to help the poor people who are dying and stop any more from catching it" - which in the long run IS the best thing to do to help the UK, not pathetic lip service.
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 15 2014, 04:17 PM
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a week ago when I posted this 4000 people had died over several months, death tolls increasing exponentially. One week later it's 4500 and showing no signs of being in any way under control, contained, or vaccines likely any time soon. Cases are now popping up elsewhere EVEN WHERE PRECAUTIONS ARE TAKEN. Around 70% of cases seem to be fatal now reporting is more complete, just as it was in previous outbreaks.

I can't understate how vital it is the West throw everything they have into West Africa immediately, nothing else in the world matters, because if it gets out of control, no amount of border checks is going to help and all of the world's petty political and religious disputes will be meaningless if 70% of the world's population dies. There is a UK capacity for 15 cases currently in specialist hospitals.

The only alternative? Stop all international travel and I don't see it happening, and in any case what about refugees if they start fleeing from the area to neighbouring countries and so on?

Scaremongering? No. I see people having too much faith in self-interested governments and science to be able to deal with world-scale outbreaks and we cannot afford to be complacent, it's already been left far too long and wasn't brought under control even when there were just a few cases.

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Suedehead2
post Oct 15 2014, 04:40 PM
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Unfortunately, it's very easy to understand why the response was so slow. All previous outbreaks had fizzled out within months. Even in the worst outbreaks the number of deaths was below 300 and the total number of deaths in all previous outbreaks was around 1,500. When this outbreak started at the end of last year there was no reason to think it would be any different.
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 17 2014, 07:05 AM
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read this and watch the heartbreaking video..

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-29654982
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Suedehead2
post Oct 17 2014, 07:56 PM
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That's a heartbreaking film but one that everybody should see.

The film mentions the fact that a lot of schools are closed but doesn't spell out just how serious this is. There are many countries where, often thanks to aid money from the UK and elsewhere, the number of girls going to school has increased massively. In those countries the number of girls under 16 getting pregnant has plummeted. Put simply, education makes them more ambitious and encourages them to think beyond motherhood. In Sierra Leone the number of teenage pregnancies is already rising rapidly following the closure of the schools.

Because of Ebola many families are really struggling. As the film showed many families have seen all their belongings destroyed and they are being ostracised. Therefore they are finding it hard to feed themselves. The last thing they need is a new baby but that is what many families are faced with. Even when the Ebola outbreak is over the affected countries are going to struggle to recover.
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Popchartfreak
post Oct 18 2014, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Oct 17 2014, 08:56 PM) *
That's a heartbreaking film but one that everybody should see.

The film mentions the fact that a lot of schools are closed but doesn't spell out just how serious this is. There are many countries where, often thanks to aid money from the UK and elsewhere, the number of girls going to school has increased massively. In those countries the number of girls under 16 getting pregnant has plummeted. Put simply, education makes them more ambitious and encourages them to think beyond motherhood. In Sierra Leone the number of teenage pregnancies is already rising rapidly following the closure of the schools.

Because of Ebola many families are really struggling. As the film showed many families have seen all their belongings destroyed and they are being ostracised. Therefore they are finding it hard to feed themselves. The last thing they need is a new baby but that is what many families are faced with. Even when the Ebola outbreak is over the affected countries are going to struggle to recover.


True, the economic costs are going to be terrible on top of the human costs. I echo your earlier comments about the UK - we do seem to be a minority among world governments when it comes to coughing up for aid. The irony is doing nothing is actually economically far more expensive if it spreads, to imports/exports, to tourism, to the stock market....and so on.
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