Ebola – An Idiot’s Primmer

Since we all seem to be spiraling out of control on Ebola perhaps it is time for a basic backstory and declutter.

1: Ebola virus disease, or Ebola hemorrhagic fever has been around since 1976, first manifested as Sudan virus, one of the five categories of ebolavirus, being Ebola, Sudan, Reston, Tai Forest and Bundibugyo.  The family is also related to Marbergvirus another nasty that has been around since 1967.  Short form?  Ebola ain’t new.

2: Symptoms?  Sudden influenza-like stage of fatigue, fever, headaches, joint, muscle and abdominal pain with nausea and the shits.  Sounds like the warning label on just about every over-the counter cold remedy and most prescription drugs.  It’s when you progress to the bleeding from the eyes, nose or GI tract that things go grim.

3: Likelihood of you getting Ebola while sitting on your ass in an office downtown?  Unless your co-workers have spent the last few weeks in Liberia at a hospital acting as unpaid mortuary attendants, slim.

4:  Things you can do to not get Ebola.  Stay the hell away from working as an unpaid mortuary attendant in Sierra Leone, Liberia or other region of the world where Ebola is actively contagious.

5: When all else fails, what did Mommy tell you?  Wash your hands.  Since just about everything that causes the symptoms, including the flu, colds and the like are transmitted via bodily fluids, there are only two things you can do, one of them impractical.  The impractical is to cover yourself in sterile plastic and live in a bubble.  Which is great if you have unlimited money, time and undiagnosed OCD. 

For the rest of us the simplest preventative that works for colds, flu, sniffles, and Ebola, is to wash our hands frequently.  The common transmission human to human is by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person, or contact with an object contaminated by that person.  Just like the flu or a cold.

Right from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) here it is:  When and How to Wash Your Hands

Which means that the gauntlet of thermometer-wielding folks at the airport, or motions to shut down all international travel is Bullshit Theatre.  It’s a fallacy right up there with the TSA mook asking if someone else packed your bag:  “Oh yes, that nice Arabic gentleman with the sunglasses and the kerchief over by the curb repacked my bags for me.  He was very nice and it only cost me $5” said Auntie Pauline on her first flight in a dozen years. 

We’ll add another one to the list, since it is almost flu season.  If you’re feeling sick, stay home.   



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