Tuesday, October 07, 2014

hello, we're from the west and we're here to help you....,


natgeo |  The severity of this outbreak in West Africa reflects not only the transmissibility of the disease, but also the sad circumstances of poverty and the chronic lack of medical care, infrastructure, and supplies. That's really what this is telling us: that we need to try harder to imagine just what it's like to be poor in Africa. One of the consequences of being poor in Africa, especially in a country like Liberia or Sierra Leone, which have gone through a lot of political turmoil and have weak governance and a shortage of medical resources, is that the current outbreak could turn into an epidemic.

It's being spread because people are taking care of their loved ones at home. They're touching them, they're feeding them, they're washing them, they're cleaning up the vomit and the diarrhea that Ebola generates. That's a classic circumstance in which even health care workers are getting infected.

In addition, there are burial practices that involve washing the bodies and in some cases cleaning out the body cavities. In some cases, the funeral practices also involve a final touch or even a final kiss of the deceased person. And one of the things that's particularly nefarious about Ebola is that it continues to live in a dead person for some period of time after death. A person who's been dead for a day or two may still be seething with Ebola virus. So funeral practices can be a big factor in allowing it to be transmitted.

It's a combination of horrible circumstances. But the primary factor is poverty.

There's a cultural dimension to the way that disease is interpreted in Africa, isn't there? A kind of standoff between sorcery and science.
That's absolutely true. I know a little bit more about that element among the ethnic peoples of central Africa than West Africa. But in both regions there's a belief that these mysterious, invisible plagues are caused by sorcery and evil spirits—what we might call putting hexes on people.
There's a belief in some cultures that if a person experiences good fortune in financial terms and does not share the good fortune, when that person becomes ill with a mysterious fever and dies, people tend to say: "Aha! It was because he didn't share. It was the spirits who brought him down." There's also a belief in some cultures that if someone doesn't share, another person will direct these evil spirits to take that person down. There are a lot of different beliefs from culture to culture that involve the idea of sorcery. And that just adds to the confusion and the capacity for transmission.

When and where did Ebola first appear? (Belgian nuns with dirty needles in Yambuku!!!)
The first known outbreaks were in central Africa, in 1976: one in Zaire, the country that's now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and one in Sudan. The Zaire outbreak is the more famous. It began in a place called Yambuku, a little mission town in north central Zaire. People were suddenly dying with these horrible symptoms, but nobody knew what it was. An international team led by Karl Johnson went in, and it was this team that first isolated and identified the virus. They named it after a nearby river, the Ebola River.

15 comments:

Dale Asberry said...

I call bollocks on a state actor making and spreading this virus. Damn dirty nuns!

CNu said...

At the height of the Ferguson uprising, I had had a belly full of anything that the Roman Catholic church had to say, because during that interval, they were on about their foreign missions begging. Begging for $$$ for the mission in New Guinea, begging for $$$ for the mission in Soweto, etc, etc, etc..., all I could angrily think during that time was how pathetic, useless, and cowardly these missions seemed in light of the obvious and pressing need for Christian missionary work to the apartheid minority in Ferguson and the larger and encompassing apartheid "civic community" in St. Louis county Missouri. http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/10/the_white_church_should_not_be_silent_on_the_killings_of_black_men.html to discover that the living memory history of these wattles includes catastrophic injury in conjunction with ongoing cultural insult..., sometimes it's just too effing much...,

rohan said...

The side eye that little girl is giving those space-suited aliens tells the whole story, don't it?

BigDonOne said...

Un-fkg-Believable Seattle Item -- Never lacking in support of Lefty-Liberal causes, it was announced yesterday that Ebola will be coming to Seattle big-time. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Harborview-volunteers-to-treat-Ebola-patients-278276551.html

Dale Asberry said...

Better get to that bunker!

Dale Asberry said...

Color me unsurprised. And sarcastic. And smartass.

makheru bradley said...

[There are a couple of mysteries. The main one is: Where does it live when it's not killing humans? In other words, what is its reservoir host? What kind of creature living in the African forest harbors this virus in a chronic, inconspicuous, but permanent way? Viruses have to live somewhere. They can only replicate in living creatures. So, when the Ebola virus disappears between outbreaks, it has to be living in some reservoir host, presumably some species of animal.

But after 38 years since the first outbreak, scientists have yet to identify for certain what the reservoir host of Ebola is. It is suspected that at least one of its reservoir hosts is a fruit bat. Antibodies to Ebola have been found, but no one has ever isolated live Ebola virus from a fruit bat or from any other creature. So we still don't know where this thing lives. And until we do, we can't foresee or forestall further outbreaks.]

“Where does it live when it's not killing humans?” Probably in a laboratory.

CNu said...

That's Mineshaft sport! http://backinthegays.com/back2stonewall-nyc-the-mineshaft-1976-1985/

I think the man has been very clear that he's headed into an undisclosed mineshaft when TSHTF....,

CNu said...

My man rohan got it absolutely right. I pride myself on being cold-blooded as - and wiser than - a serpent, but the expression written on my face about this seething hot mess mirrors the expression on that little girl's face about now.

There simply is no fact-based, value-free, or context-independent retelling of this story that puts my mind at ease.

Dale Asberry said...

I wonder what it would take to close that mineshaft off to those without heavy equipment?...

Dale Asberry said...

Doh! Should click those links...


Priceless.comedy.gold!

BigDonOne said...

The virus lives in monkeys and the monkeys are naturally immune.
Have sex with, or eat, the wrong monkey, and you have an infected human.

rohan said...

Grappaw's done wandered into the dining room again, and is trying to dip into grown-folks conversation at the big table. Would somebody please come get him and show him back out to the den with the other folding-table guests?

BigDonOne said...

State and County taxpayers support that hospital. Just the cost of managing/quarantining *suspected* case will be enormous as is already being seen elsewhere. Not to mention paying the Wrongful Death judgments against the County from those victims innocently infected from this debacle......

CNu said...

nah brah, it's a not-for-profit and while I grant you the nod requisite to an institution that doesn't exist to enrich a small contingent of individuals, I'm not quite ready to pretend that its institutional liability automatically defaults to the dole.