Friday, August 08, 2014

a mere forty five years ago, we didn't need an infectious diseases cover story for our holocausts....,

oocities |  Western anthropology pretty much equates animism with spirit belief. I think this is mistaken. Spirit belief is not necessary to, and, when present, is only a superficial expression of, animism, which is more accurately viewed, I believe, as an expression of “identity transparency”. I prefer this term to “participation mystique” which has a connotation of primitivism not at all justified -- given that subject-subject and subject-object empathic fusion requires access to elaborate simultaneous awareness states of consciousness not easily experienced by the uncultivated awareness.

Urban versus rural may not be the real issue. Explicit animism in Japan has probably fallen into abeyance due mostly to the fact that the traditional arts, crafts, and inner disciplines are no longer being practiced as widely or as authentically as they were only one or two generations ago. The relative absence of analogical and metaphorical reference in contemporary Japanese architecture (compared to the traditional) may well be another factor promoting conscious abeyance of animism (which abeyance, I believe, has unconsciously been psychologically compensated for by the flood of highly fetishized pornography which came on the scene beginning in the early-1970s).

Regarding the second question you raise: I think Schrödinger must certainly have had quite elaborate experience of “identity transparency” (and thus of animism) and that this played a significant role in the production of his famous wave equation. I also think it played a role in his refusal to embrace the probability interpretation of his equation. Indeed, I view much of the problematics associated with quantum theory as being the result of an absence of animistic experience on the part of those doing the interpreting.

At the beginning of this 21st century, the monoculture use to which the evolving techno-base is being put is imposing a uniformization and subjective-intersubjective cognitive and neurologic deficit omniculturally on such an unprecedented scale, that, given the history of holocausts associated with this millennia-long cognitive implosion, one would have to be oblivious to human history to believe THE NEW WORLD ORDER will be imposed absent holocausts of unprecedented scale. It's a ridiculous notion entertained only by those with huge neurologic lacunae.

Being uninformed is not only a mark of distinction in America, it is a matter of national pride.
Cell phones will be to the present generation what cigarettes were to the WWII generation.
It has been a long time since there were students in American universities; now, there are only trainees.

Intergenerational memory of inner states is far poorer than the famed limitations of institutional memory: collective amnesia is endemic to the human species.

Anyone with a voice at this juncture is not doing any good. If the person were doing good, knee-jerk nesting instinct protecting the current institutionalization would not allow him or her a voice.

When U.S. officials responsible for causing the Cambodian holocaust were not held legally culpable for their acts -- indeed, one even received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts -- who could possibly imagine U.S. officials being held responsible for their acts in the Waco deaths? They were not held responsible for the Hansford irradiation; the production of Agent Orange at a location on the waterfront in Alexandria, Virginia, at the time surrounded by a densely populated ghetto community, which, when gentrified to upper-middle class, the City Public Works Department required 12 feet of dirt removed, a plastic shield placed, 12 feet of new dirt installed before building could proceed; the testing of electromagnetic pulse weapons for well over a decade in upper-middle class suburban Virginia and Maryland, which, in all likelihood, was involved in triggering or inducing fulminations of SLE and other radiation-sensitive degenerative autoimmune and demyelinating diseases; and so on; and so on.

Nothing significant will be done until the wave moving from the periphery to the power centers begins to break. All sorts of interest will arise at that point, but only the most meager of undertakings will then be possible.

ebola and applied cultural "evolution"...,

socialevolutionforum |  A colleague of mine named Beate Ebert started a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) called Commit and Act in Sierra Leone. They run a psychosocial center in Bo, a city in the south of Sierra Leone, led by a local counselor, Hannah Bockarie. Bo is a high risk area of the Ebola epidemic, where some of the first cases showed up. One reason that the disease is so deadly is that it creates a perfect storm of cultural confusion. Here is how Beate described it to me in a recent email message.
Ebola mostly spreads because of local habits like washing and kissing dead bodies. People don’t get the information needed. They avoid hospitals as most people with Ebola die there. Doctors and nurses look like monsters in their prevention suits when they come to villages. The inhabitants are scared and think the health workers bring the disease. People circulate text messages that stimulate fear and also lead to avoiding treatment, like not contacting strangers.
The public health practices that can limit the spread of the Ebola virus are known, but getting people to adopt new practices—even when it is a matter of life and death—is not easy. Can evolutionary science help? Beate thinks that it can and her local team is bravely working to use a method of cultural change being developed at the Evolution Institute to help stem the Ebola epidemic where previous efforts have failed.

The method is called PROSOCIAL and is designed to improve the efficacy of any group whose members must work together to achieve common goals. It helps to create a strong sense of group identity and clarifies both core values and obstacles that prevent a group from moving in its valued direction. It also helps to create a social environment that is maximally favorable for cooperation and guards against behaviors that undermine the goals of the group.

PROSOCIAL is a new method, still under development, and the Commit and Act team in Sierra Leone is starting to use it in their regular work, which is to bring psychotherapeutic support to traumatized people in areas of conflict. This means that they have a network of facilitators working in communities already in place that can be used to address the Ebola epidemic. Here is a progress report from Commit and Act’s facebook page:
We can hardly post as quickly as Hannah is training people how to prevent Ebola. She went through the PROSOCIAL process … again today, with another 300 people in Bo, close to our center. Our wonderful, courageous Commit and Act women’s group and the families of the desert flower project we are supporting to prevent female gender circumcision of the girls were present too. Due to Hannah´s successful efforts, Commit and Act has been identified as the leading agency in the district by the District Health Management Team to give psychosocial support to the families affected by Ebola and to support medical teams etc. As there is hardly any additional funding available for this, please donate every amount possible to Commit and Act and mark it with the purpose “Ebola”, then we will use it for that. Thank you so much!
I have donated and urge everyone who reads this post to contribute what they can. Here is the link to Commit and Act’s donation page. It would be hard to imagine a more noble and worthy cause to support, especially by those who are trying to develop a science of intentional change.

do resource surpluses give rise to human despotism?

royalsociety |  The Neolithic was marked by a transition from small and relatively egalitarian groups to much larger groups with increased stratification. But, the dynamics of this remain poorly understood. It is hard to see how despotism can arise without coercion, yet coercion could not easily have occurred in an egalitarian setting. Using a quantitative model of evolution in a patch-structured population, we demonstrate that the interaction between demographic and ecological factors can overcome this conundrum. We model the coevolution of individual preferences for hierarchy alongside the degree of despotism of leaders, and the dispersal preferences of followers. We show that voluntary leadership without coercion can evolve in small groups, when leaders help to solve coordination problems related to resource production. An example is coordinating construction of an irrigation system. Our model predicts that the transition to larger despotic groups will then occur when: (i) surplus resources lead to demographic expansion of groups, removing the viability of an acephalous niche in the same area and so locking individuals into hierarchy; (ii) high dispersal costs limit followers' ability to escape a despot. Empirical evidence suggests that these conditions were probably met, for the first time, during the subsistence intensification of the Neolithic.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

how the web became our external brain and what it means for these chirrens...,

wired |  Recently, my two-year-old nephew Benjamin came across a copy of Vanity Fair abandoned on the floor. His eyes scanned the glossy cover, which shone less fiercely than the iPad he is used to but had a faint luster of its own. I watched his pudgy thumb and index finger pinch together and spread apart on Bradley Cooper’s smiling mug. At last, Benjamin looked over at me, flummoxed and frustrated, as though to say, “This thing’s broken.”

Search YouTube for “baby” and “iPad” and you’ll find clips featuring one-year-olds attempting to manipulate magazine pages and television screens as though they were touch-sensitive displays. These children are one step away from assuming that such technology is a natural, spontaneous part of the material world. They’ll grow up thinking about the internet with the same nonchalance that I hold toward my toaster and teakettle. I can resist all I like, but for Benjamin’s generation resistance is moot. The revolution is already complete.

Technology Is Evolving Just Like Our DNA Does
With its theory of evolution, Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species may have outlined, back in 1859, an idea that explains our children’s relationship with iPhones and Facebook. We are now witness to a new kind of evolution, one played out by our technologies. 

The “meme,” a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in 1976, is an extension of Darwin’s Big Idea past the boundaries of genetics. A meme, put simply, is a cultural product that is copied. We humans are enamored of imitation and so become the ultimate “meme machines.” Memes—pieces of culture—copy themselves through history and enjoy a kind of evolution of their own, and they do so riding on the backs of successful genes: ours. 

According to the memeticist Susan Blackmore, just as Darwinism submits that genes good at replicating will naturally become the most prevalent, technologies with a knack for replication rise to dominance. These “temes,” as she’s called these new replicators, could be copied, varied, and selected as digital information—thus establishing a new evolutionary process (and one far speedier than our genetic model). Blackmore’s work offers a fascinating explanation for why each generation seems less capable of managing solitude, and less likely to opt for technological disengagement. 

why do some controversies persist - despite evidence?

physorg |  If you believe in evolution, then everything can be explained in evolutionary terms, whereas if you believe in creation, then everything is understood using different assumptions about how the world works.

In many controversies, the two sides operate from different assumptions and worldviews that are analogous to scientific paradigms. Any fact that doesn't fit into the standard picture is dismissed as an anomaly.

For example, pro-fluoridationists dismiss studies suggesting a link between and the crippling disease skeletal fluorosis.

Group dynamics
Campaigning groups can develop a sense of solidarity and community. They are advocating for a worthy cause, after all, and it feels good to be among like-minded people.

Most campaigners interact mainly with others on the same side, and seldom have dinner with bitter opponents.

Many years ago, when I interviewed leading scientists, doctors and dentists who were active and prominent in the fluoridation debate, it was obvious they identified with those on the same side and interacted with their opponents only in antagonistic forums such as debates.

Public scientific controversies are not just about the science. They invariably involve differences in values concerning ethics and social choices. Partisans will come at the issue with differing assessments of fairness, care, authority and sacredness.

In the fluoridation debate, the morality of caring for others is present on both sides. Proponents say fluoridation potentially benefits everyone, especially those who are too poor to afford good dental care.

Opponents care more about those who might be damaged by fluoridation, arguing against putting a medication in the water supply to treat the population, using an uncontrolled dose.
In many controversies, the two sides operate from different assumptions and worldviews that are analogous to scientific paradigms. Any fact that doesn't fit into the standard picture is dismissed as an anomaly.
For example, pro-fluoridationists dismiss studies suggesting a link between and the crippling disease skeletal fluorosis.
Group dynamics
Campaigning groups can develop a sense of solidarity and community. They are advocating for a worthy cause, after all, and it feels good to be among like-minded people.
Most campaigners interact mainly with others on the same side, and seldom have dinner with bitter opponents.
Many years ago, when I interviewed leading scientists, doctors and dentists who were active and prominent in the fluoridation debate, it was obvious they identified with those on the same side and interacted with their opponents only in antagonistic forums such as debates.

Read more at:

when exciting trumps honest - bad science is the result...,

physorg |  Imagine you're a scientist. You're interested in testing the hypothesis that playing violent video games makes people more likely to be violent in real life. This is a straightforward theory, but there are still many, many different ways you could test it. First you have to decide which games count as "violent". Does Super Mario Brothers count because you kill Goombas? Or do you only count "realistic" games like Call of Duty? Next you have to decide how to measure violent behaviour. Real violence is rare and difficult to measure, so you'll probably need to look at lower-level "aggressive" acts – but which ones?

Any scientific study in any domain from astronomy to biology to social science contains countless decisions like this, large and small. On a given project a scientist will probably end up trying many different permutations, generating masses and masses of data.

The problem is that in the final published paper – the only thing you or I ever get to read – you are likely to see only one result: the one the researchers were looking for. This is because, in my experience, scientists often leave complicating information out of published papers, especially if it conflicts with the overall message they are trying to get across.

In a large recent study around a third of scientists (33.7%) admitted to things like dropping data points based on a "gut feeling" or selectively reporting results that "worked" (that showed what their theories predicted). About 70% said they had seen their colleagues doing this. If this is what they are prepared to admit to a stranger researching the issue, the real numbers are probably much, much higher.

It is almost impossible to overstate how big a problem this is for science. It means that, looking at a given paper, you have almost no idea of how much the results genuinely reflect reality (hint: probably not much).

Pressure to be interesting
At this point, scientists probably sound pretty untrustworthy. But the scientists aren't really the problem. The problem is the way science research is published. Specifically the pressure all scientists are under to be interesting.

This problem comes about because science, though mostly funded by taxpayers, is published in academic journals you have to pay to read. Like newspapers, these journals are run by private, for-profit companies. And, like newspapers, they want to publish the most interesting, attention-grabbing articles.

This is particularly true of the most prestigious journals like Science and Nature. What this means in practice is that journals don't like to publish negative or mixed results – studies where you predicted you would find something but actually didn't, or studies where you found a mix of conflicting results.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

scientific morality: hard in the paint where the cathedral dares YOU to go

churchandstate | Are there kingdoms of emotion where logic is taboo, dare not show its face, zones where reason is too intimidated to speak?
Moral philosophers make full use of the technique of thought experiment. In a hospital there are four dying men. Each could be saved by a transplant of a different organ, but no donors are available. In the hospital waiting room is a healthy man who, if we killed him, could provide the requisite organ to each dying patient, thereby saving four lives for the price of one. Is it morally right to kill the healthy man and harvest his organs?

Everyone says no, but the moral philosopher wants to discuss the question further. Why is it wrong? Is it because of Kant’s Principle: “Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.” How do we justify Kant’s principle? Are there ever exceptions? Could we imagine a hypothetical scenario in which . . .

What if the dying men were Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein and Martin Luther King? Would it be then right to sacrifice a man who is homeless and friendless, dragged in from a ditch? And so on.
Two miners are trapped underground by an explosion. They could be saved, but it would cost a million dollars. That million could be spent on saving the lives of thousands of starving people. Could it ever be morally right to abandon the miners to their fate and spend the money on saving the thousands? Most of us would say no. Would you? Or do you think it is wrong even to raise such questions?

These dilemmas are uncomfortable. It is the business of moral philosophers to face up to the discomfort and teach their students to do the same. A friend, a professor of moral philosophy, told me he received hate-mail when he raised the hypothetical case of the miners. He also told me there are certain thought experiments that divide his students down the middle. Some students are capable of temporarily accepting a noxious hypothetical, to explore where it might lead. Others are so blinded by emotion that they cannot even contemplate the hypothetical. They simply stop up their ears and refuse to join the discussion.

“We all agree it isn’t true that some human races are genetically superior to others in intelligence. But let’s for a moment suspend disbelief and consider the consequences if it were true. Would it ever be right to discriminate in job hiring? Etcetera.” My friend sometimes poses this very question, and he tells me that about half the students are willing to entertain the hypothetical counterfactual and rationally discuss the consequences. The other half respond emotionally to the hypothetical, are too revolted to proceed and simply opt out of the conversation.

Could eugenics ever be justified? Could torture? A clock triggering a gigantic nuclear weapon hidden in a suitcase is ticking. A spy has been captured who knows where it is and how to disable it, but he refuses to speak. Is it morally right to torture him, or even his innocent children, to make him reveal the secret? What if the weapon were a doomsday machine that would blow up the whole world?
There are those whose love of reason allows them to enter such disagreeable hypothetical worlds and see where the discussion might lead. And there are those whose emotions prevent them from going anywhere near the conversation. Some of these will vilify and hurl vicious insults at anybody who is prepared to discuss such matters. Some will pursue active witch-hunts against moral philosophers for daring to consider obnoxious hypothetical thought experiments.

battle for the earth

forbiddenknowledge | This is an episode in the series about of how Homo sapiens once shared the Earth with other species of hominids, and how, against all the odds, we survived.

In the not-too-distant past, humans shared this planet with other species of hominid: Homo Erectus, Homo floresiensis (which were kicking around until 12,000 years ago in modern-day Indonesia, as well as Homo neanderthalensis, which, it has been discovered, still lives on in 3-5% of the genetics of Europeans and Asians, and in some populations of the African Continent.

This episode begins 75,000 years ago in India, following a catastrophic super-volcanic eruption of Mount Toba. located in the archipelago which makes up the modern-day country of Indonesia. This volcanic blast was by far the largest volcanic event in the past 2 million years and the ensuing "nuclear winter" and dearth of food forced a showdown between the Homo sapiens who had strayed into India into and the Homo erectus, who up until that point had reigned supreme, in that area.

Homo sapiens populations are thought to have sharply decreased to 3,000–10,000 surviving individuals, which is supported by genetic evidence suggesting that today's humans are descended from a very small population of between 1,000 to 10,000 breeding pairs that existed about 70,000 years ago.

Evidence from pollen analysis has suggested prolonged deforestation in South Asia, and some researchers have suggested that the Toba eruption may have forced Homo sapiens to adopt new adaptive strategies, which may have permitted them to replace Neanderthals and Homo erectus - but it does not explain the mysterious survival of Homo floresiensis, a very small hominid, about 3 feet tall (I've seen a cast of a complete skeleton one of these cute little guys).

Homo floresiensis were living relatively close to the Mount Toba eruption compare to India, they were located in Southeastern Asia - and yet they only went extinct around 12,000 years ago and the legends told by numerous locals to this day still speak of them and how they would kidnap the children (of Homo sapiens' storytellers).

pregnancy is a battleground between mother, father, and baby...,

aeon |  What sight could be more moving than a mother nursing her baby? What better icon could one find for love, intimacy and boundless giving? There’s a reason why the Madonna and Child became one of the world’s great religious symbols.

To see this spirit of maternal generosity carried to its logical extreme, consider Diaea ergandros, a species of Australian spider. All summer long, the mother fattens herself on insects so that when winter comes her little ones may suckle the blood from her leg joints. As they drink, she weakens, until the babies swarm over her, inject her with venom and devour her like any other prey.

You might suppose such ruthlessness to be unheard-of among mammalian children. You would be wrong. It isn’t that our babies are less ruthless than Diaea ergandros, but that our mothers are less generous. The mammal mother works hard to stop her children from taking more than she is willing to give. The children fight back with manipulation, blackmail and violence. Their ferocity is nowhere more evident than in the womb.

This fact sits uncomfortably with some enduring cultural ideas about motherhood. Even today, it is common to hear doctors talking about the uterine lining as the ‘optimal environment’ for nurturing the embryo. But physiology has long cast doubt on this romantic view.

sex in a scanner: imaging intercourse

thescientist |  When Pek van Andel of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands was a medical student, one of his professors showed a slide of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Copulation during a lecture, and the image became etched in van Andel’s memory. When he heard a talk years later, in 1991, about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pictures of an opera diva singing, it occurred to him that he could use the emerging technology to glimpse what da Vinci could not: an internal view of human intercourse.

In 1992, van Andel and his team began to recruit couples to copulate inside an MRI machine. Ida Sabelis, the first woman to have participated, described the odd situation: “Confined by the space, we make the best of it,” she wrote in 2000. She recalls being jarred by a voice emanating from speakers inside the scanner: “The erection is fully visible, including the root.” The experiment advanced in fits and starts as the team dealt with challenges, including squeamish hospital administrators. “It was a very interesting 10 years for me,” van Andel’s colleague, Willibrord Weijmar Schultz, says with a chuckle.  

The researchers published a paper in 1999 demonstrating that long-held beliefs, including those illustrated by da Vinci, about the anatomy of intercourse were wrong (Br Med J, 319:1596-600, 1999). For example, when inside the vagina, the penis does not stay straight; it forms a boomerang shape. More surprisingly, in the root of the penis, the portion that lies inside the man’s body cavity, “the erection is as long as [in] the pendulous part,” says Weijmar Schultz. The team also realized that the 1966 observation by William Masters and Virginia Johnson that the uterus enlarges during intercourse—based on manual palpation of women stimulated with an artificial penis—was mistaken: what Masters and Johnson felt was probably the bladder filling with urine.

In 2000, the MRI study won the dubious distinction of an Ig Nobel Prize. In his acceptance speech, van Andel said that the hardware and software had no problem accommodating the couples. As for “the wetware, we had more than enough volunteers,” he told a laughing crowd. “The problem was the red tape.”

transparent cadavers with see-through organs...,

theindependent |  Scientists have created see-through mice complete with transparent organs, in a new technique that could pave the way to a new generation of therapies for conditions ranging from autism to chronic pain.

Mice are frequently used in biomedical research because much of their basic biology is similar to humans, meaning they can be altered in ways that simulate human diseases.

The transparent mice are not alive however, and are currently being used for scientists researching fine details of anatomy.

Vivian Gradinaru, a senior author of the study at the California Institute of Technology, said the research could pave the way for a better understanding of brain-body interactions, more accurate clinical diagnoses and disease monitoring.

Before being treated with chemicals, the mice were euthanised and their skin removed. The team then pumped a series of chemicals through blood vessels, as well as other passages in the brain and spinal cord.

Some of the chemicals form a mesh to hold tissue in place, while others wash out fats that make tissue block light.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

misinterpretation of spurious effects mixed with mathematical errors or species singularity?

register |  NASA has tested an "impossible" electric space drive that uses no propellant, and found it works even when it is designed not to – sparking immediate skepticism of the technology.

The system is designed to use microwave energy reflected along a specially designed chamber to produce thrust. The idea first appeared as the Emdrive by British inventor Roger Shawyer in 2001, who designed a motor that he showed could produce power in this way. But critics scoffed, saying it would violate the laws of momentum.

The EmDrive, we're told, generates thrust by using the properties of radiation pressure. An electromagnetic wave has a small amount of momentum which, when it hits a reflector, can translate that into thrust, Shawyer found, and this apparently can be used to power flight in the near-frictionless environment of space.

The idea languished, but a decade later the Chinese Academy of Sciences published a paper saying that it too had built an EmDrive-like which, when fed 2.5kW, generated 720mN of thrust – a tiny amount, admittedly.

But this got the attention of NASA boffins, who in 2013 commissioned a series of tests on the drive and got some surprising results.

In an eight-day trial held by US engineering firm Cannae, researchers found that by using a reflective chamber similar to that proposed by Shawyer, the team was able to use solely electrical input to generate 30 to 50 micro-Newtons of thrust. Again, incredibly tiny, enough to move a grain of sand, but apparently significant.

"Test results indicate that the RF resonant cavity thruster design, which is unique as an electric propulsion device, is producing a force that is not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon and therefore is potentially demonstrating an interaction with the quantum vacuum virtual plasma," the team reported in a paper to the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, at the end of July.

troubling truths behind the ebola outbreak

globalresearch |  Whether the latest outbreak of Ebola is part of some conspiracy or not may never be known. The central issue is the lack of trust Western agencies have when they attempt to respond to a crisis. Wrought not from irrational fears but from decades of abuse, atrocities, and exploitation, this lack of trust has rendered much of what the West does beyond its borders today increasingly impotent, and even at times counterproductive.

Those in the MSF that are truly attempting to help are unable to because of the misdeeds of those in the Western governments that back the organization. When MSF played a central role in aiding and abetting terrorists operating in Syria, including propping up fabrications regarding the August 2013 chemical weapons attack in Damascus, it only further undermined the trust and confidence required to allow genuine members and affiliates of their organization to do their jobs elsewhere around the world.

And if the West fails in its function as sole arbiter of humanity, what then should nations around the world do? That answer is quite simple.They must subscribe to a multipolar world with multipolar agencies that collaborate and cooperate rather than exist in constant and precarious dependence on the West and their “international organizations.” For the nations of North and Western Africa that face potential Ebola outbreaks – or for nations across Asia facing similar fears regarding severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), they themselves must find international partners, not to depend on in a time of crisis, but to train and prepare them nations’ health workers to be self-sufficient and capable of handling outbreaks before they occur.

Part of what some perceive as the West’s “medical tyranny,” is its creation of circumstances in which subject nations constantly rely on them for aid, expertise, and assistance. Such dependence is contrary to national sovereignty and endangers the freedom and security of individuals within that nation. In Guinea, the government’s inability to handle the crisis has allowed it to grow to dangerous proportions, while necessitating the inclusion of foreign agencies the public simply doesn’t trust. It is an indictment against so-called “international health” organizations, including WHO, and the many Western-backed agencies that work in the field on its behalf.

Nations must begin taking responsibility themselves for dealing with outbreaks, and partner nations should guide them in doing so, not holding their hand each time a crisis develops. The latest outbreak of Ebola across Western Africa illustrates how sorely ill-suited the West’s “international” agencies are in protecting the global population, and how the global population would be better served by finding ways to protect themselves.

recovering americans and the top secret ebola treatment

theatlantic |  On Saturday, we saw images of Brantly's heroic return to U.S. soil, walking with minimal assistance from an ambulance into an isolation unit at Emory University Hospital.

"One of the doctors called it 'miraculous,'" Dr. Sanjay Gupta reported from Emory this morning, of Brantly's turnaround within hours of receiving a treatment delivered from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. "Not a term we scientists like to throw around."

"The outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it," Dr. Margaret Chan, director of the World Health Organization, said on Friday in a plea for international help containing the virus. "If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives, but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries."

In that light, and because Ebola is notoriously incurable (and the strain at large its most lethal), it is overwhelming to hear that "Secret Serum Likely Saved Ebola Patients," as we do this morning from Gupta's every-20-minute CNN reports. He writes
Three top secret, experimental vials stored at subzero temperatures were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save two American missionary workers [Drs. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol] who had contracted Ebola, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment.
Brantly had been working for the Christian aid organization Samaritan's Purse as medical director of the Ebola Consolidation Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia. The group yesterday confirmed that he received a dose of an experimental serum before leaving the country.  

In Gupta's optimistic assessment, Brantly's "near complete recovery" began within hours of receiving the treatment that "likely saved his life." Writebol is also reportedly improved since receiving the treatment, known as zMapp. But to say that it was a secret implies a frigid American exceptionalism; that the people of West Africa are dying in droves while a classified cure lies in wait.

The "top-secret serum" is a monoclonal antibody. Administration of monoclonal antibodies is an increasingly common but time-tested approach to eradicating interlopers in the human body. In a basic monoclonal antibody paradigm, scientists infect an animal (in this case mice) with a disease, the mice mount an immune response (antibodies to fight the disease), and then the scientists harvest those antibodies and give them to infected humans. It's an especially promising area in cancer treatment.

In this case, the proprietary blend of three monoclonal antibodies known as zMapp had never been tested in humans. It had previously been tested in eight monkeys with Ebola who survived—though all received treatment within 48 hours of being infected. A monkey treated outside of that exposure window did not survive. That means very little is known about the safety and effectiveness of this treatment—so little that outside of extreme circumstances like this, it would not be legal to use. Gupta speculates that the FDA may have allowed it under the compassionate use exemption.

Monday, August 04, 2014

this summit is about our shared future...,

WSJ |  Ebola outbreaks in several West African nations forced two heads of state to pull out of a historic Africa summit with President Barack Obama, in a reminder of how crises on the continent can undermine efforts to change U.S. perceptions of it.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning president of Liberia, will stay home to deal with an Ebola epidemic that has killed more than 729 people, her office said. So will Ernest Bai Koroma, president of Sierra Leone.

Their decisions show what this week's U.S.-Africa summit is up against in its aim to reshape how big American companies view Africa. The meeting aims to bring business leaders into contact with leaders of the continent, home to six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies. Yet weak government, military and public-health institutions leave even some of the most hopeful economies looking vulnerable.

Sierra Leone, a country recovering from war on the back of rich iron deposits, is a prime example. Its economy had been growing at 13.8 % this year. But then Ebola prompted the government to put workers on forced leave and ban public gatherings, moves that will likely curtail growth while showing how fragile Africa's gains remain.

Some in Washington worry that the threats the continent continues to face will overshadow the message that Africa is open for business.

"If that happens—and I hope it doesn't—it will be a tremendous lost opportunity," wrote J. Peter Pham, Africa Director at the Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council.

Several countries are fighting Islamic insurgencies. There is only one session in the summit devoted to terrorism.

And yet some presidents want to use the summit to talk up the dangers of these insurgencies, in the hope the U.S. will boost aid to their outgunned and undertrained militaries.

President Paul Biya of Cameroon will spend his visit requesting assistance in quelling the Boko Haram Islamist militant group, he said in a speech Saturday. His economy is expanding at a 4.8% clip, the International Monetary Fund says, and several U.S. firms have invested in sizable agricultural projects there.
But the country is also becoming a front for Boko Haram, a sect born in Nigeria that has killed thousands of civilians. Growing numbers of its victims are in northern Cameroon. Last week, the group kidnapped the wife of Cameroon's deputy prime minister, the latest in a string of attacks on political figures.

19 year intervals, 1976, 1995, 2014 - the cover story for recolonizing africa - emerging infectious diseases...,

siriusbark |  This is a long con. It’s not a short con. The long con takes years and years to unfold. Of course, in the grand scheme of history, this is a relatively short con – but with respect to terms of office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is a truly long con. In the past fifteen years, there have been two massive genocidal events on the continent of Africa. The United States of America has not intervened in any way shape or form in either event: Rwanda in the 1990’s and today in Congo. The government of the United States does not, has not, and will not have an authentic humanitarian interest in Africa. How will “emerging infectious diseases” become a cornerstone of American foreign policy in Africa? Simple. It already has.

Nicolas King, in Security, Disease, Commerce: Ideologies of Postcolonial Global Health (Social Studies of Science, Vol. 32, No. 5/6, pp. 763-789) writes of the emergence of a “worldview” as far back as 1989 at the National Institutes of Health and Rockefeller University. In May of that year, these entities co-sponsored a conference on “emerging viruses” and the selected experts included Robert E. Shope, Joshua Lederberg and Alfred S. Evans. According to King, Shope and Lederberg would carve out leading spaces at the table in defining this issue. In 1992, they authored Emerging Infections: Microbial Threats to Health in the United States. The report argued that the US was no longer insulated from the international threat of viruses…that global interdependence, modern transportation, trade and changing social and cultural patterns were all bases for the threat. For King (who provides far more detail than space allows here), these scholarly formulations echoed the old colonial frameworks of a century ago. Moreover, these works suggested a new basis for Western intrusions into Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Quoting from King:
“To address this risk, the report recommended the expansion and financial support of public health infrastructure in four areas: epidemiological surveillance of outbreaks and infectious diseases and the emergence of antimicrobial resistance; training and basic research in molecular biology and virology; public and private development of vaccines and therapeutic drugs; and the strengthening and coordination between local, national and international public health institutions.”
He adds later in his paper:
“Determining exactly how and why the emerging diseases worldview had such widespread appeal is beyond the scope of this paper, but one of the most prominent strategies employed by its backers was explicitly to associate infectious diseases with American economic and security interests. Doing so allowed campaigners to make a case for federal funding not only through traditional health institutions, but also to take advantage of ‘trickle down’ funding through the Defense Department.”
As it happens, “in June 1996, President Clinton issued a Presidential Decision Directive calling for a more focused US policy on infectious diseases. The State Department’s Strategic Plan for International Affairs lists protecting human health and reducing the spread of infectious diseases as US strategic goals,and Secretary Albright in December 1999 announced the second of two major U.S. initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS. The unprecedented UN Security Council session devoted exclusively to the threat to Africa from HIV/AIDS in January 2000 is a measure of the international community’s concern about the infectious disease threat.” (Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the United States. January 2000 National Intelligence Estimate). Oddly enough, the 1996 Presidential Decision Directive was announced by the Vice President, Al Gore. This is the same Al Gore who founded the internet, led the fight to end global warming and sat silent on the floor on the United States Senate as Black elected officials stood on his behalf and on behalf of the disenfranchised voters in Florida who delivered the popular vote to the Democratic nominee in 2000. It’s the same Al Gore who has presented himself as a disinterested arbiter of a pending dispute between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over the nomination of the party in 2008.

The 1996 PDD set six policy goals and established 8 new U.S. government roles and responsibilities. Perhaps most importantly of all, it EXPANDED the MANDATE of the United States Department of Defense. Looking back to Nicolas King’s research, we find that a public health policy paper written in 1992 advocated for epidemiological surveillance. Under Bill Clinton, the Department of Defenses’ mission was simply expanded to include surveillance – among other things. Consider this, the first new government role and responsibility:
“The Federal government, in cooperation with State and local governments, international organizations, the private sector, and public health, medical and veterinary communities, will establish a national and international electronic network for surveillance and response regarding emerging infectious diseases.”
There isn’t a single word about international governments such as those on the ground in Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania or South Africa. There is, however, a great deal about likely coordination between, for example, the Federal government, the State of Florida or the State of Texas and the local government of the city of New York or the city of Chicago, and private sector firms like GlaxoSmithKline and public health communities like the NIH or even international organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Each of these disparate entities is to have a role in establishing a national and international electronic network to surveil and respond to emerging infectious diseases.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Originally Reposted 2/21/08: T3- Bill's Long Con - A T3 Exclusive REDUX

U.S. President George W. Bush Wednesday announced a new orphaned diseases initiative and sought to dispel concern about a U.S. military presence in Africa. Bush, speaking during a news conference with Ghana President John Agyekum Kufuor in Accra, said the United States would make available $350 million over five years to target neglected tropical diseases such as hookworm or river blindness. Also, the United States plans to specify nearly $17 million this year to Ghana to fight malaria. This is all part of our initiative -- whether it be on HIV/AIDS or malaria, Bush said, to help save lives. Health leaders need global strategy for spotting disease threats
According to my man Temple 3 - there's a WHOLE LOT more to these headlines than meets the eye;

As it happens, “in June 1996, President Clinton issued a Presidential Decision Directive calling for a more focused US policy on infectious diseases. The State Department’s Strategic Plan for International Affairs lists protecting human health and reducing the spread of infectious diseases as US strategic goals,and Secretary Albright in December 1999 announced the second of two major U.S. initiatives to combat HIV/AIDS. The unprecedented UN Security Council session devoted exclusively to the threat to Africa from HIV/AIDS in January 2000 is a measure of the international community’s concern about the infectious disease threat.” (Global Infectious Disease Threat and Its Implications for the United States. January 2000 National Intelligence Estimate). Oddly enough, the 1996 Presidential Decision Directive was announced by the Vice President, Al Gore. This is the same Al Gore who founded the internet, led the fight to end global warming and sat silent on the floor on the United States Senate as Black elected officials stood on his behalf and on behalf of the disenfranchised voters in Florida who delivered the popular vote to the Democratic nominee in 2000. It’s the same Al Gore who has presented himself as a disinterested arbiter of a pending dispute between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton over the nomination of the party in 2008.
By T3's reckoning - TPTB are embarked on a long-range plan of staggering dimensions. In keeping with my own recent posts on Clinton, Africa, The South African Long Emergency, and related topics - this is a subrealist MUST READ. Now that he's back from a too long hiatus, T3 should be part of your daily blog fare anyway - This is only part 1 of a projected multipart treatment - and I'm on the edge of my seat right now...,

Tekmira Provides Update on TKM-Ebola Phase I Clinical Hold

tekmira |  Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq:TKMR) (TSX:TKM), a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, today announced an update on the TKM-Ebola Phase I clinical hold. The Company has received the clinical hold letter from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is preparing a Complete Response to the Agency. The Company anticipates this matter will be resolved by Q4, 2014.

Tekmira's other clinical development programs are unaffected by the TKM-Ebola clinical hold and all remain on track. The key milestones for these programs in the second half of 2014 are:
  • Presentation of TKM-HBV Pre-Clinical data                      
  • Filing IND (or equivalent) for TKM-HBV    
  • Interim Phase IIa TKM-PLK1 data
  • Nomination of the next product development candidate
The clinical hold letter confirms that the FDA is seeking data to elucidate the mechanism of potential cytokine release and a modification to the protocol for the multiple ascending dose portion of the trial to ensure the safety of healthy volunteers.

"It is important to highlight that the study protocol for the TKM-Ebola Phase I trial called for an interim review of the data from the single ascending dose portion of the trial before proceeding to the multiple ascending dose portion of the study. I wish to emphasize this trial is unique. It represents the first RNAi study involving the daily treatment of healthy volunteers, without steroid pre-medication or any other type of pre-medication, and with multiple ascending doses," said Dr. Mark Murray, President and CEO of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. "Furthermore, the multiple ascending dose portion of the study, as originally proposed, reflects the intense dosing regimen that would be used in patients lethally infected with Ebola virus."

On May 21, 2014, the Company disclosed the results of the single ascending dose portion of the study which demonstrated the administration of TKM-Ebola in the absence of any steroid-containing pre-medication was well-tolerated at a dose level of 0.3 mg/kg, determined to be the maximum tolerated dose in the absence of steroid cover. At that time, Dr. Murray said, "These (TKM-Ebola Phase I) results are significant as they establish the safety of 'third generation' LNP formulations and confirm that dosing at efficacious levels may be accomplished without the need for pre-medication."

what were drugs?

aeon |  When the US President Richard Nixon announced his ‘war on drugs’ in 1971, there was no need to define the enemy. He meant, as everybody knew, the type of stuff you couldn’t buy in a drugstore. Drugs were trafficked exclusively on ‘the street’, within a subculture that was immediately identifiable (and never going to vote for Nixon anyway). His declaration of war was for the benefit of the majority of voters who saw these drugs, and the people who used them, as a threat to their way of life. If any further clarification was needed, the drugs Nixon had in his sights were the kind that were illegal.

Today, such certainties seem quaint and distant. This May, the UN office on drugs and crime announced that at least 348 ‘legal highs’ are being traded on the global market, a number that dwarfs the total of illegal drugs. This loosely defined cohort of substances is no longer being passed surreptitiously among an underground network of ‘drug users’ but sold to anybody on the internet, at street markets and petrol stations. It is hardly a surprise these days when someone from any stratum of society – police chiefs, corporate executives, royalty – turns out to be a drug user. The war on drugs has conspicuously failed on its own terms: it has not reduced the prevalence of drugs in society, or the harms they cause, or the criminal economy they feed. But it has also, at a deeper level, become incoherent. What is a drug these days?

Consider, for example, the category of stimulants, into which the majority of ‘legal highs’ are bundled. In Nixon’s day there was, on the popular radar at least, only ‘speed’: amphetamine, manufactured by biker gangs for hippies and junkies. This unambiguously criminal trade still thrives, mostly in the more potent form of methamphetamine: the world knows its face from the US TV series Breaking Bad, though it is at least as prevalent these days in Prague, Bangkok or Cape Town. But there are now many stimulants whose provenance is far more ambiguous.

Pharmaceuticals such as modafinil and Adderall have become the stay-awake drugs of choice for students, shiftworkers and the jet-lagged: they can be bought without prescription via the internet, host to a vast and vigorously expanding grey zone between medical and illicit supply. Traditional stimulant plants such as khat or coca leaf remain legal and socially normalised in their places of origin, though they are banned as ‘drugs’ elsewhere. La hoja de coca no es droga! (the coca leaf is not a drug) has become the slogan behind which Andean coca-growers rally, as the UN attempts to eradicate their crops in an effort to block the global supply of cocaine. Meanwhile, caffeine has become the indispensable stimulant of modern life, freely available in concentrated forms such as double espressos and energy shots, and indeed sold legally at 100 per cent purity on the internet, with deadly consequences. ‘Legal’ and ‘illegal’ are no longer adequate terms for making sense of this hyperactive global market.

The unfortunate term ‘legal highs’ reflects this confusion. It has become a cliché to note its imprecision: most of the substances it designates are not strictly legal to sell, while at the same time it never seems to include the obvious candidates – alcohol, caffeine and nicotine. The phrase hasn’t quite outgrown its apologetic inverted commas, yet viable alternatives are thin on the ground: ‘novel psychoactive substance’ (NPS), the clunky circumlocution that is preferred in drug-policy circles, is unlikely to enter common parlance. ‘Legal highs’, for all its inaccuracies, points to a zone beyond the linguistic reach of the war on drugs, that fervid state of mind in which any separation between ‘drugs’ and ‘illegal’ seems like a contradiction in terms. Then again, if that conceptual link breaks down, what does become of the old idea of drugs? When the whiff of criminality finally disperses, what are we left with?

the great colorado social experiment

NYTimes | In January, Colorado defied the federal government and stepped with both feet into the world of legal recreational marijuana, where no state had gone before.

For seven months Coloradans have been lawfully smoking joints and inhaling cannabis vapors, chewing marijuana-laced candies and chocolates, drinking, cooking and lotioning with products infused with cannabis oil. They are growing their own weed, making their own hash oil and stocking up at dispensaries marked with green crosses and words like “health,” “wellness” and “natural remedies.” Tourists are joining in — gawking, sampling and tripping in hotel rooms. Business is growing, taxes are flowing, cannabis entrepreneurs are building, investing and cashing in.

Cannabis sales from January through May brought the state about $23.6 million in revenue from taxes, licenses and fees. That is not a huge amount in a $24 billion budget, but it’s a lot more than zero, and it’s money that was not pocketed by the black market.

The criminal justice system is righting itself. Marijuana prosecutions are way down across the state — The Denver Post found a 77 percent drop in January from the year before. Given the immense waste, in dollars and young lives, of unjust marijuana enforcement that far too often targets black men, this may be the most hopeful trend of all.

The striking thing to a visitor is how quickly the marijuana industry has receded into normality — cannabis storefronts are plentiful in Denver, but not obtrusive, certainly not in the way liquor stores often are. Marijuana-growing operations are in unmarked warehouses on the city’s industrial edges.

The ominously predicted harms from legalization — like blight, violence, soaring addiction rates and other ills — remain imaginary worries. Burglaries and robberies in Denver, in fact, are down from a year ago. The surge of investment and of jobs in construction, tourism and other industries, on the other hand, is real.

california drying: is immigration imminent?

dailyimpact |  The only category of drought higher than the one now assigned to nearly 60 percent of California (the USDA’s Drought Monitor calls it “exceptional”)  is “Biblical.” Three years in, there is no relief in sight — the much-anticipated El Nino pattern of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, which usually increases rainfall in California, has not materialized. It would take a full year of normal rain and snowfall to restore surface waters to normal levels. A UC Davis study just out finds the amount of surface water available to California agriculture has been reduced by 6.6 million acre-feet (yes, that’s enough water to submerge 6.6 million acres to a depth of one foot). Groundwater has been pumped to replace five million acre-feet, but the shortfall remains a jaw-dropping 1.6 million acre-feet.

It is, right now, one of the worst droughts in the history of North America. Bad enough, says Lynn Wilson, chair of the School of Arts and Sciences at Kaplan University and member of a UN delegation on climate change, that “we may have to migrate people out of California.”

Which immediately led to a post on the aptly named Lunatic Outpost ( I am not making any of this up) titled “UN panel recommends moving people out of California.”  In black transport helicopters, one assumes.  (For the record: Dr. Wilson’s UN service is not her day job, and her observation had nothing to do with the UN.)

But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean you might not have to leave California. “Civilizations in the past have had to migrate out of areas of drought,” says Dr. Wilson, and although heroic measures can be expected before any such decision is reached, she says, “it can’t be taken off the table.”

Ominously, heroic measures are already being taken. Californians can now be fined $500 for washing their car or watering their ornamentals. Time to move to Phoenix. Oh, wait….

Saturday, August 02, 2014

"they" sure came up with a vaccine REAL quick: this doesn't end well...,

reuters |  The U.S. government will begin testing on people an experimental Ebola vaccine as early as September, after seeing positive results from tests on primates, according to media reports on Thursday.

The National Institutes of Health's infectious disease unit is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to put the vaccine into trial as quickly as possible, according to CNN and USA Today. The director of that unit could not be reached for comment. Fist tap Dale.

first "known" cases of ebola being introduced onto u.s. soil...,

abcnews |  The patients, Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly, will be transported one by one, sources told ABC News today. 

Officials said the patient will arrive in Atlanta sometime next week. Where the other patient will be taken remains unclear. 

But the risk to the wider American public remains minimal, Shaffner explained. 

"Even if a case were imported into the US -- and here we’re bringing two people for hospital care -- that actually the risk for Americans is essentially zero," he said.

urban cores teeming with contagion prior to pestilential border onslaught...,

WaPo |  John Armstrong, Florida’s top health official , sent a letter last month to the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency — taking the extra step of copying the media — requesting that they tell him how many of the children who recently crossed the U.S. border from Mexico are in Florida and what illnesses they have. In asserting that this information was “urgently needed and is vital to guarding the health and safety of Florida communities, ” Armstrong fanned anxieties that the influx of children from Central and South America poses a large-scale threat to public health. 
Likewise, Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey, a chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus, penned a letter last month to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden requesting a national threat assessment, claiming he had heard reports of children crossing the border “carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and tuberculosis.” The congressman later added smallpox to his list of diseases of concern. 

That leaves tuberculosis, an infectious disease that actually is of great public health concern. TB is an airborne illness, caused by a bacterium that can infect any part of the body, though it typically affects the lungs. Symptoms include severe weight loss, lethargy and bloody coughing. It can be fatal without treatment.

Friday, August 01, 2014

unaccompanied illegals just crawling with disease....,

foxnews |  Unaccompanied illegal immigrant children with communicable diseases have given or exposed federal agents to lice, scabies, tuberculosis and chicken pox, according to a report issued Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.

In two cases, the children of a border patrol agent got chicken pox contracted from their parents’ exposure to unaccompanied children with chicken pox, according to the report on conditions of detention centers and border facilities.

The report, the first in a series, is based on 87 unannounced visits to 63 detention centers being used to house unaccompanied alien children (UAC) in Texas, Arizona and California during July 1-16.
“Many UAC and family units require treatment for communicable diseases, including respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, chicken pox, and scabies,” said the memorandum summarizing the report.
“UAC and family unit illnesses and unfamiliarity with bathroom facilities resulted in unsanitary conditions and exposure to human waste in some holding facilities.

“DHS employees reported exposure to communicable diseases and becoming sick on duty. For example, during a recent site visit to the Del Rio USBP Station and Del Rio Port of Entry, CBP personnel reported contracting scabies, lice, and chicken pox.

“Two CBP Officers reported that their children were diagnosed with chicken pox within days of the CBP Officers' contact with a UAC who had chicken pox. In addition, USBP personnel at the Clint Station and Santa Teresa Station reported that they were potentially exposed to tuberculosis.”

Sources previously told of multiple instances in which Border Patrol agents were exposed to tuberculosis—and one instance in which an agent contracted a severe case of tuberculosis from illegal immigrants in his care.

Other sources told that swine flu has been found at several detention centers in Texas.

ed, feed, august in chicago sounding better by the minute about now...,

npr |  An isolation unit at Emory University's hospital in Atlanta will be used in the coming days to house and treat a patient infected with Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 700 people in a recent outbreak in West Africa.

Announcing the pending transfer of the patient Thursday, Emory, which like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is based in Atlanta, issued a statement saying it will use "a specially built isolation unit set up in collaboration with the CDC to treat patients who are exposed to certain serious infectious diseases."

The unit is one of four such facilities in America, Emory said, describing it as being "physically separate from other patient areas."

Officials at Emory University Hospital say they don't know when the patient will arrive.

They also didn't give any details about the patient — but the person being treated could be an American who was infected with Ebola while working in Africa, according to a that cites an anonymous source as saying a charter plane has been sent from Georgia to retrieve two patients.

As NPR reported this week, are among three Americans who contracted the disease while working with the charity Samaritan's Purse. CNN says at least one of the two (the third patient has died) could be taken to the Emory facility.

Health experts are calling this Ebola outbreak large, complex, and difficult — and it still hasn't slowed down.

"In only four days, the total number of cases has risen by 122, or about 10 percent," NPR's global development blog said of the Ebola outbreak today.

On Thursday, the CDC issued an advisory against non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, urging Americans to avoid potential exposure to the disease in West Africa.

doctors told to prepare for global outbreak after victim was allowed on two planes...,

Victim: Mr Sawyer, with one of his children, died from Ebola in West Africa

mirror |  Doctors fear Ebola victim Patrick Sawyer may have sparked a worldwide spread of the killer disease after being allowed on two flights while infected.

And tonight a desperate race was on to find dozens of passengers who flew on the same jets as the 40-year-old American.

British doctors and border officials have been warned to be on the lookout for people in the UK showing signs of the disease.

Mr Sawyer was allowed to board an ASKY Airlines flight in Liberia, where Ebola is rife, despite vomiting and suffering from ­diarrhoea. His sister was recently killed by the virus.

He had a stopover in Ghana then changed planes in Togo and flew to the international travel hub of Lagos in Nigeria. The dad-of-three died five days after arriving in the city.

Lancaster University virologist Derek ­Gatherer said passengers, crew and airport ground staff who came into contact with Mr Sawyer could be in “pretty serious danger”. Ebola is fatal in 90% of cases.
Doctors have identified 59 people who were near him and have tested 20. But they are struggling to find the others, who could have flown to anywhere in the world from Lagos.

There were today questions over how Liberian government worker Mr Sawyer was let on flights while clearly showing symptoms of Ebola – which has killed 672 people in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone since it broke out in February.

ebola in west africa: the outbreak country by country

guardian |  The outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus currently sweeping through parts of west Africa has so far killed an estimated 673 people. As of 23 July there had been a total of 1,202 confirmed, probable or suspected infections