Fear-bola!

ebolavirusIt would appear that there is a backlash, at least in the mainstream press, concerning the “irrational” fear of catching the Ebola contagion. The denigrating term “Fear-bola” is being featured in several news outlets, and a comparison is being drawn with hysteria over the early spread of the HIV (AIDS) virus. Apparently, if you are afraid that you might get Ebola, you are now considered crazy.

But is the fear of catching Ebola really irrational?

In my previous post on the subject, I mentioned that since HIV didn’t kill its victims as rapidly as Ebola, that actually increased the number of potential HIV transmissions per person compared with Ebola.

Turns out that there is some really bad news about that. As usual, it comes about as a leak of information that highlights the fact that the denizens of our government have been lying to us. In a little-noted report from the World Health Organization, it was revealed that the incubation period for Ebola is not exactly as claimed by our political leaders.

95% of the cases are at or under 21 days — some as short as a day or two. Ok so far…

3% of the cases are up to 42 days. Oops. This would be problematic if we just assumed that a 21-day quarantine was enough.

typhoidmaryBut here’s the real kicker: A quick application of the “old math” reveals that 2% is not accounted for. That means that 2% of Ebola cases have incubation periods longer than 42 days.

What’s worse, some the folks in the latter category appear to be “Typhoid Marys” of the Ebola epidemic. These are folks who never develop symptoms, but are still capable of spreading the disease. This may explain why Ebola keeps reoccurring in Africa.

Let that soak in for a minute…

This is a serious problem.

We need something substantially better than just a fever screening at the airports. We need a way to routinely (preferably inexpensively and quickly) test for the Ebola virus. Current tests are expensive, and take 2-3 days.

The advice I gave in the last two paragraphs of my previous post still holds.

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