CDC: Airborne Ebola possible

Source:  CDC: Airborne Ebola possible    Tag:  airborne viruses list
By Elise Viebeck - 10/07/14 04:32 PM EDT

The Ebola virus becoming airborne is a possible said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden said Tuesday. 

The outbreak involves Ebola Zaire, a strain that is passed through bodily fluids, not the air. But some experts have expressed fear about viral mutations due to the unprecedented — and rising — number of Ebola cases. 

Frieden sought to allay those fears during a call with reporters. 

"The rate of change [with Ebola] is slower than most viruses, and most viruses don't change how they spread," he said. Frieden is unofficially spearheading the U.S. response to Ebola. 

"That is not to say it's impossible that it could change [to become airborne]," he continued. "That would be the worst-case scenario. We would know that by looking at ... what is happening in Africa. That is why we have scientists from the CDC on the ground tracking that." 

A change in the way Ebola spreads would make the virus significantly more dangerous. The disease kills roughly half the people it infects, and lacking a vaccine or cure, its traceable chain of transmission through bodily fluids is one reason officials believe they can contain it. 

Still, there is almost no precedent for a human virus mutating to become transmissible in a different way, a key piece of evidence in weighing whether that kind of shift is likely for Ebola. 

"We have so many problems with Ebola, let’s not make another one that, of course, is theoretically possible but is pretty way down on the list of likely issues," infectious diseases expert William Schaffner of Vanderbilt University told Scientific American

Frieden touted new progress against Ebola in West Africa and Dallas, where a Liberian man has just died, but warned that "globally, this is going to be a long, hard fight." 

The Dallas patient interacted with 10 definite and 38 possible contacts who are now being monitored, he said. None have shown symptoms.


So, it has been confirmed.  It is possible for Ebola to become airborne (neumonic).  I said just the same thing in my last Ebola post.  Of course I'm no expert.  But now experts have confirmed it is possible.

Dr. Frieden said viruses don't normally mutate like that.  In my last post I stated that it was common for Yersinia Pestis (Black Plague) to mutate from Bubonic to Neumonic form.  Ebola is a virus.  Yersinia is a bacillus (bacteria).  Viruses and bacteria are quite different.  For example, antibiotics work on bacteria, but not on viruses.

When this Ebola thing began, all the bleeding hearts said it could never happen here.  I have no idea what they based that on, but whatever it was they were wrong.

In the face of a possible epidemic - no, a possible pandemic because they have also had four cases in Europe, we have to temper compassion with practicality.  

This is how I would handle the situation.

1.  The hot zones in Africa must be quarantined.  We could use the military to enforce it.

2.  All those who have been to a hot zone in the last month should be barred from entering the United States - even if they are citizens.  Don't citizens have a right to come home?  To hell with that.  They can be legally prevented from coming back if a state of emergency is declared.  They should have thought about the consequences before visiting a plague zone.  BTW, we can tell who has been to a hot zone recently by checking passports.  Even American citizens have to show their passports when entering the country.

3.  All those in this country who are showing symptoms must be placed in isolation and anyone who was living with them or had more than casual contact with them - even if they are asymptomatic.  

4.  Anyone who fails to comply should face serious criminal charges including endangering the health and welfare of others.

Some people would say I'm being an alarmist and Draconian.  Maybe I am.  But why shouldn't I? Why take the chance?  Are we supposed to risk further infection and a possible epidemic just because some people's rights might get violated?  Are we supposed to put ourselves at risk rather "punish people for getting sick"?  That's bleeding heart crap and you know it.  

We have to do what we have to do before this escalates all out of proportion.  It's already started. One of the workers that cleaned out the apartment where the Dallas victim was staying is showing signs of infection.  Also, a Los Angeles man is also showing signs of infection.  It will take a couple
of days before the test results are in, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was patient 5.  Patient Zero is the first case.  That would be one of the two charity workers who picked it up over there and was returned home.  The other worker is Patient One.  The Dallas victim is Patient Two.  The clean up worker is Patient Three, and if the LA man tests positive he's Patient Four.

How many more cases must there be before we act? 100? 1000?  I don't want to wait that long. The key word is practicality.  The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few - or the one.  

If I should become infected then I too should be isolated to prevent further infection - even if that means possibly dying alone.  If that happens all I ask is they wrap my body in the Swastika flag. Was that a little over the top?  Sometimes I can't tell, but I did mean it.

Dan 88!