Ebola & My Tin Foil Hat

I’m not generally a big fan of conspiracy theories, but I feel the need to point out a few things.  We have not one but two federal agencies who have had their budgets cut severely for years.  If you were a federal agency and you wanted to get your budget back, what would the ideal scenario to accomplish that look like?

*whips out a big coal black Stetson and pops it on*

<Begin mode =”evil”>You know, I was think that if a really scary disease were to finally come to the US, it might shake those retards in Congress up and we might get our funding back.  I can’t bring it, or they’d crucify us. But if it just sort of showed up….  Hmmm…  *flips through Rolodex of nasty diseases*  What do I want to invite over?  Lemesee….  Smallpox?  No, we already had that and most of the older population is vaccinated.  Bubonic plague? No… that nearly wiped out humanity and caused the Dark Ages.  Nothing quite that severe…  What else do we have? SARS?  Um…no, that’s too contagious.  Dengue? Nah… mosquitoes might get it and we’d never get rid of it.  What else is left?  Oh, wait… this looks promising.  Not too contagious.  No insect vectors.  Just a few known animal vectors but the US isn’t exactly teeming with antelopes, gazelles, and gorillas.  The mortality rate is kind of high, but, hey, we can contain it.  We’re not out to actually hurt anyone.  We just need to give ’em a good scare.  Boys and girls, I think we have ourselves a winner.  It’s called Ebola.  Heck, its even been in the news lately since there’s a big epidemic of it in Africa.</End>

These two agencies chose to deliberately bring infected people into the continental US.  The VHF that they decided to bring in was Ebola.  Eric Duncan dies in an ill-equipped Dallas hospital 5 weeks after Kent & Nancy are released from their hospital stays.  Now, thanks to the mass confusion, 75 health care workers are home being monitored.  There are 2 more confirmed  cases – both nurses who cared for Eric Dunan.  Now, thanks to CDC approved travel plans by one of the nurses, that’s expanded to 131 people that shared a flight with her from Cleveland to Dallas.  It also adds anyone those 131 people have had contact with.  This particular nurse became symptomatic IN CLEVELAND, OH.  This adds everyone she had contact with in Cleveland to the quarantine/watch list.  48 (from Eric Duncan) + 75 + 131 + ????

  1. The “Ebola” nurse & doctor Kent Brantly & Nancy Writetbol were brought to the US, studied and treated before Eric Duncan (Patient 0E).  I’m calling him Patient 0E since Patient 0 was a flight attendant who brought AIDS to the US.
  2. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are practically poster children for the Republican party while Eric Duncan, a Nigerian-born immigrant, is clearly not.
  3. There was no compelling reason to bring either of these individuals to the US for treatment.  You see we have these giant aircraft called C-130.  We don’t just have one or two of these things either. We have a lot of them. We could easily put an entire isolation ward and everything necessary to care for both of these people into C-130s and deliver it to most anywhere in the world… like Sierra Leone, Liberia, or Nigeria.
  4. Given the severity of the consequences, even the small possibility of an accident while transporting and treating Kent Brantly & Nance Writebol should have been flatly unacceptable to anyone with the sense God gave a grapefruit.
  5. These people had Ebola and not some other VHF.
    1. Ebola is not able to readily infect people who do not have direct contact with a sick person and/or their bodily fluids.  While it can be transmitted by some animals, these aren’t animals that are common to the US.  It also doesn’t seem to be transmitted by insects at all.  Ebola also has one of the lower mortality rates for a VHF.
  6. For the reasons below, “Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers” are a matter of national security.
    1. While Ebola’s 50% mortality rate is appalling, many of the other “Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers” are far worse with mortality rates exceeding 80%.
    2. You can’t catch Ebola just by being in a room with someone who has it.  Some of the viruses in this group are extremely contagious among humans.
    3. Many of the viruses in this group have a very high probability of “going native” should they ever reach the US.   This is because they are spread by insects, rats, mice, and other rodents (e.g. bats, muskrats, etc.)
    4. I think we’ve all seen how stunningly ineffective our collective efforts at controlling West Nile Virus have been.  While West Nile isn’t one of the “Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers”, it now roams freely through the native mosquito population.
    5. Some of the viruses in this group raise the specter of contaminating our food supply since they are spread by contact with, drinking milk from or eating an infected animal.  The animals affected are most primates (monkeys, gorillas, etc). horses, cows, goats, and pigs.  There is a limited body of evidence that dogs and cats may also be affected.
    6. There is a segment (IMHO a VERY stupid segment) of the population who actually wants to contract a horrible disease and survive it so that they can be famous.
    7. There is also the threat of bio-terrorism.  This group wants to contract the disease so that they can spread it to as many as possible in order to create an epidemic.
  7.  As a point of reference, the Dark Ages were brought on by the death of approximately 33% of the population of Europe due to the Bubonic Plague.  It took 15 centuries for Europe to recover from this.  In dealing with these diseases, we face the potential loss of two to three times that  percentage of the population.
  8. Another point of reference is the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 which only had a mortality rate of about 2.5%.  In today’s dollars (adjusted for inflation, etc.), the economic costs were about $200 billion dollars.
  9. Given the gravity of the situation, I cannot help but think that our agencies are watching who is and who is not travelling to this country.