Ebola and The Hot Zone

We have been going through a serious period over the past 2 weeks where a traveler from Liberia brought an Ebola infection with him and transmitted it to two nurses treating him. Troubling and I don’t feel our medical authorities have been handling the situation with due caution and appropriate controls. Too much minimizing and I feel that they forget the serious concerns discussed in the book, The Hot Zone, from the 1990s where an outbreak in monkeys near Washington D.C. was considered a major concern. I talked with two veterinarians featured in that book and this is a level 4 virus in how they handle it. High mortality and one we don’t want in the population. Here are some facts coming in about this clade of Ebola virus and how to deal with it.

The Most Deadly Animal in the World

What is considered the most deadly animal in the world? I am sure there would be a lot of different choices picked by people. The anarchists in the world would vote for the human race. Well, the Gates Foundation has pointed to the “lowly” mosquito. The reason is that the mosquito is a vector or carrier for so many deadly diseases--malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, and encephalitis. I guess that explains why I don’t like them and any mosquito bite on me creates a “big reaction”. Big swollen lump and itching. Read more here about the deadly “little fly’s” effect on the world’s population.

The Deadly Flu

In a fascinating part of history, the time of the Spanish Flu in 1918 is at once intriguing and devastating. More people died from the Spanish Flu than in the War to End all Wars, World War I. Many of the dead were the overly healthiest, younger people in their 20s and 30s. Why did they die in higher numbers? No one really has known the answer to date, yet now researchers feel they have found it. One key issue is that young people were more susceptible to secondary bacterial infections that more easily lead to death. The other is the more common strain of the flu picked up genetic material from bird flu about the year 1900. Read about it here.

“Exposure to previous strains of flu virus does offer some protection to new strains. This is because the immune system reacts to proteins on the surface of the virus and makes antibodies that are summoned the next time a similar virus tries to infect the body.

But the further away the new strain is genetically from the ones the body has previously been exposed to, the more different the surface proteins, the less effective the antibodies and the more likely that infection will take hold.”
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