We are not the only ones saying it, but this comes from the Associated Press which now says that the number of Ebola cases is probably doubling every three-to-four weeks and without a mass global mobilization “the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever,” the U.N. special envoy on the disease said Friday. Deaths keep rising and the CDC Predicts As Many As 1.4 Million Ebola cases within the next three months says David Nabarro to the U.N. General Assembly adding that “the response needs to be 20 times greater”.
But what no one is telling us is what after that? If we take 1.4 million within 3-4 months and that Ebola is doubling every 3-4 weeks and by doing the simple math this could be hundreds of millions infected within a year or two. Does the CDC lack mathematicians?
On Friday, WHO raised the death toll to at least 4,033 from 8,399 probable, suspected and confirmed Ebola cases.
And looking at the chart above, Ebola is a rapidly rising stock pick for anyone who wants to bet this epidemic will hit the stock market.
Nabarro says that:
“In his 35 years as a public health doctor dealing with disease outbreaks and pandemics, he has never encountered a challenge like Ebola because the outbreak has moved from rural areas into towns and cities and is now “affecting a whole region and … impacting on the whole world.”
The Washington Post also reported:
Researchers say the total number of cases is vastly underreported by a factor of 2.5 in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the three hardest-hit countries. Using this correction factor, researchers estimate that approximately 21,000 total cases will have occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Sept. 30. Reported cases in those two countries are doubling approximately every 20 days, researchers said.
Its easy to do the math and within a short time the world will enter a serious stage especially since each patient in the current Ebola outbreak is infecting on average two healthy people. This figure, known as the R0 value with a fatality rate of 90% which others estimate at least a 48% fatality rate.
Nabarro told a special briefing of the 193-member U.N. General Assembly that the disease was spreading so rapidly the number of cases was likely doubling every three or four weeks.
With all the articles that try to minimize the threat, David Quammen noted in the New York Times on Oct. 14, 2013, “Plague is a tribulation that science, technology and social engineering haven’t fixed.”
But in almost every case of viral disease, there is a terrible, exquisite symmetry at the core of viral behavior, in which the one logical human response – to try to flee the threat – is precisely what the virus needs its host to do. And the fleeing and dispersal process is now underway in West Africa as Ebola spreads from bush villages to metropolitan areas and beyond which will force many patients with few bucks to get on a flight to the United States and Europe for a better chance for treatment as we have seen in Dallas which one patient costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The current outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, which is the worst on record, was identified in March in a remote part of Guinea and has spread to West African countries Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. Cases have also been reported in Spain and the United States.
Without an adequate response, an epidemic can develop into a pandemic, which generally means it has spread to more than one continent. Experts tell us that Ebola has not reached that level, but with a caveat; because viruses can mutate, including in response to treatment measures, even the most educated statements about Ebola — including conclusions about its potential to spread — carry an asterisk.
Can Ebola become airborne? Dr. Scott Podolsky, director of Harvard’s Center for the History of Medicine says “I haven’t heard any credible biologist say it could spread in a different way.” Similar concerns were expressed about AIDS becoming airborne during the early years of that pandemic, he said, but it did not happen.
So it is possible that Ebola outbreaks be the “pestilences in various places” (Luke 21:11) and is not global to include every nation on earth.
Ebola is not like the Spanish Flu during World War I, by comparison, Ebola requires direct contact with the body fluids of someone who has it, or who died from it. But regardless, a disease doesn’t simply stop. The Bubonic plague, with its multiple transmission mechanisms, did not stop until it had crossed Asia and Europe and reached the British Isles on the west and the frigid Scandinavian region to the north. By then, essentially everyone in its path had been exposed and had either died or developed immunity.
The 1918 flu seems to run counter to the notion that nations with good health care are less prone to epidemics. As John Barry noted in his 2004 book “The Great Influenza,” the world’s worst pandemic is believed to have originated at an army camp in Kansas, spread from base to base and to Europe with U.S. troops, then exploded, killing as many as 100 million people worldwide, including an estimated 675,000 in the U.S.
Barry wrote in the January 2004 Journal of Translational Medicine that the World Health Organization and other public health authorities have responded to more-recent flu outbreaks with vaccines and treatments that prevent the viruses “from adapting to man and igniting a new pandemic.” But, he added, only 83 countries in the world – less than half – participate in WHO’s surveillance system, which means diseases that could spread are not uniformly monitored. In Barry’s view, “unless WHO gets more resources and political leaders move aggressively on the diplomatic front, then a new pandemic really is all too inevitable.”
And the problem is not only Ebola. Flu viruses constantly change and mutate, which is how different strains move from animal to human populations. Some mutations happen often enough that human immune systems cannot recognize them from year to year, which is why seasonal flus require new vaccinations. Others happen suddenly and result in new flu subtypes, which is the kind that could spark a severe epidemic or pandemic.
According to WHO spokesperson Dan Epstein, the greatest danger today is the potential for a disease to become resistant to antibiotics that enable human populations to control or at least to dramatically influence the spread of epidemics.
“The world is more prepared than it’s ever been, but diseases are tricky — they can cross borders at any time,” Epstein said. “We’re able to track and detect very well, but the response is dependent upon what tools we have available.” In the case of the Ebola epidemic, “we don’t really have any effective medicines available,” he said.
Then we have the potential for a contagious disease to be weaponized with the aim of creating an epidemic or even global pandemic. How easily such a pandemic could be artificially manipulated remains open to debate, but the debate is no longer confined to sci-fi readers, survivalists and board game geeks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control includes on its list of potential bioterrorism agents with the greatest potential for widespread deaths an untreatable form of botulism, coronaviruses like SARS, one strain of avian flu, smallpox and pneumonic plague, the latter 100 percent fatal if not treated within 48 hours.
WHO’s 2014 report on global surveillance of antimicrobial resistance noted that “antibiotic resistance is no longer a prediction for the future; it is happening right now, across the world, and is putting at risk the ability to treat common infections in the community and hospitals.”
According to National Geographic, the last reported serious outbreak of plague was in 2006 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa, where at least 50 people died. Plague has also been confirmed in China, India, Mongolia, Vietnam and the U.S. Most infected people survive if given the proper antiviral medications in time, the article noted. But there is a major caveat.
As WHO’s 2014 report warned, “Without urgent, coordinated action, the world is heading toward a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill.”
Indeed, this decade witnessed “pestilences in various places” (Luke 21:11) and this is continuing.
The Washington Post
International Business Times