Another Nightmare From Obama

To finish my year I spent a few hours reading the book The Hot Zone by Richard Preston to reach my goal to read twenty books in 2014.

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What I didn’t know when I began this story was that it is in the horror genre. Even Stephen King, renowned author of horror stories commented that “The first chapter of The Hot Zone is one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever read in my whole life . . . and then it gets worse.” The problem is that King writes fiction, and The Hot Zone is fact. After hearing about Ebola on the news, and the firestorm of controversy the virus caused in the USA, I thought it appropriate for me to learn the facts. All I can say is that if Ebola hits Illinois, I’m putting on my running shoes, and I will run away not to stop until I reach the North Pole.

What we don’t know is that in the nineteen eighties Ebola invaded the USA, and took residence in Reston, Virginia within sight of the Washington Mall. The virus hit a  group of monkeys in the inventory of a company that supplies monkeys to labs for research. They had five hundred or more monkeys on hand with more coming in a steady stream from Africa. The monkeys were dying and the caretaker did not know from what. His assessment was that they were hit with a Simian hemorrhagic fever. Eventually, the problem became known to the US Army. At the time, the US Army was among the few organizations that could identify the virus. What they found was beyond Simian hemorrhagic fever, they found Ebola. They also recognized Ebola as a threat to the safety of the country, and took necessary action to protect us. Unlike our current President who believes the virus is just another few days off with the flu.

Those who worked in the labs dissecting monkeys described the inner organs of victims looking like they had been dead for a couple of weeks. A flu virus does not eat you alive. The typical survival rate for Ebola is around ten percent. In other words, if you get this virus, there is a very good chance you will die from it in a very short time.

Another thing we don’t know is that the Ebola virus is very adaptable and shows up in different places with slightly different symptoms, but with the same result. There are already three different strains known, Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, and Ebola Reston. Because it is so adaptive, it makes the virus more dangerous than we can imagine. The adaptive part is confusing, because Ebola-Reston was ultimately discovered to have infected several people who worked with the monkey population dying from it. Yet, these people survived without any harm.

Experts who work with these diseases claim Ebola makes AIDS look like a piece of cake. Aids is not a piece of cake. Aids kills, and had we not developed medicines to deal with HIV and AIDS the world population would be smaller by a large percentage.

There is a lot of argument about whether Ebola is airborne. If a person dying of Ebola vomits, sneezes, defecate, or coughs he sends droplets of virus laden blood, sputum, and moisture into the air. If any of it lands on you, and makes contact with your eyes, nasal passages, mouth or any open wound there is a very good chance you will catch the disease. If it lands on your skin it is also highly likely the virus will find its way into your body. As long as you are living, the virus multiplies in vast numbers feeding on your cells. Remember, the pores of your skin are openings into your body.

No one knows where the virus originates. They do know that if it gets one person sick, it spreads from person to person rapidly by contact. The original virus itself may already be in hiding as it spreads from person to person. That is why it is so important to keep it from spreading. To date, the origin of the virus is still unknown.

I often wonder why the Ebola scare in the news died as suddenly as it arose. After reading The Hot Zone, I can only surmise that our government froze all news to prevent panic. I am grateful that they did so, but I admonish them for the blasé treatment of people coming from African countries.

It is my opinion that we must keep Ebola out of the country at all costs. The word quarantine should become a household word as it was in the days of scarlet fever, and small pox. Quarantine should also be imposed on those unfortunate enough to come into contact with the virus. It is sad to have to treat people with more discomfort, but better safe than sorry.

I am also grateful for Vice President Dick Cheney who saw Ebola as a terrorist threat and convinced Congress to pass legislation to spend money on research to develop vaccines and medicines. I abhor the CDC and NIH under this administration for spending that money on frivolous research instead of on Ebola cures. Remember, that one of the very first laments of the CDC was that it did not have money to fight Ebola. I guess 5.6 billion dollars is just not enough these days to satisfy the lust of a government gone wild while the rest of us spend our days fearing a disease worse than the plague.

F = Failure

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Sixty to seventy years ago we had a better pandemic control system in place than we do now. The difference between then and now is several trillion dollars spent by a very liberal government on drugs and systems that only serve to line the pockets of their political friends. I have personal experience with the system of sixty years ago. At the time polio was the scourge that swept the country. There was no cure, there was no vaccine, and the virus spread like wildfire. The government did have some guidance for places to avoid, like crowds, public beaches, and people with the disease. In spite of offering that wisdom, people still go the disease. I was one of them. Polio was not new when I got it. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, one of our most popular presidents got polio in the thirties. The government did have time to react in ways it knew how. Because of FDR’s  affliction the public had an awareness of the virus and the consequences.

One day in August of nineteen fifty-three I couldn’t get out of bed because I was sick with a high fever, my throat was on fire, and my neck was stiff and hurt too. Mom did the best she could, she called the family doctor. He came to the house in the late afternoon. Yes folks, he came to the house. That was long before people had Obama Care and even longer before there was such a thing as medical insurance. Doctor Horner examined me and told my mom that I had polio. He didn’t ask, he went to the phone and called for an ambulance. He shipped my sorry ass to a special place for quarantine. You see, folks, back then people had something called common sense. They figured that if a person had a catchy disease keep him away from other people. My family was also under quarantine within the house. Thankfully, my baby sister, or my parents did not come down with it.

The place where I served my time was the Cook County Contagious Disease Hospital at 26th and California in Chicago, right across the street from the County Jail. They designed the building specifically to treat and quarantine people with highly contagious diseases. The staff who cared for us were highly trained in basic hygienic techniques of the time. Patients who were still contagious had private cells. Parents and friends were not allowed direct contact with me. Outsiders came into a space walled off from the patient space with walls and glass. I won’t bore you with more of the sordid details of my illness, but if you  search this blog for polio you will find a series of about eight stories I wrote to describe my experience.

When I watch the news about the Ebola debacle I get a chill up my spine that tells me to dig a hole and go hide inside. I watched an interview with the head of the Center for Disease Control and lost all faith in his ability to use modern medicine to stop this credible bio-terror from taking out a tenth of the population (one tenth is thirty-three million people).  The President, who has taken a solemn oath to protect the United States from harm acts as though this is a take an aspirin and drink lots of fluids kind of problem. So far, he has not shown any concern for allowing this scourge to reach our country. It is within his power to deny VISA’s to anyone who is from or has been in the source countries. Wouldn’t the simplest control be to keep the virus out, and not to have to quarantine and treat millions? I read an article this week about how a private company called Firestone Tire handles Ebola.  This famous tire company is in Liberia and employs up to eighty thousand people to harvest rubber. If a single person gets the virus they quarantine the person and treat him in a caring way. The workers who treat the victim follow strict rules to prevent the spread from themselves and others. Firestone has a very good record of stopping the spread while they continue business in the middle of the affected area. They don’t have a PhD in awful disease control, nor a trillion dollars for development of staff and control measures. They use common sense.

Here is what I believe will happen. There will be a pandemic in the United States, and the outcome will be this: we will learn that the money designated to the CDC got channeled to crony companies who spent it, pocketed it, banked it, and then declared bankruptcy. Remember Solyndra? If you do just think of it happening all over again only this time with money designated to take care of you.

Today, there is a great article about the machinations of the Ebola Czar within the system in The Federalist. Go there and read, then ask yourself if you are safer  from bio-terror than you were ten years ago?

I have never called the White House before, but this is different. If we want the Ebola virus stopped in its tracks we have to wake up the main  resident living there. I’ll have one word of advice for the guy in the sporty outfit, baseball cap, and golf shoes: QUARANTINE.

 

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