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Bloviating Zeppelin: The Ebola Virus

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Ebola Virus


The Ebola virus has raised its ugly head once again.

Ebola, for those unfamiliar, is a ragingly-lethal hemorrhagic virus which was the topic of the 1994 Richard Preston book, The Hot Zone. Ebola is "one of two members of a family of RNA viruses called the Filoviridae. There are five identified subtypes of Ebola virus. Four of the five have caused disease in humans: Ebola-Zaire, Ebola-Sudan, Ebola-Ivory Coast and Ebola-Bundibugyo. The fifth, Ebola-Reston, has caused disease in nonhuman primates, but not in humans." Remember that last sentence.

Ebola consists of a single strand of RNA, the most base, rudimentary of genetic coding, unlike, for example, the double-helix of humans. The Ebola virus does one thing and one thing only: it exists solely to replicate.

Ebola first emerged in 1976, literally from the dust and dirt of Africa. Because it is neither living nor dead, it can lie dormant until encountering tissue forms. Like the worst scene from a horror or science fiction film, Ebola literally dissolves the host from within -- humans included. Symptoms begin with a headache, backache, then progress to a complete collapse of every system and bleeding/tissue leakage (hemorrhaging) from all orifices, accompanied by seizures. Ebola has an 80% fatality rate and there is no cure or treatment.


People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person. Thus, the virus is often spread through families and friends because they come in close contact with such secretions when caring for infected persons. People can also be exposed to Ebola virus through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

With all this in mind, two recent notations:


Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said one woman died on Sunday, while another man succumbed in Mweka on Christmas Day.

MSF is treating 24 other suspected Ebola cases at isolation units in the villages of Kaluamba and Kampungu.

It is monitoring 102 people who may have had contact with the virus. The latest outbreak in Western Kasai province emerged in late November.

MSF said there is fear and confusion among local civilians and health staff as rumours circulate of suspected cases or deaths from the disease.

It is the first Ebola outbreak in Africa since February and the fourth in DR Congo since 1976. The highly infectious bleeding fever kills 80% of those it infects and there is no known cure.

Then:


The Plum Island researchers also isolated the Reston-Ebola virus from 6 of the 28 swine samples tested. This marks the first time the Ebola virus has been isolated from swine.

The Ebola virus belongs to the Filoviridae family to which humans and other primates are susceptible. It was first reported in the Ebola River Valley in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976. Human pathogenic strains can result in fatality rates of 50 to 90 percent.

Now, reference the sentence highlighted in red above, regarding Ebola Reston. However, as with concern involving H5N1 avian flu, is it absolutely certain that Ebola cannot transition from the porcine to the human community?

Happy New Year.

BZ

9 Comments:

Blogger shoprat said...

I hope it's non-transferable to humans but I think I will eat only American pigs for a while.

Tue Dec 30, 09:30:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Forewarned is fore-armed.

BZ

Tue Dec 30, 09:59:00 AM PST  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Ah, I'll see you an Ebola and raise you a Yellowstone Caldera Event. Remember, that is but one of the bad things that will happen to North America someday. And we are only prepared for one of them... barely. Ebola? Uh-huh... say, there have been a number of earthquakes in TN recently, too...mmmmm... wonder what is happening out at the Atlantic these days...

You want disasters?

I got disasters.

Such fun!

Tue Dec 30, 01:50:00 PM PST  
Blogger TexasFred said...

Ebola apparently, isn't terribly picky about what it eats...

Tue Dec 30, 01:51:00 PM PST  
Blogger LoneRider said...

There is also the South Atlantic Anomaly, showing increasing signs of a magnetic pole reversal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Atlantic_Anomaly

I have read a few times lately that the number of volcanic and earth quake events have been increasing of late. This is theorized to go along with the magnetic pole reversal.

The bitch of it all is we are also in a remarkable period of solar inactivity. Many theorize that the solar wind (now at a lull) creates the protective barrier as it collides with our magnetic field. So if both are decreasing, what is happening to their product, the protective layer????

If both are falling to low levels expect more particles from other celestial sources to make it into the upper atmosphere, which seeds clouds, which is theorized to cool the planet.

Did any of y'all notice that we are having some record breaking cold snaps, snow falls and ice cap expansions over the last few years?

From what I understand, and I am not an expert, far from, the only ice caps that are not expanding are the ones in the Greenland, yeah the ones over the large geo-thermal and under water volcanic activity, hmmm.

We have to track down that China man who wish that we live in interesting times and beet him, mercilessly.

Tue Dec 30, 02:17:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

To All:

Ain't 2009 gonna be GRAND??

BZ

Tue Dec 30, 03:12:00 PM PST  
Blogger Liz said...

With all the world travel and people going to and fro - God forbid it comes State side.

Tue Dec 30, 05:45:00 PM PST  
Blogger Gayle said...

Ye gads, BZ! I agree that forwarned is fore-armed, but geez... that's enough to give a person nightmares. WOW!

I don't believe any of us will be bored in 2009. I'm going to focus on worrying about the things I can do something about, and pray about the things I can do nothing else about.

Happy New Year!

Wed Dec 31, 06:36:00 AM PST  
OpenID mksviews said...

Good heavens, that's some scary stuff there BZ.

On that dire note, Happy new year to you and your readers. May it be a better year for us Conservatives and may we all never cross paths with any of the Ebola virus' variations..

Wed Dec 31, 07:46:00 AM PST  

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