Category: CRISIS



Computer Models Tell Us That This Ebola Pandemic Could Soon Kill Millions
We could potentially be on the verge of the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen

Computer Models Tell Us That This Ebola Pandemic Could Soon Kill Millions

Image Credits: Sebástian Freire / Flickr (Medical workers)

by Michael Snyder | Economic Collapse | September 16, 2014

We could potentially be on the verge of the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen.  The number of Ebola cases in Africa has approximately doubled over the past three weeks, and scientific computer models tell us that this Ebola pandemic could ultimately end up killing millions of us – especially if it starts spreading on other continents.  At first, many assumed that this Ebola outbreak would be just like all the others – that it would flare up for a little while and then it would completely fade away.  But that has not happened this time.  Instead, this epidemic has seemed to pick up momentum with each passing week.  Despite extraordinary precautions,hundreds of health workers have gotten the virus, and the head of the CDC says that the spread of Ebola is “spiraling out of control” and that it is “going to get worse in the very near future.”  For those that have thought that all of this talk about Ebola was just “fearmongering”, it is time for you to wake up.

Right now, the World Health Organization says that we could see the total number of Ebola cases reach 20,000 nine months from now.  But computer models created for the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense are projecting that Ebola could soon be growing at a rate of 20,000 cases per month

The Ebola epidemic affecting West Africa is predicted to last a further 12 to 18 months, according to U.S. scientists.

Epidemiologists have been creating computer models of the Ebola epidemic for the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Department.

The model they have created is a far less optimistic estimate than that of the World Health Organization (WHO), which last month said it hoped to contain the outbreak within nine months and 20,000 total cases.

The New York Times reports that various researchers have said the virus could grow at a rate that could be closer to 20,000 per month.

The WHO is sticking to its estimates, a spokesman said Friday.

Other scientists are even more pessimistic.

For example, a model created jointly by a researcher at the University of Tokyo and a researcher at Arizona State University has produced a “worst-case scenario” of 277,124 Ebola cases by the end of this year

The Eurosurveillance paper, by two researchers from the University of Tokyo and Arizona State University, attempts to derive what the reproductive rate has been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Note for actual epidemiology geeks: The calculation is for the effective reproductive number, pegged to a point in time, hence actually Rt.) They come up with an R of at least 1, and in some cases 2; that is, at certain points, sick persons have caused disease in two others.

You can see how that could quickly get out of hand, and in fact, that is what the researchers predict. Here is their stop-you-in-your-tracks assessment:

In a worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014.

That is a jaw-dropping number.

If we do see an explosion like that, how many millions of cases will we see by the time 2015 is through?

A different model has produced an even more jaw-dropping number.

An “econometric simulation model” created by Francis Smart at Michigan State University is predicting that a whopping 1.2 million people will die from Ebola in the next six months

An econometric simulation model based on the assumption the World Health Organization and others will be unable to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa predicts 1.2 million people will die from the disease in the next six months.

Six months is the minimum time the WHO projects will be necessary to contain the epidemic.

In his analysis, econometrics research assistantFrancis Smart at Michigan State University took seriously the conclusions of Canadian researchers who proved the strain of Ebola in the current West African epidemic could go airborne.

The Ebola virus could be transmitted between humans through breathing, Smart says.

In developing the model, Smart began with WHO’s Aug. 28 statement that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could afflict more than 20,000 people before it is brought under control.

That has got to be the worst possible number, right?

Wrong.

The other day a prominent German virologist came forward and declared that “it is too late” to stop Ebola and that five million people will die in Sierra Leone and Liberia alone…

A top German virologist has caused shockwaves by asserting that it’s too late to halt the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia and that five million people will die, noting that efforts should now be focused on stopping the transmission of the virus to other countries.

Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told Germany’s Deutsche Welle that hope is all but lost for the inhabitants of Sierra Leone and Liberia and that the virus will only “burn itself out” when it has infected the entire population and killed five million people.

“The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” said Schmidt-Chanasit. “That time was May and June. “Now it is too late.”

So which of the numbers discussed above are accurate?

Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the U.S. federal government is feverishly preparing for the worst.

This week we learned that Barack Obama is going to ask Congress for 88 million dollars for the purpose of conducting “a major Ebola offensive” in Africa.

Granted, Obama will ask Congress for money at the drop of a hat these days.  He wants 500 million dollars to arm the allies of ISIS and his reckless spending has been one of the primary factors why the U.S. national debt has risen by more than a trillion dollars over the past 12 months.

But it is still noteworthy.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that the U.S. State Department has just ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits

The U.S. State Department has ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits for Ebola, prompting concerns that the federal government is anticipating the rapid spread of a virus that has already claimed an unprecedented number of lives.

In a press release posted by Market Watch, Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of industrial protective clothing for first responders, announced that it had signaled its intention “to join the fight against the spread of Ebola” by encouraging other suppliers to meet the huge demand created by the U.S. State Department’s order of 160,000 hazmat suits.

“With the U.S. State Department alone putting out a bid for 160,000 suits, we encourage all protective apparel companies to increase their manufacturing capacity for sealed seam garments so that our industry can do its part in addressing this threat to global health,” states the press release.

The huge bulk order of hazmat suits for Ebola has stoked concerns that the U.S. government expects the virus to continue to ravage countries in west Africa and may also be concerned about an outbreak inside the United States.

You don’t order that many Hazmat suits unless you are anticipating an outbreak of apocalyptic proportions.

And the CDC has just issued a six page Ebola checklist to hospitals to help them spot potential Ebola patients in America…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning hospitals and doctors that “now is the time to prepare,” has issued a six-page Ebola “checklist” to help healthcare workers quickly determine if patients are infected.

While the CDC does not believe that there are new cases of Ebola in the United States, the assumption in the checklist is that it is only a matter of time before the virus hits home.

Let us hope and pray that these precautions do not become necessary.

Because if Ebola starts spreading like wildfire in this country, we are going to see pain and suffering beyond anything that most of us have ever imagined.

Just consider what a health worker on the front lines is seeing on a day to day basis…

I wake up each morning – if I have managed to sleep – wondering if this is really happening, or if it is a horror movie. In decades of humanitarian work I have never witnessed such relentless suffering of fellow human beings or felt so completely paralysed and utterly overwhelmed at our inability to provide anything but the most basic, and sometimes less than adequate, care.

I am supervising the suspect tent, which has room for 25 patients who are likely to have Ebola – 80-90% of those we test have the virus. We administer treatment for malaria, start patients on antibiotics, paracetamol, multivitamins, rehydration supplements, food, water and juice while they wait for their results. Sometimes people have arrived too late and die shortly after arriving.

In one afternoon last week I watched five seemingly fit, healthy, young men die. I gave the first a bottle of oral rehydration solution and came back with another for the second. In the half a minute or so in which I had been away the first man died, his bottle of water spilt across the floor. The four others followed in quick succession.

Ebola is truly a terrible, terrible disease.

The moment that cases start popping up in the United States, all of our lives will instantly change.

I hope that you are getting prepared for that.

MERS “Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome”


A NEW VIRUS IS A "THREAT TO THE WORLD"

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Published June 24, 2013 | by Sentinel

Virus from the Middle East began to claim lives

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By Callum Wood – June 4, 2013 –

A potentially deadly from the Middle East virus made his way to Europe, highlighting the increased potential pandemics facing us. The virus, respiratory syndrome coronavirus in the Middle East (MERS-CoV), formerly known as the new coronavirus was confirmed in 44 people worldwide since its initial detection. The majority of cases came from the Middle East. Scientists are puzzled as to how the virus could reach into humans, and where it has spread. The strain of the larger family of coronaviruses, which covers many illnesses from the common cold to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), which does not help to identify the origin of the virus.

There is still a lot that scientists do not know about MERS-CoV. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, gave a speech at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 27, the deadly new strain of coronavirus. She said, "We will understand only too little about this virus when compared to the magnitude of the potential threat. Any new disease that is growing faster than our understanding is never under control. "

When a high-ranking member of one of the most prestigious health organizations in the world bluntly states that experts do not yet understand this deadly virus, people have to sit and listen.

Chan’s speech was full of warnings. She described the virus as "a threat to the entire world." Keep in mind that this statement was made ​​by someone who deals with health issues around the world on a daily basis. She sees this new strain as a major cause for concern, even more than the recent outbreak of H7N9 influenza in Asia.

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His warning comes at a time when the MERS-CoV has traveled the Middle East to Europe. A man traveled from Saudi Arabia to France while carrying the virus without knowing it. When he fell ill and was taken to hospital, he then infected at least one other person before succumbing to the disease. The second infected man left the hospital before doctors realize what had happened. The incubation period of the virus is more than 12 days, which makes it difficult to detect. The man was then taken back to the hospital in critical condition.

Of the 44 cases reported worldwide, 23 people died, fixing the mortality rate at about 50 percent. With so many outstanding questions about the disease, Chan said: "We need more information, and we need it quickly, urgently."

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But what kind of information do they need? Science can come up with something to try and eliminate this new disease, but how many deaths will it take to get there? There are several strains of influenza and other emerging diseases, but there is rarely another virus similar to penicillin from laboratories. As mentioned above, the H7N9 is resistant to drugs that have been used in the past.

The information that humanity needs is why these plagues fall on us in the first place. While the pharmaceutical industry has been effective in the fight against many diseases, new diseases continue to grow.

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As we explained in our article titled, "The coming pandemic diseases," the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are biblical figures that many can identify, but few can really understand the meaning. One of those riders, the pale horse, means the spread of disease and pestilence in this period of the End Times. MERS-CoV may not be the beginning of a major pandemic, but it is connected to the most tragic time that have yet to befall mankind.

Do you understand the weather where you live? Are you ready for unprecedented devastation by diseases such as the world has ever known? For those who faithfully obey God, He promises;

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"You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at your right, you will not be achieved. "(Psalm 91: 5-7)

This is a great hope that we can have, knowing the difficult times ahead.

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"And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and it will seem terrible things and great signs from heaven. "(Luke 21: 11)

http://www.thetrumpet.com/article/10669.18.0.0/society/health/new-virus-a-threat-to-the-entire-world

Happy 1st birthday Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

A coronavirus schematic. The spiky bits give the virus
its name(corona=crown) and represent the
receptor binding, antigenic Spike protein.

…I can remember when you were just a novel little thing.
How you have grown young prince and how clever of you to emerge in a Kingdom of all places (corona=crown, named for it’s spikey appearance). You’ve certainly garnered attention worthy of a King given the relatively few cases of disease you gave been associated with in the first year we’ve known of you.
It was September 20th when Dr Zaki 1st alerted the world to the death of a Saudi man due to what looked to be a new coronavirus (CoV). Today we have over 135 cases 58 deaths (43%).
I’ve previously covered Zaki’s disocvery and the problems posed for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) by the way in which he announced that discovery, apparently without the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) foreknowledge. The way in which the sample was exported from the KSA without their prior consent was also problematic for them.

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Soon after we heard of it, we had virus-detection assays with which we could seek out new cases. Were they used as they might have been in the days of the SARS-CoV? Nope. And there still seems to be only a single laboratory in KSA testing for MERS-CoV (despite reports of 3), with Dr Abdullah Al-Aeeri (a director of hospital infection control) claiming a 72-hour reporting turnaround time.
Is there an antibody detection assay that has been validated using a panel of known positive sera? Nope. There are some innovative antibody-detection methods around but why do they only include a single positive control? Is there no collaboration at all? Why is the KSA not leading the charge to develop these diagnostics and to hunt for an animal host? Why wait on advice from external organizations to screen samples?

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Why has the necessary testing capacity not been built well before now? Is it to do with that pesky material transfer agreement? I hope not because there is little evidence for that being a real block to anything from a public health standpoint.
At least we have some new MERS-CoV sequences to celebrate the birthday with. Although they and the 9 preceding them represent less than half of the relatively small number of cases described to date. Why can’t the typing region sequences be released? That should really be part of the diagnostic process. Okay, those may not inform us about the evolution of key regions of the virus but they do confirm it is the strain we know. Why not focus on full or subgenomic Spike gene sequences? They might be a better sentinel for keeping tabs on MERS-CoV change over time.

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Most of the detail about MERS-CoV and cases of MERS has come through the peer-reviewed scientific literature. That is pretty normal for respiratory viruses that are not notifiable. But it’s generally a slow medium. Is MERS infection a notifiable disease? It is in some countries (e.g. the US and New Zealand), but is it at the epicenter of the outbreak, the KSA? I’m not sure. It’s not obviously stated as such anywhere I looked on the KSA MOH website.
The World Health Organization politely notes:

WHO encourages all Member States to enhance their surveillance for severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) and to carefully review any unusual patterns of SARI or pneumonia cases. WHO urges Member States to notify or verify to WHO any probable or confirmed case of infection with MERS-CoV.

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How’s that been working out? In a nice summary of the lack of communication, Helen Branswell and Declan Butler highlight that, as usual, everyone who was asked agreed that it’s not working out well at all. In fact it’s pretty woeful. And to add to matters, the latest WHO Disease Outbreak News (DON) takes the form of a summary of 18 "new" cases; no extra or confirmatory detail to be had from it. SO the KSA MOH is now the source for detail.

If we were talking about wanting more data on the monthly proportion of rhinovirus infections, the KSA would be justified in saying that the world doesn’t need to know (I’d like to but that’s my thing).

If we were talking about influenza, then there are plenty of international public health sites publishing these notifiable data on the internet; here’s Queensland, Australia’s for example.

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But we’re talking about an emerging disease which kills half of the people it infects, is caused by a novel virus for which no host is known, which transmits between people in a way we don’t yet understand, which is shed from ill (or well) people for an undefined period of time (if at all), which remains infectious in the environment for who knows how long, which jumps to other countries, which may only cause severe disease in those who are already ill with another disease, which may be endemically spreading within the community as mild or asymptomatic infections, for which there is no vaccine or proven antiviral therapy available..I’d say it’s a no-brainer that at the very least the WHO deserves regular and detailed updates of what’s going on. Reading between the lines, that does not seem to be happening even behind closed doors.
The mass gathering of pilgrims known as the Hajj is fast approaching. This may trigger a large increase in MERS cases or, in the worst case, a pandemic. I personally believe it won’t go that far. We shouldn’t forget is the 2nd Hajj for MERS. But perhaps the virus is much more widespread than it was in October 2012. But without testing data, we can only guess.
So, it’s your 1st birthday MERS-CoV. But instead of wishing you a happy birthday you opportunistic, spiky little killer, I’m wishing Dr Zaki well and congratulating him on co-parenting the birth of this novel coronavirus. Going by what we’ve seen to date, his actions may have been the only way we would have ever heard of this virus otherwise.
And, as noted previously, but not given much air to in the above rant (thanks to @MicorbeLover for straightening me out)…

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It’s very sad that there are real people in these numbers who have died from MERS. You may have noticed that I try and stick with the cold number-crunching aspect of these outbreaks. It’s not because I’m a heartless b&^$# but because that is not what this blog is about. That and my editorialisation and expositionary writing consume what little time I have spare. But I don’t feel that I have enough information to make any other comments about these or any other lives lost to infectious disease. I personally feel that any unexpected and acute loss of life (if I had to scale loss of life) is the worst kind of loss; it’s a waste of potential, a source of great sorrow for all involved and it’s something we should all strive to prevent, if we can. I know that’s not much to convey, but it’s all I can offer from my kinda comfy chair in Brisbane.

The Saudi MOH says it better in anyway; May Allah have mercy upon the deceased.

virusmers

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