April 10, 2005

The worst outbreak of the Marburg virus is happening in Angola. With a mortality rate of 80-90% that should only be 25%,

you look at the photos and wonder--how do you get rid of something like Marburg in a place like this? Then, you have to deal with a lack of essential supplies, or the predictable attacks, or the incredible lack of doctors. Now I realize, in the big picture, this is one of thousands of extraordinary problems in the world, but Africa gets the worst of it, across the board. Why? The idea that there is an average of one doctor for every 13,000 people is insane! Especially when you consider that most of these people need some sort of medical attention. Reading things like this and seeing the photos puts my mundane little problems rapidly into perspective. This World News site has many more links on this, plus a Times article about it. (sign in for Med site--monkeyfilter/monkeyfilter)

  • Yes, I know....two posts in one day, yada, yada, yada. But, I figure, I haven't posted in ages so I'm allowed. Plus, I could have pulled a Sullivan and given you a 'two-fer', but, somehow I thought that wouldn't go over too well. So sue me.;>
  • Aw fuck. Some parts of the world seem born behind the 8 ball. This sucks.
  • I've been following this since news of the outbreak started trickling out. Filo viruses are terrifying bits of RNA coding. It's been creepy and sad to watch the story progress via Google News. 110 stories…150…now over 330 stories are linked. The death toll rises, and Western media slowly become aware of the scope of the tragedy, which is typical. It's like we've become so inured to bad news from Africa that only news of seismic proportions get our attention any more.
  • aw crap...nice knowing all y'all...
  • I heartily recommend The Hot Zone for anyone who is interested in learning more about Marburg and Ebola. They are pretty scary diseases. Ironically, they are so lethal that infected people can't spread the disease much before they die.
  • WHO has some info on this outbreak including another fact sheet. It's also been reported on the ProMED mailing list.
  • I've been reading John M. Barry's The Great Influenza, about the 'flu epidemic of 1918. It's really interesting and scary. Barry keeps saying how quickly and efficiently the pandemic killed, and then he says "This was influenza, only influenza." *shiver*
  • All of Africa could die and it would hardly make a difference to anyone else.
  • So naturally, last night I dreamed about 3 different end-of-the-world scenarios, no doubt helped by the homeless dude screaming about Jesus and that we were, "All going to burn in Hell! Fuck! Burn! Wheeee!" The good news? If Marburg, the New Pandemic, George Bush or Jesus doesn't kill me, I've discovered that even if global warning disrupts the Gulf Stream and sundry other ocean currents that keep the Earth from becoming a frozen hellhole; Vancouver will still rock. Even during the last Ice Age, our bit was part of the Pacific corridor, and ice free. So...you're invited. Bring spears.
  • douggles, good point. I've been doing quite a bit of studying on Africa and it has, IMO, endured far more than any other country in terms of atrocities. These people are dying the most horrific, torturous kinds of deaths. And there is much more to come. Seismic proportions, indeed. Cincinatus, after the first chapter of Hot Zone, I was in doubt that I could finish the book. While the first chapter was intense, as the book went on, it became painfully repetitious. varj, as I was finding links for this post I found a couple of WHO articles that were contradicting each other, with a time-span of only a day or so, one person was saying that Ebola was worse than Marburg and that they were getting a pretty good handle on things, the next article another person was saying that Marburg was worse than Ebola and that they were in a serious crisis. I wonder if that sudden change of heart was due to the unexpected, rapid spread, plus the fact that the mortality rate is so surprisingly high.
  • No, that's because the journalists are as far away from the disease sites as possible, probably in a nice airconditioned hotel, or preferably on another continent, writing about stuff they hear second-hand.
  • Oh, yes. These diseases only happen to dark people who consort with monkeys. These diseases belong to dark people who copulate. These diseases are not ours. We should not care about them. They cannot possibly affect us. No. The righty whit3ys are always immune.
  • Conditions leading to spread of this disease: 1.widespread ignorance about how contagious diseases are spread and how to handle isolating sick folk safely 2.traditional funerary/social practices which include friends and family members washing a corpse and then drinking the wash-water 3.some distrust of western medicine, so people resort witchdoctors/traditional healing practices antithetical to continued good health 4.ignorance about how to dispose safely of contaminated materials and human wastes 5.continued hunting and handling of bushmeat, so the probability is great more of these diseases will manifest in human populations. etc etc It's a whole complex of problems aside from the disease itself. The knowledge and training wealthier nations take for granted are minimal or missing altogether. Short-term remedy -- massive reeducation program as well as drugs, trained personnel and adequate supplies and hospitals -- things often lacking in African socieites. Long term -- overhaul of the educational deficiencies of many African nations. Money to effect such changes. And time, of course. Less than a hundred years ago many folk in North America were dying of diseases like diphtheria, which is relatively simple to control...once you know how important separating the privy from the source of your household's drinking water is.
  • After all I have read, bees, I have come to the conclusion that it is almost an impossible task. The problems are so profound, almost impossible to realize in scope, . The distrust is understandable. As I have said before, it's not as if Africa gets much help without ties attached. It seems there is always an ulterior motive. I don't know......I find that all the news I ever hear coming out of Africa is just too much. How much more can they take? It's just not fair.
  • Fairness is a human concept -- and one of our finest ones, I think. Only people seem capable of being fair. Nature is not fair. Has never been fair. Whole kingdoms of plants and animals have died in the past. Nature doesn't care about species or individuals -- people do. People can envision a better solution than mass die-outs, mass exterminations. And people can act with vision if we decide to. Aid agencies are stretched thin right now and can use out help.
  • Fairness is a human concept -- and one of our finest ones, I think. I shall tell that to the two fantastic pupils I teach, whose mother lost their asylum appeal today. They will be deported back to Angola fairly shortly.
  • Even quite small children can tell when people are acting unfairly. Unfortunately, knowing what is fair and doing what is fair are often two separate things, particularly when organizations.asministrations are invovlecc. When administrators/bureaucrats are not allowed to treat individuals on an individual basis, can any system be said to be fair?
  • -=organizations/administrations =involved
  • You know what would be fair, is if common sense were allowed to be used. We cannot have laws that are so generalized as to seem insane in many situations. Just like testing in schools. While there is the general population, there are many that fall outside the norms, yet are still normal. There are situations that fall outside the norm and are therefore not dealt with properly. Why? Because it's the fucking law. God forbid we state the obvious and deal with those issues that fall outside the norm in a way that is more justified. Look at how drunk driving crimes are dealt with, ie; look at how many driver's are out there doing it over and over and little really happens. BUT....if you are caught stealing three times, that's it--your in prison. It's completely whacked. *sorry for the, somewhat, non-sensical rant........I'm....generalizing* /slightly off-topic