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Published On: Sun, Oct 5th, 2014

Ebola: Studies Dispute CDC Mantra


TND Exclusive:  Terry Schofield |

Workers photographed pressure washing "Ebola vomit" on sidewalk outside Dallas apartment

Workers photographed pressure washing “Ebola vomit” on sidewalk outside Dallas apartment

Now that there is a confirmed Ebola case inadvertently imported into the United States and there are accounts of the incompetent manner with which it was initially handled, it is important to consider what you’ve been told in the past, and are currently being told, regarding the spread of the virus. Like the influenza epidemic of 1918 which infected over 500 million and killed an estimated 50 to 100 million, the current Ebola outbreak can be the nightmare scenario of nightmare scenarios.

First and foremost, there is the mantra being repeated in the mainstream media and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that Ebola can only be transmitted via direct contact with the bodily fluids of an actively infected person. This is a bit of semantic legerdemain meant to deceive the general public, and is borderline reckless. Lulling yourself into a false sense of security can get you killed.

Direct contact with bodily fluids can include airborne droplets that are expelled from the infected host via a sneeze or a cough. A plain language account of how viruses can propagate and persist includes the following:

“The smaller and lighter particles (those that are five microns or less across) are less affected by gravity and can stay airborne almost indefinitely as they are caught up in and dispersed by the room’s airflow.”

For comparison, an Ebola virus particle has a width of 80 nanometers – 62.5 times smaller than 5 microns, the typical diameter of a human red blood cell. Ebola virus is tiny.  Even once a particle settles to the floor, don’t expect it to stay there – it can easily become airborne once again, as the cited article goes on to explain:

“Opening a door can dramatically alter the airflow in the room and pull up viruses on the floor. Even walking through a room can spread droplets in a person’s wake.”

“If a person is sick, the droplets in a single cough may contain as many as two hundred million individual virus particles.”

“Once airborne, viruses in these tiny droplets can survive for hours. Even if the droplets hit a surface, the viruses can survive and still spread disease if the droplets become airborne later. When a droplet lands on paper, its virus particles can survive for hours. On steel or plastic they can survive for days.”

In light of that knowledge, I doubt that any rational person would knowingly sit next to an Ebola victim on an airplane once he starts sneezing. Reports of individuals entering and exiting the apartment where patient zero was staying, unprotected, in full knowledge that it was contaminated with Ebola, is not only pig stupid, it recklessly puts the larger population at risk. Don’t be swayed by the thought that Ebola is different than common flu in terms of how it spreads.  It isn’t. It’s just far more lethal and swift and its victims tend to die faster than the virus can spread. But that may no longer hold true, like all viruses, every time it reproduces, it produces mutations that change its characteristics. Nevertheless, there is evidence regarding Ebola in particular.

SCG News, a popular “alternative media” outlet reported on a Canadian study that suggested airborne transmission of the Ebola virus.

American Thinker reported that 81 health care workers in Africa have died from Ebola in the current outbreak, out of 170 infected. The article further asserts that all of those victims were adhering to the CDC protocols regarding protective equipment. That latter assertion seems rather unlikely and might be a bit of a stretch on the part of the author.

The number of health care worker infections and deaths has increased sharply since that article was published. Reuters reported:

“The WHO said that as of Sept. 22, a total of 348 health care workers were known to have developed Ebola and 186 of them had died.”

Yet, remarkably, the World Health Organization (WHO), the source of that data, flatly denies that the virus is airborne, offering the explanation that protocols are not being adhered to and protective equipment is not always available.

It is also important to recognize that the virus that is the subject of many of the epidemiology studies to date is the Zaire Ebola virus (ZEBOV), and the current outbreak is a strain that has over 300 genetic variances from ZEBOV. Indeed, five members of the research team working on identifying the genetic variances have since died. Since they were all very experienced with handling Lassa fever, another viral pathogen that spreads by bodily fluids, one has to assume they were extremely careful. So could it be that they considered the airborne route as being highly unlikely?

As disturbing as that is, there’s another issue not being actively pursued, and that is: “Can the virus survive outside of the host?” Evidence suggests that yes, it can. Which means that a victim who is symptomatic can deposit bodily fluids on a surface (sneezing on a glass surface, urine droplets on a plastic toilet seat, microscopic blood smears on an escalator handrail, etc.), which may remain viable for hours on end, if not weeks under the right circumstances. There has been very little study of this potential route of infection for Ebola, but those that have been performed are careful to point out that infection of a new victim from such a contaminated surface has not been demonstrated. No kidding, any volunteers?

In an article published in the November 2010 issue of the Journal of Applied Microbiology, the authors present data suggesting that both of the filoviruses studied, Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus (MARV), can be recovered from a solid substrate (PVC plastic and glass – metals, not so), outside of an active host, for over 7 weeks. The article notes:

“Viruses display a range of survival times within the environment. Variola virus, the causative agent of smallpox, for example, can remain infectious in dust and on tissue for up to 1 year, whereas influenza virus has a low level of survival and only retains its infectivity on surfaces for a matter of days (Harper 1961). Data generated in this study suggested that both EBOV and MARV could be recovered from contaminated substrates for at least 50 days. No comparable data have been published by other groups; however in a recent study undertaken to assess the risk of transmission of Sudan ebolavirus from bodily fluids and fomites, virus was detected by PCR in a number of samples. No data were recorded however, as to the length of time virus was able to survive in these samples (Bausch et al. 2007).”

Returning to “patient zero” here in the U.S., his employer in Liberia was reportedly FedEx. It is entirely feasible, had he shown symptoms at the time, to have incurred a minor paper cut (or sneezed) on a package, have the virus thus deposited on the package surface and subsequently transferred into the dark, extremely cold, cargo hold of a jet airplane, and spirited to any corner of the planet.

There’s yet another disturbing aspect not being widely reported, and that is that the virus can infect a carrier mammal – a dog or a rodent for example – and that carrier, while exhibiting no ill effects of its own, can persist for years and potentially reinfect a human host through droppings, licking, or a bite. Indeed, there are reports of dogs in Liberia digging up the corpses of Ebola victims from hastily constructed shallow graves and consuming the infected flesh. Second tier vectors for transmission are of grave concern in “containment” efforts, which raises the issue of propagating a false sense of security.

There is much ado about how Ebola will not become widespread in a comparatively rich, advanced society like the United States. Yet consider the report of how patient zero was sent home from the hospital after exhibiting Ebola symptoms and admitting to having recently arrived from West Africa. That same report, describing the scene when the ambulance arrived to transport him back to the hospital several days later, quotes a neighbor as saying “His whole family was screaming. He got outside and he was throwing up all over the place.”

Consider, too, a report in the October 3, 2014 edition of the New York Times of how local health officials in Dallas found it a bit challenging to identify a firm willing to enter and sanitize the apartment where patient zero was staying, leaving it unsanitized for days. Astonishingly, local officials are pictured walking in and out of the apartment unprotected. These are not reassuring events. Remarkable for such a mainstream venue, in that same issue the New York Times admitted that standing next to someone exhibiting Ebola symptoms is a risk. A rare moment of candidness.

People lulled into a false sense of security and complacency typically will not act until it affects their life. But make no mistake, we may well be on the verge of a potentially cataclysmic event. In January 2010, the History Channel aired a docudrama predicated on a global influenza pandemic, called “After Armageddon.” It is posted and widely available on YouTube.  Click here for one such posting.

We cannot afford inaction and reliance on agencies of government that have proven themselves, time and again, to be inept and unwilling to act. Awareness of the threat is the first step towards resolution. Hopefully this article, among the many others, have lent some further understanding of the true nature and magnitude of the threat. It is not unwise to look outside of the United States’ agencies, given the degree to which the mainstream media has been co-opted into the current administration. The Public Health Agency of Canada produces a pathogen safety datasheet offering a bit less sanguine picture of Ebola.

Now it’s up to you to engage your local, state, and national agencies to take decisive action immediately. Closing borders is not unreasonable, neither is accountability by the health care system. What about the health care workers who sent patient zero home? Isn’t there a case to be made for criminal negligence? At a personal level, consider how prepared you are for mass quarantine, potentially enforced by martial law. Doesn’t even a week or two of stored food supplies and water seem prudent?

Absent from any discussions so far is mention of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, that, in turn, is part of a larger bureaucracy organized specifically to counter biological threats. Research these efforts and make your elected and appointed officials aware that you are aware, and demand decisive action. Your life, and those of your loved ones, may well depend on it.

# # # #

About Terry Schofield:

Mr. Schofield is an independent analyst with more than 40 years experience providing services under contract to the U.S. Government, including 8 member agencies of the U.S. Intelligence Community. From 1972 through 1979, he completed tours of duty in Europe, the South Atlantic, Micronesia, and the Middle East, with subsequent extended travel to the Philippines and Brazil. He holds a degree in psychology, has graduate studies in engineering, and completed multiple topic studies in counterterrorism, intelligence analysis, and asymmetric warfare, through the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and other like institutions. Mr. Schofield delivered a briefing on automating terrorism analyses to the Draper Laboratory at MIT, conducted innovative research in autonomous space systems for the U.S. Air Force Phillips Laboratory, and served as an invited panel reviewer at the National Science Foundation.

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