Tag Archives: ebola

Raconteur Report: August 2019 Ebola Update

Perusing the most recent WHO report, and various articles, the outlook is mixed.

The Good

The rate of infection, promisingly, is slowing. In 77 days from early February to May, the outbreak doubled from 1000 cases to 2000. In the 84 days since then, it’s only grown half as fast, to a shade more than 3000 cases. That’s mainly a tribute to a functional experimental vaccine.

That puts us still at “only” an 11.5 (out of 34) on the Worldwide Pandemic Panic Meter©.

For reference, in 2014, the outbreak in West Africa grew from 1000 cases to 17,000 in a similar timespan “officially”, which means it probably grew from 3000 cases to 50,000 cases in reality.

We are nowhere near that bad off this time. That’s the difference between rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine, and no vaccine.

The Bad

The disease continues to whack between 2/3rds and 3/4ths of all those infected (depending on whether you count suspected cases or not).

The usual pre-literate idiots are still shooting up aid workers, and burning down Ebola Treatment Centers, stealing corpses to fondle and slam dance with before burial, etc.

It’s still subject to African authorities, and local math capabilities and accounting practices, as always.

What is more concerning are a couple of things:

1) The appearance of new cases in Goma, a city of 2M, with international flights weekly to Nairobi, Kenya and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and internal flights to Kinshasa, DRC, megopolii all, connecting flights thence to everywhere in the world.

2) The fact that medical authorities have no contact route for how the latest cases there arrived over 100 miles outside the previous “Hot” Zone. A ring 100 miles in diameter places Uganda (which already had three cases, but which outbreak seems to have spent itself rapidly), Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan, let alone central areas in the DRC previously unaffected, all at high risk for the next pop-up cases.

In short, while it’s spreading at a relative snail’s pace, they haven’t whipped it, and it’s popping up (and will continue to) all over the map, amidst the poorest countries on the planet, several of which have the capability for it to blow right out of the area, and spread to new cities, and even new continents.

The Ugly

#1 is also the reason (along with seizing the moment to get more funding $upport) that WHO and the UN pulled the panic alarm on this outbreak in July. Epidemics in cities with international airports will do that.

From the WHO report:

“The committee cited recent developments in the outbreak in making its recommendation, including the first confirmed case in Goma, a city of almost 2 million people bordering Rwanda. The committee determined that risk of spread remains very high at national and regional levels, but still low at global level. Nor restrictions on trade or travel are recommended.”

That last part, given that Point of Entry/Point of Contact screening relies on detecting fever, in an outbreak their own documentation from last October confirms is totally absent in 50% of confirmed Ebola cases, ensures that at some point, infected people will slip through to perfunctory kabuki theater “screenings” everywhere, and bring this outbreak to points far removed from Kivu and Ituri provinces in DRC.

That approach goes by the quaint colloquialism of “having your head up your @$$”.
(You will see this material again.)

Also for reference, airfare from Goma to NYFC via Addis Ababa is $983, one way.
The only thing helpful about this is that the average per capita income in DRC is $800 per year, which ranks them at 226 (out of 228) on the world income list.

The only thing keeping Ebola in Africa, as always so far, is poverty.
If this gets into populations with somewhat more means of livelihood than $15.38/week, it goes everywhere, at the speed of 767s.

And given that medical personnel comprise 5% of the cases of this outbreak, it’s worth noting that the do-gooder aid workers are required to have round trip passage in hand before they can go there. Which was how the US got 8 of its 10 cases in 2014.

But it’s okay, because now we have 15 BL-IV beds.

My take on all of the above:
You’re never wrong to be prepared for bad things. 
Canned food takes a long time to go bad. 
And we’re always just one Duncan away from reliving 2014.
Assuming Bad People don’t help things along in that respect, a-purpose.
You cannot and should not expect Team Allahu Akbar to stay stupid forever.

That concludes our summary for August.
With the usual caveats about African math and accounting practices, and any developments of a more troublesome nature, we will revisit this in September, unless fate takes a hand.

Source: Reconteur Report

Ebola Confirmed In Congo City Of Over 1 Million

2nd largest known outbreak is ready to explode.

Health workers preparing to diagnose and treat suspected Ebola patients in Bikoro, Democratic Republic of Congo, on May 12, 2018. (UNICEF)

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The global health community gulped Thursday with the announcement that a case of Ebola had been confirmed in a city of more than 1 million in Congo, bringing the latest outbreak of the often deadly hemorrhagic fever out of remote rural areas. “Confirmation of urban #Ebola in #DRC is a game changer in this outbreak – the challenge just got much much tougher,” the World Health Organization’s emergencies chief, Dr. Peter Salama, said on Twitter. Here’s a look at the outbreak.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a virus that without preventive measures can spread quickly between people and is fatal in up to 90 percent of cases. The symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and at times internal and external bleeding. Symptoms can start to occur between two and 21 days from infection, according to WHO.

The virus is spread by close contact with the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms and with objects such as sheets that have been contaminated by those fluids. Health care workers are often infected, and burial practices that call for washing or other close contact with Ebola victims also can spread the disease.

There is no specific treatment for Ebola.

What just happened?

Congo’s Ebola outbreak has spread to the capital of northwestern Equateur province. The country’s health minister says two suspected cases of hemorrhagic fever were reported in the Wangata health zones, which includes Mbandaka, a city of nearly 1.2 million people. One sample proved positive for the Ebola virus. Mbandaka is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Bikoro, the rural area where the outbreak was announced last week.

Congo Health Minister Oly Ilunga says he is worried because Mbandaka is densely populated and at the crossroads of Equateur province. The city lies on the Congo River, a crucial travel hub in the vast country where infrastructure is largely poor. Downstream is Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, with a population of roughly 10 million.

Has Ebola come to a big city before?

Yes. In West Africa’s massive Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that began in 2014 and left more than 11,300 dead, the virus entered the capital cities in all three impoverished nations. Ebola notably spread in the West Point area of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia. At the time WHO described West Point as “West Africa’s largest and most notorious slum: more than 70 000 people crowded together on a peninsula, with no running water, sanitation or garbage collection.”

All of those factors complicated the medical response efforts and may do so again in Congo.

The West Africa outbreak was the deadliest Ebola outbreak since 1976 when Ebola was first identified.

How big is the current Ebola outbreak?

A total of 44 cases of hemorrhagic fever have now been reported in Congo, including 23 deaths, according to WHO. Among those are three confirmed cases of Ebola, 20 probable cases and 21 suspected cases. Until now the cases have been reported in remote areas, making it more difficult for medical teams to respond to the disease but easier to contain it.

Is there a new Ebola vaccine?

Yes. Congo’s health ministry on Wednesday said 4,000 doses of the experimental Ebola vaccine had arrived in the capital and will be sent to the remote northwest. An additional 4,000 doses will be deployed in the coming days with more available if needed, WHO said.

The experimental vaccine has been shown to be highly effective against Ebola. It was tested in Guinea during the West Africa outbreak. The vaccine is thought to be effective against the Zaire strain of Ebola found in Congo.

WHO has said it will use the “ring vaccination” method in Congo. It involves vaccinating contacts, those who have been in contact with them and health care and other frontline workers. It is not immediately clear, however, how many doses of the experimental Ebola vaccine exist and how they would be administered in an urban area. The vaccine must be kept very cold, at minus 60 degrees Celsius, which presents a logistical challenge in tropical Congo which does not have reliable electricity.

Source: by Cara Anna | People’s World

County Officials Use 24 Cops and Military Vehicle To Collect Civil Judgment

Marathon County sent this armored vehicle along with two dozen officers to collect a civil judgment from Roger Hoeppner and possibly remove wooden pallets and other items from his home outside Wausau.

Escorted 75 year old to bank and forced to withdraw $80,000 and hand it over to police

by Bruce Vielmetti

When officials in the tiny Town of Stettin in Marathon County went to collect a civil judgment from 75-year-old Roger Hoeppner this month, they sent 24 armed officers and an armored military vehicle.

Among other issues, the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., focused attention on the growing militarization of local law enforcement, particularly the use by even very small police departments of surplus armored military vehicles.

Marathon County sheriff’s officials aren’t apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.

Hoeppner said when he noticed deputies outside his house, he called his attorney, Ryan Lister of Wausau. Lister said he quickly left for Hoeppner’s house but was stopped by a roadblock that was kept up until after his client had been taken away in handcuffs. “Rather than provide Mr. Hoeppner or his counsel notice…and attempt to collect without spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the military-style maneuvers, the town unilaterally decided to enforce its civil judgment” with a show of force, Lister said.

Bean said deputies had to handcuff Hoeppner because he was not following all their instructions, but did eventually agree to pay the $80,000 judgment after a visit to a bank — accompanied by deputies.

Bean also said the armored truck was summoned only after Hoeppner initially refused to come out of his house. Once the truck appeared, so did Hoeppner.

“I’ve been involved in about five standoff situations where, as soon as the MARV showed up, the person gives up,” saving time, money and increasing safety, Bean said.

Madison’s police recently made a similar endorsement after officers used one to carry out the safe arrest of a man who had fired at police from a window of his home.

MARV stands for Marathon County Response Vehicle, which his department obtained in 2011. It’s the only one in the county and gets used 10 to 20 times a year, Bean said.

“People may not always understand why, but an armored vehicle is almost a necessity now,” Bean said.

Long Standing Rift:

Hoeppner has filed a notice of claim against the town, and is considering a federal civil rights lawsuit, according to a Madison attorney who represents him in another case about Hoeppner’s right to speak at town meetings.

“It’s a long-running, heavily litigated dispute over his use of his property,” said the lawyer, Jeff Scott Olson. “They’re trying to collect in a very heavy-handed manner.”

Hoeppner owns about 20 acres along Packer Drive, which runs nearly parallel with Highway 29 west of Wausau, where he restores antique tractors and runs a pallet repair business. The latter at times featured giant piles of the wooden pallets visible from Packer Drive.

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In 2008, the town sued Hoeppner over claimed violations of ordinances about zoning, signs, rubbish and vehicles. About a year later, the two sides settled; Hoeppner was supposed to clean up his property, and the town was supposed to open discussions about its zoning.

The town felt Hoeppner had not complied, and it brought a motion for contempt and enforcement. In September 2010, a judge ordered Hoeppner to remove certain items from his land.

The following May, the judge found Hoeppner had still not complied and authorized the town to seize assets. In the summer of 2011, the town hauled away several tractors, pallets, equipment and other items and auctioned them off for “pennies on the dollar,” according to Lister.

But the dispute wasn’t over. In April 2013, the judge entered a final judgment that imposed a $500-a-day fine against Hoeppner for not adhering to the original May 2011 order, and granting the town’s legal fees.

Hoeppner appealed, but lost in a March ruling. So by Oct. 2, he owed the town about $80,000, according to court records, and the Town of Stettin obtained a writ of execution to collect — without notice to Hoeppner or his attorneys, they say.

Threats Alleged:

Town Chairman Matt Wasmundt said neither he nor other town officials and their attorneys could comment about Hoeppner or the serving of the writ, citing pending litigation and “threats.”

Hoeppner, retired from a job at a paper factory, and Lister deny Hoeppner ever engaged in threats of any kind against Wasmundt or other town officials.

In a federal civil rights suit, Hoeppner contends that Wasmundt infringed on his free speech rights by calling deputies to town board meetings where Hoeppner wished to address the board during public comment periods, and for later eliminating public comment entirely from meeting agendas.

Once, Hoeppner said, he was arrested by the deputies at Wasmundt’s direction, only to later be released without charge.

Town Called Unfair:

In an interview, he said he wanted to address what he felt was the town’s unfair focus on his property, when there are dozens of others arguably in violation of the town’s zoning, which is all agricultural-residential.

He said he felt Wasmundt has a “vendetta” against him and a “my way or the highway” style of running the town.

He described deputies with guns drawn walking around his garage.

Asked if he was, as the sheriff’s captain described him, argumentative, Hoeppner admitted he was probably “hostile,” though not threatening when confronted with a writ.

“The $86,000 figure is enough to shock most men,” he said. “And they wanted it now, today.” He said the town later agreed to $6,000 less because it wouldn’t have to pay for hauling away his other equipment to sell.

Hoeppner estimates that, in all, his battle with the town has cost him about $200,000, a retirement fund he “worked very hard to accumulate.” In addition, he said, his arrest the day the armored truck appeared upset his wife so much, he had to take her to a hospital for a few hours.