Tuesday, November 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

What’s scary about Ebola, reasons not to fear it

By
From page A12 | August 10, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — The United States’ top disease detective calls Ebola a “painful, dreadful, merciless virus.”

The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak in West Africa an international emergency, killing more than 900 people and spreading.

That’s scary and serious. But it also cries out for context.

AIDS alone takes more than a million lives per year in Africa — a thousand times the toll of this Ebola outbreak so far.

Lung infections such as pneumonia are close behind as the No. 2 killer. Malaria and diarrhea claim hundreds of thousands of African children each year.

In the United States, where heart attacks and cancer are the biggest killers, the risk of contracting the Ebola virus is close to zero.

Americans fretting about their own health would be better off focusing on getting a flu shot this fall. Flu is blamed for about 24,000 U.S. deaths per year.

To put the Ebola threat in perspective, here are some reasons to be concerned about the outbreak, and reasons not to fear it:

___

WHY IT’S SCARY

There is no cure for Ebola hemorrhagic fever.

More than half of people infected in this outbreak have died. Death rates in some past outbreaks reached 90 percent.

It’s a cruel end that comes within days. Patients grow feverish and weak, suffering through body aches, vomiting, diarrhea and internal bleeding, sometimes bleeding from the nose and ears.

The damage can spiral far beyond the patients themselves.

Because it’s spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of sick patients, Ebola takes an especially harsh toll on doctors and nurses, already in short supply in areas of Africa hit by the disease.

Outbreaks spark fear and panic.

Health workers and clinics have come under attack from residents, who sometimes blame foreign doctors for the deaths. People with from Ebola or other illnesses may fear going to a hospital, or may be shunned by friends and neighbors.

Two of the worst-hit countries — Liberia and Sierra Leone — sent troops to quarantine areas with Ebola cases. The aim was to stop the disease’s spread but the action also created hardship for many residents.

___

WHERE IT IS

The outbreak began in Guinea in March before spreading to neighboring Sierra Leone and Liberia. A traveler recently carried it farther, to Nigeria, leading to a few cases in the giant city of Lagos.

Ebola emerged in 1976. It has been confirmed in 10 African nations, but never before in the region of West Africa.

Lack of experience with the disease there has contributed to its spread. So has a shortage of medical personnel and supplies, widespread poverty, and political instability.

Sierra Leone still is recovering from a decade of civil war in which children were forced into fighting. Liberia, originally founded by freed American slaves, also endured civil war in the 1990s. Guinea is trying to establish a young and fragile democracy.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, boasts great oil wealth but most of its people are poor. The government is battling Islamic militants in the north who have killed thousands of people and kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

This outbreak has proved more difficult to control than previous ones because the disease is crossing national borders, and is spreading in more urban areas.

Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predicts that within a few weeks,Ebola will sicken more people than all previous occurrences combined. Already more than 1,700 cases have been reported.

Global health officials say it will take months to fully contain the outbreak, even if all goes as well as can be hoped.

___

REASONS NOT TO BE AFRAID

Ebola is devastating for those it affects. But most people don’t need to fear it. Why?

—Ebola doesn’t spread easily, the way a cold virus or the flu does. It is only spread by direct contact with bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, sweat and urine. Family members have contracted it by caring for their relatives or handling an infected body as part of burial practices. People aren’t contagious until they show symptoms, Frieden said. Symptoms may not appear until 21 days after exposure.

“People should not be afraid of casual exposure on a subway or an airplane,” said Dr. Robert Black, professor of international health at Johns Hopkins University.

—Health officials around the developed world know how to stop Ebola. Frieden described tried-and-true measures: find and isolate all possible patients, track down people they may have exposed, and ensure strict infection-control procedures while caring for patients. Every past outbreak of Ebola has been brought under control.

The CDC is sending at least 50 staff members to West Africa to help fight the disease, while more than 200 work on the problem from the agency’s headquarters in Atlanta. The WHO is urging nations worldwide to send money and resources to help.

—It’s true that Ebola could be carried into the United States by a traveler, possibly putting family members or health care workers at risk. It’s never happened before. But if the disease does show up in the U.S., Frieden said, doctors and hospitals know how to contain it quickly.

“We are confident that a large Ebola outbreak in the United States will not occur,” Frieden told a congressional hearing Thursday.

___

OTHER THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT

Ebola’s toll is minuscule compared with other diseases that killing millions of people.

“The difference is the diseases that do kill a lot of people — malaria, diarrhea, pneumonia — they cause their problems over time,” Black said. “They’re not generally epidemic. They’re not the kind of sudden burst of disease and death that creates fear like this.”

The common diseases have far lower mortality rates. They kill so many people because such huge numbers are infected.

In comparison, Ebola is manageable.

“The order of magnitude of the resources to control Ebola in small communities in three or four countries is very small compared to controlling malaria in all of Asia and Africa,” Black said. “I don’t at all think we should hold back on the resources to control Ebola, but we need more resources to control these major killers of children and adults that we’re making too little effort against.”

___

Associated Press writers Lauran Neergaard in Washington, Marcia Chen in London, and Michael Stobbe in New York contributed to this report.

___

Online:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola

World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/en

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Anti DeuchAugust 10, 2014 - 9:55 pm

    What the article did not say is that illegal immigrants are a major risk factor for the transmission of the Ebola virus.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Soroptimists seek award applicants

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Science comes to library – for all to see

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

Nichols plans free family concert in Napa

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

 
Library schedules soap-making program

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

Church’s holiday soiree on Vacaville calendar

By Glen Faison | From Page: A7

 
Vacaville PD seeks VIPS program volunteers

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
 
Volunteers help Mission Solano pack for food giveaway

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Nov. 23, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9, 1 Comment

Suisun City police log: Nov. 22, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A9

 
.

US / World

Incumbent Democrats lose in 2 close California Assembly races

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
VA fires Phoenix hospital director

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Iraqi troops take 2 towns from Islamic State group

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Iran nuclear talks stumble, extended until July

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brown names assistant US attorney to high court

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Driver fatigue may have caused California crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

Israel resumes razing homes to punish attackers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
GOP wisdom shifts on immigration

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 8 Comments | Gallery

Under pressure, Hagel steps down as Pentagon chief

By Maureen Fissolo | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
No charges in Ferguson case; chaos fills streets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 62 Comments | Gallery

.

Opinion

 
Senate staff cuts reduce transparency

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Nov. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
.

Entertainment

‘Wizard of Oz’ Cowardly Lion costume fetches $3M

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Miller puts own spin on longtime ‘GH’ character

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘Today’ looks to rebound from tough week

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Review: Turmoil helps AC/DC shine on new album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Guitarist: Leon Russell band’s instruments stolen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Sting tries to help his ailing Broadway musical

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

In wake of Spotify pullout, music industry debates streaming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Bill Weir’s new CNN series to begin in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

TVGrid Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Forsett leads Ravens past Saints, 34-27

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bills rout Jets 38-3 in rescheduled game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Even top NFL teams have taken steps back

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Aldon Smith helps lead in 49ers’ 3rd straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Rod Streater returns to practice for Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Taylor apologizes, won’t appeal NBA suspension

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz on Hall of Fame ballot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
No. 1 Kentucky gives Kansas a Top 25 tumble

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

LeBron on Cavaliers’ issues: “I stink”

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Police: Manziel’s entourage attacked fan at hotel

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Giants set record with $388,606 postseason shares

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Longtime NHL coach, executive Pat Quinn dies at 71

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pablo Sandoval reaches multiyear deal with Red Sox

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
San Francisco turning to groundwater for its taps

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

South Carolina the new No. 1 in AP women’s hoops

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Business

Budweiser gives Clydesdales holiday pink slip

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4, 3 Comments

 
Redbox raising DVD rental rates by 25 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

New FDA rules will put calorie counts on menus

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Unidentified country likely behind spying software

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Honda admits failing to report deaths, injuries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
United Technologies CEO retires, succeeded by CFO

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Nike extends contract with USOC through 2020

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
High-end home sales surge in Southern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Rose is Rose Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Nov 25

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4