Monday, November 24, 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
  • Recent Articles

  • Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • .

    Solano News

    Cadets raise cash to help wounded Air Force veteran

    By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Solano cities gather for Thanksgiving meal

    By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

    Holiday boutiques in full swing

    By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Food Addicts group sets Thanksgiving Day meet

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

     
    Local government board schedules meeting

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

    Turkey Trot returns Thanksgiving Day

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

     
    Holiday tree-lighting events begin

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

     
    .

    US / World

    3 months after Napa quake, recovery rolling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    US looking past Ebola to prepare for next outbreak

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

    Anxieties mount as Ferguson waits on grand jury

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

     
    Thief suspect falls through ceiling, leaves phone

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    1 killed, dozens injured in California bus crash

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

     
    San Jose police arrest man after airport chase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

    Surfer missing off beach south of San Francisco

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

     
    Crew blasts off for International Space Station

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    US tells Iran to consider nuclear talks extension

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Damage worse than thought in Japanese earthquake

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Joey Chestnut devours turkey to win eating contest

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Strong quake in west China kills 5; 54 hurt

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Boy with fake gun dies after shot by Ohio officer

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

     
    Israeli Cabinet moves to define Israel as Jewish

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Former DC Mayor Marion Barry dies at 78

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Islamic State group recruits, exploits children

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Giffords rides in Tucson cycling event

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Suicide bomber kills at least 45 Afghans

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    Some 30 horses die in stable fire outside Chicago

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

     
    Health care M&A leads global deal surge

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

    .

    Opinion

     
    OMG, am I eating a GMO?

    By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

     
    .

    Living

    Community Calendar: Nov. 24, 2014

    By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

     
    Today in History: Nov. 24, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Horoscopes: Nov. 25, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

    My sister-in-law expects me to pay her for damages, but she won’t pay me

    By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

     
    Horoscopes: Nov. 24, 2014

    By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

    .

    Entertainment

    List of winners of the American Music Awards

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    1D, Katy Perry win big at American Music Awards

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

    ‘Mockingjay, Part 1′ opens with $123 million

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

     
    TVGrid Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

    TVGrid Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Speights scores 28 as Warriors hold off Thunder

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Hyde scores go-ahead TD, lifts 49ers past Redskins

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Federer leads Swiss past France for Davis Cup

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Hamilton answers Rosberg in style to clinch title

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Revs win 2-1 at Red Bulls in East final 1st leg

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Sarvas puts Galaxy past Seattle 1-0 in West opener

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    First lady attends Princeton women’s hoops game

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Stacy Lewis sweeps 3 biggest LPGA awards

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    UCLA honors Robinson, retires No. 42 for all teams

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

    Katy Perry to perform at Super Bowl halftime show

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    NFL roundup: Seahawks roll past Cardinals

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Athletics acquire 1B Ike Davis from Pirates

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    This date in sports history for Monday, Nov. 24, 2014

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Leslie “Esi” Gros

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Jack I. Johnson

    By Glen Faison | From Page: A4

    Dorothy Pouge Arnold

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

     
    Arthur Irving Weiner

    By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

    .

    Comics

    Blondie Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Rose is Rose Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Zits Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Peanuts Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Beetle Bailey Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Sally Forth Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    B.C. Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Get Fuzzy Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

    Baldo Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    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

    Baby Blues Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

     
    Pickles 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

    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

     
    Word Sleuth Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

    Crossword Nov 25

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

     
    Sally Forth Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Baldo Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Get Fuzzy Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Zits Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    For Better or Worse Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Blondie Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    B.C. Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Garfield Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Baby Blues Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Dilbert Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Rose is Rose Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Frank and Ernest Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Peanuts Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Beetle Bailey Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Pickles Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

    Wizard of Id Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

     
    Bridge Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Sudoku Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Cryptoquote Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

    Word Sleuth Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

     
    Crossword Nov 24

    By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7