Strong and Grolla, 5-12 – [Jim Strong, Head, Diagnostics and Therapeutics, Public Health Agency of Canada, Allen Grolla, Biologist at Public Health Agency of Canada, Ebola diaries: Detecting disease on an unprecedented scale, World Health Organization, http://www.who.int/features/2015/ebola-diaries-strong/en/] Jeong
In June 2014, Jim Strong and Allen Grolla, laboratory scientists from the Public Health Agency of Canada, were deployed through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) to work with WHO in Guinea and Sierra Leone. They had experience working in previous haemorrhagic fever outbreaks in Angola, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Kenya. As they began receiving and testing specimens they realized they were in the middle of something much bigger than any of the outbreaks they had seen before. "We arrived in Conakry, Guinea in late June 2014 with a lot of lab equipment, amid an outbreak that was moving very quickly. It took several days of discussion to determine the best place to set up our lab. When we first arrived in Conakry, we didn’t see many cases. It was believed that Ebola was mostly around Guéckedou. Most of the reports indicated that the outbreak was going to be contained because there was a reasonable response at that point. Nobody really predicted the fact that the outbreak was already widespread and that we were well behind the curve. Anxiety levels really started to escalate in late June and July, however, when it became apparent that there were many cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone. We started to see that later when we got to Guéckedou and even more in Kailahun in Sierra Leone. We shifted first from Conakry to Guéckedou and later across the Mano River to Kailahun district in Sierra Leone, the new epicentre at the time. We travelled with about 16 boxes and cases of medical and diagnostic equipment, bouncing around on the back of trucks. Setting up the first laboratory in Kailahun Our trip to Kailahun started in the early morning. We went down a very bumpy road to the river crossing. The borders were not closed yet and there were still a lot of people and goods crossing, including motorbikes and huge boatloads of cassava. The WHO logistician negotiated our cro•ssing with Customs authorities. We loaded all our kits into canoes, and off we went. In Kailahun, the people were very friendly. They wanted to sit right next to us, hear our story and know exactly what was going on. There was no laboratory testing at that time in Kailahun. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) had just set up an Ebola treatment centre on the outskirts of town and started to admit patients. We set up our laboratory right across from where medical staff exited the wards, in the low-risk zone of the treatment centre. A much bigger outbreak than anyone had predicted When our laboratory was set up in Kailahun, the number of positive samples was higher than any other outbreak we had been in. The MSF site was only getting a portion of the cases in the district, so we realized this was much bigger than anything else we had been involved in before. The difference was the size and how rapidly it spread geographically. The projections and actual caseloads were going up beyond what we expected. This was quite different from previous outbreaks. Usually the outbreak is centred in one single area, a small town or village where there is a hospital setting. But this one was in multiple towns, multiple big cities, eventually including capitals, and spread very quickly. Testing up to 40 samples a day We ran the laboratory from around 8:00 am, when the first batch of samples came in, until about 6:00 pm. We would get a second batch in the afternoon, including swab samples, process those and get the results 2 to 3 hours later. That was sort of a standard day. We would always be on call if ambulances came in. There was a need to test for priority cases, often healthcare workers, where results needed to be known very quickly because it had a lot of implications for the hospital. Generally, the number of samples would range from on a low day of 10 up to days where we had 35 to 40. The numbers started to go up when there was more sampling of corpses in the community. The most we did in a day was 80. Later on, we also set up another laboratory in Magbaraka in Sierra Leone, another hot area. For several months we were operating 2 laboratories, doing similar caseloads. Challenges with staffing for a prolonged outbreak Since this outbreak was so large, we had to use staff who had never been deployed to an outbreak before. Prior to being deployed, we provided them with the necessary training to make them comfortable and proficient with the work. You will deal with samples that are positive, so you need to be prepared and comfortable in handling that. This outbreak required that several people were deployed multiple times and the fear of the unknown in this unprecedented event made it a particular challenge. In all, the human resource challenge was one of the most difficult to manage. The upside is we now have a strong group of people with deployment experience for this type of outbreak.
Their impacts are all rhetoric – Disease isn’t a major threat
Engelhardt, 14 – [Tom Engelhardt, Graduate from Yale, and Masters from Harvard University, 11-4-2014, Why Washington Continues to Beat the War and Disease Drums Escalation is now a structural fact embedded in the war in the Middle East and the Ebola crisis here at home, http://www.thenation.com/article/why-washington-continues-beat-war-and-disease-drums/ ] Jeong
Speaking of escalation, don’t think Congress will be the only place where escalation fever is likely to mount. Consider the pressures that will come directly from the Islamic State and Ebola. Let’s start with Ebola. Admittedly, as a disease it has no will, no mind. It can’t, in any normal sense, beat the drum for itself and its dangers. Nonetheless, though no one knows for sure, it may be on anescalatory path in at least two of the three desperately poor West African countries where it has embedded itself. If predictions prove correctand the international response to the pandemic there is too limited to halt the disease, if tens of thousands of new cases occur in the coming months, then Ebola will undoubtedly be headingelsewhere in Africa, and as we’ve already seen, some cases will continue to make it to this country, too. Not only that, but sooner or later someone with Ebola might not be caught in time and the disease could spread to Americans here. The likelihood of a genuine pandemic in this country seems vanishingly small. But Ebola will clearly be in the news in the months to come, and in the post-9/11 American world, this means further full-scale panic and hysteria, more draconian decisions by random governors grandstanding for the media and their electoral futures. It means feeling like a targeted population for a long time to come. In this way, Ebola should remain a force for escalation in this country. In its effects here so far, it might as well be an African version of the Islamic State. From Washington’s heavily militarized response to the pandemic in Liberia to the quarantining of an American nurse as if she were a terror suspect, it’s already clear that, as Karen Greenberg has predicted, the American response is falling into a “war-on-terror” template.
No extinction – their impacts are all media fear-mongering – ebola proves
Dean 14 [Alex, "Fear Not, Ebola Won't Wipe Us Out", Spiked, 8/6/14, www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/fear-not-ebola-wont-wipe-us-out/15549#.VaAbVvlViko] // SKY
Whenever a disease breaks out, we are bombarded with doomsday predictions. Coverage of ebola has conformed to this pattern. Major newspapers have bombarded us with page after page of pharmaceutical puffery; some journalists speak as though we are headed for an apocalypse. Commentary has been speculative, pessimistic and quick to apportion blame. The Guardian’s West Africa correspondent says that ‘new hotspots have flared up, fuelled by cross-border trade’, while US Republican politician Phil Gingrey has been making unsubstantiated rants about ‘illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases’. The head of the World Health Organisation stoked panic with his statement that the virus ‘is moving faster than efforts to control it’. We must compare this reportage, all these ‘the end is nigh’ performances, with the reality. A quick look at hard science shows there is a dramatic mismatch and that commentators have wildly exaggerated the threat ebola poses. We are not headed for extinction. John Oxford, a virologist at the University of London, has explained that the hysteria surrounding ebola is disproportionate to the threat. He points out that ebola ‘doesn’t spread very easily’, and that the virus’s reproductive number - how many people are infected by each carrier - is very low. Where measles has a reproductive number of 12, ebola’s number is 1. Moreover, virologists have been quick to point out that ebola is very easily destroyed, for a virus. A quick wash of the hands and it’s gone. Ebola can devastate families and communities, yes, but when you consider that it has a low death toll compared with other viruses in Africa, we must conclude that reports have been hyperbolic and scaremongering. Yet this disproportionate panic over ebola was to be expected. We saw similar responses when swine flu broke out and the UK’s chief medical officer predicted 65,000 deaths and the media swallowed it up, and again when the House of Lords told us that 65,000 Britons would die from bird flu. Perhaps political and medical bodies have a duty to err on the side of caution – to over-prepare and over-predict – but the media and some of the public also gobbled up these doomsday predictions with relish. What’s the explanation for this? Why do some observers seem to be ravenously awaiting the next big pandemic? Why do we want these viruses to be worse than they are? I think some people long for doomsday predictions because they want their anti-progress attitudes to be validated. Ours is an era in which we are told to fear other people for their unpredictability and to see our fellow humans as a threat. Relationships are sometimes described as ‘toxic’ - such is our misanthropy that we now even describe our ultimate forms of intimacy in the language of disease. Today’s anti-human scaremongers are desperate for their attitudes to be affirmed, and so they exaggerate viruses which are spread through human contact and movement. People convince themselves that ebola is the result of immigration and human contact and modern forms of travel because then their regressive attitudes feel truer, more real. They don’t see the hectic globalised world as exciting; they see it as unnerving and are thrilled when a virus gives them reason to complain about it. These ridiculous attitudes have found no real affirmation, though. Humankind will deal with ebola, and a disease spread through contact should never serve as a reason to despise that contact: intimacy makes life worth living and immigration and trade are the seeds of social and economic progress. We must not allow the fearmongers to undermine our rational convictions. Pay no attention to the miserablists. Fear not, humankind – we are doing okay.
People are resilient – black death proves
Nature World News 14 ["Black Death Made Britons More Resilient to Disease, Study Says", 5/8/14, Nature World News, www.natureworldnews.com/articles/6947/20140508/black-death-made-britons-more-resilient-disease-study.htm] // SKY
People who survived the Black Death were healthier and lived longer than the previous generations, a new study has found. The research shows that the Bubonic plague, which killed 25 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages, led to better living conditions for survivors and shaped the demographics of the region. University of South Carolina anthropologist Sharon DeWitte led the latest research on plague. Analysis of skeletal remains showed that people who lived after the plague had lower risk of dying at any age when compared to people who lived before the epidemic. The plaque was caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis. Some estimates suggest that nearly half of all Londoners died during the first wave of the disease from 1347 to 1351. The epidemic led to the rise of living standards, which meant that the post-epidemic London had a healthier population than pre-plague population. "Knowing how strongly diseases can actually shape human biology can give us tools to work with in the future to understand disease and how it might affect us," Sharon DeWitte said in a news release. For the study, she analyzed bones of over 1,000 men, women and children who lived before or after the Black Death. The skeletal remains were housed in the Museum of London. The research also showed that the plague didn't kill people randomly, but chose frail people as its victims. Survivors also had a longer life expectancy than the previous generation. DeWitte said that she was surprised by the difference in health outcomes before and after the plaque struck Europe. "The Black Death was just the first outbreak of medieval plague, so the post-Black Death population suffered major threats to health in part from repeated outbreaks of plague," DeWitte said. "Despite this, I found substantial improvements in demographics and thus health following the Black Death."