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Possible Case Of Ebola In Canada 22

Posted by michael
from the get-your-flu-shots dept.
Yomach writes: "As reported on the CBC this morning, and in the Globe and Mail, a tropical disease case has been isolated in a Hamilton hospital and is being tested for Ebola. Samples have been shipped to a Winnipeg Federal Lab which has Biological Level 4 facilities for testing. If the patient is diagnosed with Ebola , it will be the first human case in North America. She flew in to Toronto from the Congo, via New York, on Saturday."
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Possible Case of Ebola in Canada

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Biohazard Level 4" sounds like a really cool term, and involves people in spacesuits.

    But the truth is a bit simpler... BL4 just means "lab where you mess with airborne disease." Like TB. But it doesn't sound as cool when you say "someone in Oakland got TB, and they rushed the samples to a Biohazard Level 4 Lab! Oh my, this must be bad!"

    Just another Coward who's wife used to work in a BL3+.

  • No, thats a bacteria. Basically, i think thats plain old gangrene and media hype. Ebola is the virus that the hot zone and all those other books and movies are based on. If this gets loose in New york, were in real deep shit. THey found this in monkeys in reston, but it was a version no dangerous to humans, but they dont know why, the viri are so close thy still cant tell the difference.
  • We live in an age of rapid travel, where anyone can be virtually anywhere else in under 36 hours.

    yup. We somehow got very stupid in the last few decades. Time was we made 'em all wait out a quarantine of days offshore and whoever survived got in; now for the sake of speedy business and shorter vacations we whiz around in these aluminum plague-cans and sacrifice the world's health. We couldn't possibly inconvenience a Very Important capitalist business-class traveler with such petty concerns as the greater good, now, could we? It's such an outmoded, passé, archaic, old-fashioned, low-tech idear, this quarantine thing, after all, isn't it... Fah.

  • But Ebola, at least in the strains that have infected humans, isn't transmitted through the air; it's transmitted through contact with infected people/animals. IIRC, the Reston strain, which infected monkeys and not humans, was airborne.
  • no one came down with it. it was only harmful to monkeys. i did hear a romour that there were other tropical diseases that some of the workers caught from the monkeys, but that was unrelated.

    i live in and grew-up in reston, btw. the monkey house (which was torn down and a new building is just now being completed on that lot) was across the street from a mcdonalds, a pizza hut, and a taco bell. a few friends of mine in high school actually broke into the monkey house, after it was boarded up, and grabbed some souveniers and took some pictures. and no, they didn't catch ebola or anything. i believe the monkey house was disinfected by sealing the building and boiling off formaldehyde vapor.
  • We quarantine them after the diagnosis is made... TB is difficult to catch.

    I suspect we should probably quarantine beforehand, irregardless of country of origin. But that's rude, and does not expedite face to face business.

  • It would seem we would have to relearn quarantine the hard way. We do it to pets, but not to people. Silly isn't it?

    The two scary things about today's situation are the mobility of the population, and the density of people. A virulent airborne disease with 20 - 50% mortality and a rapid incubation time might easily cause a strong pandemic with several million dead and tens of millions sick. This would be unfortunate (in the least,) but it may be the only way we'll learn that what's good for our kitties and doggies is also good for us. The terrifying thing is that this pandemic won't happen over in East Timbuktu, it will happen on our doorsteps.

    The West is ready to shoot asteroids out of the sky and seed the oceans with iron sulfate -- I think we had better pay closer attention to the very real possibility of terrestrial diseases as potential extinction threats.

    Our chances of getting killed by an asteroid are something like one in ten thousand. What are our chances of dying of a pandemic disease? We had a pandemic in the early 1900's, influenza, that killed several million people ... When was the last multimillion fatality asteroid strike?

  • Ummm. No.

    That lab did not *send* a letter to anyone. Get the story straight.

    A couple weeks back a letter was sent to a government office here in Ottawa that contained a strange powder. It was tested onsite, someone decided there was a possibility it contained some sort of bacteria, so the letter and its contents were sent to the Winnipeg Level 4 lab for additional testing. It turned out to be a false alarm.

    The Winnipeg lab did not send a biohazardous letter to the government. Cripes, not a good way to get funding...!

  • That I had read of other cases in Canada before. Ebola is the fleash eating disese is it not? If so I know first hand of a case in a dog, not a human. And what did Bouchard have??
  • Flew in from new york, huh? This stuff is massively contagious during the 3-6 day incubation period. I might want to stay home mostly for the next week or so. If this were to get loose in the united states population...

    ---
  • In case you haven't heard, the woman did not have Ebola. It looks to be a simple case of malaria combined with a hemorrhagic fever. You can read the story for yourself here [boston.com].
  • Keep in mind that the Akwesassne reserve straddles New York state and Quebec. No border patrol, no customs, anything, which is why people smuggle guns, cigarettes, people etc. through there.
  • I guess you don't live anywhere near Toronto - this case has been front page news here all week.
  • They found this in monkeys in reston, but it was a version no dangerous to humans

    IIRC, only a few people contracted the reston strain of Ebola, a few guys who worked at the reston monkey facility where it broke out. did they test the new strain or are they basing that belief on two cases? (the latter being quite foolish)

    the scariest thing about the reston strain was that it propogated throughout the monkey house via the air ducts, i.e. the shit went airborne

    ---

  • Ebola is not the flesh eating bacteria. It is a particularly nasty tropical disease (virus?).
  • Is that you rarely read about cases like this on the front page, usually they're buried in the back pages. Media control is real people.
  • This CDC page on Ebola [cdc.gov] nicely summarizes current knowledge of the virus. The bottom line is that an epidemic-level spread through a Western society is highly unlikely. The normal precautions that medical personnel take are sufficient to prevent infection. Aerosol transmission "has not been documented among humans in a real-world setting, such as a hospital or household."

    That's not to say it couldn't spread at all, on a more limited basis, but just that statistically, you're incredibly unlikely to become infected by it. You're far more likely to get AIDS from your dentist... ;)

  • We live in an age of rapid travel, where anyone can be virtually anywhere else in under 36 hours. You can be immersed in odd Congo bacilli or virii on Wednesday and dying due to an unknown disease in Des Moines on Friday.

    Except for the fact that Ebola kills so quickly I am really surprised it has not reached North America or Europe sooner. We should feel very lucky this woman's symptoms did not manifest at JFK ...

    • Where the flight attendent held the victim's head as the ambulance was summoned, then went back to her work and developed a fever halfway to San Diego, shrugged it off as a cold, and infected her second plane full of people when they reloaded to take 300 tourists to Sydney.
    • And the EMT's who transported the victim went on to do a hospital to hospital transfer from a hospital in Brooklyn to an inpatient/outpatient facility upstate.
    • And the nice man who got the lady a drink of water went on back to Knoxville, Tennessee to teach his sixth graders and collapse in the middle of Sunday school ...
    • And so on, and so on ...

    I suspect that outside of a few specialy labs like the CDC in Atlanta, and possibly in the hospitals of larger cities, most doctors are not sufficiently versed with new or non-regional diseases to recognize the symptoms of something like Ebola.

    Similarly I suspect that many doctors simply would not think to take appropriate precautions when dealing with a patient like this lady. When you think of hemorrhaging, you think of bruising, you think of trauma. You will take blood and body fluid precautions but until you are in the middle of stabilizing this patient and notice the fever of 104 degrees it might not occur to you to do something against aerosols:

    The ambulance en route describes a patient hemorrhaging severely, sweating, and bruising. When are severe beatings normally contagious?

    We need more training of physicians, and like it or not we need more careful checks of incoming individuals in customs, before they are allowed in country (be that country Canada, the US, Mexico, or Tonga.) AIDS does not frighten me -- it is hard to catch, it is long term, and it's already here. It's the virii like Ebola or hantavirus that frighten me.

  • Ebola kills so many people in Africa because their health-care practices are so miserable that the hospitals become loci of disease.

    Canada would scarcely be touched, because when you call your doctor for a visit they'll tell you to wait a week and see how you feel, and you'll just die at home without having had a chance to spread the infection.

    Getting loose in NY is probably not a big deal either, as there is a standard protocol for dealing with this and other hemorrhagic fevers, and that is: isolation units and strict bodily fluids precuations. Treatment consists of symptom management until the infection runs its course, and is probably far more survivable with intensive Western medicine than has been the case in African hospitals.
  • Actually, if you're in New York you probably don't have to worry about the Ebola when you should worry more about Tuberculosis (especially the antibiotic resistant one). I read in a book (can't remember the book maybe it was the hotzone?) that said that a survey of people admitted to one New York hospital revealed that 50% of people had tuberculosis.

    This is scary but it turns out that one of the local neighborhoods has a particularly high concentration of tuberculosis bacteria in the air. I'm not sure if it's at dangerous levels but it's still scary.

  • It would seem we would have to relearn quarantine the hard way. We do it to pets, but not to people. Silly isn't it?

    We still quarantine people. I remember watching a Nightline story where they talked about the problem with the spread of the anti-biotic resistant version of tuberculosis in New York a few years ago and they managed to contain it to a few people. Inorder to contain it, they had to quarantine those people. As I remember, some of the people had been under strict quarantine for months...possibly even beyond a year...whatever it took for them to get over the special version of tb or probably to die from it.

  • by alienmole (15522) on Wednesday February 07, 2001 @05:34PM (#453102)
    Here's a CDC page on Ebola [cdc.gov] which doesn't definitively state that Ebola Reston is not dangerous to humans, but rather that the few humans known to have been infected with it have developed antibodies, without any symptoms.

    Here's what the page has to say about airborne transmission:

    The Ebola-Reston virus subtype, which was first recognized in a primate research facility in Virginia, may have been transmitted from monkey to monkey through the air in the facility. While all Ebola virus subtypes have displayed the ability to be spread through airborne particles (aerosols) under research conditions, this type of spread has not been documented among humans in a real-world setting, such as a hospital or household.

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