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Medicine

US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia 409

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mother-nature-wants-you-to-die dept.
acidradio (659704) writes American air charter specialist Phoenix Air has been contracted by the U.S. Army to haul an American physician afflicted with Ebola from Liberia to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. This will be the first 'purposeful' transport of an Ebola victim to the U.S. The patient will be flown in a special Gulfstream III (formerly owned by the Danish Air Force) outfitted for very specialized medical transports such as this. I dunno. I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea? theodp (442580) writes with related news In response to the Ebola outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Interim Guidance about Ebola Virus Infection for Airline Flight Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel. "Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact with a person who has symptoms of Ebola," the CDC explains. "Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person with Ebola or having a high likelihood of direct contact with blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient. Examples of close contact include kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation (3 feet), physical examination, and any other direct physical contact between people. Close contact does not include walking by a person or briefly sitting across a room from a person."
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US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

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  • PANIC! (Score:5, Funny)

    by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:04AM (#47581993) Homepage

    The Zombie Apocalypse is nearly upon us! Run ! RUNNNNNN!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Better move to Madagascar before its too late.

      • Re:PANIC! (Score:5, Funny)

        by Talderas (1212466) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:39PM (#47583033)

        God. Madagascar always locks their shit down fast. It was so hard killing off all the humans. I tried starting in Madagascar but they'd lock their shit down so fast I wasn't able to spread anywhere else. I only ever had one game where I killed all humans but I hit plenty where everyone except those bastards in Madagascar died.

        • Re:PANIC! (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bardez (915334) on Friday August 01, 2014 @01:13PM (#47583337) Homepage
          That's why I *always* start in China or India. Shitty places to live, quick to spread a new disease.
        • Re:PANIC! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wor[ ]et ['f.n' in gap]> on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:54PM (#47584201)

          God. Madagascar always locks their shit down fast. It was so hard killing off all the humans. I tried starting in Madagascar but they'd lock their shit down so fast I wasn't able to spread anywhere else. I only ever had one game where I killed all humans but I hit plenty where everyone except those bastards in Madagascar died.

          The trick is you want to have high infectivity, low severity and low lethality. This way you're highly infectious but since you don't do anything, no one really bothers. Once you start climbing in severity and lethality, the humans notice.

          then just wait until you've infected all humans, then recoup DNA points from infectivity (everyone's infected), and spend it on symptoms that are lethal. Because by then it's too late - once you start killing, it hits everyone and they can't research a cure fast enough before everyone is dead.

          (It also shows how the game simulation doesn't reflect real life - because once you've infected everyone, if you switch to become lethal, everyone's disease gets lethal, which never happens. Usually you have to re-infect everyone with the new lethal strain. Then there's the entire population thing - assumes newborns will have the disease as well).

  • Vaccine is coming (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:07AM (#47582015)

    CNN had an article on this shortly before it popped up here. In their article, they said that an Ebola vaccine is well underway, with trials expected to begin in humans soon. It's apparently been proven effective in monkeys already. I was a little concerned before I read that, but if they've got a working vaccine, it's really not a big deal.

    • by xylo36 (1000020)
      I listened to an interview with Tom Frieden, head of the CDC, and he indicated a vaccine won't be available for a year in the best case scenario.
    • But the Ebola virus is a bit like the Flu virus, as it mutates when it becomes infectious to humans

      It's probably more like the you have to create a new batch for every outbreak, which only occur every 3 to 4 years in small isolated groups, which means it will be expensive to produce.

      Unless they go the whole hog and give everyone in the African continent an Ebola jab every few years

      • Re:Vaccine is coming (Score:5, Informative)

        by tiberus (258517) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:21AM (#47582179)
        I heard the same interview with Tom Frieden, Head of the CSC, that xylo36 did. In the interview he stated that Ebola has not really changed since it was first discovered, they have been monitoring the viruses DNA. It's just a nasty little bugger.
        • I heard in another interview on the BBC a day or 2 ago (arghh can't remember exactly when or who it was with)
          That the Ebola virus mutates between a harmless and lethal variants every few years (that's why you don't get out brakes of this scale all the time.) and each time it has slightly different incubation time and lethality which makes creating a one-shot vaccine / cure more difficult.

          But I hold my hands up and say your guy from the CSC is probably more informed in the subject than my memory of a half li

          • Ebola is an RNA virus, very simple, with a very mistake prone polymerase - which is why it tends to mutate to harmless fairly easily. When you have such a short gestation and kill rate, there isn't much room for evolution.

      • by umghhh (965931)
        This epidemic problem is mostly one of education and capabilities. People in affected regions of Africa do not trust doctors and hospitals (for a good reason I think) and have traditions that help the virus spread like touching dead friends and family members to say good bye or eating the animals that tend to have the virus - these are exactly the wrong things to do. Belief in healers and lack of trust in helpers from the West makes things double problematic. The good thing that the virus is less lethal is
    • by OakDragon (885217)

      I actually don't like this kind of race-baiting, but this is a joke:

      Experts: Ebola Vaccine At Least 50 White People Away [theonion.com]

      • by rahvin112 (446269)

        It's not particularly race that decides this as much as national origin. American's or Europeans start dieing and real resources will be poured into the research. As long as it's an "African" disease no one really cares in the west enough to pour real resources into a vaccine.

        A Africa could be a major world power because of it's resources, that is if every tribal group wasn't trying to kill every other tribal group and every religion wasn't trying to kill every other religion. There is one simple fact of li

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by angel'o'sphere (80593)

      It is not a big deal, but for other reasons.

      Sidenote: a vaccine does not heal you if you are already ill, it only powers up your immune system to prevent you catching the illness ...

  • by RetiredMidn (441788) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:07AM (#47582017) Homepage
    Wasn't a patient transported on a Gulfstream a sub-plot of a Tom Clancy novel? (Executive Orders, IIRC)
  • "What could possible go wrong...?"

    • The CDC accidentally sent a batch of H1N1 bird flu to a research lab in my town. No reported cases of the illness from that "oops" yet, except for the unfortunate chickens that received it.
  • by 3.5 stripes (578410) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:14AM (#47582095)

    The disease is not particularly communicable. It tends to externalize a lot of bodily fluids, which is why in places with poor sanitary conditions, it spreads pretty quickly. Hospitals which handle patients like these tend not to be considered poor sanitary conditions..

    • by barlevg (2111272)
      That's what I thought I remembered from reading The Hot Zone, but I think this strain might be a bit more virulent--there've evidently been reported cases of contracting the disease at funerals of infected individuals. [nydailynews.com]
    • We have Taco Bell. It will spread faster than flu.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman (671371)

      Up to 22 days without having any symptoms as I recall. So what happens when someone breaks out into a fever and puts their sweaty hands all over hand railings, desks, kiosks, and whatnot? How long does Ebola last once it's on the surface?

      There's a reason animals (and humans) are paranoid about shit we don't understand. From a survival standpoint, it's an advantageous attitude to have. And right now, I'm pretty fucking paranoid about being anywhere near people with Ebola!

      • by sirwired (27582) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:52AM (#47582545)

        If you could catch Ebola by touching the sweat somebody left behind as they passed through a room, it would have spread a lot farther than it has. I'm pretty sure they'll be testing everybody that comes into contact with this guy for the virus, and even if the tests miss it, the symptoms are not subtle, it being a hemorrhagic fever and all...

        Not every virus acts like the flu or cold viruses. Ebola isn't particularly virulent, even if it is pretty nasty if you come down with it. Being able to perform tests on a live patient in a state-of-the-art facility (as opposed to a 3rd-world heap whose "hospitals" are about as sanitary as a mid-grade highway rest stop) is invaluable in researching treatments. Just like the movies, the CDC has on-site facilities specifically designed to treat people with scary diseases we don't want in the population at large; this seems like an excellent use for them.

      • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:53AM (#47582571) Homepage Journal

        Then get your paranoia treated and read the relevant wikipedia articles.
        Ebola is not the flu nor the black death ... the likelihood to catch it if you don't fuck, kiss, embrace, or otherwise intensive care for a patient is basically ZERO.
        Ebola viruses survive on any surface until it either dries out (body fluid containing it evaporates) or by UV radiation.

        Do you really believe the USA governments health agency carries an US citizen into the US if it was not perfectly safe? In what paranoia 1984 world do you live?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DigiShaman (671371)

          Do you really believe the USA governments health agency carries an US citizen into the US if it was not perfectly safe?

          Umm, YES! Damn, you're that incredibly naive to believe that line of bullshit? How many professionals...how many politicians for that matter have promised one thing only later to either admit they fucked up, or blatantly flat-out lied?! Sorry, but oops doesn't count as an excuse if they fuck this up.

      • Uneducated panic (Score:5, Informative)

        by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:15PM (#47582779)

        There's a reason animals (and humans) are paranoid about shit we don't understand. From a survival standpoint, it's an advantageous attitude to have. And right now, I'm pretty fucking paranoid about being anywhere near people with Ebola!

        Then you need to educate yourself because ebola is NOT even in the top 20 pathogens you should be worried about. Infectious disease doctors worry about diseases like Vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus [wikipedia.org] which is an example of a much more serious threat. You're worrying about a meteor strike when while living in Tornado Alley. Sure there is a tiny risk but it isn't what you should be concerned about. Ebola is scary but there are MUCH scarier and FAR more likely pathogens out there.

        Ebola is hard to transmit, easy to contain, evolves slowly and is very unlikely to come anywhere near you in the near future.

      • by GiganticLyingMouth (1691940) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:49PM (#47583149)
        Ebola is only contagious when the symptoms are present , NOT during the incubation period. The symptoms of Ebola are pretty pronounced, so if you see someone projectile vomiting and bleeding from their eyeballs, steer clear, but otherwise you should be alright. From the WHO Ebola FAQ [who.int]:

        The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.

    • by Solandri (704621) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:52AM (#47582553)

      The disease is not particularly communicable. It tends to externalize a lot of bodily fluids, which is why in places with poor sanitary conditions, it spreads pretty quickly. Hospitals which handle patients like these tend not to be considered poor sanitary conditions..

      The various strains of the flu which become pandemics don't start off as particularly communicable either. They usually develop in other animals (e.g. birds or pigs) and mutate into a form which can infect humans. Even then their outbreak is usually limited to farmers and people who work closely with animals because, like current Ebola strains, they can only be transmitted via direct contact.

      They become a pandemic when they mutate into a form which can be transmitted via the air. Not saying this will happen with Ebola. Just saying that just because it's not particularly communicable now doesn't mean it'll stay that way. Ebola is so deadly (50%-90% mortality rate, c.f. 10%-20% for the Spanish Flu) that it inhibits its own spread - killing its victims before they have a chance to mingle with other people and spread the disease. That's also why they haven't transported a patient out of Africa yet - they tend to die before the red tape is cleared. Given the deadly nature of the disease I think it's a good idea to be able to study a case in a modern hospital facility rather than some rural village in Africa. They just need to be super careful handling the case, which it sounds like they are.

      There's also something to be said for backing up the doctors who are working on this outbreak with the best possible care we can provide them should they become infected. These folks are casualties on the front lines of an inter-species war. Writing them off and treating them as pariahs if they become infected doesn't exactly bolster their confidence nor encourage other doctors to try to help contain similar outbreaks. Modern epidemiology has become a victim of its own success. People point to fizzled outbreaks like MERS, SARS, the Bird Flu, and criticize our disease control agencies of overreacting because those diseases didn't really spread that far, when the reason those diseases didn't spread that far was likely in large part due to the quick actions of those agencies. We need to be backing these people up. They need to know that should they become casualties, the world is going to provide them with the best possible care to help them recover, not treat them like lepers.

  • by Scottingham (2036128) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:16AM (#47582131)
    Just for fun, the folks at the CDC should combine Ebola with the rabies virus. This zombie apocalypse isn't going to start itself!
  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:18AM (#47582145)

    I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea?

    Ebola is hardly the only scary pathogen handled by the CDC. In fact I believe the CDC doesn't even consider this among the most dangerous of pathogens because of the relative difficulty in transmission [wikipedia.org] which requires direct contact and it evolves relatively slowly apparently. They know very well how to handle this. The main concern is that they actually follow proper procedures. If they do that then there is little to worry about.

    If you really want to study ebola to find a cure this is probably a very good idea provided they exercise appropriate caution. You want the experts at the CDC to be able to study this up close in a live patient. Of course one has to wonder why we had to wait for an american physician to get infected before deciding this was a good idea...

    • You want the experts at the CDC to be able to study this up close in a live patient. Of course one has to wonder why we had to wait for an american physician to get infected before deciding this was a good idea...

      Exactly! Walter from Fringe would have been able to find the cure in about 45 minutes in a makeshift kitchen lab. Then he could have engineered a cure with some old yogurt, a teapot and some of his own blood. All that as long as he could just see the patient. You'd never get him to go to Africa though. That's why they have to bring the patient here!

  • by tekrat (242117) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:25AM (#47582217) Homepage Journal

    Is the TSA agent going to give the Ebola patient a pat-down? After all, he might have a bomb in his underwear.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      Well, he is coming into the country with a biological weapon...
    • by steelfood (895457)

      No, they're just going put him through the millimeter wave scanner and then claim that it cures ebola afterwards.

  • I have both read and seen World War Z, and see no problem with this.

  • FUD much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by plcurechax (247883) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:51AM (#47582541) Homepage

    I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea?

    When did Slashdot become home to stupid FUD* spewing dweebs with little or no common sense? The subtitle is "News for Nerds," which would suggest somebody who submits something might have half a clue about what they are talking about (leaving the plebs to pontificate on logical and scientific fallacy or imagine a Beowulf cluster of hot grits ).

    I want my Slashdot with nerds filter enabled.

    And yes it is an excellent idea, because it gives the CDC a living "test tube" of the actual active Ebola virus, not a sample of infected blood collected, and shipped on ice. Making it ideal for study, and possibly detection of any variant (i.e. mutation) that had not been notice before. Of course, this will likely cost the American doctor his/her life, but such is the risk of fighting an viral outbreak, and the real-world beyond web forums and politicians rambling.

    * FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt

    • by steelfood (895457)

      I dunno

      The editors aren't even trying anymore.

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      News for trolls, pageviews that matter.

    • And yes it is an excellent idea, because it gives the CDC a living "test tube" of the actual active Ebola virus, not a sample of infected blood collected, and shipped on ice.

      Right, because it's absolutely impossible to ship a plane full of CDC scientists and equipment. Far, far, better to ship a live human body full of ebola over and to a densely populated area. What could possibly go wrong?

  • The aircraft was specially outfitted for this type of scenario. You can't compare this to a scheduled flight on a commercial airliner.
  • I think with all the sci-fy shows like the strain, zombie this and zombie that, people are terrified that something like this will cause the apocalypse. So I am sure when this hits mainstream news people in Atlanta will flip out and the preachers will have thier field day. As long as those stupid religious end of the world fanatics don't do something stupid, it will be fine. All it takes it one fanatic trying to cause the end of the world and we will have ebola here.
  • by sirwired (27582) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:16PM (#47582789)

    Better to study Ebola in a large, properly-equipped research facility where we know exactly who has it (this one guy), and can take appropriate precautions. The precautions needed to keep the infection from spreading in a hospital setting are not particularly elaborate; better than what's available in BFE General Hospital, but nothing fancier than the isolation unit present in just about every major academic medical center in the US.

    That's about 1000x better than somebody bringing it over here and spreading it to some other people before somebody recognizes it for what it is, and that being the first chance to run real research on a live patient. This way, we bring over one guy, and the best infectious disease doctors in the world can all be treating him at once in a facility designed for exactly this purpose, with virtually zero chance of this not-particularly-communicable disease going anywhere.

    Or, we could have a surprise panic when this shows up in a family somewhere in flyover country, or somebody spreads it to patients in the waiting room of the Metropolis General Hospital ER... yeah, that's LOTS better.

    Or not.

  • I've seen nothing but panic on this Ebola issue.
    It's not the end of the world. You have little to worry about, the media is making a stick out of it to get more clicks and higher ratings, that's all.

    With diseases like this, the death rate and the incubation time are both critical to how dangerous the disease is. Ebola is deadly, but the incubation rate is very short, and it has little time to spread. Bascially it kills the host long before they can infect too many people. It's prevalent in African due to po

  • by Pvt_Waldo (459439) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:27PM (#47582897)

    SCIENTIST 1
    I'm afraid we'll be deviating a bit from standard analysis procedures today, Gordon.

    SCIENTIST 2
    Yes, but with good reason. This is a rare opportunity for us. This is the purest sample we've seen yet.

    SCIENTIST 1
    And potentially the most unstable!

    SCIENTIST 2
    Oh, if you follow standard insertion procedures, everything will be fine.

    SCIENTIST 1
    I don't know how you can say that. Although I will admit that the possibility of a resonance cascade scenario is extremely unlikely, I remain uncomfortable with the---

    SCIENTIST 2
    Gordon doesn't need to hear this. He's a highly trained professional. We have assured the Administrator that nothing will go wrong.

    SCIENTIST 1
    Ah yes, you're right. Gordon, we have complete confidence in you.

    SCIENTIST 2
    Well, go ahead. Let's let him in now.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:38PM (#47584035)

    Worry about the folks who flew here from Africa who didn't know they were infected, and are even now having hamburgers at the airport.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane

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