My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: No Ebola Virus in Jamaica, claims Ministry of Health - 3,091 Dead in West Africa and how 60% of Jamaica's population can die from Ebola

Sunday, October 5, 2014

No Ebola Virus in Jamaica, claims Ministry of Health - 3,091 Dead in West Africa and how 60% of Jamaica's population can die from Ebola

So given the handling of the Chikungunya Virus outbreak in Jamaica, could the Ebola Virus already be in Jamaica and we don’t know it? According to the WHO (World Health Organization) 3,091 have died and 6,574 persons have been affected in West Africa.

A remaining 20,000 may possibly die in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal, and the Democratic Republic of Congo before the Ebola Virus has run its course as noted in my blog article entitled “WHO confirms Ebola Virus outbreak in DRC different from West Africa - Ebola Virus Brothers from the same Zaire Strain Mother”.

This is a hot topic of discussion among the Miconians at MICO University College sitting under the Tree in the Courtyard of this great institution.

In fact, many evening students such as myself at MICO University College who are still pissed at having been “plucked” by the Chikungunya Virus, STILL have friends who STILL have not infected.

They are anxiously awaiting their turn to become a part of the 60% to get this rather unfashionable Rash and crippling arthritic pains in exchange for lifelong immunity as noted in my blog article entitled “Minister of Health comes clean on Chikungunya Virus Epidemic - 35 Official Cases as 60 percent possibly Infected and Medicines running low”.

Discussions about the Ebola Virus are not so amusing, I’m afraid. Looks of dread and worry are etched on the faces of the femme fetales at MICO University College; this discussion has many of them worried as unlike the Chikungunya Virus, there isn’t a cure.

And the vaccines that do exist are being tested in West Africa by Pharmaceutical companies working with the WHO (World Health Organization) in clinical trials, the results of which won’t be announced until November 2014 as noted in my blog article entitled “WHO confirms Ebola Virus outbreak in DRC different from West Africa - Ebola Virus Brothers from the same Zaire Strain Mother”.

So with a potentially successfully tested vaccine at least a year away in Africa and Jamaican not having access to the experimental drug known as ZMapp, developed by San Diego, California based biotech firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc as described in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Ebola Risk - How a ZMapp cured Americans of Ebola as Jamaica can become Guinea Pig to Test an Ebola Cure”, many Miconians are afraid that the Ebola Virus is already in Jamaica and that the dishonest Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson, may be hiding the fact.

So what’s the situation with Ebola in Jamaica? I asked some questions on Thursday September 2nd 2014 at SERHA’s (South East Regional Health Authority) offices in the Towers on Dominica Drive in New Kingston to find out!

MOH claims no Ebola in Jamaica – SERHA says an errant email to the Jamaica Observer

My questions on Thursday September 2nd 2014 were directed at SERHA PR (Public Relations) Representative Mrs. S. Shaw-Smith, who I interrogated on the recent publication of an Ebola Advisory in The Jamaica Observer by SERHA as stated in their article “Health authority issues Ebola advisory”, published Friday, September 26, 2014 4:55 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

According to SERHA PR (Public Relations) Representative Mrs. S. Shaw-Smith, that advisory was an internal reminder of their Doctors and health practitioners advising them of the precautions to take to minimize the spread of the Ebola Virus. Apparently someone from within SERHA had emailed it out to The Jamaica Observer and thus the reason why they ran the story.

It was not, she emphasized, an indication that the Ebola Virus was in Jamaica. But given the Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson lack of truthfulness on the spread of the Chikungunya Virus as pointed out in my blog article entitled “31 infected during Jamaican Chikungunya Virus Epidemic - 113 Deaths in the Caribbean as Jamaica grapples with Chikungunya Virus Outbreak”, how could we be so sure that this wasn’t another case that it was here and spreading and just not being reported because no “official” confirmation was made?

She then referred me to yet another PR (Public Relations) Representative Mrs. Tenesisha Lewis (Tel: 317-8885) at the MOH if I had further questions. So I resolved to do some digging into the Newspaper archives, hoping for something to turn up.

It certainly did, as that very same day, the story about the first Ebola Case in Texas, US of A, happened, which I penned that very same day as noted in my blog article entitled “Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan from Texas becomes US of A First Ebola Case – From Liberia to Texas in 5 days as Ebola goes Continent Hopping”.

Dr Kevin Harvey says no Ebola Virus in Jamaica - Entertainers may be Carriers from West Africa

The MOH (Ministry of Health) Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Kevin Harvey, dismissed such claims as stated in the article entitled “Ebola in Jamaica?”, published Friday, September 26, 2014 3:11 PM, The Jamaica Observer. He may be right, given the two to twenty one (2 to 21) day incubation period of the Ebola Virus.

Interestingly, according to a Jamaican living in Texas, Americans are going about their usual business in a tense atmosphere that is stark contrast to the self-assuredness of the MOH Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Kevin Harvey as stated in the article “Mixed reactions to Ebola case in US, says J’can”, published Wednesday, October 01, 2014, The Jamaica Observer.

This as it took less than five (5) days to manifest in Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan, now confirmed to be a Liberian and not an American, to manifest the symptoms as noted in my blog article entitled “Mr. Thomas Eric Duncan from Texas becomes US of A First Ebola Case – From Liberia to Texas in 5 days as Ebola goes Continent Hopping”. 

A quick update here folks: His situation has deteriorated at the time of writing this article as stated in “Texas Ebola patient in critical condition: hospital”, published Saturday, October 04, 2014 2:30 PM, The Jamaica Observer, suggesting he might not make it.

The persons with whom he had direct contact, the family in Texas, are being kept at their home, effectively quarantined in their own house as stated in the article “US family that hosted Ebola patient confined to home”, published Thursday, October 02, 2014 9:35 PM, The Jamaica Observer

If they survive this, book, talk show and movie deals offers will be coming their way for certain!

This is not to say that the 21 day incubation period is wrong. Rather, if it is indeed 21 days for the incubation period, it indicates how long after he'd had contact with an infected person BEFORE it manifested as physically visible or perceivable symptoms.

This suggests African Nationals right now in Jamaica who recently travelled from West Africa possibly have the Ebola Virus in their System but won't know it until 21 days. With Air Travel being literally an overnight affair from such far-flung African countries, isn't it then possibly that both Africans and Jamaicans travelers infected with the Ebola Virus, travelling to and from these African countries may have the Ebola Virus in their blood and NOT know it?

To be fair Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson DID issue a warning to Entertainers and Artiste from Jamaica travelling to Africa to avoid going to West Africa as noted in the article “Gov't Warns Entertainers Against Travel To Ebola-Affected Countries”, Published Thursday August 21, 2014 6:44 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner, particularly the following countries:

1.      Guinea
2.      Liberia
3.      Sierra Leone
4.      Nigeria
5.      DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) formerly Zaire

Examples that readily come to mind possibly include Dancehall Artiste such as Christopher Martin and Alaine Haughton and others who recently went to Africa to perform as stated in my blog article entitled “Alaine and Christopher Martin on Tour in Africa – Denyque is Reppin’ for Millennials on DRS 2014”.

When they return, if they’re not already back in the island, isn't it totally possible that they may be carriers of the Ebola Virus for that 21 day incubation period and NOT know it? Dancehall Artiste, wary of the Ebola situation in the US of A which hits a little too close to home, seem to be getting the message and are avoiding Africa for now as noted in the article “Artistes Shun 'Mama Africa'”, published Sunday October 5, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner .

Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson is also slated to meet with representatives of the Entertainment Industry in Jamaica to speak to the issue of non-essential travel to Ebola affected countries in West Africa as noted in the article “Ferguson, Local Entertainment Industry Reps To Have Ebola Talks”, Published Saturday October 4, 2014 2:05 pm, The Jamaica Gleaner .

In fact, Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson stated that, quite simply, any Jamaican making non-essential trips to West Africa will be quarantined upon return as noted in the article “Entertainers who continue trips to Ebola-affected areas will be quarantined”, published Saturday, October 04, 2014 12:21 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

But by who exactly? And will they be wearing safety protective Gear and have an Isolation unit in a HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials) Ambulance ready to transport the infected?

Ebola Virus isn’t “airborne” – How the Ebola Virus is transmitted and your Final Destination

Remember the Ebola Virus isn’t “airborne”. Strictly speaking no disease is “airborne”, not even Tuberculosis. Instead, some diseases that are characterized as contagious have the following properties:

1.      A low Viral load i.e. small amount of PPM (particle per million) of the bacterium or virii is needed to start an infect once the conditions to reproduce are right
2.      Form spores once outside of the body
3.      Can survive for months without these favorable conditions before being re-animated by liquid i.e. sweat from the skin

If the microscopic particles of the bacterium or virii become aerosolized i.e. spaced far apart by extreme pressure or force often via sneezing or coughing, they can travel only as far as the wind can blow, land on someone’s face or any open wound on their skin and infect them.

 If no wind, the particles of the bacterium or virii mixes up in the liquid out of the persons nose or mouth i.e. saliva, phlegm or sputum travel and lands on the nearest contact surface, where it usually dies. However, once you touch this infected area and wipe your face or any open wound on your skin, you can be infected. This is the means by which transmission of an “airborne” Virus occurs; they should really be called Surface Contact Viruses.

And due to the low Viral load of such “airborne” Viruses, a small amount of fluid from an infected person can easily transmit the Virus as is the case with Tuberculosis or the Common Cold. Good to note that most “airborne” diseases tend to be Bacterium or Virii that usually form spores when they are outside of the body, allowing them to survive for days, weeks, months and even years!

They can lie on a surface for days, sometimes even months, becoming reactivated when the moisture from someone’s hand jumpstarts their reproduction as they adhere to that person’s hand – and infects them when they wipe their hand on their face or any open wound on their skin.

The Ebola Virus has a high Viral load like HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus); it requires a large amount of the Virus to be infectious. To replicate and be spread effectively in small amounts isn’t possible as the Immune System would easily kill it on entering the body.

Hence the reason why Ebola Virus or HIV cannot be spread via mosquitoes, a mosquito bite carries too small a Viral load to be infectious. The Chikungunya Virus, on the other hand, has a low Viral load can, hence making it easily spread, taking a ride within the gut of the Aedes aegypti Mosquito and spreading each time the mosquitoes bites someone!

Also neither Ebola Virus nor HIV forms spores when out of their favorable host conditions; they usually die from radiation exposure i.e. sunlight and the extremes of temperature outside of the human body. This is the reason why sterilization procedures for food preparation sometimes involve using strong ionizing radiation i.e. UV or even Gamma Radiation from a Cobalt-60 source to kill bacteria.

Rather the Ebola Virus, HIV and other Viruses with high Viral load are spread through direct contact with the following bodily fluids:

1.      Blood
2.      Saliva
3.      Semen
4.      Stool
5.      Sweat
6.      Urine

According to the Center for Disease Control, persons will display the following symptoms, after the 21 day incubation period in the case of the Ebola Virus:

1.      Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
2.      Severe headache
3.      Muscle pain
4.      Weakness
5.      Diarrhea
6.      Vomiting
7.      Abdominal (stomach) pain
8.      Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Hemorrhaging, from which the Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever gets its claim to fame, is due to the body’s Last Stand, often referred to as a Cytokine Storm as the Ebola Virus turns its attention to attacking the Body’s Immune System. Unlike the HIV (Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus) which attacks the T-Cells in the Immune System and bone Marrow where the T-Cells are made first in a long protracted battle, the Ebola Virus wages a war more akin to the Chikungunya Virus, attacking the vital organs and the Nervous Systems.

Thus persons with weak constitutions i.e. weak Immune System or complications due to other illnesses, usually die from the Ebola Virus or the Chikungunya Virus. During the Cytokine Storm, the Immune System throws all it has at the Ebola Virus in hopes that previous antigens from previous infections it has fought successfully can stop the Ebola Virus. 

In the process, anti-coagulant is released into the bloodstream that makes the blood less likely to clot, resulting in the persons bleeding through all their organs, including the skin. That’s what causes the gruesome appearance of an Ebola suffer hemorrhaging in the last stages of the battle, during which fluids and lots of nutrients are necessary to boost their Immune System.

In short, as the video says, it’s not the Virus that kills you, it’s you that kills you!

Doctors not trusting MOH – PPE can be made as PAHO and CATHA pledge assistance

Firstly, it appears as if it isn’t going to be by Jamaican Doctors, at least the one at the UHWI (University Hospital of the West indies), as, many have pointed out that they’re not equipped with their procedures or equiptment to isolate and deal with the Ebola Virus as stated in the article “Ebola panic: Local Doctors say they are not equipped to handle deadly Virus”, Published Thursday October 2, 2014, by Corey Robinson, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

They aren’t backing down on their Hippocratic Oaths. Rather, they’re not willing to die from a disease that has a mortality rate of 95% on average. Not to mention just simply not reading, as it is possible to recover from the Ebola Virus, despite what Jamaican Doctors may have heard sensationalized on Television!

Contrary to the report above, such equiptment, referred to as PPE (Personal Protective Equiptment), can be easily sourced and made in Jamaica once you follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detailed PPE recommendations as stated in the article “Ebola Outbreak: Hazmat-Style Suits Face Distribution Crunch In Africa”, published October 04 2014 9:29 AM By Connor Adams, International Business Times.

In fact the CDC also has guidelines and procedures for Doctors on the Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Hospitalized Patients with Known or Suspected Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever in U.S. Hospitals as well as Safe Management of Patients with Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in U.S. Hospitals, more than adequate procedures for Doctors and Nurses to handle an Ebola Epidemic instead of sounding like scared children.

Most of it is sold at local Suppliers of PPE use in the Bauxite Industry and Pharmaceutical Industry. There even a procedure sheet from the CDC detailing how the PPE should be put on by the wearer!

Makeshift Portable Isolation Units, such as the ones made by ISOVAC Products LLC in the article “Portable isolation chamber could help contain Ebola”, published October 2, 2014, 3:42 PM, CBS News can be easily made using the PPE Material available again from such stores as National Safety in Jamaica.

The aim is to really isolate and contain the patient and prevent them from transferring fluids to healthcare works without the need to physically touch them. Examples of Makeshift Portable Isolation Units are as shown below:

Add to this wealth of information the fact that they’re getting help from CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Agency) as stated in the article “CARPHA ramps up Ebola preparedness, Chik-V control”, published Saturday, October 04, 2014 8:50 AM, The Jamaica Observer.

To quote the Executive Director of CARPHA, Dr C James Hospedales: “We at CARPHA continue to work with all our member states, and our partners to bolster preparedness for Ebola, protect the health of the people and implement measures to minimise risk — including those linked to the revised International Health Regulations (2005).”‏

We also have pledges of PPE from PAHO (Pan-American Health Organization), should the need arise as noted in the article “Ebola Help: PAHO, CARICOM Pledge Assistance To Help Jamaica With Preparedness”, Published Friday October 3, 2014, by Anastasia Cunningham, Health Coordinator, The Jamaica Gleaner. The MOH is also in consultation with the CDC and procurement channels in the US of A with the aim to get more supplies of PPE, most likely on humanitarian, as we might not necessarily be able to afford them.

And they'll be here real fast too, to quote MOH Acting Permanent Secretary Dr Kevin Harvey: “PAHO has confirmed support for the provision of PPEs from its warehouse in Panama. If the need arises in Jamaica, items can be made available within 24 hours of notification of a case”.

So folks, it’s all up to the level of preparation we have for the Ebola Virus. With the parts slowly falling in place, Jamaica will be ready to fight this disease should it “official” come to our shores!

No comments: