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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/27/14

Ebola and The Straw man

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There is one way to stop the Ebola epidemic in West Africa from becoming a Global pandemic that kills the majority of the earth's population.

There is no vaccine. There are several vaccines in development, but none are proven or will be available for widespread use in the next several months.[1]

There is no cure. Ebola kills well over 50% of those it infects. Those treated in the earliest stages of the infection, at the most specialized hospitals, by teams of dozens of health care professionals, have better results. But this level of care cannot be delivered on a mass scale.

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The people of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are in desperate need of doctors, nurses, isolation suits, goggles, gloves, beds, tents, and other supplies. What has been delivered is completely inadequate. The same can be said of what has been promised.

Even now, patients that are known to have Ebola are being left in their homes to be cared for by their families due to inadequate hospital facilities. These families to not have the training, protective clothing, or disinfectants required to insure that they do not become infected.

Currently the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has confirmed nearly 5,000 deaths and nearly 10,000 cases of Ebola. Actual deaths and cases could be twice or three times as much as the official numbers. New cases are expected to rise to 10,000 per week by December.[2]

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Humanity cannot gamble on the chance that an effective vaccine or cure will be developed in the nick of time to stop the spread of Ebola. We must use the only effective method available to stop the epidemic. That method is the quarantine of all possible carriers of the virus.

All possible carriers include, people known to have the virus, people exposed to the virus, people that have traveled to areas where the epidemic is active, and people that have recently recovered but may still be carrying the virus.

This may seem extreme, but it is the only method that can succeed until there is a vaccine and/or a cure that can be administered on a massive scale.

The quarantine period must be a minimum of 21 days from the latest possible exposure. "The incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools). Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes. "[3]

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"People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness."[4] The incubation period can be longer than 21 days in 5% of cases.[5]

The United States Government, The C.D.C., and the W.H.O are actively trashing Quarantine. The establishment media is conflating quarantine with travel bans. A few examples can be found in the following articles. The Wall Street Journal refers to the "Ebola Scare" and refers to the "Medieval" origin of the word.[6]The Philadelphia Inquirer conflates quarantine with travel bans.[7] The AP also attacks travel bans.[8] The Huffington Post parrots the N.I.H.[9] The Daily Caller critiques the New York Times article on travel bans.[10] Articles generally equate travel bans with a total prohibition of all travel and import/export of goods to the effected countries. A quarantine would only affect people leaving those countries. It would not prevent health care workers from going to the effected countries, it would only insure that they are Ebola free before they could return to the U.S. Perhaps the return trips could be by ship with the voyage prolonged to cover the incubation period, or by plane to an island off the coast. Ellis Island was used for just this purpose in past centuries.

The establishment media is using a straw man argument to make the only rational solution seem ridiculous.[11] It equates the rational, medically accepted, quarantine process with the irrational complete and total travel ban and total trade embargo, as if they were the same thing. The fact that the establishment media is conflating a complete travel ban and trade embargo with quarantine of travelers from affected areas is clear evidence that they are aware that there is no rational argument against quarantine.

Nearly 30 countries have already implemented restrictions on travel FROM the three Ebola ravaged countries.[12] Senegal and Nigeria, the two countries that have freed themselves, at least temporarily, of Ebola are included in the list.[13] Mali, which shares a border with Guinea, has no travel restrictions, and is in great danger of becoming the next Ebola hot spot.[13]

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Jim Howe is a member of Communications Workers of America, local 3108, a Delegate to the Central Florida AFL-CIO, and a member of the Green Party of Florida.

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