Will a summer vacationer bring back Ebola to Japan?

TOKYO —

As of Aug 2, the number of known fatalities from Ebola hemorrhagic fever—a disease with a mortality rate ranging from 50 to 90%—was 729. That figure has since increased by several hundred.

In the United States, the Atlanta, Georgia-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Aug 6 that it had raised its alert level to 1, the highest of six levels, and issued an advisory that Americans refrain from travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

“Ebola HF is contracted through direct contact with the excretions, saliva, blood and other bodily fluids of an infected person,” Dr Kiichi Inoue, director of the Setagaya Inoue Hospital, tells Shukan Jitsuwa (Aug 21-28). “Its incubation period can range from three days to three weeks, and for that reason it’s difficult to grasp where the patient was infected. Also, at the initial stage, many symptoms of Ebola—such as fever, diarrhea, headache and so on—resemble those of influenza, making diagnosis difficult.”

In a July 31 telebriefing, Dr Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, was quoted as saying the reason for issuing the advisory against nonessential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone was “... because the ongoing Ebola outbreak in these countries poses a potential risk to travelers particularly if you are traveling and happen to fall ill or be injured in a car crash and needed to go to a medical facility which might have recognized or unrecognized spread of Ebola.”

“People living in the infected countries are known to eat the meat of monkeys, gorillas and other wild game, and this is believed to be how the infection initially spread to humans,” an unnamed science writer tells the magazine. “The first cases in the current outbreak were traced to an area of jungle proximate to Conakry, the capital of Guinea. It’s likely that infected individuals then traveled from there to neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.”

Since then, the media has reported that a man from Liberia flew to Nigeria, where he was diagnosed with Ebola. He has since expired from the disease.

“Fundamentally Ebola is not spread via airborne infection, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that passengers who were on the same plane won’t become infected,” the science writer explains. “In Africa, medical workers have been contracting the disease one after another, and over 100 have reportedly been infected, despite the protective gear they were wearing, with half of them dying. That alone shows how easily it can spread.”

The aforementioned Dr Inoue concurs.

“The possibility of Ebola reaching Japan is not zero,” he remarks gravely, adding, “Once a single case makes its way into the country, it’s feared that it will spread like wildfire.”

With the summer season for overseas travel set to peak just a few days from now, Shukan Jitsuwa concludes, an extra level of vigilance is called for.

Meanwhile, Yukan Fuji (Aug 9) worries that given the disease’s incubation period of up to three weeks, it may not be practical to spot an infected person upon arrival at an airport.

What will happen if a carrier of the virus enters Japan? A staff member at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare tells the newspaper, “Considering that Ebola HF is only transmitted through direct contact with the affected person’s bodily fluids, it’s unlikely that it would spread.” So while it appears there’s no need for excess worry, Japan still cannot let down its guard.

Finally, Nifty@News site runs a story from Spa! magazine that quotes Tokyo-based journalist Benjamin Fulford as claiming the current epidemic in Africa is “a biological weapons attack.”

http://news.nifty.com/cs/magazine/detail/spa-20140807-692246/1.htm

“The American physician who contracted Ebola was quickly evacuated and treated with the medication ZMAPP, and it’s reported he’s shown miraculous improvement,” says Fulford. “It’s clearly strange that only those people in Africa should suffer. That should have been tried right from the start of the Ebola pandemic.”

Japan Today

  • 6

    kwatt

    I think there are more concerns about China. Millions of Chinese workers go to all over Africa for their companies. If someone is infected with Ebola and come back home, then contagion would come to Japan sooner or later, just like bird virus.

  • -10

    onagagamo

    One thing's for sure; if someone does arrive in Japan with Ebola, Japanese doctors and hospitals will be of absolutely zero help whatsoever! Still prescribing antibiotics for cold viruses here...!

  • 10

    kwatt

    There is no medicine to cure in any countries because they have not made medicine against Ebola.

  • -6

    onagagamo

    There is no medicine to cure in any countries because they have not made medicine against Ebola.

    Correct. But I guarantee you, you'd be given antibiotics by a Japanese doctor regardless.

  • -8

    Frungy

    Fundamentally Ebola is not spread via airborne infection

    Technically true... but then neither is influenza "fundamentally". Instead the virus is aerosolized during coughing and sneezing. It has also been shown to survive for up to 60 days outside the human host. Oh, and it can be sexually transmitted.

    This means that public toilets are a risk vector, as are any area where large numbers of people collect... like the Tokyo subway... a few sneezes and... BOOM!

    A staff member at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare tells the newspaper, “Considering that Ebola HF is only transmitted through direct contact with the affected person’s bodily fluids, it’s unlikely that it would spread.”

    ... and this is just plain old-fashioned misinformation designed to make the public think everything is just fine.

    If there's Ebola in Japan then wear a mask. No, I'm not kidding. Facial touching (e.g. touching something with the virus on it then touching your eye/nose/mouth before washing your hands) is a major infection vector. A mask won't stop you inhaling the virus, but it does help stop facial touching. This is why masks do help, not because they filter the air, but because they stop people from literally placing the virus inside their nose or mouth where it can enter more easily.

    Wash your hands regularly... and avoid crowded areas like... umm... pretty much any major city.

  • 11

    It"S ME

    Frungy.

    Pls, do us a favour and read up on Ebola and how it is spread. You are the one giving out wrong information.

  • -9

    Frungy

    It's ME - if you could please specify which part of my post precisely you think is misinformation then I will post links to reliable medical sources to back it up.

    Until then please realise that posts simply saying, "You're wrong" with no specifics are extremely unhelpful in actually resolving the difference of opinion.

    I have medical sources to back up everything I claimed. I would say you are the one who is in error, but your post has no substance so I have no idea what your position or objections are.

  • -1

    It"S ME

    I go by the WHO official info. Easy to Google and read and I think they are the best source.

    What are yours?

  • 7

    Meguroman

    Let's stop fear-mongering and deal in factual information. From the WHO website: "Ebola then spreads in the community through human-to-human transmission, with infection resulting from direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments contaminated with such fluids. Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness." Sound hard to get from someone on the subway.

  • 9

    Probie

    This means that public toilets are a risk vector, as are any area where large numbers of people collect... like the Tokyo subway... a few sneezes and... BOOM!

    Do you go around licking public toilet seats? Because if you do, then worry. If you don't, you're fine. Viruses use liquid/mucous to get into the body through the nose/throat etc. Sitting down to curl on out in a public toilet will not get you infected. Unless you have open sores on your ass or something.

  • -10

    Frungy

    shrug fine. Don't believe me. Like I care.

    But before you write my opinion off completely please consider that this is a hemorrhagic disease. That means that when they sneeze (even before the start showing major symptoms) there is some blood contained in that sneeze. If it makes contact with the eye or nose if another person that can be sufficient. It only requires 1-10 active virus cells tor a chance of infection. Likewise in public toilets fecal matter with blood in it is commonplace.

    When the patient hits the late stages of the disease they are bleeding from almost everywhere and anything they touched is highly contagious. That's why doctors wearing protective gear are getting infected, because even 10 cells of this virus is enough to kill you.

    I am not overstating the risks. If anything I am low-balling them.

    Oh, and It's ME if you can't actually point out something specific as incorrect then I would suggest that you really don't know enough about the topic to be correcting people.

  • 7

    It"S ME

    Frungy.

    I have read your posts here for years and know the futility of trying to correct you. Gave you my source and zilch from you ....

  • -10

    Frungy

    It's ME - no, you asked me for all my sources. I don't have the time or inclination to sit here typing out the names of dozens of textbooks that you probably don't own.

    I asked you to identify a specific objection so I could cite a specific source. You didn't.

  • 4

    It"S ME

    So you are a specialist, higher trained and more knowledgeable than the WHO.

    Can I visit your clinic? I said read up about Ebola and how it is spread.

    So give me one source only, pls, I don't trust the US CDC.

    Done here.

  • -6

    Frungy

    It's ME - one source? For a decent overview I'd suggest this website: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/lab-bio/res/psds-ftss/ebola-eng.php

    As for WHO, they're not a medical organization, they're a political organization. As a result the information they release is often downplayed or hyped up depending on the political agenda. I don't trust a thing they publish.

  • 2

    It"S ME

    From your source:

    PREPARED BY: Pathogen Regulation Directorate, Public Health Agency of Canada.

    Although the information, opinions and recommendations contained in this Pathogen Safety Data Sheet are compiled from sources believed to be reliable, we accept no responsibility for the accuracy, sufficiency, or reliability or for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information. Newly discovered hazards are frequent and this information may not be completely up to date.

    We could hold a debate which us worse CDC or WHO.

  • 1

    Silvafan

    I think there are more concerns about China.

    I am more concerned about China bringing something to Africa. The conditions in China for many people are pretty bad. They have already quarantined a town for the Bubonic plagued.

  • -1

    It"S ME

    Silvafan.

    A dirty nuclear bomb doesn't scare me as much as a dirty chemical/biological one.

    Outbreak was a pretty good Sci-Fi movie even though it exaggerated things.

    Ebola has had no travel ban and precautions as were taken during the SARS outbreaks as infection risk is considered lower.

  • -9

    Frungy

    It's ME - so it is your opinion that a disclaimer saying basically "please cross-check our information" is somehow LESS trustworthy than WHO's "trust us, everything important is summarized here in easy English, despite virology requiring doctors about 6 months to get the basics".

    Personally I trust people more who say, "Please double-check what I claimed". And if you read the site you'll see it backs up my claims.

  • 4

    It"S ME

    I read the while article and read a lot of 'believed to', 'not verified', ' not understood', etc. In short it said we don't know and understand it.

    Maybe I read English different from you.

  • -6

    Frungy

    It's ME - it's a little thing called "honesty" and "scientific caution". There's evidence for every single one of those claims.

    As for your confidence that the same precautions for H1N1 will be effective against Ebola. Firstly, they weren't. H1N1 got into Japan. Secondly, H1N1 was far less infectious than Ebola is. Thirdly, the consequences of Ebola are far more severe.

  • 1

    It"S ME

    http://www.vox.com/2014/8/10/5980553/ebola-outbreak-virus-aerosol-airborne-pigs-monkeys/in/5712456

  • -6

    Frungy

    The Vox article specifically states that aerosolization IS a plausible risk. What it is debuking is the idea that the virus can travel very far like this. It certainly couldn't travel miles or even dozens of meters. However a bit of saliva or blood-impregnated mucus could definitely do the trick. How close are you to the person next to you in the Tokyo subways? 30cm? 50cm? Close enough to smell their breath? Then your close enough to get Ebola if they cough.

    And in toilets there is a high degree of vaporization, especially at urinals. All in all vaporization is a plausible risk factor in crowded areas like big cities.

    The article just confirms my point. Thank you.

  • 1

    danalawton1@yahoo.com

    Yes I believe Ebola will be brought back from West Africa by a vacationing Japanese tourist. Hey... they asked!

  • 5

    NathalieB

    How many Japanese are likely to be vacationing in west Africa, especially with this going on? Sheesh - I know of Japanese who cancelled their holiday in Hawaii whe the Iraq thing was going on. I dont see any Japanese holidaying in Liberia of all places!

  • 0

    turbotsat

    I think sooner or later Ebola will crop up in other continents, and places like Japan. It's not like they're close to eradicating it in the mother countries. Still getting transmitted via bushmeat consumption. Is there any effort at all to eradicate it from the source?

    @It's ME @Frungy

    This downplays the risk from Ebola patients, due to protection measures. What about Ebola patients BEFORE they become patients?

    http://www.vox.com/2014/8/10/5980553/ebola-outbreak-virus-aerosol-airborne-pigs-monkeys/in/5712456

    Of course, it's entirely possible that a big spit droplet from a human Ebola patient could fly a few feet through the air and land on someone else. But current Ebola protection measures seem to guard against this. Health-care workers are told to cover their faces and bodies with protective gear, for example, and patients are generally separated from the general population by a buffer zone of plastic fencing.

  • 0

    Metaphile

    @Illyas

    Guatemalans were intentionally infected with STDs.....

    African Americans were intentionally infected........(Tuskegee experiment)

    Jews were intentionally infected with various viruses and bacteria..........

    You want to try again? Do your research before you post something from Wikipedia!

    Don't forget the Japanese also infected the Chinese for experiments. Iraq and Syria was also condemned for biological warfare!

    It is not too far fetch to believe a nation would start an international crisis at the expense of another country for their own gain. It's been going on for the past 600 years at least with West.

    I would say Illyas is way off!

  • 1

    Novenachama

    Instead of going into a pandemic panic mode, be prepared to settle down if Ebola lands close to your homeland wherever that maybe. Prepare by getting plenty of food, water, first aid supplies, face masks, and something to keep you occupied in the event you are confined to your quarters. Be prepared to physically isolate yourself especially from large crowds, avoid commercial travel, and head out to your bug-out-location if you have one. If you work outside the home, plan to telecommute if you can and if not, take some vacation time. Above all use common sense and keep a level head about you.

  • 1

    Kapuna

    Can Japanese tourists bring back Ebola virus? Sure if they visit W. Africa and get infected.

  • 1

    Thunderbird2

    This really needs to be contained by the UN with troops in NBC suits to prevent infected people spreading it out of the contamination zone. May not be PC, but unless a drug is supplied to kill this off drastic action may be needed to protect the rest of the world.... sorry, that was "Outbreak"...

    Seriously though, why haven't the boffins been working night and day to produce a vaccine? In this day and age, why are we scared of something akin to the Black Death?

  • -3

    Frungy

    Turbotsat - you're preaching to the choir. It"s ME is the one who's denying that aerosolization is a contagion vector.

    Kapuna - not quite. They could have gone to Germany, but have been sitting in the seat next to someone who went to Egypt 3 weeks ago. They have a nice two week holiday in Germany then come back to Japan (still in the incubation period and showing no symptoms. A week later they're in hospital vomiting blood and they're come into contact with 100 people.

  • 2

    It"S ME

    I only deny what has been debunked by the CDC, WHO, IATA, IACO, etc.

    http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/study-confirms-ebola-not-transmitted-through-air

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/31/travel/ebola-planes-air-travel/index.html?iid=article_sidebar

  • -1

    kurisupisu

    How many Japanese go to Africa?

    Not many.....

  • -1

    Tessa

    Don't you miss the good old days of avian flu?

  • 0

    JayDough

    @kurisupisu: How many Japanese go to Africa?

    A better question is how many Japanese (or people traveling to Japan) make a connection via an airport or airplane that was used by a traveler who was sick with Ebola but was still asymptomatic. Most countries are not screening flyers for fevers or signs of illness.

    American Patrick Sawyer was able to travel from Liberia to Ghana, change planes in Togo and arrive in Nigeria, where he died - ultimately infecting others in Nigeria. We don't yet know how many others he infected along the way.

    From what I've read, Frungy is correct about incubation period, and aerosolization. There is also plenty of evidence that this virus survives for several days outside a host and is transmissible via fomite (surfaces, objects).

    @It"sMe: You mention the travel ban during SARS. The mortality rate was about 15-20% for SARS depending on the patient's age and where they lived. Aren't you curious why there isn't a travel ban for this outbreak of Ebola when the mortality rate for this strain is about 55-60% ?

  • 0

    turbotsat

    Frungy - I know, I was just mentioning it to you.

    Anyway ...

    My little kid and mother-in-law and I in quick succession caught stomach flu several years ago, probably norovirus or rotavirus or similar, projectile vomiting and diarrhea. On another occasion, in spite of not frequenting hotels, constantly cleaning hands, etc., I caught stomach flu on a drive halfway across the US a couple of years ago when there was an outbreak during holiday season.

    Aerosolization could apply to Ebola, but doesn't have to be a major cause of outbreaks. Someone goes wiping their nose or drool or bee you tee tee and then spreads germs through the airport, door knobs at city hall, etc. Should be enough to worry about.

  • -2

    moneyyen

    Just simply stop all travel to or from those countries.

  • 1

    DaDude

    I went overseas a few weeks ago and they already have the fever screening detectors up at the airport. It reminds me of when they did it for the pig flu and SARS before that. There are a good number of Nigerians in Japan and bet they will get an extra look if they come into Japan in the near future.

  • -2

    Droll Quarry

    moneyyenAug. 12, 2014 - 09:10AM JST Just simply stop all travel to or from those countries.

    Why do common sense answers get down voted on this forum? Traveling to another country with a deadly communicable virus is not a human right. The affected countries should take their own steps to limit travel until they get control of the infection, if they are unwilling or incapable of controlling their borders, it should be done for them by an international organization.

  • -1

    Taketomo

    Are there a lot of people "vacationing" in Nigeria or Liberia? Is there a Sandals resort I don't know about?

  • -3

    stormcrow

    It's doubtful that Ebola HF could spread like a wildfire throughout Japan this year, however, in the years ahead with increased temperatures due to global warming, who knows?

  • 0

    Silvafan

    I told you it would happen. I'm just curious as to the nature of so many Chinese health care professionals being in the West African country at the time of the outbreak. Things like this does make you wonder some time!

    " Eight Chinese quarantined as panic grips Ebola-hit west Africa "

    http://news.yahoo.com/eight-chinese-quarantined-ebola-hit-leone-184831106.html

  • 0

    Metaphile

    I wonder about how many nations gain to profit from continuing to do business countries under quarantine.

    Sierra Leone produces diamonds and Nigeria produces oil. It's no telling how many rare minerals these two nations possess.

  • 0

    igloobuyer

    Look, nobody in the Japan of the west is going to contract Ebola so calm down mass-media.

    It is not very contagious at all, you have to go out of your way to deliberately touch the blood or mucus of someone who has contracted it. The symptoms occur as soon as contracted so why would you touch the body fluids of someone who was bleeding out of their mouth and eyeballs!?

  • -1

    It"S ME

    No, no you forget that it can be spread via aerosol contagion.

    Even on the news they said it can be spread like SARS. /sarcasm

  • 0

    SenseNotSoCommon

    Will a member of AKB48 start the Zombie Apocalypse?

    A tad more likely.

  • 2

    letsberealistic

    A good BBC podcast talked about how the often talked about 90% death rate is inaccurate. It depends largely on the area's level of health care. The world average death rate since the first case in the seventies is around 60%, but in more developed countries the death rate falls to around 10-15%. They also pointed out that many more thousands of people die from measles in the world than Ebola, and measles us far more contagious than Ebola. Let's get some perspective media.

  • 1

    mu-da

    What are the chances that a Japanese summer vacationer visits Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone? - Exploitation of fear at its worst.

  • 0

    wipeout

    But before you write my opinion off completely please consider that this is a hemorrhagic disease. That means that when they sneeze (even before the start showing major symptoms) there is some blood contained in that sneeze. If it makes contact with the eye or nose if another person that can be sufficient. It only requires 1-10 active virus cells tor a chance of infection. Likewise in public toilets fecal matter with blood in it is commonplace.

    Despite all that, it has taken six months for 1000 cases to accumulate in a part of the world with very poor infrastructure and healthcare.

    This article has, I think, far better information than yours (well it would) about the actual risks of widespread infection. The average person living in a country outside west Africa doesn't even need to consider the risk of Ebola spreading in their own country, and that's unlikely to change.

    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/yet-another-plague-panic/

    For those who absolutely need something to worry about, there is a spectrum of mightily unpleasant infectious diseases that they can catch from another person - or from wildlife - that pose much higher risks to them: they actually have a realistic chance, albeit low, of getting it in their lifetime.

  • -2

    Frungy

    Wipeout - You're overlooking population density and transport infrastructure. In the countries where Ebola is currently the population density is very low, which means that the number of people an infected person comes into contact is low. People also aren't very mobile, they tend to stay in the same area and this makes cases easy to isolate and treat. Consider the average Tokyo'ite who might commute an hour or more every day covering multiple train lines and coming into direct contact with dozens of people on the trains.

    It is chalk and cheese. Simply not comparable.

  • 1

    wipeout

    Consider the average Tokyo'ite who might commute an hour or more every day covering multiple train lines and coming into direct contact with dozens of people on the trains. It is chalk and cheese. Simply not comparable.

    1) This is not influenza or norovirus or measles or tuberculosis.

    2) There is no Ebola in Tokyo.

    3) Even if Ebola arrived in Tokyo, spread would be slow and the medical infrastructure - as elsewhere - is more than capable of handling it.

    You may wish to believe otherwise, but for now, see point 2.

  • -2

    Frungy

    Wipeout - Why so rude? I have merely been pointing out that IF Ebola spread to Japan it would be far more severe than in Africa. Your response is it isn't in Japan so no worries? And somehow Japan's medical infrastructure would stop a 15-20% fatality rate?

    No. Ebola's biggest problem factor is it's long incubation period, about 3 weeks. During that time someone could travel around the world, and once it is in a city we'd need at least two months clear of cases before we could declare the city safe.

    Unless we could develop an early test for Ebola. Something that would let us identify and treat patients before they became ill. That's why a little action now on developing an early screening test could save a lot of trouble later.

    Oh, and it would also help to reduce casualties in Africa.

  • 1

    wipeout

    I have merely been pointing out that IF Ebola spread to Japan it would be far more severe than in Africa.

    Right, merely. But there is no reason to suppose so, other than that it sounds thrillingly scary.

    And so far, this disease has, for decades, failed to spread beyond Africa. There have been no outbreaks in North America, Europe, Asia, or elsewhere, and if there were, they could be quickly brought under control because the disease itself does not quickly spread in the way that influenza does or that SARS did.

    There are other diseases we should be watching with considerable concern, but Ebola, beyond standard awareness of the situation and basic vigilance - chiefly by the authorities rather than the public - isn't one of them.

  • -1

    Shanique Smith

    The first Ebola case started with a two (2) years old child. Where the heck and how would a two year old contract the disease? There is something fishy here. This more look like an intended genocide. AIDS backfired and they didn't learn from it. Now it's Ebola, and there is a cure which has so far only been used on the infected Americans. The cure is there, but is reserved for those the virus was not intended for. I fully support what Benjamin Fulford stated.

  • 0

    It"S ME

    The original cases were most likely contracted by eating infected bush-meat(fruit-bat or monkey). Since it cannot be contracted via the aerosol method, that has so many frightened.

  • 0

    Strangerland

    Where the heck and how would a two year old contract the disease?

    Pathogens are out there. For the most part, they are not picked up because people's immune systems kill them off before they can make the person sick. Once the person is sick, the amount of the pathogen increases, and can then be passed onto others.

    There is something fishy here.

    No there isn't. Don't let your lack of education on the matter cause you to see goblins where they don't exist.

  • 0

    Shanique Smith

    Because you do not share the views of someone else that doesn’t mean you should resort to insults. You are totally ignorant of how the virus started, and so am I. There is nothing to say I am wrong in my assumptions. No one can deny that ‘pathogens are out there.’ However, since we are specifically referring to the Ebola virus here, let’s look at how this particular type of pathogen is transmitted. The virus may be acquired upon contact with blood or bodily fluids of an infected animal. Spread through the air has not been documented in the natural environment. What is the likelihood that a two-year old would come in contact with the blood or bodily fluid from the original source of the disease, before his/her parents or other family members? Up until December 6, 2013, Ebola was unknown in West Africa. According to a research team that studied the Guinea outbreak, ‘No one can explain how such a small child could have become the first person infected. Contaminated fruit is one possibility. An injection with a contaminated needle is another.’ **Food for thought: Extract from the San Francisco Medical Research Foundation, ‘San Francisco - AIDS and Ebola viruses did not originate from monkeys left alone in the wild - they were bioengineered in American laboratories. So says an internationally known public health authority with Harvard credentials, Dr. Leonard G. Horowitz, based on a review of more than 2,500 government documents and scientific reports, some gained through the Freedom of Information Act and never before revealed to the general public. **

  • 1

    Wakarimasen

    What a stimulating debate. I am now fully enlightened and plan to take the following precautionary measures. Avoid roppongi no kissing or shaking hands. Avoid anyone who has been to Africa. also be wary around Chinese tourists. don't go to Africa myself. Wear mask and surgical gloves at all times.

    Any other suggestions about how to stay safe.

  • -2

    Frungy

    wipeoutAug. 14, 2014 - 05:40PM JST

    Right, merely. But there is no reason to suppose so, other than that it sounds thrillingly scary.

    And so far, this disease has, for decades, failed to spread beyond Africa.

    You're mistaken. Since 1989 there have been 6 incidents of Ebola making it outside of Africa. 3 times to the USA, and every time in the USA it was caught because it wasn't a human case, it was in monkeys in quarantine.

    The reason there were no fatalities? Because it was Reston, which doesn't transfer to humans. The other places with Reston Ebola were Italy (1) and Philippines (2 incidents). Interestingly in the Philippines 3 humans showed Reston antibodies.

    There is no quarantine procedure for humans. Ebola is asymptomatic for up to 3 weeks.

    With increased international travel becoming quicker and easier (where you are to pretty much anywhere in the world in about a day) I think it would be lunacy to presume that Ebola will remain localised forever.

  • 0

    Droll Quarry

    It will happen, i don't think there will be a pandemic, but it will happen. There are just too many people floating around the world.

  • 1

    wipeout

    The reason there were no fatalities? Because it was Reston, which doesn't transfer to humans. The other places with Reston Ebola were Italy (1) and Philippines (2 incidents). Interestingly in the Philippines 3 humans showed Reston antibodies.

    For purposes of efficiency, I'll cop to a mistake, but in other words, it didn't spread. We can quibble over this one endlessly, your definition of "spread" versus mine. There is really no Ebola outside a few nations in Africa - it hasn't even spread from one region of Africa to the rest of the continent, unlike some diseases which arrived in the United States and are now found from the east coast to the west.

    An instructive comparison would be with HIV/AIDS. It originated in Africa, something of a curiosity in the first half of the 1980s - most people wouldn't have heard of it until around 1984 - and is now infecting people in almost every country on the planet. Millions have died, millions will continue to die. There are around 17,000 HIV positive people in Japan, and the reason - the only reason - that people with HIV do not invariably die of AIDS nowadays is that by great good fortune, it was possible to develop drugs that manage the disease. Back in Africa, infection still occurs in mindblowing numbers, and people are still dying, and Ebola is a very unimportant sideshow compared to all the other killer diseases that Africans have to live with.

  • -2

    Frungy

    wipeoutAug. 15, 2014 - 08:14PM JST For purposes of efficiency, I'll cop to a mistake, but in other words, it didn't spread

    It did spread, but was caught by mandatory animal quarantines which allowed the disease to be contained in the quarantine facility (where many monkeys died). There is no quarantine for humans.

    An instructive comparison would be with HIV/AIDS.

    No, it wouldn't be, because HIV/AIDS is actually pretty difficult to contract. The infection vectors are very specific, the infection rate is very low (less than 1% unless you actually inject yourself with infected blood) and getting HIV from a single sexual contact is a lot like getting pregnant the first time you have sex - highly unlikely, but not impossible.

    Ebola on the other hand is a far more virulent pathogen with multiple infection vectors and a high infection rate, and would better be compared to influenza... and we all know that influenza spreads like crazy.

  • 1

    wipeout

    It was imported in lab animals. I said that it didn't spread beyond Africa, and added that there were no "outbreaks" in other regions. Hard to deny really, and what you describe is nothing like an outbreak. But since you practically insist on me pressing the point, I'll add that I was talking about human cases, which was obvious.

    AIDS is instructive not because of transmission methods - no one said it spreads like Ebola, and everyone knows that it doesn't - but because it is a disease that, whether or not it is difficult to contract, has spread across the world, is out of control in some areas, and kills large numbers of people. In the same period, Ebola hasn't. Since HIV/AIDS emerged, at least 30,000,000 people have died of it. At one point in South Africa, it was estimated that 39 percent of deaths in children under 5 were from AIDS. AIDS is undeniably a serious threat to the human population.

    Ebola on the other hand is a far more virulent pathogen with multiple infection vectors and a high infection rate, and would better be compared to influenza... and we all know that influenza spreads like crazy.

    The chief similarity between Ebola and influenza is that Ebola causes flu-like symptoms. But then so does an absolute multitude of other diseases (including AIDS), and it is of no relevance to the way Ebola is transmitted. While you think that influenza "spreads like crazy" and Ebola is comparable to influenza, and therefore, by implication, Ebola would spread like crazy, you will not find support for this interpretation from official health organizations, or the WHO, which is actually dealing with the epidemic.

    For example, the NHS puts it like this (emphasis mine): "...while it is possible that someone infected with Ebola could arrive in the UK on a plane, the virus is not as easily transmitted as a respiratory virus such as influenza. In past outbreaks, infection control measures have been very effective in containing Ebola within the immediate area. The UK has a robust public health system with the trained staff and facilities necessary to contain cases of Ebola [...] Also, Ebola victims do not become infectious until shortly before they develop symptoms. The disease then progresses very rapidly. This means infectious people do not walk around spreading the disease for a long period."

    The WHO says that the risk to air travellers is very low:

    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2014/ebola-travel/en/

    The CDC says the same: "Ebola is not a respiratory disease like the flu, so it is not transmitted through the air." and "Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms." And the WHO says the same: " While travellers should always be vigilant with regard to their health and those around them, the risk of infection for travellers is very low since person-to-person transmission results from direct contact with the body fluids or secretions of an infected patient [...]As with any illness or disease, it is always possible that a person who has been exposed to Ebola virus may choose to travel. If the individual has not developed symptoms (see FAQ #4), they cannot transmit EVD to those around them."

    There is universal agreement that Ebola doesn't spread like influenza, and that (unlike many other diseases) it doesn't spread while the carrier is asymptomatic. Why persist in comparing the way it spreads to influenza when you have no means to back up the argument, and health officials specifically state that it doesn't?

  • 1

    It"S ME

    Wipeout.

    Give up, safe your time.

    News and Health Organisations have been saying all the same for some time already.

  • -2

    Frungy

    Wipeout - Do you know what a strawman argument is? Because your post is a good example. I stated:

    Ebola on the other hand is a far more virulent pathogen with multiple infection vectors and a high infection rate, and would better be compared to influenza... and we all know that influenza spreads like crazy.

    Multiple infection vectors and high infection rate, comparable to influenza. I never stated the infection vectors were the same as influenza.

    Yet your post goes on and on and on about how it isn't spread in exactly the same way as influenza.

    You're the only one saying this. I certainly didn't.

    You're arguing with yourself. ... and the best you can really hope for these is a tie.

  • 1

    wipeout

    and the best you can really hope for these is a tie

    I don't have any particular hope in that direction, it isn't a contest. You're obviously on your own trip, saying with confidence that Ebola in Japan "would be far more severe than in Africa". No official health body would accept that: they have taken pains to assure people that Ebola can be contained if it is exported to another country from the current focus of the outbreak.

    We're back to my point 2 several comments ago: there isn't any Ebola in Japan. And even if it arrived here, it would be quickly squashed, just as it would in every other developed nation it migrated to.

    You are right about one thing: further discussion of this isn't going to go anywhere. I acknowledge that I have spent too much time discussing a disease that I am never going to have to consider a threat to me or those around me. There are more interesting and pressing things to worry about.

  • -2

    Frungy

    Wipeout - Like AIDs was squashed? Like influenza is squashed?

    Oh, wait, neither of these have ever been squished. The only diseases we've managed to squash are diseases we can vaccinate against.

    The higher population density in major cities is a very real concern. Every year new strains of influenza kill literally thousands of people, and they're normally imported strains.

    This is why it is in everyone's best interest to cure the disease at source, in Africa, BEFORE it goes global. MDR-TB started in Africa and has spread globally in a matter of years because people adopted the same, "Someone else's problem" attitude you're espousing here.

    When will people wake up and realise that we're now a global civilisation, and what happens in Africa affects us all sooner or later? If not from a sense of moral obligation then at least from a sense of self-preservation. Is Africa really asking for so much? A couple of tons of drugs that would probably cost less than $1 000 000 to make... that's less than what the U.S. government spends on a single drone to kill people in far away countries.

  • 1

    wipeout

    Wipeout - Like AIDs was squashed? Like influenza is squashed?

    If you say so, but more like I don't actually care any more.

    Panic away.

  • 0

    Frungy

    Wipeout - I'm not panicking, I'm trying to point out that, given the risk, it only makes sense to help Africa out here, and is in everyone's best interests.

    You seem intent on dismissing any and all risk. Kindof like how Rome decided those Barbarians could NEVER invade... right up until they did.

    The problem with some people is that they have no vision. The U.S. talks big about making friends, but when a chance comes to actually help out in a real way they're nowhere to be seen... unless it involves blowing something up.

  • 0

    StormR

    Does anyone in their right mind go to these countries anyway? I mean except for doctors nurses and aid workers, I hardly think its on many obon travel brochures.

  • -1

    budgie

    Now they have a new 'quick test drug' I guess they'll be rolling it out at the airports. Of course Japan being Japan they'll probably eschew the logical course of testing everyone that lands from west Africa (including Japanese BTW) and just test every black person that comes through regardless of embarkation point.

  • 0

    Cape zero

    As a retired public health nurse - there is some merit to what Frungy posted above, about the danger of an infected person sneezing on you. Ebola is contained in body fluids- including silva and mucus. Look up a slow motion video of someone sneezing. That's mucus, silva and whatever else being expelled from the individual. So, technically- yes- you could become infected that way. That's why health workers wear such extreme barriers ( the suits, goggles, gloves.. Etc) to protect from all possible exposure-interesting though- some health care workers were still infected. Where and how- is not known, nevertheless - they were. Be aware, be informed, don't panic, take precautions. Be prepared to shelter in place if there is an outbreak.

  • 0

    BetterWay

    There are a few people who are nonchalant about contracting this in a crowded subway. However, think about this, regardless of what the published info about this epidemic is. People who contract it are placed in solitary isolation. Even health workers who wear protective gear are contracting the virus. Although the "established" information claims it's not an airborne disease, ask yourself "would you be so unconcerned if someone in the same crowded train as you was coughing or sneezing around you and you knew that the virus was in your town or city? Verified cases and more suspected cases are popping up in the USA now (just read the news). It's just a matter of time before it hits Japan, and when it does, isolating and preventing it still remains to be seen. One last fact about the "airborne or not issue"...The published data states that it is not airborne. HOWEVER...vomiting is also a symptom of this illness. If someone vomits in a plane, train or bus and has it, then guess what...it's airborne. Think this is not possible? If you have lived in Japan for any length of time, either you or someone you know has contracted NOROVIRUS. You know about noro, especially if you are an English teacher in the school system here. Would you want someone known with Noro coughing or sneezing on you, even though they say it's not airborne? With Eblola, it's a matter of life and death, not just sitting on the toilet for a few days.

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