It would appear that some vital facts about the Ebola emergency have been kept from the general public, in the mistaken belief, by governments everywhere, that public panic will make their job of managing this contageon more difficult. This short term expedient is backfiring because the application of measures and the dissemination of the facts about this virus across governments is not consistent. Governments seem stunned by the fact that their peoples are seeking information globally outside of the control of nation states and authorities. The truth has a way of leaking out, but the problem of nation states attempting to suppress or manage the release of information to stop some imagined panic by their populations, is doing more harm than good.
Organisations, like the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the Centre of Disease Control (CDC), appear to many to be more intent on controlling information and indeed knowingly suppressing information, in some forlorn hope of not panicking their populations. Amateurishly obvious attempts to mollify public concerns by Dr Tom Frieden of the CDC, rather than dampening concern, are in fact encouraging speculation and generating serious push back from the public, who consider that they are being lied to or at best not told the whole truth. The MSS is currently standout amongst the ‘alphabet agencies’ and to date they have been most open about the potential threat of Ebola.
Some facts that have surfaced over the past week include:
- There appears to have been a systemic breakdown in many Management Protocols across the board by health officials underestimating the virulence of this virus. To date the main breakdown in protection seems to be from slack donning and especially stripping off contaminated clothing, goggles and gloves.
- There have been glaring mismanagement of potential Ebola patients who have been left in public areas for hours waiting for the system to catch up.
- The protective clothing worn by health professionals has been variable in quality and efficiency.
- There has been a shortage of professional health workers with the necessary degree of skill to manage this virus.
- Front line medical staff appear to have underestimated the necessary strict safety guidelines even when Management Protocols in some locations have been up to standard.
- There has been little or no effort to treat infected persons at central specialised centres by trained specialists. Rather regional or local hospitals and staff ill-equipped and untrained in proper Ebola management protocols, have attempted to manage this virus with tragic results.
- The management of potential Ebola infected individuals has been unprofessional in the first inst.
- A 5% solution of Chlorine renders Ebola contaminated surfaces and infected fluids sterile.
- Incubation ranges from 2 to 21 days but the average time for incubation (not infectious during that period) is 8-10 days.
- Given the questions surrounding the veracity of dissemination of WHO information, the latest WHO estimate of infection numbers is 1.4 million by mid January 2015. Previously the WHO based an infection rate estimated as doubling every 21 days, now appears to be calculated on doubling every 8-10 days. 8-10 days is the average incubation period and not the maximum 21 day incubation period on which the previous lower infection rate was based. The WHO numbers assumes a worse case scenario where no preventative counter measures are undertaken.
- Though not airborne as in the case of flu, Ebola can be transmitted by particulate matter from a sneeze of cough coming into direct contact with someone’s mucous membrane (eyes, nose,mouth).
- Many nation states are currently re-evaluating their Management Protocols and have now upgraded the required protection for health professionals handling Ebola patients to full CRE3 Positive Pressure Envelop (PPE) gas suits with separate air supply and MSAFull face masks, not paper or cardboard masks.
- Good Management Protocols may require a protected helper to un-mask and undress with a second protected observer to ensure that proper protocols are adhered to.
- In some nations Protocols now require those staff who have been attending Ebola patients to undress with assistance and oversight and then undergo a shower or spray with 5% chlorine solution.
- Clothing that can’t be decontaminated is destroyed under controlled Bio-Hazard conditions. Waste is isolated from public areas at all time during all stages of Management Protocols.
- The main problem is not a disease problem, it is a systemic management problem and lack of imagination by authorities compounding a overly optimistic fiction about the virulence of Ebola.
- Even the identification of potential infection has been underestimated with a 100F (38C) going unattended and only individuals with a high fever of 101F (38.6C) getting immediate help.
The Ebola outbreak has been not so much a disease problem but rather a massive Management Problem where Health Professionals and Bureaucrats have been found wanting, on just about every metric.Rhetoric rather than well organised response appears to have been the standard response.