Ebola and the Construction of Fear
by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
As hospitals struggle to cope with the ebola epidemic, where are patients with other emergencies finding care? In Monrovia, Liberia, it's Cooper Adventist Hospital
. Without proper isolation facilities to handle ebola, they are instead tackling everything else. This August 17, 2014 San Bernardino Sun article
discusses the challenges the doctors are facing. Dr. James Appel's blog
(Dr. Gillian Seton's article appears in the side bar), and his recent remarks on international aid
talks to doctors and nurses on the front line treating patients in West Africa. It touches on why they take the risk of contracting Ebola, either from patients, or from each other. [more inside]
A man has died in Lagos of Ebola virus.
What's worrying is how he got there - by plane, with 100 other people. [more inside]
When we last looked at the West African Ebola outbreak in April
it was already beginning to peak
. However in the past 30 days it has become the worst Ebola outbreak history
with no end in sight. A senior official for Médecins Sans Frontières says it is 'totally out of control'
. [more inside]
There's been an ebola outbreak
in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. With 122 cases so far, this is the worst outbreak since 2007's 264-case outbreak. The worst outbreak was 2000-2001's 425 cases. What makes this one different is the way it has spread so widely. [more inside]
A German researcher accidentally jabbed her finger with a hypodermic loaded with the deadly Ebola virus
. 48 hours later, she was injected with an untested, experimental vaccine
, developed by an international team of virologists and biologists. Though she may never have been infected, she was certainly in danger; in 2004, a similar incident caused the death of a Russian scientist
at a former Soviet biological weapons lab.
Mad Scientist calls for destruction of 9/10 of Earth's population.
Texas Academy of Science's 2006 Distinguished Scientist Recipient
(pdf) Eric R. Pianka received a standing ovation after he advocated a man-made pandemic to reduce the human population. (via linkfilter)
I’ll trade you my Ebola for your Hantavirus!
This Christmas give the little scientist in the family infectious diseases trading cards!
The bird flu is back. Despite denials
by the Hong Kong government, the World Health Organization announced
yesterday that two people were killed by the same virulent species-jumpingstrain of influenza that caused the 1997 panic
. It's certainly less gruesome than the ebola outbreak
going on in Congo right now, but, unlike ebola, the flu is highly contagious. [more inside]
Case of the Missing Anthrax
"The 400 pages of documents, which I've obtained and which were described by The Hartford Courant earlier this year, quote a newly arrived officer named Michael Langford as saying that he found "little or no organization," "little or no accountability," "a very lax and unorganized system" and signs of covert work and cover-ups."
I'm concerned about the stock prices too, but, shouldn't this be on the evening news as well?
NYTimes reg. reqr'd
The Big Picture Book of Viruses
is "intended to serve as both a catalog of virus pictures on the Internet and as an educational resource to those seeking more information about viruses. To this end, it is intimately linked to All the Virology on the WWW
, and our collection of Virology Courses and Tutorials." Interesting electron micrographs include
pictures of Marburg and Ebola viruses
and T-4 like phages
. Once a bio geek, always a bio geek. And for some other information about why viruses always matter see The 1918 Influenza Pandemic
(sorry the page design sucks but it's a good read) and The American Experience: Influenza 1918
. Are you sure that runny nose is just allergies?
Well, that's it.
We're done for. Ebola hits North America...maybe.