Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Black Plague or Ebola?

"Black Death" killed 1/3rd of Europe

Ebola, highly contagious, mutates quickly, like the Black Death
A third of Europe died from the Black Death during the 14th century.  Its origin was central Asia where Oriental rat fleas living on black rats were regular passengers on the merchant ships.  It quickly spread throughout the Mediterranean and Europe and reoccurred periodically until the 19th century.  England and France fought the 100-year war during this plague and persons with ancestors in Europe during this time can guess that they either died of the plague or during battle. There are several competing theories as to the etiology of the Black Death indicating that the pathogen responsible was the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which probably caused several forms of the plague.  However, the lack of proper hygiene was a major factor in its spread and the failure to clean out the rat population.  Meanwhile, one of the New England States passed a law against killing rats, and to remove them, one has to transport the entire rat family! In light of history, this is very stupid!  Most of America's viruses and influenzas came from Asia, transported by modern trading vessels, such as the airplane.  Until now, modern medicine has been able to restrain possible pandemics.  Therefore, it is important to ask whether the Ebola virus is another Black Death?  Not carried by fleas or rats this time, but by human breath. Medical authorities are beginning to admit that a sneeze three feet away can infect another person. Like other viruses, passed on via the atmosphere.  The familiar flu-like symptoms begin with fever, throat and muscle pains and headaches.  Then comes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys.  There is bleeding. The first claim was that if you were in contact with the body fluids and blood of the patient, you would be infected.  Comes Thomas Eric Duncan to Dallas, Texas on an airplane from West Africa. Apparently aware of his condition, comes to America for treatment.  On the airplane were, say, 150 people?   All breathing the compressed air.   Suffice it to say, that Duncan also infected others?

The comparison between the Black Death and the Ebola Virus is that black death victims had fever and horrible scabs on the skin.  Anyone who tended these victims, died.  In London and other towns, the death wagon came every morning and removed the dead.   Ebola victims are highly contagious. The virus mutates into many variables, and quickly.  According to the Wikipedia "Prevention involves decreasing the spread of the disease from infected monkeys and pigs to humans. This may be done by checking these animals for infection and killing and properly disposing of the bodies if the disease is discovered. Properly cooking meat and wearing protective clothing when handling meat may be helpful, as may wearing protective clothing and washing hands when around someone sick with the disease. Samples from people with the disease should be handled with an extra degree of caution. There is no specific treatment for the virus with efforts to help people including giving the person either oral rehydration therapy or intravenous fluids. The disease has a high death rate: possibly up to 90%.

Our ancestors had some experience with the Black Death and fearfully, this generation will have to deal with an equally infectious pandemic.  The administration trotted out someone from Homeland Security yesterday who actually said "“There’s no medical reason to stop flights, close borders, restrict travel or close embassies, businesses or schools”, it said in the alert and called on resident of affected countries to always practice good hand washing techniques.

“You will not contract Ebola if you do not touch a dying person. Don’t Panic, Educate Yourself, Educate Others”, the US said in the alert, buttressing it with findings in Democratic Republic of Congo.

“There are documented cases from Kikwit, DRC of an Ebola outbreak in a village that had the custom of children never touching an ill adult. Children living for days in one room huts with parents who died from Ebola did not become infected”, it said in the diplomatic alert.
According to the alert, the suspected reservoirs for Ebola are fruit bats, adding that transmission to humans is thought to originate from infected bats or primates that have become infected by bats. Undercooked infected bat and primate (bush) meat transmits the virus to humans.

“ Human to human transmission is only achieved by physical contact with a person who is acutely and gravely ill from Ebola virus or their body fluids. Transmission among humans is almost exclusively among caregiver, family members or health care workers tending to the very ill. The virus is easily killed by contact with soap, bleach, sunlight, or drying. A washing machine will kill the virus in clothing saturated with infected body fluids."

In light of the Black Death, and now, the Ebola Virus, mutating and equally as deadly, we should question the above statements.  Our merchant ships are modern ships and airplanes.  

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