CNN reports: “Thomas Eric Duncan, a man with Ebola who traveled to the United States from Liberia, died Wednesday morning at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, the hospital said.” Reuters reports at least 3,439 people have died in the current outbreak.
MERYL NASS, M.D., merylnass at gmail.com
Nass writes at the Anthrax Vaccine blog. Her recent pieces include: “Drilling Down Into the Facts Regarding Airborne Spread of Ebola” and “U.S. Ebola: [United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head] Frieden Said Every Hospital Was Ready. He is Wrong.”
Nass said today: “Thomas Eric Duncan died in spite receiving the highest level of intensive care, including dialysis and ventilation. The CDC and much of the media have been saying that you can only get Ebola through direct contact with body fluids — and at the same time they’ve been backing the use extraordinary measures to prevent transmission. The fact is, there’s no doubt that Ebola has a history of airborne droplet transmission and pundits are beginning to admit it. When only one to ten live viral particles are needed to cause an infection you are looking at airborne droplet and fomite transmission as viable routes of spread, and healthcare facilities being a locus of spread. See from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy: “Health workers need optimal respiratory protection for Ebola.”
“The USAMRIID [United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, based at Fort Detrick, Maryland] and Tulane University had a unit physically located near where the Ebola outbreak began. This unit’s job was to test blood for Lassa antibodies; they were also testing for Ebola as part of their work.
“So USAMRIID had a bird’s eye view into the Ebola epidemic from the start. Maybe WHO [World Health Organization] and CDC were too bureaucratically hamstrung to understand the implications of a big Ebola outbreak, but USAMRIID, our premier biodefense center, has no excuse that it did not understand what was happening. The military now says that they proved that Ebola had been in the area for at least eight years and a whopping 9 percent of samples tested positive for Ebola. Why wasn’t this noticed?”
Nass notes the Boston Globe is reporting: “BU biolab nears OK amid hopes for tackling Ebola, safety concerns.” But earlier this summer, she points out that there was reporting on widespread escapes at such labs. See: USA Today report in August: “Hundreds of bioterror lab mishaps cloaked in secrecy.” Nass states: “It would be a mistake to license another high containment lab in the middle of Boston when existing labs have a terrible track record of containing the very organisms they are charged with studying.”
FRANCIS BOYLE, fboyle at illinois.edu
Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, Boyle drafted the U.S. Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, which is the U.S. domestic implementing legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention. His books include Biowarfare and Terrorism.
He said today: “Different United States government agencies have a long history of doing allegedly defensive biological warfare research at labs in Liberia and Sierra Leone. This includes the CDC, which is now the point agency for managing the Ebola spill-over into the United States. Why is the Obama administration dispatching the elite 101st Airborne Division to Liberia when they have no medical training to provide medical treatment to dying Africans? How did Zaire/Ebola get to West Africa from about 3,500 kilometers away from where it was first identified in 1976?
“Why is the CDC not better prepared for this emergency after the United States government has spent somewhere in the area of $70 billion dollars after the October 2001 anthrax attacks to prepare for this exact contingency? It is clear that those anthrax attacks originated from United States government sources.”
The New York Times reported in 2010: “More than eight years after anthrax-laced letters killed five people and terrorized the country, the F.B.I. on Friday closed its investigation, adding eerie new details to its case that the 2001 attacks were carried out by Bruce E. Ivins, an Army biodefense expert who killed himself in 2008.”