Ronald R. Cherry
September 23, 2014
Ignorance (of Ebola) is not bliss
By Ronald R. Cherry

Some virologists and epidemiologists are now asking the question: Can Ebola mutate to become airborne transmissible? The more important question is this: Is Ebola already in some cases airborne transmissible? I believe the scientific literature (both animal experimentation and epidemiological studies from past Ebola outbreaks) supports the latter. Other leading scientists have now come to this conclusion.

"Being at first skeptical that Ebola virus could be an aerosol-transmissible disease, we are now persuaded by a review of experimental and epidemiologic data that this might be an important feature of disease transmission, particularly in healthcare settings... We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks... We strongly urge the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to seek funds for the purchase and transport of PAPRs [powered air-purifying respirators] to all healthcare workers currently fighting the battle against Ebola throughout Africa – and beyond." Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Unfortunately some scientists, as well as governments, are ignoring important segments of the scientific literature, and are thereby coming to erroneous conclusions about Ebola transmission. Read the hyperlinked articles in this essay, because ignorance is not bliss, particularly when one considers that over 300 million Americans are un-vaccinated and therefore vulnerable to Ebola. One must also wonder if any of our national leaders have already received Ebola vaccination, thus positioned above the fray.

If, as the CDC asserts, Ebola is not transmitted through the air by microscopic droplet nuclei at distances greater than 3 feet, then why do U.S. Government and American academic research facilities take care to handle the Ebola virus only in BL4 biocontainment facilities?

"This [BL4] level is required for work with dangerous and exotic agents that pose a high individual risk of aerosol-transmitted laboratory infections, agents which cause severe to fatal disease in humans for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, Lassa virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and various other hemorrhagic diseases... When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a positive pressure personnel suit, with a segregated air supply is mandatory."

Why is it that American Federal Government and academic researchers protect themselves from airborne Ebola with positive pressure HEPA-filtered respirators or "spacesuits" while 150 healthcare workers in Africa have died with their simple face masks? It is self-evident from the care taken against airborne transmission of Ebola that our government and academic leaders fear airborne transmission of Ebola – for themselves – but not for Africans.

© Ronald R. Cherry

 

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Ronald R. Cherry

Ronald R. Cherry, MD, is a board-certified specialist in lung disease who is in the full-time practice of medicine in Sweetwater, Tennessee... (more)

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