CDC fact sheet – difference between infections spread through air vs droplet #ebola

With all of the confusion about how ebola can be transmitted, here is a CDC fact sheet for infections spread through air vs droplet. EBOLA IS NOT SPREAD THROUGH THE AIR!

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Rodent Problems? Awesome study of New York City rats finds disease causing bacteria and viruses! #science

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A study published in mBio (shout out for OpenAccess!) found that rats in New York City are very, very, very ‘dirty.’ The authors (Shout out to Columbia!) analyzed the pathogens carried by 133 rats using high-throughput genetic sequencing, and discovered that NYC rats carry many bacteria and viruses that can cause human disease! Press release here.

We found that these rats are infected with bacterial pathogens known to cause acute or mild gastroenteritis in people, including atypical enteropathogenic Escherichia coliClostridium difficile, and Salmonella enterica, as well as infectious agents that have been associated with undifferentiated febrile illnesses, including Bartonella spp., Streptobacillus moniliformisLeptospira interrogans, and Seoul hantavirus. We also identified a wide range of known and novel viruses from groups that contain important human pathogens, including sapoviruses, cardioviruses, kobuviruses, parechoviruses, rotaviruses, and hepaciviruses.

That’s not good. Now, I’ll only be thinking about all of these pathogens when I’m waiting on the subway platform and look down to see the most common NYC wildlife under the tracks. Guess we should all be paying a little more attention to the diseases that these rats are carrying around all over our city.

Our findings indicate that urban rats are reservoirs for a vast diversity of microbes that may affect human health and indicate a need for increased surveillance and awareness of the disease risks associated with urban rodent infestation.

For all of the curious minds like me, you have to ask yourself… where did they get these rats? and how did they catch them? First off, the rats were humanely euthanized after being trapped. Below are the methods from the paper describing the rat collection.

The preliminary nature of this study and the significant complexities involved in trapping rats indoors in NYC necessitated an approach of convenience sampling. An effort was made to target neighborhoods likely to be impacted by the presence of rats, specifically those with high rodent and human density or a high probability of rodent-human interaction. Five sites were selected in midtown and lower Manhattan, comprised of three high-density housing complexes, one very large indoor mixed-use public space (transportation, food service, retail, and commercial), and one small urban park in a densely populated area. The residential sites are on blocks of average density for Manhattan and below-average median income (64). The mixed-use public space is in a neighborhood notable for an exceptionally high daytime population size and density, and the park was chosen based both on its location (adjacent to the residential sites) and high block density.

For extra fun, check out this video about the study from Slate!

#Ebola by the numbers = West Africa + Spain + USA

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In case you missed it, there have now been travel associated cases of Ebola in the United States and Spain. Hopefully with proper medical care and procedures, these will remain isolated cases. Or at worst, be limited to just a few cases.

On 9/30/2014, CDC confirmed, the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola within the United States. CDC is working with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and other domestic and international partners and has activated its Emergency Operations Center to help coordinate technical assistance and control activities with partners. CDC has also deployed teams of public health experts to West Africa and will continue to send experts to the affected countries.

 Info on the Spanish case from the Guardian:

Health authorities announced on Monday that a Spanish nurse at Madrid’s Carlos III hospital who treated a patient repatriated from Sierra Leone had twice tested positive for Ebola.

Her husband had also been admitted to hospital and was in isolation, and a second nurse from the same team that treated both repatriated Ebola victims was also being tested. In this case, the nurse contacted the authorities on Monday complaining of a fever. She was in isolation in the Carlos III Hospital while authorities waited for the test results, a spokesperson for the Madrid regional government said.

Anti-science Bryan Fischer: HIV doesn’t cause AIDS because Ebola… and shingles

I can’t even with these tweets. A most basic understanding of virology completely accounts for why these different viruses cause distinct diseases, and have different incubation times and disease progression. UGH!

[tweet https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/518064674584395777] [tweet https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/517862958018621440] [tweet https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/518053518377111552]

Representative Allen West thinks that #Ebola is just a ‘really bad flu bug’ – #ignorant of #science

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According to Rep Allen West, Ebola is a ‘really bad flu bug.’ If that’s true, maybe he would be willing to demonstrate his claims by volunteering to be infected. Oh wait, simple scientific facts prove him completely wrong. First of all, the Ebola virus is very very different in terms of the type of virus it is, and also in the symptoms it causes. The fatality rate of Ebola is somewhere between 50-90% (WHO). That means more than half of people who show symptoms will die from the virus. Even for a pandemic flu, like the infamous Spanish flu of 1918, the fatality rate was only 2%. Most flu pandemics and epidemics have fatality rates considerable below 0.5%. Last I checked, 50-90% fatality is a hell of a lot more than 2% fatality. So I would say Mr. West should do some fact-checking next time before he completely mischaracterizes a virus and its impact.

Seen by CauseScience on Maddow blog, along with a number of other political statements on Ebola!

@USAID to donate $75 million to fight #Ebola outbreak in Liberia!

The USAID reported on twitter that it will donate $75 million to fight the Ebola outbreak in Liberia. Bloomberg news has more info here.

The American aid agency announced Thursday it would donate $75 million to fund 1,000 more beds in Ebola treatment centers in Liberia and buy 130,000 more protective suits for health care workers.

 

The $75 million comes in addition to about $20 million the agency has already donated to fight the outbreak that was first identified in March in Guinea, and has spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The killer virus is spread through bodily fluids such as blood, sweat, urine or diarrhea.