Thursday, November 29, 2007

New strain of Ebola

According to this news report, a new strain of Ebola has hit Uganda.
This is a disease that worries me far more than the diseases that are all over the national media nowadays. If you have ever seen the movie "Outbreak", you know what I am talking about. The movie was fairly factual but, unlike most such movies, the reality is worse.
In the linked story, mention is made of the Reston strain outbreak in a primate facility in a Washington, DC suburb. What the story doesn't mention is just how close that came to catastrophe. As it turned out, the Reston strain was not dangerous to humans. Had this not been the case, the outcome would have probably been very different; as the outbreak (which killed every primate in the facility) was not handled at all correctly. For one thing, it wasn't reported as promptly as it should have been, and for another, those who eventually responded did not use proper caution. As I recall, the facility was located in a busy shopping complex, and proper containment protocol was not followed. I'm working from memory here, but this book
has all the details.

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