Friday, October 17, 2014

Ebola: Scary, and Beatable

This year's Ebola outbreak has killed thousands of folks in West Africa: and one in the United States. By any reasonable standard, it's a very serious health problem.
  1. Scary, Yes; Beatable? Also Yes
  2. Nurses, Torches, and Pitchforks
  3. Ebola Comes to Dallas
  4. News from the BBC: Bad and Cautiously Hopeful
  5. Learning About Ebola

Getting a Grip About Health

As I've said before, being healthy is okay. (June 13, 2014)

Not being healthy is okay, too: but I'm expected to take care of my health: within reason. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2274-2279, 2288-2289)

However, putting good health, money, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, or anything other than God, at the top of my priorities is a bad idea.

Replacing God with someone or something is called idolatry, it's against the rules, and that's another topic. (Catechism, 2112-2114)

Maybe that's obvious: or maybe not.

Now and again, I run into news about someone who decides that getting medical treatment is immoral. Folks who believe that may be sincere: but the notion that we can either use our brains or trust God, not both, is daft.

Since I'm a Catholic, I must believe that my continuing existence depends on God. But I also must believe that God made a world where the creatures in it — including me — play a role in making things happen. (Catechism, 301, 306-308)

Part of our job is learning more about this creation, and using our knowledge. We're supposed to use science and technology: and we're expected to use them wisely. (Catechism, 307, 2292-2296, 2415-2418)

Leviticus, Dubrovnik, and Typhoid Mary

One of the oldest ways folks protected themselves from disease is still in use: quarantine. Long before we knew about microorganisms, Leviticus 15:2-13 told the Israelites what to do about about an infected man: and anything he touched.

Back in the 1300s, Venice enjoyed the wealth — and risks — that come with global trade. They isolated ships and people entering Dubrovnik — it was called Ragusa then — for quaranta giorni (40 days), a phrase which became "quarantine" in my language.

When my country was still 13 English colonies, New York City started screening folks they thought might carry smallpox. That was the first quarantine here: in 1663.

United States quarantine laws are still on the books, but seldom applied. Folks with dangerous and contagious diseases generally decide to isolate themselves, without being forced.

Not always, though. Quarantine was enforced in the 1918 flu pandemic, for a suspected 1963 smallpox case, and again in 2007, when an attorney decided that quarantine law didn't apply to him. My opinion.

Then there was Typhoid Mary, who infected 53 people, three fatally: two after she'd promised to stop spreading the disease. It's likely that she thought washing her hands wasn't necessary: and that the government was just picking on her.

What We Know, What We Don't

Ebola feels like the flu, malaria, or dengue fever, in its early stages. I get the impression that fatigue, fever, headaches, and muscle pains, are early symptoms of quite a few diseases.

Later on, folks with Ebola may start bleeding, inside and out. Between 25% and 90% die.

This is a very serious, and scary, disease.

I've enjoyed somewhat-lurid movies like The Satan Bug and The Omega Man: including the scary parts. But when real diseases are involved: I'd rather stay calm, and stick to facts, not drama.

That's why I looked up what we know, and what we don't, about Ebola.
"Key facts
  • "Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • "The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • "The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
  • "The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in west Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas.
  • "Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilisation.
  • "Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
  • "There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation."
(From Ebola virus disease Fact sheet N°103, WHO (Updated September 2014))
The new Ebola virus is a mutation.

Since I don't work for an editor who got his science education from watching Hell Comes to Frogtown and Jack Frost_2: Revenge of the Mutant Killer Snowman, I can point out that viruses mutate. A lot. Constantly. It's what they do: and why we need a new sort of flu vaccination each year. I've had mine, by the way. Flu vaccination, that is.

An article published August 29, 2014, says that the particular strain of Ebola virus that's causing this year's outbreak started in a single animal-to-human contact in late 2013, and has been spreading from human to human since. I'll get back to how it's spread.

I put links to a few resources at the end of this post.

Plagues and Change

I think it's important to remember what happened after a global plague, several centuries back.

Between 1346 to 1353, roughly half of the folks living in Europe died. Some spots in that subcontinent still haven't been resettled. Europe wasn't the same after that: which wasn't an altogether bad thing.

Surviving aristocrats still had obligations to their lieges, often without enough serfs and peasants to get the work done. Folks at the other end of the socioeconomic ladder did pretty well. If a lord of the manor didn't treat workers well, they could could move to where the boss had more sense: often with no questions asked.

It wasn't all good news, of course. Europeans are human, like anyone else, and some behaved badly: very badly. Then in 1583, Leonhard Rauwolf introduced Europeans to coffee, and we had the Renaissance.

I'm oversimplifying, of course.

If Europeans could rebuild — and reform — their societies, I'm pretty sure that anybody can. (August 31, 2014)

Now, my take on Ebola, people, and getting a grip.

1. Scary, Yes; Beatable? Also Yes

(From Forbes, used w/o permission.)
("The current Ebola outbreak has infected more than 400 healthcare workers and killed more than 200 of them."
"Ebola's Very Contagious. Ebola's Also Hard To Catch. Confused? Here's How To Understand."
Dan Diamond, Pharma & Healthcare, Forbes (October 16, 2014)

"Ebola has infected just a handful of Americans, but millions of us are already sick with anxiety.

"More than half of U.S. adults worry that there will be a large-scale Ebola outbreak across the next year, according to a new Harvard poll conducted last week and released on Tuesday. Most of them are nervous that they’ll get sick with Ebola, or someone in their family will.

"Those numbers have climbed from an earlier Harvard poll, which found that about 40% of American adults this summer were worried about an Ebola outbreak. And this week’s anxiety-inducing news that two Dallas nurses had been infected with Ebola — with one Ebola-stricken nurse even flying a commercial airline between Cleveland and Dallas — is bound to drive fears even higher.

"Is there cause for concern? Sure; Ebola's one of the most dangerous diseases on the planet. The current outbreak has killed more than 4,000 people in West Africa, with a staggering 50% mortality rate.

"But at the same time, scientists and public health officials have repeatedly urged Americans not to panic about Ebola.

"Also See: Yes, Ebola Is Scary. But It's Also Beatable. Here s Why...."
There's more to the "...Ebola-stricken nurse ... flying a commercial airline between Cleveland and Dallas ... " situation — and I'll get to that a bit later.

I recommend reading Dan Diamond's op-ed, and his "Yes, Ebola Is Scary. But It’s Also Beatable. Here's Why."

I'd quibble over his "Why To Be Worried — But Not To Be Scared" heading, but I prefer the less-emotional "concern" approach over being worried: and I'm a recovering English teacher. Moving on.

Mr. Diamond echoes what many folks may wonder: 'If Ebola's hard to catch, how come we see healthcare workers in hazmat suits?' The flip side of that question is 'if Ebola's a big threat, how come more Americans aren't sick?'

Headlines like Reuter's recent "White House shifts into crisis mode on Ebola response" don't help clarify the situation — or encourage calm, rational, responses to Ebola.

"Highly Contagious" and Hazmat Suits

Ebola is "highly contagious" because fluids from an Ebola patient's body carry the virus. As the disease gets worse, patients can experience projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea: spreading fluids that can infect others. Left on surfaces like doorknobs and countertops, the dried virus can live for several hours.

That's why folks near Ebola patients need hazmat suits. Getting the suit off without getting infected is tricky: which is why training is vital.

Getting breathed on by an Ebola patient won't hurt anyone: probably. But droplets expelled while breathing — like in a sneeze — those can spread the disease. Ebola isn't, as far as we know, airborne: but "splatter" from an Ebola patient can cause trouble.

Under the circumstances, maybe it's surprising that only about 6% of Ebola deaths in the current outbreak are health care staff.

Like any other virus, Ebola mutates: so by now it may be spreading in new ways. That's part of the bad news.

Part of the good news is that Ebola is, and almost certainly will keep being, hard to catch: for the average person.

Ebola doesn't stay in the patient's body for months, without symptoms. When someone gets infected, that person gets sick quite promptly: and visibly. Someone who doesn't seem to be sick almost certainly isn't spreading Ebola.

So far, the only two folks who caught Ebola in America have been nurses who were near the now-deceased patient. Interestingly, on average, one Ebola patient only infects two other people. That's on average, of course: some patients won't infect anyone, some will infect more.

More about Ebola and getting a grip:

2. Nurses, Torches, and Pitchforks

(From, used w/o permission.)
"Second Ebola-infected nurse flown from Dallas to Atlanta for specialized treatment" (October 15, 2014)

"The second nurse infected with Ebola at a Dallas hospital after treating a man who later died of the virus was flown by private jet Wednesday to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for further treatment in a specialized isolation unit.

"The patient was identified earlier in the day as 29-year-old Amber Vinson as authorities expressed concern that she took a domestic flight — reportedly to prepare for her wedding in Cleveland — just one day before coming down with symptoms of the deadly disease.

" 'The second health care worker should not have been allowed to travel by virtue of being in an exposed group,' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a telebriefing Wednesday. 'Although she had no symptoms or fever [that met the threshold] of 100.4, she did report that she took her temperature and found it to be 99.5.'..."
Some reactions to news about the second health care worker suggest that a procession with pitchforks and torches to Emory University Hospital is imminent.

America has knaves and fools, like any other place. And in 20-20 hindsight, it's clear that Amber Vinson shouldn't have traveled. But as I'm writing this, we're still getting more information about what actually happened.

I think we don't have all the facts yet.

For starters, although 99.5 Fahrenheit is above the "normal" 98.6: that's more like an average temperature. An individual's temperature varies by nearly a full degree (F) over our 24 hour cycle: and healthy individuals have different "normal" temperatures.

With no symptoms, temperature that's at the high end of "normal," and an upcoming wedding — I'm not shocked that Amber Vinson traveled. I do not, from I've read, think that she's either a knave or a fool: just someone who didn't predict the future.

Life would have been simpler for everyone involved if she hadn't traveled; but I'm willing to believe that she was not, given what she knew, acting irresponsibly.

Assessments and Assumptions

I gather that there's considerable scrutiny now, of exactly what happened at the Dallas hospital: and why. I do not envy the hospital's administrator.

Obviously, nobody except the patient should have caught Ebola at that hospital. Something went wrong. That's why folks are taking such a close look at how Ebola spread there.

Eventually, I'm pretty sure we'll learn whether there were errors in following procedures, procedures that weren't adequate, or — quite possibly — 'all of the above.' Then, barring some freakish turn of events: corrections will get made.

I suspect that an underlying issue is that we've become a tad overconfident here in America. We've got pretty good healthcare; and the rare cases of toxins or disease in our food supply are just that, rare. Maybe it's easy to forget that attention to detail is still vital.

3. Ebola Comes to Dallas

(From Jaime R. Carrero, via Reuters, used w/o permission.)
("A member of the CG Environmental HazMat team disinfects the entrance to the residence of a health worker at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who has contracted Ebola in Dallas, Texas, October 12, 2014."
"U.S. needs to rethink Ebola infection controls says CDC chief"
Lisa Maria Garza,Terry Wade; Reuters (October 13, 2014)

"The case of a Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a dying Liberian patient shows that the United States needs to rethink how it handles highly infectious diseases as an outbreak of the deadly virus spreads beyond West Africa, a U.S. health official said on Monday.

"Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said health authorities are still investigating how the nurse became infected while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan in an isolation ward at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

"Duncan died last week and the nurse is the first person to contract the virus on U.S. soil, taking concerns about containing its spread to new heights....

"...The family was in shock when it learned the young woman had contracted Ebola, said Tom Ha, a close friend of the Pham family who is also a Bible studies teacher at the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Fort Worth.

" 'The mother was crying, very upset,' he told Reuters.

"The Dallas nurse is 'clinically stable,' Frieden said, and the CDC is monitoring others involved in Duncan's care in case they show symptoms of the virus...."
At the risk of seeming to be insensitive, the United States isn't Sierra Leone, and conditions in Dallas are not the same as those in Freetown.

As I said earlier, I'm reasonably sure that the United States has about as many fools and knaves per capita as Sierra Leone, or any other nation. But, happily, we've had a chance to get on our feet as a nation: and are not, I think, quite as likely to be overwhelmed by a disease.

Provided, of course, that we don't let the fools and knaves do as they like.

If the current outbreak really has been spread only by human-to-human contact, and stays that way, I think we'll very likely spot most if not all cases here in America, and keep the disease from becoming a national epidemic.

On Monday, October 14, 2014, the CDC reported that 11 people had definitely been exposed to the Ebola patient in Texas, and, 114 might have been exposed. I'd much rather not be one of the 125 folks on that list: particularly since at least two of them now have the disease.

Sadly, Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian citizen who traveled to Dallas, Texas, is dead. (BBC News (October 8, 2014)

Not-Entirely-Bad News from the CDC

"...CDC recognizes that any case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States raises concerns, and any death is too many. Medical and public health professionals across the country have been preparing to respond. CDC and public health officials in Texas are taking precautions to identify people who had close personal contact with the patient and health care professionals have been reminded to use meticulous infection control at all times...."
("Cases of Ebola Diagnosed in the United States," CDC (October 14, 2014))

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other U.S. government agencies, the World Health Organization (WHO), and international partners, is taking active steps to respond to the rapidly changing situation in West Africa. September 30, 2014, CDC confirmed the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. He died of Ebola on October 8 and was cremated. CDC and partners are taking precautions to prevent the spread of Ebola within the United States in addition to its activities abroad...."
("What CDC is Doing," CDC (October 9, 2014, 2014))

I don't blindly accept what politicos say, and realize that government agencies are run by human beings: with all the foibles that implies. But I also am reasonably sure that the CDC's reporting of the Texas Ebloa cases are accurate — with most of facts the CDC has discovered so far.

On the other hand, I've watched Warehouse 13, Independence Day, and The Invaders, so I can imagine that space-alien Illuminati and drug companies are behind this Ebola outbreak — but that seems unlikely, putting in mildly.

Getting back down to Earth, here's why I'm not terrified of Ebola spreading across America:

(From CDC, used w/o permission.)
(Infographic: Facts about Ebola in the U.S. (from

Terrified, no: concerned, a bit; and I'll get to that after taking a look at what's happening in Africa.

4. News from the BBC: Bad and Cautiously Hopeful

(From EPA, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("More than 4,000 people have died during the Ebola outbreak"
(BBC News))
"Ebola epidemic 'could lead to failed states', warns WHO"
BBC News (October 13, 2014)

"The Ebola epidemic threatens the 'very survival' of societies and could lead to failed states, the World Health Organization (WHO) has warned.

"The outbreak, which has killed some 4,000 people in West Africa, has led to a 'crisis for international peace and security', WHO head Margaret Chan said.

"She also warned of the cost of panic 'spreading faster than the virus'.

"Meanwhile, medics have largely ignored a strike call in Liberia, the centre of the deadliest-ever Ebola outbreak.

"Nurses and medical assistants had been urged to strike over danger money and conditions. However, most were working as normal on Monday, the BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia said...."
Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea were the hardest-hit nations — toward the end of September, anyway. Although each has aboundant natural resources, including Guinea's "great potential" for hydroelectric power, a key word is "potential."

Liberia declared independence in 1847, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been independent nations since the mid-20th century. Despite, or perhaps because of, "help" from other nations: these three nations are among the least-wealthy on Earth.


Although I'm not convinced that the situation is quite as dire as the United Nations executive says: These three countries are in very bad shape, and conditions may get worse over the next few months.

Upwards of 4,000 folks have died after catching Ebola: mostly in those three nations, whose total population is around 20,500,000.

That's a massive tragedy: but 4,000 is less than 1 of every 5,000 people in the hardest-hit nations.

If a similar fraction of Americans died from Ebola, the death toll would be around 62,000 of this nation's 318,000,000 population.

According to the CDC, more Americans die each year from diabetes: and the last I checked, Macy's next Thanksgiving Day Parade is still scheduled for November 27. Here in America, despite the diabetes death toll, it's business as usual.

Why isn't WHO's Margaret Chan warning of America's imminent collapse?


Mostly, I think, because the United States isn't Sierra Leone. We've had a different history, and right now we have what may be the biggest, most vibrant, economy on the planet.

(Comparative) poverty is still a problem here, and we're far from a perfect society — but most of us don't fear starvation. Our most common fears may seem trivial: like fear of dentists, dogs, or spiders.

I'm pretty sure that some Americans are in a blind panic over Eblola. With nearly a third of a billion of us: it'd be surprising if a few weren't bekloppt.

It probably doesn't help that graphs showing death from Ebola resemble asymptotic curves. It wouldn't take long for someone with a calculator and a certain innocence regarding statistics to determine that pretty soon everyone on Earth would die: several times.

Asymptotes are real enough. They're involved in the hyperbola of the Dupin indicatrix — which folks who know about Gaussian curvature and topology might find interesting: and that's yet another topic. Topics.

But headlines like "Ebola is spooking Wall Street" and "U.S. Ebola fears fuel new demand for protective gear" notwithstanding, I've yet to run into someone who's scared silly about Ebola. Granted, I live in central Minnesota — with our weather, anyone subject to chronic jitters will have moved out long ago.

Health care here is pretty good, too. For example, I've got diabetes: but I'll almost certainly be around next year, since I'm monitoring and controlling the disease's effects; and I've got a mild case.

Folks in West Africa — the next few years will be very rough. After that, their nations won't be the same. That could be bad news: or good news.


(From AFP, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("Many shops have been forced to close as part of quarantine measures"
(BBC News))
"Ebola crisis: The economic impact"
Richard Hamilton, BBC News (August 20, 2014)

"With more than 1,300 reported deaths from Ebola in West Africa, the virus continues to be an urgent health crisis, but it is also having a devastating impact on the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

" 'The economy has been deflated by 30% because of Ebola,' Sierra Leone's Agriculture Minister Joseph Sam Sesay told the BBC.

"He said President Ernest Bai Koroma revealed this staggering and depressing news to ministers at a special cabinet meeting. 'The agricultural sector is the most impacted in terms of Ebola because the majority of the people of Sierra Leone - about 66% - are farmers,' he said.

"Twelve out of 13 districts in Sierra Leone are now affected by Ebola, although the epicentres are in the Eastern Province near the borders with Liberia and Guinea...."
Between half and two-thirds of Sierra Leone's working-age population depend on subsistence agriculture. The nation has good natural resources: and could have a thriving agribusiness and fishing industry.

But a succession of foreign powers held what's now Sierra Leone for about four and a half centuries. That ended about five decades back.

Since then, they've gone through several efforts at building a viable government and economy. A civil war, from 1991 to 2002, killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 2,000,000.

As of June of this year, Sierra Leone had — officially, at least — a constitutional democracy. Folks who had fled or been pushed out by the civil war were coming home when Ebola hit.

That article was written in late August, about a month and a half ago. I gather that since then the situation has gotten worse.

Subsistence Agriculture and This Year's Epidemic

"Food shortages

"...the chief co-ordinator for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), David McLachlan-Karr, thinks that the road blocks are absolutely crucial to containing the outbreak.

" 'A robust response to quarantining epicentres of the disease is absolutely necessary,' he told the BBC. But he admits agriculture in Sierra Leone has been brought to its knees.

"'We are now coming into the planting season which means a lot of agriculture is not happening, so down the line that will create food shortages and pressures on food prices. We are starting to see a rise in inflation and pressure on the national currency as well as a shortage of foreign exchange,' he said...."
(Richard Hamilton, BBC News)
Road blocks in Sierra Leone may make sense: particularly since this version of Ebola seems to be transmitted by people.

I sympathize with folks who want to get away from plague-ridden areas: but I can see why a nation's government might want to restrict travel.

If road blocks keep folks from getting supplies for the upcoming planting season: that could be very serious, when the harvest doesn't happen.

Subsistence agriculture is the sort of "self-sufficiency" my ancestors worked long and hard to get away from. Growing all the food your family needs, right there on your own land, and not having more than seed for the next season left over, is fine — until the next drought, or flood, or plague.

Looking Ahead


"Meanwhile some international investors are nervously watching the Ebola outbreak unfold. Dianna Games, chief executive of Johannesburg-based consultants Africa@Work, says fears about the virus could damage Africa's economic revival of recent years.

" 'Ebola has made a dent in the Africa Rising narrative,' she told the BBC. 'The stereotypes of Africa as a place of poverty and disease have started to re-emerge again.'

"She thinks Nigeria is the only affected country that has the health system and infrastructure to deal with Ebola. At the moment there have only been 12 confirmed cases, all of which were linked to the death of one man from Liberia in July.

"In the long run, Ms Games believes history will view the 2014 Ebola outbreak as a temporary blip rather than a permanent U-turn in the continent's fortunes.

" 'The fundamentals pushing this Africa Renaissance are still there,' she said."
(Richard Hamilton, BBC News)
My guess is that op-eds have already dismissed Africa@Work's Dianna Games as delusional, depraved, or determined to oppress Africans by not thinking they're doomed.

I think she's right — in the long run. Thematic maps of Africa show a continent with abundant natural resources: and in many places, the most important of all 'resources:' people.

Mineral resources only last so long, and apparently wealth from Sierra Leone's diamond exports go mostly to corrupt officials, exporters who corrupt them, and assorted thugs.

I see this as a very serious problem: but I'm pretty sure the solution isn't for Sierra Leoneans to go back to an imaginary 'good old days' before they could export diamonds.

Judging from America's Oregon land fraud scandal, Teapot Dome scandal, and the Ulysses S. Grant administration, weeding corruption out of Sierra Leone — or any other country — will be a continuing process.

But — development isn't a four-letter word, folks can learn from mistakes, and using our brains is a good idea. (June 15, 2014; October 8, 2012; April 22, 2012)

5. Learning About Ebola

(From AFP, via BBC News, used w/o permission.)
("Healthcare workers are among those most at risk of catching Ebola"
(BBC News))
"Why Ebola is so dangerous"
(October 8, 2013)

"The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the world's deadliest to date and the World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency as more than 3,850 people have died of the virus in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria this year.

"What is Ebola?

"Ebola is a viral illness of which the initial symptoms can include a sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And that is just the beginning: subsequent stages are vomiting, diarrhoea and - in some cases - both internal and external bleeding...."
About Thomas Eric Duncan and cremation. When my parents died, their remains were cremated, commingled, and buried in two different states. There's a bit of family history involved that doesn't have much to do with this post.

Neither of them were Catholics, but I'd joined the Church by then: and wasn't entirely comfortable with cremation. I did a little checking — and discovered that "...the Church permits cremation, provided that it does not demonstrate a denial of faith in the resurrection of the body." (Catechism, 2301)

That wasn't their motive for cremation, so I don't see a problem.

Getting back to Mr. Duncan's remains, cremation was probably the only reasonable way of dealing with the body. Ebola isn't all that easy to catch from someone else: but it is carried by body fluids, so a Western-style embalming process would have been very risky.

There's a great deal we still don't know about Ebola, but we're learning. For the sake of folks at the greatest risk from this disease, I hope we learn fast.

Bats, Uncertainty, and Prayer

(From CDC, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.)
("Life cycles of the Ebolavirus"

The odds are very good that Ebola lives in critters like bats, when it isn't passing from one human to another. Maybe non-human primates, other mammals, and bird, too. Maybe even plants. Like I said, we're still learning.

In Africa, fruit bats are the most-likely carriers. Maybe. The Americas have pygmy fruit-eating bats, but they don't come anywhere near Texas.

North America's little insect-eating bats include the ubiquitous little brown bat that ranges as far south as parts of Texas, and north to Hudson Bay. These bats might never come in contact with Ebola.

If they do, though: we could have a problem. Some of bats hibernate during winter, some migrate. The little brown bat does both: flying south in fall, then hibernating in a cave before returning to my part of the world.

If Ebola gets loose in North America's wildlife — I'll pay attention to the issue.

Meanwhile, I'll do what I can about this year's Ebola outbreak: keep track as new facts appear; and pray. And that's yet again another topic. (Catechism, 2558-2565, 2650-2651, 2652-2660, 2663-2679, 2759-2760, ...)

More of what I think about:

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.