WHO Botches Ebola, Debunks Ridiculous ALP Posture

HOT ON THE HEELS of yesterday’s provocative discussion on the Ebola crisis — and the disgusting apparent strategising over it by the ALP — the key health body charged with frontline response to global health threats has candidly admitted it botched the job. It debunks the “compassionate” story of the Left that Ebola has ballooned because it didn’t emerge in an affluent country, and smashes key pillars of Labor’s latest despicable intrigue.

It really is a short post from me this morning, and even then just to follow up on yesterday’s poke-the-bear article on the ALP’s truly obscene war-gaming around using Ebola, public panic and deaths from the virus as political tools; very late yesterday it emerged that mine will be a busy weekend indeed — obligations deriving from my “real world” life away from this column — and whilst I will aim to post again later today, it could be overnight. Stay tuned.

The key reason for my post this morning is that an article from AAP and appearing in The Australian today reveals that by its own admission the World Health Organisation, the UN health agency responsible for initiating the response to global health threats, botched the response to the current Ebola outbreak, with its African regional office — in the words of the doctor who helped discover the virus — doing “nothing.”

I leave it to my readers to go through the article attached, and to draw their own conclusions. Where is becomes relevant to our discussion lies in the material we covered yesterday — which showed either an orchestrated campaign to exploit the issue by the ALP for the grubbiest of political expediencies, or a series of stunts that collectively amount to the same thing — and how the admission already puts holes into the “moral” case on which the entire Labor scheme rests.

There has been enormous chatter in the past 24 hours — characterised by opinion writers, international figures and political identities hailing from or friendly to the Left — which has suggested that had the Ebola outbreak occurred outside Africa, the wealthy nations of the West would have rushed headlong to deal with it.

In fact, as we now know, the outbreak was allowed to initially run out of control due to the inactivity and incompetence of the local branch of the WHO itself.

It doesn’t change the fact that there are huge questions over the effectiveness of infection control protocols and even the protective equipment and clothing available to frontline response teams when it comes to this particular virus, and those questions remain unanswered.

But this fact, combined with the revelation that a failure to act allowed the outbreak to escalate beyond control and not the comparatively poor economic standing of the countries in which it originated, destroys arguments fashioned around the “obligation” of the West to respond in the way it might have had the crisis materialised in one of its own countries — which, as we now know, it wouldn’t have.

In fact, had WHO in Africa done the job mandated of it, this Ebola outbreak would probably have fizzled out with relatively few deaths just like every other outbreak of the virus has to date.

I also note that over the past day, whilst there has been little comment around the apparent political strategy Labor is trying to pursue over Ebola, sudden and sharp condemnation of its proposals to swamp West Africa with aid workers and resources to “stop the outbreak at its source” — with all of those questions earlier unresolved — has been widespread.

The “compassion” argument of the Left — a patrician condescension of “poor little Africa” made from an arrogated position of self-superiority — is thus exploded: the West is not responsible for the ravages of the Ebola menace that is wreaking havoc on Africa at a rapidly quickening pace.

That is not to say the Africans should be left to deal with their own misfortune: far from it.

But whilst I’m the first person to agree that dealing with the problem is extremely urgent, we now have hard evidence that not only did the Ebola virus get the jump on global authorities, it was given a head start: and that lead, whilst placing attempts to contain it under great compromise, only heightens the need for any co-ordinated response to nail the problem on the first attempt.

Perversely, it may well be that the best approach is to wait before deploying a co-ordinated counterpunch: with infection rates spiralling exponentially now, it is absolutely critical that all of the question marks and uncertainties around how to deal with this problem are resolved before attempting to do so in any systemic fashion.

In turn, it just highlights how dangerous what Labor is proposing really is — not that it makes any difference to the charade, the disgraceful quest for votes by the implicit personalisation of a global health threat and lobbing it at the Prime Minister’s feet, that Labor is really seeking to engage in.

The “urgency” of sending large numbers of unprepared and vulnerable Australians into the epicentre of it as quickly as possible, as Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek now enthusiastically advocate, is a dangerously irresponsible indulgence that should be ignored.


With a little more time later in the weekend, I will be back.



12 thoughts on “WHO Botches Ebola, Debunks Ridiculous ALP Posture

  1. What do you expect with idiots like Tanya Pleb-in-a-sack among the illustrious ex union hacks in the ALP trough

    • Nice sound bite deknarf, it even sounds like it could be almost sensible.

      But please elucidate for those who obviously just aren’t as smart as you are. Given the lack of medical facilities, trained medical staff, drugs, medicines of all types, general medical equipment, transport, Hazmat suits and other isolation equipment, food, clean water, sanitation, accommodation, reasonably functional civil services, adequate repatriation facilities and the very large area involved, exactly HOW do you intend to achieve “containment at the source”? Because I doubt that “Closing your eyes and wishing really, really hard” will do the trick.

      And Yale, there is a part of the political West that does share some responsibility for this outbreak. They helped cause the problem and they must be held to account. The Envitonmental lobby and Green groups have done nothing to help the development of the region and done everything in their power to hinder it. By slowing or halting the development they have fatally compromised the ability of poor nations to deal with an outbreak. Why isn’t there better sanitation? No dams. Why aren’t there more hospitals and medical facilities? No power to run them.

      Those who opposed and continue to oppose the dams and large scale power generation that wouold work to prevent these outbreaks must be held accountable for the damage they do and the lives they take.

      • One of the reasons for Rule 1.
        [5] USA: Capacity for just 9 Ebola patients
        Date: Fri 17 Oct 2014
        Source: Daily Mail UK [edited]

        The US only has space for 9 Ebola patients at specialized hospitals
        Once these spots run out, patients will be treated where they are.
        Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
        will be sent to help care for them and ensure precautions are taken to
        prevent the spread of the disease…. [Byline: Thomas Burrows] —

  2. Still a nice sound bite, but you utterly failed to answer the question. Given the obstacles how will you do it? Let’s hear the plan.

    Your “Rule 1” is as dumb as a “Rule 1 for defeating an alien invasion : Don’t be invaded”. Unless there is some way to apply the rule to reality it’s nothing more than a bout of mental masturbation.

    So what’s the plan, Stan?

  3. JohnB, I gave up trying to illuminate those with closed minds long ago. Pop down to the library and grab a decent book on microbiology and/or virology and have a good read. One on epidemiology and disease management and control would also help I’d suggest.
    Why do you think that WHO, the US and other countries want to put resources on the ground in Africa? So they can all get sick, get repatriated and then spread the disease into their countries which have limited capacity to manage a outbreak of a disease that has a mortality rate going on 50%?
    PS: I’m always underimpressed by those who’s argumentative retreat is in to insult.
    PPS: How the environmental lobby and Greens got dragged into the argument as well as the anti-dam brigade is beyond me. I’m surprised that those who support AGW aren’t on the felons list as well.

    • My point was simple. Sound bite “Rules” are simple to say, but the proof is in the pudding. How will this rule be implemented? I listed just some of the problems that require solution or else all you are doing is sending people in to die. As usual you appear long on rhetoric and short on detail of how the goal is to be accomplished. I take it planning is not one of your skills?

      Personally I’m much less than impressed by people who make grandiose statements and fail to provide any operational details. Such a simplistic approach to problem solving betrays a lack of real world experience. It was that sort of thinking that led to the pink batts fiasco. The idea was sound, but the practical implementation was a disaster.

      As to your PS. If you cannot see the link between the spread of a disease and the lack of clean water and sanitation, then I really do suggest you become acquainted with some texts on basic hygiene before recommending reading matter to others.

      • I expect you to think!
        The disease is transmitted from animals not from water and sanitation. Read about Ebola source and transmission.
        Once you have the full blown disease you won’t even be able to get to a toilet. It’s the bodily fluids that are the next stage of transmission between people and people but the original source is animal based. It’s a classic case of a disease being relatively benign in the animal host and lethal to humans and other species when inadvertently transmitted. A good microbiology book will give you several examples of this cross species lethality.

  4. John B,
    You may find this useful.
    A ProMED-mail post

    ProMED-mail is a program of the
    International Society for Infectious Diseases

    Date: Thu 16 Oct 2014
    Source: The Conversation [edited]

    Bats are the natural host species for Ebola and a variety of viruses, many of which can be fatal when transmitted to humans. More than 100 viruses have been identified in bats and this number is rising each year.

    African fruit bats first transmitted Ebola virus to [non-human] primates and other species through contact with bat droppings, half-eaten fruit, or bodily fluids of diseased bats. People are thought to have contracted the virus through contact with infected bats and [non-human] primates. Subsequent person-to-person transmission occurs through direct contact with infected body fluids:
    blood, saliva, mucus, vomit, urine, or faeces.

    Interestingly, bats have the ability to harbour viruses such as Ebola and don’t display clinical signs of disease. Yet once the virus infects other species, it has the potential to cause widespread death and disease. How is it that bats are resistant to a disease that kills up to 90 per cent of people it infects?

    The impact of Ebola virus in people is largely the result of the activation of the immune system, rather than the virus itself. During the initial stages of infection, Ebola shuts off the immune response to the virus, resulting in rapid viral replication and a delay in the production of antibodies.

    The immune system is initiated only once the virus is out of control and then results in over-activation of the immune response. Although the role of the immune system is to eliminate the virus, when it is activated at extreme levels it becomes damaging to the host — in this case, an infected patient.

    Like all haemorrhagic fevers, this results in widespread tissue damage, leading to internal and external bleeding, decreased kidney and liver function and ultimately, in many cases, death.

    The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest ever recorded and is continuing to accelerate. Researchers and drug companies are racing to develop treatments and vaccines targeting the Zaire ebolavirus, the strain that is causing the current outbreak.

    The 1st human trial to establish the safety of the vaccine and assess the immune responses of volunteers is underway. The researchers hope that by November [2014] there will be enough data to make an informed decision about whether to deploy the vaccine in Western Africa.

    So far, studies in monkeys have demonstrated that the vaccine provides protective immunity for up to 10 months.

    You will also find the ProMed website far more useful that material reported in the MSM.

    It would be useful if the country had clean water and an efficient sewage system, but it doesn’t that such improvements are long term and lack the immediacy required to address what is essentially a viral transmission that is not dependent on water quality and enhanced sewage.

    Probably the most useful NOW rectification to restrict human contact with this disease in the future would be the supply of adequate protein to reduce the use of ‘bushmeat’ to address the overall protein deficiency.

    This disease has the potential to become a pandemic, hence the view that it needs to be contained in the outbreak areas rather than trying to deal with it should it get out of Africa.

    • The problem still remains though. How do you clean the hazmat suits if there is no clean water?

      I brought up the environmental lobby because this particular outbreak is worse than it should have been. If the various nations hadn’t been delayed or prevented in their infrastructure it is quite possible the outbreak could have been avoided. As you rightly say, it’s contact with the fluids that spreads the disease, so I think the spread would have been a lot less if they weren’t forced to drink water contaminated by infected monkey piss and bat droppings.

      That’s why I say that those who actively prevented or worked against the development of these nations bear some responsibility for the disaster. They helped make it a big disaster. Many of these people should have had clean water, power and sanitation NOW, but they don’t. The benefits of 20 or 30 years of development have been deliberately denied them. There have been deliberate campaigns to stop them having these things and that is, in my books, a serious crime against humanity.

      But these acts have larger consequences than that, they make it almost impossible to fight the current outbreak. No power and no water means no sterilization equipment for a start. I do take your point about transmission, but it really doesn’t matter. While the “Rule 1” is a great idea, the resources simply aren’t there to be able to employ it. That was my point. If the resources aren’t there then any “Rule” is just a wish.

      By analogy, it was known in 1940 that “Rule 1 for defeating Hitler” was the invasion of Europe, but the resources that allowed the Rule to be activated weren’t there until 1944. Without the right conditions, rules are useless. Your Rule 1, while worthy simply cannot be put into action due to the lack of resources. We (the West) could fly 1,000 doctors in tomorrow, but there are no facilities for them, nothing to feed them, nowhere to house them and we couldn’t even guarantee a safe water supply for them. About the only thing we could be certain of doing is raising the death toll by at least 500.

      That’s why I called it a sound bite. A “Rule” that cannot be enacted or enforced is not a rule, it’s a feel good statement and nothing more. “We must contain it at the source” is a great idea but the real world asks “What with?”.

      However I agree about the food. Food, anything that can boil or sterilise water for drinking and cooking. And get some people cracking on where some nice big dams with hydro stations can be built when the immediate crisis is over. Our gift to them. I honestly doubt that much can be done except to let the outbreak burn itself out. (As much as I really hate to admit that)

      I also agree that the danger of a pandemic is very real, more so because of the relative silence of the medical profession. Remember them running around over bird flu and swine flu “Possible Pandemic! Possible Pandemic!”? Suspiciously quiet right now even though this outbreak has killed more people this year than the other two ever have.

  5. You burn the suits. You do what the US and others are doing. You provide tent medical services, you provide skilled medical staff, you provide people who can advise the populace what to do and how to manage someone who’s infected, you provide facilities for mass burials/cremation if required (and socially acceptable), you supply power generators if necessary, you provide water if required, etc, etc. Just like you do when you are fighting a war. And this is a war there is no doubt. A war against a zoonoses that has not yet had the time to be more benign after crossing to another species. Strange that we can quickly mount a war against a bunch of jihadists but are unable to do the same against Ebola.
    Agree that the response has been half-baked and far too slow, especially from first world countries that have much to lose should this get out of Africa with enough infections to sustain logarithmic growth in infections.
    I note that Oz has now admitted that it would take at least two weeks to be able to mount a medical intervention in somewhere like PNG. One wonders what arrangement there are for such a medical emergency in Oz.

    • I still don’t think you’re getting the numbers here.

      The US could burn the suits because they didn’t have that many people using them and a supply was already at hand. However expand the number of medical staff needing suits and watch the practice change.

      People will be in and out of suits at least 4 times a day, what with meals, drinks and toilet requirements.

      1,000 medical workers would go through 4 suits per day each so you’re talking about burning 4,000 hermetically sealed suits per day. Can the factories even make them that fast? And you’re going to need a decent wash of the suit before it’s safe for the person inside to open up. Let’s guess at 10 gallons of clean water per time so that’s 40,000 gallons of water per day and they haven’t had a drink yet. You could probably save the suits if you use more water but you’ll be heading for 100,000 gallons per day then. That’s around 25 semi trailers of clean water every day just to wash the suits.

      AND THEN you need to safely dispose of the 100,000 gallons of ebola contaminated water each day. These are figures that normally apply to entire towns, not medical missions outer whoop whoop. On top of that,there’s 3,000 meals per day for those staff and an extra few thousand gallons of water for drinking. I’ll bet they sweat like pigs in the tropics in a suit.

      Then we need food, water, shelter etc for the people who will supply the food, water and other services to the medics.

      While I agree that it is a war against the disease, the name is where the resemblance stops. In a modern war against humans you can use guards and thermal imaging to keep the enemy out of your camp and away from your food and water supplies. It just doesn’t work that way with a disease. Fighting humans s far easier than fighting a disease outbreak in the wild.

      The next question is how do you “provide” the required staff? If you can’t guarantee suits, food, water, accommodation or a pretty good chance of coming home then volunteers might be a bit light on. Now what? Conscription?

      I don’t fault your compassion or how seriously you take the threat. Ideas like “Send people” or “Burn the suits” are great in theory, but the devil, as they say, is in the details. You can only burn even 1,000 suits per day if you have a supply chain that can supply 1,000 suits per day. If you aren’t going to burn them then you are going to need copious amounts of water. Where is that going to come from? In a region where people drink from muddy holes, where are you going to get that much clean water every day?

      I do think a big resource being ignored are the survivors. Those who survive the strain cannot get it again, so there’s 2,000 people who can be trained and equipped and go into the hot zone quite safely. The Greeks used to use the same technique for plague and other infectious diseases, it’s not like it’s a new idea. (And it works)

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