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World View: World Health Organization Declares a Global Polio Outbreak

World View: World Health Organization Declares a Global Polio Outbreak

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Two-year-old baby in Mali dies after spreading Ebola
  • WHO: ‘Millions of doses of Ebola vaccine by end of 2015’
  • World Health Organization declares a global polio outbreak
  • Stephen K. Bannon interviews John Xenakis about Ebola crisis

Two-year-old baby in Mali dies after spreading Ebola

The Ebola virus (Science Insider)
The Ebola virus (Science Insider)

The news that Craig Spencer, a physician with Médecins Sans Frontières(MSF) who was treating Ebola patients in Guinea, has himselfcontracted Ebola since returning to New York City (NYC), is triggering highanxiety and near-panic in some people in NYC, especially upon learning that Spencer took the subway and went to a bowling alley. Nonetheless, Spencer’s situation appears to be a template for how thepublic can be kept safe from Ebola. New Yorkers are much more likely to be killed in a traffic accident than by Ebola.

By contrast, there may be a worst-case scenario unfolding in Mali. 

A grandmother took her two-year-old girl hundreds of miles ona bus from Guinea to Mali, stopping in several towns,including spending two hours in the capital city Bamako. The girl had abloody nose, and was first treated for typhoid on Monday in a clinicin Mali. When she did not improve, she was tested for Ebola, whichwas confirmed on Thursday.

Officials doing contact tracing identified 43 people, including 10health workers who came into close contact with the girl. But theremay have been dozens of additional people who came into contact withthe sick girl during the bus trip, and there is no way to trace thesepeople. 

The NYC case and the Mali case are sharp contrasts, showing whatis and is not possible in controlling the spread of Ebola.

As I reported last week,all large cities and war zones are places vulnerable to thespread of Ebola, either unintentionally or through a terrorist act.But as the Mali case shows, any crowded train or bus could be thevehicle that spreads Ebola from city to city or country to country. 

Since Ebola has already been spreading in Guinea for several months,we may never know whether the two-year-old girl is responsible for infectingother people in that country. The girl died on Friday. Forbes and BBC and CNN

WHO: ‘Millions of doses of Ebola vaccine by end of 2015’

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that “millions of doses” ofan Ebola vaccine will be available by the end of 2015.GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Public Health Agency of Canada alreadyhave experimental vaccines in safety trials. 

Normally it would take almost ten years to bring a new vaccine tomarket. The “millions of doses” prediction is a best case scenariothat assumes that everything will go well in the breakneck developmentbeing planned. Enormous shortcuts will be taken in safety andefficacy trials, and there are insufficient manufacturing plants thatmeet the “biosafety level 2” regulatory requirements, meaning thatsafety standards may have to be reduced. And even if all that goeswell, it’s still possible that the vaccine won’t work, or won’t workwell, or will have dangerous or unpleasant side effects.

There are plenty of legal problems. Pharmaceutical companies will notgo ahead with the vaccine program unless governments absolve them oflegal liability if something goes wrong. 

And then there’s the problem of administering the vaccine to thepublic. There are dozens of megacities in the world, each with over20 million people. Once Ebola starts spreading in such a city, itwill be too late to start administering a vaccine. Even if thevaccinations start early, there may be gang wars or drug cartelsmaking an effective vaccination program impossible. Vaccine may firstbe given to the upper classes, possibly stirring unrest in the slums. 

Similar problems exist in a war zone. If Ebola starts spreading inthe war zones in the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria, Iraq,or any other war zone, a vaccination program will be impossible.An Ebola vaccine will first be administered to whichever army hascontrol of the supply, but administering the vaccine to civilians maybe impossible.

The Ebola cases that arose this past week in New York City and Mali aregoing to be repeated many times. As I wrote last week in “Forecasting the Ebola Endgame,” I expectthe world to look very different a year from now. BBC and Science Insider and AP

World Health Organization declares a global polio outbreak

The World Health Organization (WHO) is declaring a resurgence of polioglobally, with outbreaks in at least ten countries: Pakistan, Syria,Cameroon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Ethiopia,Somalia, and Kenya. According to a WHO official:

It’s really attributed to two things. One is thespread out of Pakistan through the intense transmission. And thencombined with an increase in vulnerability of some highly unstableareas like Syria where it’s been able to get anotherfoothold.

Karachi, Pakistan, is rapidly becoming a polio hub. Polio cases inPakistan have been surging to record-breaking levels due to theTaliban’s opposition to polio vaccine, claiming that it’s a Westernplot to sterilize Pakistani children. The Taliban have been murderinghealthcare workers in Pakistan involved in polio providing vaccines ever since the U.S. administration bragged in 2011 that a hepatitisvaccination program in Pakistan was used as a cover to locate andcapture Osama bin Laden.

Polio has also re-emerged in Syria since polio vaccinations havebecome extremely limited since the war began in 2011. 

There has been a polio vaccine available for decades, and yet poliohas still not been eradicated. In fact, cases of polio have beensurging in war zones and large cities where there is civil strife. 

If an effective Ebola vaccine is developed, it’s far from clear thateven having millions of doses available will be effective in stoppingthe spread of Ebola. AP and Deutsche Welle and AP (May 2014) 

 

Stephen K. Bannon interviews John Xenakis about Ebola crisis

On Sunday, October 19, Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon conducted a fifteen-minute interview with me aboutthe Ebola crisis on his SiriusXM Patriot radio show.  

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Craig Spencer, Ebola, Mali, Guinea,Médecins Sans Frontières, MSF, Doctors without Borders,World Health Organization, WHO,GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, Public Health Agency of Canada,Pakistan, Syria, Karachi, Taliban, Osama bin Laden,Steve Bannon, SiriusXM Patriot radio
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