Elola paranoia

cmleonard at ccstat.mc.duke.edu cmleonard at ccstat.mc.duke.edu
Fri May 12 12:44:58 EST 1995


In response to the recent comments here to the effect that the discussion of this outbreak has become overly paranoid, let me ask you all:  If this particular mutation of ebola (e.kikwit ?) has become an airborne pathogen do you think the WHO, the CDC or the governments involved would broadcast this fact to the world?  They would, of course, tell us that the virus is contained to a small area, that its spread beyond this area is unlikely and the mortality figures would be conservative.  This is exactly what
 we have heard thus far from WHO and CDC spokespersons.  I have to assume that there will be much more disinformation available than reliable facts.  I also have to assume that in the case of an emerging _airborne_ filovirus, be it ebola, marburg or some unknown agent, we will not be told of it until the epidemic has spread.  I don't think this makes me paranoid.  A health crisis of such proportions would cause world wide painc.  The melodramatic scenarios described in the movie "Outbreak" would become all 
too real.  Even as we type these correspondences across the electronic highways, human populations continue to encroach on ecosystems where these virus lie in wait for their new host.  The reality of our situation then seems to be that sometime in the near future we may have to face a pandemic of viral hemorrhagic fever.  How will we deal with it?

Mike Leonard



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