The Hot Zone
hasse at PANIX.COM
Fri Jan 12 02:12:27 EST 1996
Giovanni Maga wrote:
> Nobody said that cases of infections from Ebola or Marburg should not
be taken as biohazards.
No, that's correct. What I read was that you thought that there was no
reason to be more scared for Ebola Reston than for the possibility that
your cat could carry FIV (which can not be transmitted to humans!). And
EdRegis argued for that there's" nothing at all scary" about Ebola
Reston or Marburg...
Excuse me. But,is Ebola Reston and Marburg to be considered
non-scary-biohazards? Once again - they are both classified and handled as
Safety Level 4 Biohazards. I believe that means that the whole Ebola
family is considered to be a possible worst-case-scenario germ - a virus
with extremely high fatality rate, from an unknown reservoir and with a
great degree of unknown transmission and mutation possibilities.
I've, so far, never heard of a virologist from CDC or USAMRIID that
doesn't have a healthy fearful respect for everything that smells Ebola
> But in your posting there was a sense of incoming catastrophe, like
these viruses were actually challenging the survival of the human race...
Sorry, but, I haven't written any Ebola-article about an incoming
catastrophe of viruses that actually will challenge the survival of the
human race. If you like to debate with the journalists that puts an
unjustfied fear in people - you should talk to somebody else. How
about calling CNN and tell them that you didn't like their 1-hour
special "Apocalypse Bug". How about calling your daily newspaper next
time you're reading a sleezy virus article? I don't like trash articles
about Ebola or "flesh-eating bacteria", either. But, even more important -
I don't write them.
And just now, I'm here in a newsgroup where virology is the subject and I
suppose that the people that are here with me has both knowledge and interest
in the subject of Ebola virus and other viruses.
> Every respectable scientist will say that.
Yes, because it's true!
> But not every respectable scientist will panic because we do not know
all we want.
What? I don't know of any scientist at all that will panic because he
don't know all he wants to know. Did I say that CDC was in panic, or a
scientist friend of mine, or did I express panic myself? I don't think so.
Ifully agree with you that the perspective that is often missing in news
reports is that the risk to contract Ebola in the streets of New York or
London is far less than the risk to be killed in a car accident.
> How many articles did you write recently about the reemergence on old
What have you done yourself for to contribute to the good cause?
Like Laurie Garrett, I'm writing both about newly emerging diseases and
the reemergence of old killers, like TB, Cholera and Malaria. In '95 I
wrote only one article about Ebola and that was for a large daily Swedish
newspaper. No, the article was not titled: "10 reasons to panic for
Ebola". It was just a straight report from USAMRIID on progress with
serum from survivors, in treatment of Ebola patients.
>Unfortunately many of your colleagues do not think the same.(about
Ebola as a COOL virus)
I don't feel personally responsible for colleagues that do think
that Ebola are COOL or "sexy. Do you feel responsible for colleagues
with wicked opinions on viruses?
>...Ebola can mutate etc. is absolutely correct. However, spreading
this information BEFORE it has happened, without saying that it can
also NEVER happen... is absolutely of no utility for people and
contributes to spread unjustified panic, since non-virologist or at
least people not educated in biological sciences cannot evaluate the
real risk and tend to believe that something is true because it's
written on a newspaper.
I'm sorry, but not everything that I'm writing is published in a
newspaper and not everything that is published in a newspaper is
written by me.
Hello! Am I missing something? Is this a newspaper where I'm writing
without getting paid? Bad deal! I thought it was a news group where
virology was the topic.
Thanks for your offer to share your Filoviridae references, I really
appreciate that. I have plenty of research material myself, so maybe we
could exchange Ebola stuff or something else, one day. You know - like
kids does with their cards ofbaseballplayers and Batman.
Another subject: "Veterinary Biochemistry". Interesting. I've some up-coming
articles on animal health subjects. Is it possible that I could e-mail
you a few questions, later?
All the best and let's save the flames for the terrible superbugs that
may come or not come.
--Hans Andersson, Journalist, NYC
hasse at panix.com
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