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Feeling The Heat, Burning The Suits: Reporting On Ebola From Sierra Leone

NPR’s Jason Beaubien is in Sierra Leone, covering the Ebola outbreak that began in March in Guinea and has spread to neighboring countries. When we spoke Thursday, he had just toured the treatment center built by Doctors Without Borders in the town of Kailahun. With 64 beds, it’s the largest Ebola isolation ward ever built. Currently there are 31 patients.

How’s it going?

Never a dull day here.

Can you describe the treatment center?

It’s basically a compound with a series of different tents. There are tents where people get suited up to go in. Another tent seems to be for storage, and one of the tents contains a lab. Then there’s a double fence about 3 1/2 feet high, made of orange plastic mesh. They designed the fence so people can see where the patients are, so it wouldn’t seem as if the patients are completely walled off.

Why a double fence?

So no one can get within 6 feet of someone who has Ebola. In case a patient from the isolation area reaches out or vomits, [Doctors Without Borders] wants to make sure there won’t be any accidental contamination.

How do the doctors record information on the patients?

Doctors go into the isolation area completely suited up, do their rounds and write down what’s happening with patients. Then they stand next to the fence and shout out to people on the other side of the fence [information about each patient]. Say, for patient 105, the doctor says, “diarrhea, vomiting.” Then the doctor’s notes [made inside the isolation area] are burned.

Where do they burn the notes?

They have a big pit in the back.

What else do they burn?

They burn everything. They say nothing comes out of isolation — although obviously they’re taking blood samples out. People come out. They strip off their protective gear, the Tyvek suits they put over their entire body and shoes.

Continue reading.

Top: Construction workers repair the roof inside the isolation area at the Doctors Without Borders treatment center in Kailahun.

Bottom: All workers in the isolation area must wear a head-to-toe protective suit.

Photos by Tommy Trenchard for NPR


Chief Ebola doctor contracts the deadly virus

The doctor leading the fight against the world’s deadliest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has contracted the virus, according to government officials.

Sheik Umar Khan has been admitted to a hospital in the Eastern province of Sierra Leone and is undergoing treatment.

The 39-year-old doctor is considered a national hero and is credited for treating scores of people suffering from the virus.

Health Minister Miatta Kargbo said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives.”

Ebola is spread by a virus that is initially transmitted from wild animals; it has a high fatality rate and no cure. The virus kills up to 90 percent of those infected, however patients have a better chance of survival if the virus is detected early on.

According to the United Nations, 630 people have died since the virus was detected in Guinea in February and the virus has spread across borders and into several West African countries like Liberia. Symptoms of Ebola include high fever, vomiting, internal and external bleeding as well as diarrhea.

Khan seemed aware of the risks involved with dealing with Ebola, telling Reuters late last month “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life.”

He also said “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease.”

(From PBS NewsHour)





Ok, lets break this down nice and simple.

Formaldehyde is from the purification of the vaccine. 99.9% of which is removed. The reason it doesn’t give a dosage is so minuscule that it can’t be measured without going into picograms. That’s one trillionth of a gram. You breathe in more formaldehyde by driving down a busy road than in a vaccine.

Thimerosal is NOT elemental mercury, It is a molecular compound made up of carbon, hydrogen, mercury, sodium, oxygen, and surfer. This is used as a preservative for the vaccine. Thimerosal is used in a variety of other things, like tattoo ink, facial creams, nasal sprays. It’s toxic to humans only in fairly large quantities but highly toxic to aquatic born organisms like infectious bacteria. In short, it makes sure you don’t get salmonella from a stray bacteria from the chicken embryos.

As for the dosage of the Thimerosal. That is the most laughable point in this post. It says 25 mcg, that’s micrograms, or one millionth of a gram. To put this in perspective, a dollar bill weighs roughly 1 gram, the average human eyelash is around 80-90 micrograms. The box also says that it contains a 5ml (milliliter/cc) vial which leads me to my next point.

A little simple math and we find out that 25 mcg = 0.00003 ml and a little more math we find that 0.00003 ml is 0.00006% of 5 ml. Let me put this another way. By the age of 5, an American child weighs about 50-55lbs and their body contains 55 mcg of Uranium. I don’t see any kids running around with radiation sickness, so I think they’re safe with a preservative in them.

TL;DR: This is like saying you don’t want your child eating their baked birthday cake because raw eggs were used to make it and you don’t want your child getting salmonella from it.


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