Ebola death toll in West Africa reaches 729, two US aid workers in grave condition


A medical transport plane departed the United States on Thursday afternoon, headed to Liberia to pick up an American Ebola patient. Two American medical missionaries working with Ebola patients in Liberia have been diagnosed with the virus. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, who worked at a medical center operated by the North Carolina-based Samaritan’s Purse, were listed in stable but grave condition, according to a statement from the organization.

Um, what? Please tell me that no one thinks flying them to another continent is anything but a terrible idea.



Watching how this disease spreads to the US will be a good opportunity to show people how our Public Health systems need to be boosted. And how powerful entities will put their needs before the health of the majority of the people.

Watch The Strain to show how it happens in Fiction (plane sick people)
Then realize that Condi Rice overruled the EPA on a health matter for political reasons.

I wrote about this yesterday.
How Worshiping The Market Can Bring Ebola to the US

We are focusing on Ebola because it is news. We won’t get Ebola here in the US for a number of reasons. One reason is Ebola doesn’t have a good lobbying and PR firm. When it comes to infectious diseases, it helps to have people in high places. People who want to describe their pathogen as “naturally occurring,” who delay life saving performance standards, dictate which words doctors can use to describe a condition and most astonishingly, convince everyone the burden of protection is on the victims in order to avoid responsibility for their problems.

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Highly inappropriate subject for a pun headline, @xeni

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That’s not a pun. That’s proper usage.


Of course my twisted noggin immediately thought “they must be just dying to get home”
I’m trying to think of a proper penance…

Edit: I did spend about 20 minutes prostrate with my face pressed to the ground – made good progress with the stray cat that I have been trying to catch (I have no idea what a Hail Mary is, but I figure that was equivalent to a few)

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Grave the noun and grave the adjective have completely different etymologies. I’m aware that “grave condition” is a common usage — otherwise the headline would make no sense — but it seems unthinking at best and crude at worst to juxtapose it with “death toll reaches 729.”

@crenquis’ example of “dying to get home” is also common usage but would unquestionably be in poor taste in this context.

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So, what’s your point? To be the sensitivity police? Who, exactly, was offended besides you?


Yeah, hoboy, as soon as I saw the headline, I knew someone would be offended. I think the PC Machine that has to take offense at something, has made me sensitive to some such things. I don’t think this could even qualify as a “even if nobody sees the harm” type of comment. It is what it is, @L_Mariachi.

A quick consultation of the Googles of “ebola grave condition” finds more than one story quoting a Shepherd’s Purse representative as stating that both Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are in “stable but grave condition”.

The source stated that. I know, I know; if I say that changing it to “critical condition” is bad journalism, someone will say, hey, it’s just a blog! Yeah…I think y’all moved beyond just being a blog, a looong time ago.

Yes, it could be seen as a crass joke, but I seriously doubt that’s what was meant. It’s a serious situation, and “grave condition” is the proper term. It’s not like the time an editor at a local paper said that a paraplegic was “stumping” for a candidate (it was also an innocent gaffe, as “stumping” is an old-timey political term) and even then, once we’d explained to an irate paraplegic that, no, it wasn’t intentional, that the reporter had failed to let anyone know this important detail, and that the editor had chosen the old-timey term for brevity’s sake…well, people were still offended so the publisher just shrugged and said, “Nothin’ we can do about it now.”

BREAKING! Anti-Vaccination activists chartering a flight to take their children to the plague zone so the tots can enjoy a immunity-boosting “Ebola Party” with victims.


@awjt, @Shane_Simmons, I’m not offended, I just thought it was a poor choice of words. If you’re at all familiar with my posting history here (that which hasn’t been memory-holed) you know that I’m pretty fucking far from being any “PC Police.”

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There is more than one potential conclusion that can be drawn from this potentiality. It may very well be that the US public health and infectious disease program (which is the largest in the world–CDC budget >$11 billion, ECDC budget ~€50 million, WHO budget ~$4 billion) will handle this disease fine, indicating no need for it to be boosted.

It was surprising though almost poetic, especially given their history with the white man, that the natives were the only people on what was once called North America who had any kind of immunity to the Ezolla plague. As they spread out to repopulate and detoxify the land they remembered how the previous regime had been engineered over time to take even basic community health care and make it into a way for the ultra-wealthy to extract more treasure from the less fortunate.  
The great pandemic arrived in the middle of a decade long economic depression, normal people were already overloaded with debt living paycheck to paycheck. In the first few days of incubation many service sector workers were afraid to seek treatment for fear of debt homelessness, instead they went to work. The institutional avarice of that time was it’s ultimate undoing.

(edit) The above is as therapeutic as anything, it is not intended to dishonor the victims and those who are putting their lives on the line to stem this terrible tide. I studied systems theory and taught/worked as a paramedic so an epidemic is something I had to consider in a real way. A nice safe western country which has not seen a pandemic in recent memory is something like a fire protected forest which builds up fuel loading until the day that an outbreak occurs and the wind driven blaze is so strong that no ordinary hose and air tanker firefighting technique can slow it, only bulldozing vast swaths or burning the green area between a safe area and the approaching fire has any chance of success. Lack of a real world outbreak can breed complacency and erosion of the now somehow symbolic public health rules and enforcement. My hope is that the virus is halted and a treatment is found, hopefully an antiviral therapy as effective as antibiotics are on bacteria.


Brilliant! Do you have a source so I can quote and link to?

The thing that I have noticed with many healthcare workers is that they really don’t “get” contamination control - they seem to only think about not getting contaminated rather than not spreading contamination…


Me, just a wandering mind absorbing mornings first caffeine and reading BB. I wish I had inspiration like that more often. Copyright declined, public domain no rights reserved, enjoy!
If someone ever expands it though I hope I get to see the whole story.

For a while I taught EMTs and Paramedics, one exercise is where at the start of class I had everyone wipe their hands with baby wipes I had covertly spiked with UV dye. At the end of class everyone was shocked when even after being advised to not touch their faces I had them pass around a UV light exposing where they scratched and touched.
Aseptic technique for equipment and med delivery is absolute so not as difficult to habitualize but antiseptic technique, when the caregivers are huge sacks of biological stuff that have natural nose itches and often skin conditions, is much more difficult to instil.
(edit)Re-read your comment and agree, the cross contamination while not often a problem in a typical one on one prehospital/ambulance setting is conversely a massive issue in institutions, not so much in proper hospital settings with well selected nurses and caregivers but I have seen surprising laxity in many testing clinics and with way too many invincible doctors in all settings.


I saw 729 and immediately thought 93