Ebola outbreak in Congo has spread to city of one million people

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/20/ebola-outbreak-in-congo-has-sp.html

Spell-check failure: it’s ‘Merck’ FWIW. More to the point, the vaccine was already through its Stage 1 trials with no significant adverse effects discovered. It was headed for Stage 2 anyway, and with the consequences of ebola being what they are the ethicists gave a green light in this case to turning the experimental vaccine lose.

Less of an issue in the city than in the countryside. Add to that that a brilliant Science Fair project developed a portable vaccine carrier that can go for something like a day without power.

Also, for the travel issue (esp. flights): since the last big outbreak we’ve developed a good screening test (all the errors are false positives) that can be applied to travelers.


Oh man, that sounds bad…


Do you have anything to declare? Any conflicts of interest?

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that zipping sound is me sealing myself into my plastic bubble.


and unlicensed. So the thing you’re disagreeing with, is, in truth, quite accurate, no? Is it licensed? No.

And it’s worked how many times before?

I’m all for optimism. I’m not going to stare at the sun though.

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fingers crossed is not the best we can do, but what can you expect from a society thats so “me first”.

Huh? The only thing in TFA that I disagree with is the spelling of ‘Merck.’

Of course it’s unlicensed: it’s only heading into Stage 2 trials. Stage 3 isn’t even scheduled yet. However, it passed the Stage 1 trial and in the course of it generated what appear to be effective Ebola antibodies. Given a choice of that or nothing, it’s not a hard ethical call.

Quite a few – there was a lot of followup after the last big outbreak and a lot of smaller ones. The screening test works and, quite importantly, is fast (IIRC it’s a fast PCR test.)

I don’t advise taking a pleasure trip to the area, that’s for sure. On the other hand, some people don’t get a choice. I’ve considered volunteering for MSF but I’m not the kind they’d send to an ID area anyway. Mass trauma? Yeah, and I may yet once I wrap up the course I’m currently on.

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“it’s not a hard ethical call”

So long as those who get it understand that it is a hail marry vaccine that may or may not protect them - and to take precautions like they are not vaccinated against, yes, I would agree with you.

If they are led to believe that they have complete or even functional immunity from the disease, then that is problematic.

From an ethical standpoint, I’d be worried about people getting the untested vaccine and thinking that they had immunity, taking risks that they could have mitigated via being more careful, and dying.

I’m not concerned that the African people who get the vaccine are not smart enough to consent or to understand this distinction; of course they are. I’m concerned that this important bit of information won’t be passed along with the vaccines.

If it reaches Kinshasa, then that’s really bad news. As a single city, it’s population is larger than entire countries where the last Ebola outbreak was located. (Kinshasa- 11.85M, Sierra Leone- 7M). It also has the city of Brazaville right across the river- that’s another 1.5M people nearby in danger.


Kinshasa has an international travel hub serving Chaurles De Gaulle. That’s travelers in Congo who are less than 24 from you, dear reader.


you’ve got a scenario with the potential to keep World Health Organization personnel awake at night

Hopefully due to the turbulence. On the fucking flight to Africa.

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Oh, that’s not bad. This is fucking bad:


Madagascar closes its ports.


i c wut u did der

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You can help fight the outbreak with #OpenData. The openstreetmap community in DRC is mapping in response to MSF and local disaster officials requests. They are requesting the general public to aid them in the mapping.

Watch a few videos and then start mapping by tracing satellite imagery, the geo spatial data generated is downloaded on the ground daily.

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Wait. One million people have ebola!?!?!?!?! We are all dead.

I don’t know how effective the vaccine is. But why on Earth would the medical personnel withhold such vital information when all it would do is make their mission harder?

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That science fair project was for 2-8 degrees – much much warmer than needed here. It’s basically a bicycle-powered minifridge; it needs to be running at 8-10 mph for power & absolutely can not go a day without it.