Nothing To Breathe Here

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Top: Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan arriving at Leinster House this morning.

No reason to believe hospitals will be swamped by Ebola patients – Varadkar (RTE)

(Sam Boal/Photocall ireland) Cartoon: Alan O’Regan

16 thoughts on “Nothing To Breathe Here

  1. Soundings

    Isn’t ebola contracted through physical contact with the infection, and it can’t be transmitted through the air like the common cold or SARS.

    If that’s wrong, then we’re fecked.

    1. Sidewinder

      One must make contact with the bodily fluids of someone infected with Ebola through either broken skin or a mucous membrane. The mucus membrane or broken skin of the non-infected person that is. The infected person could be miles away but if you’ve got a paper cut and spill a sample of their bodily fluids on it then you could get it. Then again if you were standing in the same room for an hour touching *absolutely* nothing wearing normal clothes you’d be grand.

      1. Mark Dennehy

        That’s what contact with bodily fluids means. And it’s a fair bit harder to transmit disease that way (unless you regularly go around collecting samples of bodily fluid from strangers and then pouring it over your paper cuts, but if you do, you probably have other issues to deal with). You could sit on a plane with an infected person for several hours and not catch it from them.

        Now, if it was droplet-based, like say, the ‘flu, they’d pass it on to everyone on that plane.

        Funny fact, the flu in the US kills up to fifty thousand people in a bad year (or as few as three or four thousand in a good year).

        Haven’t seen many US senators seriously suggesting quarantining an entire continent over the ‘flu though, even though in a *good* year it kills more people than the world trade center attacks.

        People kindof need to learn to assess risk a bit better than this…

          1. Mark Dennehy

            Because you’re kindof overplaying the rate of transmission when you’re talking about being miles away from the person with a paper cut. Yes, technically you *could* do that, but it’s such a weird situation that unless you’re a lab worker handling biological samples for medical testing, it’s not going to ever happen.

          2. Sidewinder

            Why didn’t you say that?

            And I’m aware they’re very specific sets of circumstances (I think that’s self-evident), that emphasises the difficulty of contracting the disease even when doing it right. What I’m further emphasising by illustrating such a specific scenario is that simply being around the infected person isn’t sufficient, which you felt the need to reiterate for some reason.

            And again, I’m aware that it technically *could* happen but that it is unlikely. It is precisely for the very obvious fact that it is unlikely that I specified such a scenario.

            So you can see that I’m doing precisely the opposite of overplaying the rate of transmission.

  2. Mark Dennehy

    Hm. Jumps up and down about the possibility of contact with a relatively hard to transmit disease, with only 17 confirmed cases outside of Africa (and fewer deaths in all of Europe than we had in one quarter in 2011 from TB); but we can’t possibly talk about an abortion referendum even after the deaths of women here because of our current legislation.

    Hmm.

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