Don’t trust government’s dodgy assurances about Ebola

Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard nothing but dodgy assurances from government health experts about Ebola. They say Ebola isn’t an airborne disease. They say it’s not contagious until the victim begins to show symptoms. And they say we’re all safe in the U.S. with all the new precautionary screenings at airports.

But I’m not buying it. And you shouldn’t either. In fact, my colleague–formerly the CDC’s No. 1 specialist on Ebola–admits we just don’t have all the answers.

During the mid-1990s, Dr. CJ Peters was the CDC’s leading infectious disease specialist on Ebola. And at the time, he led the CDC’s most far-reaching study of Ebola’s transmissibility in humans. I invited him to speak at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia when I was Director there. In fact, his appearance at the College proved so popular we brought him back for a second visit. And I got to know him.

CJ had battled a 1989 outbreak of Ebola among monkeys housed in Northern Virginia. Back then, my family lived just a few miles away, as the crow flies.

But could birds carry the disease, I asked CJ?

The fact is, nobody really knew yet. At the time, we were discovering other bird-borne viruses. Furthermore, CJ said, we could not rule out the possibility that Ebola spreads through the air–even among humans–in tight quarters. You see, CJ also investigated a human Ebola outbreak in the Congo in 1995. And he said that some human cases may have occurred through airborne transmission.

Of course, the CDC publicly maintains the party line that Ebola cannot spread through the air among humans. But I trust my colleague CJ Peters more than I trust the bumbling public health bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.

“We just don’t have the data to exclude it,” CJ recently told the LA Times. He’s now retired from the CDC. But he continues to research viral diseases at the University of Texas-Galveston, where can freely speak the truth.

But CJ is not alone.

Virologist Charles Bailey was deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Ft. Detrick, Maryland, at the time of the Virginia outbreak. He said that the monkeys appeared to spread Ebola by just breathing the air. And he said the assurances that Ebola is not spread through the air are misleading.

Dr. Philip K. Russell is a virologist with the U.S. Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC). He oversaw Ebola research in the 1989 outbreak. He also led the government stockpiling of the smallpox vaccine after 9-11. This real expert on the potential dimensions of the problem says there is still much to be learned. According to Dr. Russell, “Being dogmatic is, I think, ill-advised [to rule out airborne transmission], because there are too many unknowns here.”

While an Associate Director at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., I became familiar with USAMRDC and USAMRIID experts and their unique capabilities and experience. The expertise of these Army physicians far exceeds the experience of the typical physician or public health official working in the comfortable confines of domestic clinics and labs.

Meanwhile, we now have two health care workers who just acquired the virus in Texas. Like others, they followed strict infection-control protocols while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola carrier who had clearly been exposed in Africa, but gained entry to the U.S. by lying to airport security.

Then, without any real evidence, public health bureaucrats immediately began claiming these innocent victims–nurses no less–must NOT have followed infection- control protocols. And there must have been a so-called “breach of protocol.” (Ah yes, just blame the victim, instead of admitting that the government is wrong…again.)

Hospitals widely adopted infection-control protocols in the early 1980s, when we were suddenly all dealing with a mysterious new disease called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). They assumed it was infectious–and a few years later, it was found to be associated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). And the healthcare system has been dealing with millions of AIDS/HIV cases ever since.

Bottom line?

Hospitals know how to prevent blood-borne diseases such as AIDS and Hepatitis B…as well as airborne diseases.

In fact, hospitals have been preparing for infection control for decades. And, specifically, they’ve been preparing for Ebola for months. (While the epidemic smoldered in Africa and was unfortunately allowed to spread to the U.S.)

In other words, they know the protocols. They’ve had them down for decades. And they know how to follow them. So while the government heaps doubts on the two Texas nurses about lapses, or “breeches in protocol,” nothing rules out that the virus can spread through the air, as Drs. Peters, Bailey, and Russell suspected more than 20 years ago!

The official line is that Ebola is spread by body fluids, such as blood, spit, sputum, sweat, semen, mucus, vomit, and diarrhea. If hospital infection-control protocols can prevent bodily fluid infections, why were they not able to protect these nurses against Thomas Duncan’s infected body fluids?

Scientists like Peters, Bailey, and Russell–who are real experts–have said for some time that Ebola may be spread by coughing, sneezing, and other aerosol transmission. Since the virus is already present in mucus and saliva, a victim can easily expel it when they cough or sneeze out the fluids. Sick can patients can even cough up and expel infected gastric fluids (vomit).

So, yes, we know for a fact that the virus occurs in bodily fluids. But no one has ever done a study proving that coughing or sneezing is not a means of transmission. The results of the investigation of the 1989 Ebola outbreak in monkeys in Virginia confirmed suspicion that Ebola might be spread through tiny liquid droplets propelled into the air by coughing or sneezing.

So, how can clueless government officials claim there’s no chance Ebola might be an airborne illness? And why have controlled studies never been done to find out more? (Was the CDC busy chasing down faulty anti-salt, heart health campaigns instead of studying deadly viruses to protect the citizens?) And, ultimately, why should we believe what government officials at the CDC and NIH tell us about Ebola?

The problem is, we know the government has lied–and continues to lie–to the American people about many issues that are crucial to our health and well-being. So, how can we trust what they say about anything?

They say Ebola is only transmissible through physical contact with bodily fluids. But as you’ve seen here, three respected experts contend with that assumption.

The government health agencies also say Ebola is only contagious when the patient is showing signs of infection. But other experts claim it may indeed be contagious during the “silent” period before a carrier shows any signs. How do we know for sure?

We just don’t.

You see, we are still in the middle of the first, real-life experiment where there are multiple, serial passages of the virus going through (so far) thousands of victims. These are the circumstances in which viruses can mutate to become more transmissible and more virulent. In other words, more contagious and more deadly.

Even while medical and public health efforts have intensified, the mortality rate from the virus has jumped from 50 percent to 70 percent. These mutations happened with the 1918-19 influenza pandemic that killed 50 million people worldwide. It caused more deaths than WW I, which immediately preceded it.

To make matters worse, the government’s procedures for protecting our borders from Ebola are a joke. (As they are in protecting our borders in general.) The government had months to prepare, but still let in “patient zero.”

Thomas Eric Duncan carrier slipped into the U.S., even though he came from a known epidemic area and had clear, known contact with the active virus. Now we know he lied about it and denied contact upon re-entering the country. (Yet, he’s now posthumously being made into some kind of hero by the politically correct media.)

We can’t really know who is going to lie about being exposed. But we certainly do know where the epidemic areas are located and where travelers come from. So–the government should restrict travel from these areas into the U.S. And if they won’t, you should restrict your own travel.

A century ago, the only way we could stop deadly infections was to close the borders to travel from infected areas and/or quarantine travelers coming from those areas for as long as it took to determine whether they were infected. And this is still the only approach that will work today to protect American citizens.

But apparently our huge, politically motivated government bureaucracy can’t accomplish what a much more modest and efficient government accomplished more than 100 years ago at Ellis Island, Angel Island, Treasure Island, the Lazaretto, and other quarantine stations at ports of entry around the country.

This government’s new “enhancement” of surveillance at a handful of airports is another joke. Ebola carriers who have the money and motivation to travel to the U.S. will simply go around to one of our many other “international” airports–and spread the contagion even more widely.

Sadly, Ebola itself is no joke. And there is no good evidence to believe what the government is telling us.

So, you must take steps to protect yourself and your family. (And by protecting yourself you will also help prevent an epidemic in the U.S.) Because the government isn’t doing the job.

These may seem like extreme steps. But hopefully, they’re temporary while we wait for the government to recognize the truth, get its act together, and get the epidemic under control. But they’re well worth following because you don’t want to become a victim while you wait for the government to act:

  1. Do not travel if at all possible. International airports represent a network for transporting and transmitting infections. In addition, avoid contact with international travelers. Especially those coming from epidemic areas, for several weeks after their return to the U.S. (This is like practicing your own personal quarantine since the government won’t do it.)
  1. Avoid crowds if possible.
  1. Carry personal, alcohol-based sanitizers with you at all times. (But don’t use the so-called “antibacterials” that contain triclosan.)
  1. Carry your own pen. And don’t use public pens at banks, post offices, and markets to sign ubiquitous credit card charges. There is no avoiding the electronic pens on annoying computer “sign-out” screens at retails counters, so make sure to keep your personal sanitizer handy.
  1. Around your home, keep some bleach on hand. You can dilute it and use it to wipe down surfaces and kill viruses.
  1. Avoid hospitals. (That’s good advice at all times.)
  1. If you have to be in an environment that may harbor the virus, such as a hospital, make sure to follow the recommended infection control protocols. (They should be clearly posted.) And be with a “buddy” who can literally watch your back as you remove potentially infected protective gear.
  1. You can also help keep your immune system healthy by taking a daily, high-quality B complex, 1,000 mg vitamin C (in two separate doses of 500 mg), 5,000 IU vitamin D, as well as 150 mg magnesium, and 10 mg zinc. However, it’s the rare immune system that can stand up to this infectious disease on its own. So, the other preventative steps outlined here are extremely important.

As you may know, Ebola was named after a river in Africa near where it was first found in 1976. And like “da Nile,” it’s not just a river in Africa. But the White House, NIH, CDC, TSA, and Homeland Security all seem to be in denial about this deadly infectious disease.

We simply can’t trust the government to tell us the truth about this deadly and dangerous epidemic now on U.S. soil. Please share this warning with others. Forward this Daily Dispatch to your family and friends, so perhaps the message for real prevention will go “viral.”

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. But in this case, we should weigh the prevention in tons.

1. “Some Ebola experts worry virus may spread more easily than assumed,” LA Times ( 10/7/2014
2. “First Ebola patient diagnosed in U.S. dies; possible second case discounted,” Chicago Tribune ( 10/8/2014