When is an Ebola outbreak over?

Forty-three people who had been in contact with Ebola victim Thomas Duncan have been cleared, proving not to have the disease.  That’s a big relief for health officials, though 120 people are still being monitored.  Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says that the outbreaks in Senegal and Nigeria are over.  How do they know that?  Well, the answer is simple, as you will see after the jump. [Read more...]

Ebola symptoms & flu symptoms

Ebola starts with a fever and aches and pains, sort of like the flu.  Then comes vomiting and diarrhea.  Then comes a red rash.  If the disease progresses, the whites of your eyes turn red.  You start to hemorrhage  internally.  Then you start bleeding from your eyes, your ears, your mouth, and every other orifice.  Then you die.

Ebola is uncommonly grisly and horrifying, but it starts like the flu.  And just as detecting its symptoms is especially critical in dealing with the disease and stopping its spread, ordinary flu season is upon us, making the task even more difficult.  Screening measures may confuse flu with Ebola, and people with the flu will panic, thinking they might have Ebola.  (Then again, experts are saying that more people will  die from flu than Ebola.)

A friend of mine, a nurse, was at our local hospital and saw a horde descend in hazmat suits.  Sure enough, we have a possible Ebola case.  Or maybe it’s the flu.

[Read more...]

Pestilence update

A second nurse in Dallas who took care of Thomas Duncan, who died of the disease, has been diagnosed with Ebola.  A further problem is that she was on a flight from Cleveland the day before she was admitted to the hospital, exposing 132 passengers.

The Dallas hospital that treated Mr. Duncan now admits that it was improvising protocols “on the fly.”  Instead of actual haz-mat suits, health care workers were apparently using ordinary paper masks, regular disposable gowns, and two pairs of vinyl gloves, leaving quite a bit of face, hair, and skin exposed. [Read more...]

Nurse in haz-mat gear catches Ebola

A Dallas nurse who cared for Ebola victim Thomas Duncan, who died of the affliction, has been diagnosed as having the disease.  And yet she was wearing full protective gear.  Doctors are insisting that she must have violated the protocols somehow, though they can’t say how.  But could it be that Ebola is easier to catch than we are being told?  And if caregivers are at the greatest risk of catching this plague, won’t that make them hesitant to offer treatment?

This is a true test of vocation.  We should pray for and honor the medical professionals who are putting their lives on the line in what the World Health Organization is calling “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.” [Read more...]

“Vegetative” patients who respond to Hitchcock

Neuroscientist Adrian Owen has been studying the brain activity of people who are in a “vegetative state.”  A recent experiment showed a classic episode, “Bang!  You’re Dead!” from Alfred Hitchcock’s TV show, directed by the master of suspense himself, to two unresponsive people with brain injuries, as well as two healthy people.  One of the “vegetables” showed identical brain responses to the healthy viewers.  After the jump, an account of the research, plus the video of the episode. [Read more...]

Why do we sleep?

Virtually all living organisms sleep, or its equivalent.  But it has been a puzzle why.  Surely spending a big part of every day unconscious can’t have much survival value.  But scientists have now discovered that sleep is when our bodies repair themselves and when our brain is rejuvenated and, literally, cleansed.

Time has a fascinating article on the subject, linked and excerpted after the jump.  Type-A personalities who brag about how little they sleep so they can work more, party animals who stay up all night, commuters who stay up late and get up early, and college students in general would do well to read it. [Read more...]


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