How Ebola spread: Tom Frieden Warned President Barack Obama “The window to act was closing, he told the President in the 15-minute call

How Ebola spread: Tom Frieden Warned President Barack Obama “The window to act was closing, he told the President in the 15-minute call

Tom Frieden remembers the body of a young woman with the beautiful hair, dyed a rusty gold and braided meticulously, elaborately, perhaps by someone who loved her very much.  Two other bodies lay nearby.

Frieden, the director of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),  flew back to the United States on August 31 and immediately briefed  President Barack Obama by phone. The window to act was closing, he told the President in the 15-minute call

That conversation, nearly six months after the World Health Organization (WHO) learned of an Ebola outbreak in West Africa, was part of a mounting realization among world leaders that the battle against the virus was being lost. As of early September, with more than 1800 confirmed Ebola deaths in Guinea, Guineaand Sierra Leone, there was still no co-ordinated global response.


West Africa was ill-equipped for an Ebola disaster, because civil war and chronic poverty had undermined local health systems and there were few doctors and nurses. Health workers in the region had never experienced an Ebola outbreak and didn’t know what they were seeing in those first critical months.

Local customs in handling the dead led to further infections. Some West Africans believe that the day you die is one of the most important days of your life. The final farewell can be a hands-on, affectionate ritual in which the body is washed and dressed, and in some villages carried through the community, where friends and relatives will share a favourite beverage by putting the cup to the lips of the deceased before taking a drink.

And finally, the virus itself played a critical role in accelerating the crisis. Ebola, although not nearly as contagious as some viruses, is unusually lethal, and commensurately terrifying. Many foreign health workers and volunteers fled the region, and few people rushed in to take their place.

This is both a biological plague and a psychological one, and fear can spread even faster than the virus.

A virus is not really alive, in the formal sense of the word, as it cannot do anything outside of a host. Ebola is a filovirus, and looks like a piece of spaghetti. The protein envelope surrounds a strand of RNA, the simpler cousin of DNA. You could say it is pure information with instructions for replication.

Ebola is one of a number of viruses that cause “viral hemorrhagic fever.” What makes it so deadly is that it can take over the machinery of many kinds of cells, replicating quickly. It shuts down or misdirects parts of the immune system and sends the rest into hyperdrive, causing the victim to suffer fever, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration. Death can come within days from multiple organ failure.

Full article at:

This story mostly takes the “official” position on Ebola transmission being difficult.   The “unofficial” position is less charitable to the CDC:


An even newer report today by AUN-TV covers the issue of air transmission.  They are hiding these medical studies from the public.


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