Book Review: Ebola: Understanding And Preparing For An Outbreak

What does Drudge, PBS, The Mayo Clinic and Reddit have in common?  Ebola.  It’s everywhere – well, not literally anyway.  But it is How to Survive Eboladominating the media, and for good reason.  People are scared.  They see the authorities saying one thing, and events unfolding that say another.  News channels show “experts” making the completely illogical case that closing our borders will make us less safe.  Reason has been relegated to the back of the bus, the same place we’ve been told that we can give, but not receive Ebola.  You know from reading Survival Cache and SHTFBlog that our team is not into hype and “End of the World” predictions.  We are more into common sense preparedness and reality.  With that said, we wanted to know more about Ebola and how worried we should be about this virus.

By Mark Puhaly, a contributing author to Survival Cache & SHTFBlog

Karambit Knife

So What Is One To Do?

That is a question Alex Smith attempts to answer in his latest book, Ebola:  Understanding how to survive ebolaand Preparing for an Outbreak.  In it, he  discusses topics such as:  symptoms, transmission, treatment, the history of the virus, the current outbreak, how to prepare, what to have on hand, measures to take if the worst is realized (quarantines, isolation rooms, cleaning procedures, etc.) and more.  Until about three months ago, I would have accused someone of being a doomsday prepper dork if you were getting ready for quarantines, now I see things in a slightly different light.  Quarantines are now a reality for a small group of Americans and Europeans who have come into contact with Ebola patients.  Although I am not quite ready to get my isolation room ready, I am starting to rethink some of my preps (or lack there of).

At 116 pages (paperback version), the book is short and concise.  There is no filler to pad the length.  Every page contains well researched information.  Speculations by the author are backed up by studies that he references in the book.

The following is an excerpt from the section on transmission of the disease that I found particularly interesting:

[From Book]
Airborne droplets (Not  Confirmed by Authorities):
The CDC makes no mention of transmission through airborne droplets in humans.  Because of the severity of the current outbreak, however, transmission through airborne droplets seems like a possible explanation.  Note that the author says airborne droplets and not simply airborne.  There is a huge difference.  Airborne implies that a disease can be spread through the inhalation of tiny, dry particles that remained suspended in the air for long a period of time.  These particles could also theoretically be transferred through air currents.  Ebola is not airborne in this sense.  The rate of infection is much too low.  If Ebola was truly airborne, it should spread at a rate similar to tuberculosis, chickenpox or measles.  One person with measles, on average, infects 12 to 18 people.  The current Ebola outbreak appears to spread, on average, to one to two people.  This value is known as the Basic Reproductive Number, R(0).  The following is a chart of the Basic Reproductive Numbers for various diseases.

ebola outbreak book review

Airborne droplets, however, is a different story.  Airborne droplets are relatively large (when compared to the dry particles that are suspended in the air by an airborne disease), wet particles, propelled through the air by way of coughing, sneezing or violent vomiting, that land on walls, floors, or other people.  It is entirely possible that Ebola is spread via airborne droplets.  The CDC still denies this.  The WHO downplays the probability.  Other experts, especially those who are independent of governmental organizations, are not as quick to dismiss this.

Despite CDC claims that droplet transmission is not possible, it has been shown that VHFs have an infectious dose of 1 to 10 How to Survive Ebolaorganisms by airborne droplets in non-human primates.

1.    Source:  Franz, D. R., Jahrling, P. B., Friedlander, A. M., McClain, D. J., Hoover, D. L., Bryne, W. R., Pavlin, J. A., Christopher, G. W., & Eitzen, E. M. (1997).  Clinical recognition and management of patients exposed to biological warfare agents.  Jama, 278(5), 399-411.)

Additionally, laboratories have been able to demonstrate that primates exposed to airborne droplets from pigs have become infected.
1.    Source:  Twenhafel, N. A., Mattix, M. E., Johnson, J. C., Robinson, C. G., Pratt, W. D., Cashman, K. A., Wahl-Jensen, V., Terry, C., Olinger, G. G., Hensley, L. E., & Honko, A. N. (2012).  Pathology of experimental aerosol Zaire ebolavirus infection in rhesus macaques.  Veterinary Pathology Online, 0300985812469636.
2.    Source:  Mwanatambwe, M., Yamada, N., Arai, S., Shimizu-Suganuma, M., Shichinohe, K., & Asano, G. (2001).  Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF): mechanism of transmission and pathogenicity.  Journal of Nippon Medical School.68 (5), 370-375.
3.    Source:  Plague.  (2004). In R. G. Darling, & J. B. Woods (Eds.), USAMRIID’s Medical Management of Biological Casualties Handbook (5th ed., pp. 40-44).  Fort Detrick M.D.: USAMRIID.
4.    Source:  Reed, D. S., Lackemeyer, M. G., Garza, N. L., Sullivan, L. J., & Nichols, D. K. (2011).  Aerosol exposure to Zaire ebolavirus in three nonhuman primate species: differences in disease course and clinical pathology.  Microbes and Infection, 13(11), 930-936.
5.    Source:  Feigin, R. D. (Ed.).  (2004). Textbook of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (5th Ed.).  Philadelphia, USA: Elsevier, Inc.
•    Aerosol Transmissibles (Not Confirmed by Authorities):  According to The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP),

“We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol How to Survive Ebolaparticles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks.”  They continue, “Modern research, using more sensitive instruments and analytic methods, has shown that aerosols emitted from the respiratory tract contain a wide distribution of particle sizes—including many that are small enough to be inhaled.  Thus, both small and large particles will be present near an infectious person.  The chance of large droplets reaching the facial mucous membranes is quite small, as the nasal openings are small and shielded by their external and internal structure.  Although close contact may permit large-droplet exposure, it also maximizes the possibility of aerosol inhalation.  As noted by early aerobiologists, liquid in a spray aerosol, such as that generated during coughing or sneezing, will quickly evaporate, which increases the concentration of small particles in the aerosol.  Because evaporation occurs in milliseconds, many of these particles are likely to be found near the infectious person.  The current paradigm also assumes that only “small” particles (less than 5 micrometers [mcm]) can be inhaled and deposited in the respiratory tract.  This is not true.  Particles as large as 100 mcm (and perhaps even larger) can be inhaled into the mouth and nose.  Larger particles are deposited in the nasal passages, pharynx, and upper regions of the lungs, while smaller particles are more likely to deposit in the lower, alveolar regions.  And for many pathogens, infection is possible regardless of the particle size or deposition site.”

CIDRAP concludes:
“To summarize, for the following reasons we believe that Ebola could be an opportunistic aerosol-transmissible disease requiring adequate respiratory protection:
o    Patients and procedures generate aerosols, and Ebola virus remains viable in aerosols for up to 90 minutes.
o    All sizes of aerosol particles are easily inhaled both near to and far from the patient.
o    Crowding, limited air exchange, and close interactions with patients all contribute to the probability that healthcare workers will be exposed to high concentrations of very toxic infectious aerosols.
o    Ebola targets immune response cells found in all epithelial tissues, including in the respiratory and gastrointestinal system.
o    Experimental data support aerosols as a mode of disease transmission in non-human primates.”
The author tends towards CIDRAP’s stance.  Infection through Direct Contact is certain, and airborne droplet seems likely, but aerosol transmissibles for up to 90 minutes appears possible as well.
The complete CIDRAP article (with multiple sourced studies) can be found here (Click Here):
[End From Book]

Bottom line, it sounds like the Ebola virus is a little easier to catch than what the government is telling us. It is sort of funny, Tom survive ebolaFrieden, the Chief of the CDC, goes out to all of the major TV News channels, (FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC) and says Ebola is really hard to catch, you basically have to eat someone’s diarrhea to catch it (I am exaggerating a little but you have heard his propaganda as well).

But on the flip side, the CDC and the US Government are both trying to track down 800 people who “could” have came in contact with a nurse who flew on an airplane from Cleveland to Dallas and on top of that, they pulled the airplane from service.  Sounds like they are not telling us the exact truth.  Back to the book, Alex Smith provides the reader with a good history of Ebola.  At first, I expected the section on the history of Ebola to be dry, but I was surprised to find it an interesting read.  The following is an excerpt from the book that you might find surprising, I sure did:

[From Book]

The Reston Outbreak

“Though many believe we have never had an Ebola outbreak in the United States, this is not necessarily true.  The virus, named afterHow to Survive Ebola Reston, Virginia where it was first discovered, experienced an outbreak at Hazelton Laboratories in 1990.  Located within the D.C. metropolitan area, Reston is at the foot of our nation’s capital.  Richard Preston’s 1995 book, The Hot Zone, dramatized the outbreak with terrifying success.

While investigating an outbreak of Simian hemorrhagic fever in November 1989, Thomas Geisbert discovered viruses similar in appearance to Ebola in tissue samples taken from Crab-eating Macaques imported from the Philippines to Hazleton Laboratories.  The monkeys’ name is derived from the fact that they can often be seen foraging the beaches of Southeast Asia.  Over a span of three months, more than a third of the monkeys died at a rate of two to three a day.

Blood samples were taken from the animal handlers during the incident.  Of the nearly 180 people, six tested positive using the ELISA method.  Nonetheless, they remained asymptomatic.  In January 1990, an animal handler at the lab cut himself while dissecting the liver of an infected macaque.  The CDC placed him under surveillance, but he also remained asymptomatic.  The CDC concluded that this particular strain of the Ebola Virus had a low potential to cause disease in humans.

Hazelton abandoned the lab that same year.  In 1995, the facility was demolished.  As of 2009, the site housed a daycare.  Little remains of the Reston outbreak save for the memories of those that worked there.  Had the Reston strain had a slightly different molecular makeup, perhaps we all would know its story, and have the scars to show for it.

The Reston Virus appeared again in Italy in 1992.  In 1996, it reemerged at an export facility in the Philippines.  A second American outbreak occurred in Texas later that year.  The animals were from the same Philippine supplier as the original outbreak in Virginia.
In 2008, pigs in Manila tested positive for it.  In 2009, Philippine health officials announced that a hog farm worker had been infected with the virus.  The man remained asymptomatic. Reston is the only known strain of Ebola that did not originate in Africa.”
[End From Book]

I had never heard of the Reston Virus until I read this book, scary stuff.  Everyday I am getting a little more concerned about pandemics and a little less concerned about asteroids hitting the earth or zombies rising from their graves.

Also Read: 6 Ways to Prepare for Ebola

One concern that I have with these Ebola-related books that are currently being released, is that as studies are performed and new findings are released, the books may become outdated.  Alex had the following to say:

[From Book] “Very true.  However, I’m treating my book as a living document.  As the book requires updates, I will make them.  For instance, 2 – 21 days has been incubation period touted in the news.  Recently, however, the World Health Organization has conceded that 95% of individuals have an incubation period of 2 -21 days and 3% go as long as 21 – 42 days.  The remaining 2% are mysteriously omitted as of now.  Perhaps a person may become symptomatic even after 42 days.  Amazon allows users to update their kindle versions through the Manage Your Kindle page on  Through this, kindle versions will remain up to date.” [End From Book]

All in all, I found the Ebola, Understanding and Preparing for an Outbreak to be well-researched and definitely worth your time.  The How to Survive Ebolahistory is engaging, information about the virus is sound and the preparations are complete.  For now, the ebook is priced at 99 cents.  In several days, the price will be jumping to $3 or $4.  Get it while it’s cheap.

Knowledge is power and right now our President looks like Kevin Bacon at the end of the movie “Animal House” where Mr. Bacon plays a young ROTC cadet during an episode of civil unrest.  In the middle of the riots Kevin Bacon’s character just stands there yelling “Remain calm.  All is well” while people are screaming in terror all around him (See Animal House Video).  Like I said, it reminds me of our President.  If you are like me and have eaten a healthy helping of skepticism from our government’s propaganda on Ebola, you might want to check out this book.  The paperback is currently listed for $9.49 on Amazon.

Remain calm.  All is well,

Photos By:
Tom Woods
Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children

6 thoughts on “Book Review: Ebola: Understanding And Preparing For An Outbreak”

  1. All is not well, we will not remain calm. Our government could not be run by bigger fools if we tried to find them at the circus. Ebola might be the big one.

    • The clowns are gathered in the big top being briefed by the ring master on what to tell the low information audience…as the band played on…

  2. If an "outbreak" happens and for arguments sake lets say the government closed everything, and mandated a quarantine of all citizens. Would the outbreak die when the infected die since they could not transport the virus to another person?

    I know it is wishful thinking to assume people would (i) stay inside for a couple of days and (ii) that an infected person would not leave their home, but to some extent if an outbreak ever truly went viral is there not a way we could quarantine ourselves and the virsus dies from lack of host animals to infect?

  3. Of interest is the fact that even Preppers, in my opinion are starting from a wrong premise…… That this whole Ebola thing was an accident! Let's think back a few years when entire cruise ships were inexplicably becoming infected with run-away viruses. Test cases perhaps? We may see soon enough! Another premise to consider would be the political distraction value of bringing such a bug into our country several weeks before Nov 4th…….. This premise, to me completely explains the seeming negligence displayed by our Commandant-in-charge.

  4. I wish our government was capable of something so involved but sadly they couldn't find their way out of a urinal stall.
    Well without patting their foot under the privacy wall <}:-{

    I do not preclude that some agencies are able willing and may have already planned or have implemented a Tokyo tube test or test in a tube as in the 1995 Tokyo subway attack pulled off by a nutball.
    We know from excerpts from meetings that war it a test ground for new weapons systems also for political jockeying
    in international markets for self promotion and lining their pockets ( politicians pockets}

    If no international crisis and peace breaks out what platform will politicians have to launch themselves into the world
    arena or notoriety and power to find avenues to line their pockets ?

    I have known since the 1970's that the fuel crisis was a load of bull shize but in conversations with people I found that
    our government used that to manipulate the ignorant about energy production of our country.
    The U.S. has more resources than we could ever use and with technology even more power than we could ever need.
    people forget geothermal a home central system could be run on solar and not a huge system.
    The problem being that utility companies and use of middle eastern oil would be curtailed severely impacting the world markets, or their friends overseas pocket books.

    Solar and I do not mean solar panels wave and passive river systems that do not impact river species geothermal
    long line field generation more efficient use of the power we use now if anyone has converted from standard light bulbs to LED's all at once your light bill was a pleasant shock.
    SEER rating on new appliances and A/C if your using a model 10 years old and forced to buy a new unit find that the savings almost offsets the cost only problem is that our money is worth so little it the initial cost is horrifying.

    In short there are so many agencies that are poised to protect their masters and they could be government officials
    industries that are deemed privileged in what era we are in at the moment.

    What does this have to do with pandemics ? well they have yet to figure out how to monetize them in a way where they could benefit from it.
    There is a leading college professor that proposes the world would be better off if there were only 500,000 people world wide over the 7 billion now here of course he is so educated he is ignorant of just what it takes to live on this planet that is in constant flux and one study shows that if any group of people propagates at a rate less than one child per family they will die off from the face of the earth as a people.

    Now if these Nimrods could figure out how to control a epidemic so it would not go rouge and mutate into something that would not kill them and could make money from investments or kickbacks I think they would have no problem
    killing off half of us as long as it did not reduce their constituency / voter base.
    Once a virus that attacks only Democrats , Independents or Republicans could be engineered watch out !

    If anyone doubts my assessment, I give you Africa as an example billions of dollars have gone there to HELP and
    I use that term loosely very loosely.
    MY thoughts on why are obvious to me first the indigenous people are poor and have no way to sue for damages.
    there are many test subjects and should they die they are thought of more like lab rats as in there are plenty more where they came from.
    To prove my point there are hundreds of thousands of orphans that are being cared for by Christian groups.
    So the living are not as interesting as the dying.
    And do not get me started on "Christian groups" some are a total scam some so just enough to keep from being
    put on the criminal organization list and there are some that are exceptional but beware and do your research.

    All these entities are interested in is a abatement or cure that will produce a tidal wave of money.
    Now that is not a indictment of all the people involved there are good people everywhere problem they get used up by the greedy using the needy as bait to draw out every dollar they can videoing emaciated children.

    My problem is that there are other ways to introduce a pandemic and our government is ignorant and so politically correct they can neither see it or conceive it NOW that is what makes me nervous.


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