Not the Ducks! – eBola

One of our greatest fears, especially in the USA is a deadly disease. Mainly because with a privatised medical system you end up with people “toughing it out”. You would be surprised (since India’s universal medical system is so overworked most people have to turn to private) what people can tough out.

Things like “my child has swollen to twice his normal size. I am sure he will get better”. And indeed, there will be someone who thinks his symptoms of ebola aren’t that deadly and stay at home. Or go to work. Typhoid Marys are things that do exist.

This is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola so far. Medicin Sans Frontier report more than 1,400 infections and a fatality rate of 57%. To many  people, the isolation tents are places to die rather than places where you are saved. And these people are incredibly brave.

I have told you guys I work with Tuberculosis patients who hold a similar fear. But TB doesn’t spread as easily as Ebola nor is it as fatal. Doctors tend to bear the brunt of such illness because we don’t wear masks when we see patients and can fall ill from what they have. So far 800 people have died.

There are brave men and women out in Africa fighting to save lives and stem this disease. And the fact the case rate is so low is testament to their efforts. Our capacity to control population movement via quarantines has helped stop the spread. I have often said that you don’t know who you are until you are in the dark. That what we consider ourselves is a careful construct. That until we are pushed to the very edge we will never realise what sort of people we are. These people who are out there fighting this disease in Africa are incredibly brave and doing a vital service to the rest of humanity.

Ebola was discovered in 1976. Africa has a long history of deadly diseases coming out of it. It is a zoonotic disease that used to have deadly outbreaks in isolated villages.

It is a severe acute viral illness. The symptoms are fever, weakness, pain, headache and sore throat. Followed by vomitting, diarrhoea, rashes, reduced kidney and liver function. Haemorrhage occurs. People are highly infectious as in the haemorrhagic stage blood is often sprayed via coughing. Ebola has a long period of infectivity with some people testing positive 60 days after infection. The incubation is also rapid with some patients showing symptoms in as little as 2 days.

The lethality of the disease was what helped keep it from spreading. It literally spread so fast and so lethally that it never left anyone to carry the disease. This outbreak is unusual in that it has hit a major city.

You are at your best in the dark, you are also capable of your worst. And the vultures from the quack brigade have come crawling out of the woodwork.

If you guys send Donald Trump to Africa then you will have fewer problems

We must suffer the consequences of helping others! If we were all selfish like Trump, we would all be Millionaires. Arseholes… but millionaires.

Or you know. Our world class medical facilities will help us formulate new ways of treating a deadly disease and help protect real live people (not just real live millionaires) from dying pointlessly of something we could fight.

 How dare we help. Save us from Libertarian’s champions. I cannot even parody Trump’s casual villainy here.

If the mere shade of ebola turns Donald Trump into a gibbering idiot and all round douchebag then I truly fear what sort of man he at the darkest of times. Remember all those anti-vaccination stances Mr. Trump held? I wonder will he stand behind them if we do invent the ebola vaccine.

Probably this guy

And he isn’t the only one.  This site makes a rather interesting claim.

Thieves oil can be diffused to kill airborne microbes, applied topically on the skin to help the body fight off infection, and also used internally in homemade capsules. If Ebola was going around in my area, I would diffuse Thieves oil daily for 15 minutes every few hours. I would apply it to my feet and armpits 2x/day or more and take it in capsules at least 2x/day for preventive purposes.

Apart from the subtle irony in calling your snake oil “Thieves Oil”. This simply doesn’t get how Ebola works or how it spreads.

Ebola is magically killed by this random plant as long as you spray it around your house like air freshner for 15 minutes a day (Ebola is a very polite pathogen and makes appointments). I don’t even know why you would apply it to your armpits and feet. The only pathogens I know that like feet and armpits are fungal infections and the elusive armpit to armpit transmission has since eluded scientific discovery.

And the homeopaths have got in on the action too. This to my knowledge would simply not work.

1. Crolatus horridus (rattlesnake venom) 2. Bothrops (yellow viper) 3. Lachesis (bushmaster snake) 4. Phosphorus 5. Merc. cor.

Like cures like and I know 3 of these toxins can cause haemorrhagic issues. By that logic you should infect yourself with dengue fever under the “Ninjas can’t catch you if you are already on fire” principle. And the site posits the old “we are about to swept aside by this foreign disease”.

Another site reassures its readers that while the disease is far away there is always the chance of terrorists using it.

In order for the con to work, you need the ignorance of what Ebola and indeed what Africa is. To many people it’s grass huts and lions. Just as India is all Aladdin Architecture and Temples. Mumbai would probably blow their minds.

Fortunately, for your fears there is a panacea. Water that’s been smacked against this special leather board. Because water learns if you beat it hard enough with a leather paddle.

I may hate this man’s capacity to prey on the weak but I have to admit? The guy’s got brass monkeys for not only creating a fear but then selling magic water to people who really aren’t at risk to “cure” it. It’s making a profit with water!

Pseudoscience and CAM or “quackery” as I prefer calling it demonstrates the real potential harm it can do. All that Echinacea and St. John’s Wort are  provide you with a sense of well being and positive thinking that you are protected in the same way that a lucky sock does. As we begin to take the quack industry seriously we realise one important thing. That these people are replacing medicine with quackery and while it won’t kill you if you are healthy, I am sure the care of doctors has more survivors than the quacks.

The lack of a specific protocol makes Ebola a prime target for charlatans. Unable to find any official regimen, the made up ones of charlatans seems more planned and thought out than the “intensive care” of medicine.

Prevention is about avoiding exposure, properly dealing with those already infected and disposing of the dead and any infected fluids, not deodorising your room with magical febreeze.

And conspiracy theories about ebola are out there too. Because why explain something in a simple manner when you can involve reptilian overlords and the Illuminati.

The two Americans affected are Dr. Kent Brantley and Nancy Writebol. Brantley is already in the US, and Nancy should be there by the time I land.

The dialogue from the quacks, the libertarian right wingers and the usual suspects is the same. WorldNet Daily is off scaring people about immigrants bringing in Ebola and other diseases. Dave Hodges and the president of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr. Jane Orient are both working together to undo any goodwill the public have to doctors by claiming that “100,000 West Africans are in Central America, have been taught to speak Spanish and are coming across our Southern border” carrying Ebola, naturally. Because these people not only show a complete lack of understanding of how difficult it is to learn other languages but how hard it is to do so while having ebola. That’s like trying to play Contra blindfolded.

The dialogue of many of the fears are dominated by people like Mike Adams, Orient and Trump. As of now? Trump’s ideas have had thousands of views.

The truth is? You know how there are so many panic stories coming out of Africa? A lot of them are simply that. People panicking. The media is in general after a “scoop” and the more sensationalist the better. It’s why the “buzzfeed” headline exists. Avicenna Last travelled to the UK and you won’t believe what he wrote! The same fears that people have in Africa are mirrored in the press of the USA and UK. For all our education, we rarely remember our own education.

We have effectively forgotten that ebola is not spread by air but by bodily fluids. So we begin to treat its victims as if they had TB. The truth is? If the CDC are planning to bring a highly deadly disease into the USA for study and treatment then at the very least you would see staff following a strict checklist of aseptic technique to rule out infections. The staff themselves will be under scrutiny and if they really want to go all out they will put patients into isolation booths with a negative air pressure (meaning air comes in, not out if doors are opened) preventing the spread of the pathogen.

Ebola Clinic from Medicin Sans Frontier

These are the people who will help beat ebola.

Not people like Trump. People like Trump are the sort of people who throw their fellow man to the wolves for a quick dollar. If it were profitable to help? Then I am sure he would be out there making a killing.


If you like my work and wish to support A Million Gods? Share it with your friends! If you wish to support my workt and help me with my travel costs back home to the UK in August to spend time with Hera? I have a paypal account! And if you want to purchase any of my photography stuff? Check out my gallery. 

Yes we have a new blog

Yes, we have a new blog. And yes I kind of like it.

Look, no website’s perfect. FTB’s got a huge writer pool and our old problem was that new blogs languished at the bottom of a front page that was designed according to when the author joined. This was fine when FTB was half a dozen authors. We are on 32 and growing. If we simply alphabetised it then I would have the advantage (if you note? Since my blog starts with an A, I would be at the top of the Blog Roll). So we decided on categories. A way to get people to read according to interests rather than blog loyalty and to help many of the guys at the bottom of the blog roll with greater awareness.

And also for people to realise we aren’t just “SJW” (Social Justice Warlocks) but we write on a myriad of topics.

If you have any suggestions to improve how we work, leave em in the comments.

The Drop

This is the drop. The final jump. It’s been a long long ride to get here and I have just one thing left to do.

I wrote both my knowledge papers. I have a good feeling about this year’s papers in general. So all that’s left is the scariest part of being a medical student. The last jump. The final drop.

I am to be tested for my capacity to perform Paediatric Medicine at a safe  level. I have my OSCEs and Viva tomorrow. And on Sunday I do the same for Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

I am not nervous. I just have enough butterflies in my stomach to make a lepidopterist very happy. All that’s left is going through my notes on the way to the exam and trusting to luck and skill.

I leave you with this….

Donations to help Avicenna with a Travel and Exams

For those who are unaware? The reason the blog’s been on and off for the past few days is because I have had exams.

For those who are aware? I am travelling back to Manchester on the 5th of August and am currently running a fundraiser for the purpose of being able to pay for my ticket and travel in the UK along with equipment and vital things like clothes and new pants that I need for medical work. I am also saving up enough money to be able to pay for my PLAB. It’s the qualification exam for me to practice in the UK.

If you fancy helping out then here is the link to my Paypal.


I understand I have had a lot of new readers today as my posts reblogging an email on the SDCC attack went viral.

But if you fancy helping out, I will offer an incentive.

A lot of people have shown interest in my photography. Should you donate, I will offer you any of my photographs from now into the future that you like for personal use as whatever you like! I will also take requests for topics to write on. Just mention which ones you want and I will have a full sized print sent to you via e-mail.



I also have some old photos from my old camera that will go up when I have better Internet during the holidays and they will be available for purchase from the Million Gods art store too.

If you fancy helping out Alex Gabriel who is also in need?