Culture Intersects With Preparedness

Preparedness Kit.jpeg

Just really loved this emergency preparedness poster by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).


It builds off of the #1, hit TV show, The Walking Dead that films in Atlanta where the CDC is. 


The show is about a zombie apocalypse and the story of how people survive (or not) amidst a global pandemic and the murderous awakened dead that feast off of the living. 


Here’s a link with what the CDC recommends you have in an emergency preparedness kit. 


The CDC also has a comic book with a zombie outbreak theme that further drives home the importance of a preparedness kit and what to have in it. 


I think it’s great when government thinks outside-the-box in ways that appeal to everyday citizens to serve them, help them, and especially keep them safe from disasters. 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to CDC)

Losing Deadly Control

Skull

So today we hear that there was a horrible mistake in which at least 52 sites (in 18 states here and 3 other countries) were inadvertently sent LIVE anthrax!!!


This after a prior incident in December where ebola had been mishandled and a technician potentially exposed. 


Again last August, they announced that a lab had accidentally cross-contaminated benign bird flu virus with a deadly strain of it. 


And there are at least five other major mishaps just since 2009 including more with anthrax and bird flu as well as with Brucella and botulism–these involved everything from using improper sterilization and handling techniques to inadvertent shipments of deadly live germs. 


Also in July, the CDC discovered six vials of LIVE smallpox in an unused storage room at the NIH.


This is reminiscent of similar gaffes by the military with an inadvertent shipment in 2007 by the Air Force of six nuclear warheads while the crew was unaware that they were even carrying it.


And here we go again (a doozy this time), information was disclosed in 2013 that we nearly nuked ourselves (specifically North Carolina) with 2 hydrogen bombs (260 times more powerful than that exploded on Hiroshima) in 1961. 


Yes, mistakes happen, but for weapons of mass destructions that we are talking about here, there are layers of safeguards that are supposed to be strictly in place. 


After each incident, it seems that some official acknowledges the mistakes made, says sorry, and claims things are going to be cleaned up now. 


But if the same or similar mistakes are made over and over again, then what are we really to believe, especially when millions of lives are at stake?


We have too much faith in the large bureaucratic system called government that despite how well it could be run, very often it isn’t and is prone to large and dangerous errors and miscalculations.


With all due respect for our experts in these areas, we need to spend a lot more time and effort to ensure the safety of our most dangerous stockpiles–be it of nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological origin. 


We can’t afford any more mistakes–or the next one could be more than just a simple (not) embarrassment.


What good is all the preparation to win against our enemies, if we are our own worst enemy or we have meet the enemy and it is us! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Ebola Has Arrived

Ebola 2
The Washington Post ran an article on August 1, “Why You Are Not Going To Get Ebola In The U.S.”



As of about 10 minutes ago, they are now reporting, “As Ebola Confirmed In U.S. , CDC vows, ‘We’re Stopping It In Its Tracks.'”



What do you think we’ll see in the news about Ebola within the next 6 months or year–completely eradicated, mostly contained, spreading slowly, or G-d forbid a global pandemic? 



G-d should help us to conquer this disease quickly and completely. 



(Source Photo: here with Attribution to European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection)

Ebola On The Move

Ebola
Watching this video of an ebola patient escaping quarantine and the panic in Liberia, it is hard not to be concerned about it coming here. 



Additionally, with a third American infected with Ebola overseas coming back home for treatment, and the CDC retesting a Miami patient negative for Ebola after having shown some symptoms, the stakes seem to be going up with this deadly disease. 



Just last Friday, GovExec reported that Ebola has a 18% chance of reaching the U.S. in September.



Moreover, if the outbreak is not contained the risk of it coming here is said to “increase consistently.”



My daughter asked me the other day why commercial flights to/from the infected countries (not including aid delvieries) have not been cut off for now to help prevent the spread of the disease and save lives.



Unfortunately, I did not have a good answer to this, except that certainly there are economic and social implications to those countries in the short-term, but what are the potential costs to countless other global citizens if we do not do everything we can to adequately contain this outbreak?  

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Ebola Bomb {^}

Ebola
Ebola is the “one of the most virulent microbes” to mankind–there is no known cure and it has a 90% mortality rate. 

 

The death toll from the current outbreak of ebola in West Africa has now hit 1,145.

 

And according to the U.N. Health Agency, the number of deaths are “vastly underestimated.”

 

Already, as of two weeks ago, more than 100 health workers had been infected. So who is going to care for the infected and sick, when the medical professionals themselves are sick and dead?

 

According to the World Health Organization, Ebola is spread by “direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs, or other bodily fluids of infected people, and indirect contact with environments infected with such fluids.”

 

However, as frightening and deadly as ebola is as a disease that spreads and must be contained, what is even more terrifying is that there are those who believe that terrorists may try to harness it into a dirty bomb.

 

CBS reports that a disease expert from Cambridge University says that “A bigger and more serious risk is that a [terrorist] group manages to harness the virus as a power, then explode it in a bomb in a highly populated area.”

 

A biological bomb like this “could cause a large number of horrific deaths,” and would further spread the disease–and until it stops, no one knows.

 

Visiting any number of local doctors offices, emergency rooms, or hospitals that are already filled with patients and with lengthy wait times to be treated, I cannot imagine what an Ebola (type) outbreak would look like.

 

I hope and pray we never find out the suffering, death, and havoc something a virus like this would cause–whether transmitted through human-to-human contact or by one of the dirtiest, sickest bombs you could imagine.

 

(Source Screenshot: here with attribution to Unicef)

Nasty Flu Shot

Nasty Flu Shot

I took my daughter for a flu shot last evening.

We went through the typical drawn-out paperwork and long wait to get something so routine.

When the medical practitioner finally arrived with the flu shot, there was a little baggy with all the acoutrements including alcohol wipe, band-aid, cotton, etc.

As the lady starts taking out the items to get ready for giving the shot, she drops the cotton on the floor.

She picks it up quickly, and pretending we didn’t see, she quickly throws it back on the medical tray.

Now I am watching…

She open the band-aid and places it at the ready on the side.

Then she get the syringe AND the cotton that had just fallen on the floor, ready in hand.

As she is about to give the shot, I say, “You’re not going to use the cotton on my daughter that just fell on the floor, are you?”

Her eyes look askance and she throws the cotton back down on the tray, and says, “Oh, of course not.”

I spoke with my daughter afterwards about this as it was hard to understand how a medical practitioner could on one hand, be administering a helpful medicine to a patient, and at the same time, was about to use a dirty cotton on the wound afterwards.

What happened to people actually caring about people and taking pride in the jobs they do, rather than just being in it for the paycheck only?

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Sun Dazed)

Dirty Little People

Dirty Little People

Popular Science had some scary germy statistics about how few people wash their hands well when coming out of the bathroom.

Take a guess?

Only 5%!

And that’s based on almost 4,000 people they observed–but how many would’ve washed correctly if they thought no one was watching?

The dirty stats (while under observation):

– 23% didn’t use soap.

– 15% of men and 7% of women didn’t even use water.

– Average washed for just 6 seconds! (CDC says you need at least 20 seconds with soap and water to kill germs)

From what I’ve seen, unless their is a touchless water faucet and automatic towel dispenser, not too many people wash their hands–they don’t want to get them dirty by touching the same bathroom devices that the other people just touched.

Another no-no for people is touching the bathroom door handle–more germs!

What do some people do–they use (wads of) toilet seat protectors to pull the door open–then guess what’s missing for the next guy or gal?

Most public bathrooms are disgusting–if everyone could just have their own, they would keep it clean out of self-interest and maybe wash their hands a little more too.

Next time we have a recession and need to invest in “shovel ready” infrastructure projects to keep America working–how about we build some (read lots!) clean bathrooms and throw in the automatic wash features, pretty please. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)