Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Two interesting tidbits from a Vanity Fair article on Ebola

This long article in Vanity Fair about the Ebola outbreak that started in Guinea was quite good. I noticed two interesting factlets that I did not know: 
M.S.F. also needed to get blood samples to a lab capable of testing for Ebola and other exotic pathogens. To that end, a charter plane was dispatched from Conakry to an airstrip outside Guéckédou. Blood samples with suspected Ebola virus are categorized for transport by a special code, UN 2814, indicating “infectious substances, affecting humans,” and M.S.F. hired a specialty logistics operator to send the samples, which were packed according to a strict protocol, with three layers of protective and absorbent material. Then—because it was simply the fastest way—the samples from Guéckédou were loaded onto the daily Air France red-eye from Conakry to Paris.
UN 2814 -- that's a good one to look out for while you're driving down the highway. Also, advertisements for disinfectants:
On April 4, passengers on the Air France flight from Conakry were quarantined when the plane landed at Charles de Gaulle Airport, in Paris, and not allowed to leave until each was checked for fever, all because someone had gotten sick in the lavatory. Emirates airline had stopped flying to Guinea. Mining companies had pulled out their foreign staff. In the capital, radio stations were broadcasting ads for the best brands of chlorine, to protect yourself from Ebola, and Batchyli saw an article about “rebels dressed in yellow who attacked Guinea and then disappeared”—the interpretation of a local journalist trying to make sense of all the people in big yellow protective suits who had suddenly descended on the country.
I'm going to guess that chlorine is chlorine and that Ebola is pretty non-resistant to all brands, but tell that to someone who's living in the middle of that. Yikes.  

1 comment:

  1. This is an old post but I've heard reports that there are questionable brands for sodium hypochlorite (what the non-chemists like to call "chlorine"...) and that various questionable business practices try to take advantage of the crises by selling diluted or old (no longer effective as a disinfectant) products. I don't think they are really selling chlorine gas or hyporchlorous acid so assume they mean bleach. Regardless, it's frightening to think that they have to be concerned about whether the bleach they are buying is really going to be effective as a disinfectant. Yikes indeed.