The Risk of Unfounded Ebola Fears

Good essay.

Worry about Ebola (or anything) manifests physically as what's known as a fight, flight, or freeze response. Biological systems ramp up or down to focus the body's resources on the threat at hand. Heart rate and blood pressure increase, immune function is suppressed (after an initial burst), brain chemistry changes, and the normal functioning of the digestive system is interrupted, among other effects. Like fear itself, these changes are protective in the short term. But when they persist, the changes prompted by chronic stress -- defined as stress beyond the normal hassles of life, lasting at least one to two weeks -- are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (the leading cause of death in America); increased likelihood and severity of clinical depression (suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America); depressed memory formation and recall; impaired fertility; reduced bone growth; and gastrointestinal disorders.

Perhaps most insidious of all, by suppressing our immune systems, chronic stress makes us more likely to catch infectious diseases, or suffer more­ -- or die­ -- from diseases that a healthy immune system would be better able to control. The fear of Ebola may well have an impact on the breadth and severity of how many people get sick, or die, from influenza this flu season. (The CDC reports that, either directly or indirectly, influenza kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people per year.)

There is no question that America's physical, economic, and social health is far more at risk from the fear of Ebola than from the virus itself.

EDITED TO ADD (10/30): The State of Louisiana is prohibiting researchers who have recently been to Ebola-infected countries from attending a conference on tropical medicine. So now we're at a point where our fear of Ebola is inhibiting scientific research into treating and curing Ebola.

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 6:40 AM • 57 Comments

Comments

ScottOctober 30, 2014 7:06 AM

I've thought all along that the media calling this a "crisis" or "epidemic" in the US is massively overblown. The number of cases can be counted on one hand. It strikes me of another case of mistakenly over sensitizing terms like "terrorism" and "weapons of mass destruction."

Peter GalbavyOctober 30, 2014 7:37 AM

Sometimes I wonder if, especially in the US but here in the UK we are almost as bad, the fear makes the meat taste better?

EricOctober 30, 2014 7:38 AM


A lot of this is the fault of the media. They are no longer in the business of providing a sober analysis of whatever is going on in the world, but these days the "news" is more of an entertainment product than anything else. Thus the local news is filled with stories of automobile accidents and house fires - "if it bleeds, it leads". While these things may be tragic for the people directly involved, they are irrelevant to the vast majority of people.

The Ebola "crisis" is the same. For public health officials and for people working in West Africa, the news is certainly relevant. But most of the coverage is designed to sensationalize the story and get people to spend more time watching, and not really to inform.

People say that the normal flu will kill far more people, which is undoubtedly true, but that story isn't sensational enough that the media can pump it up.

My only concern is that when the normal flu season hits, that all kinds of people will start to get sick and then freak out thinking that they might have Ebola.

DilbertOctober 30, 2014 7:40 AM

I'm always "amused" by the media's mis-use of these terms. Doing a quick search you'll find that diseases are classified by frequency of occurrence:

Sporadic – occurs occasionally (typhoid fever in the U.S.)
Endemic – constantly present in a population (common cold)
Epidemic – many cases in a given area in short period (influenza)
Pandemic – a world wide epidemic (influenza occasionally, AIDS might be considered pandemic)

At this time I think we could safely say that there is an ebola epidemic in Africa. There is certainly no Pandemic at this time.

TimOctober 30, 2014 7:43 AM

A great quote heard today on Sky TV from a medical expert in Sierra Leone waiting for the British medical ship to arrive. " You have more chance of being run over by a snowmobile on Miami beach than you do of catching Ebola "

Remember a person dies of Maleria every 60 seconds...

wiredogOctober 30, 2014 7:49 AM

I think the "panic" is all in the media. No one I know is more than mildly interested. Of course, I live in the DC area and know people who used to work at Detrick and people who currently work at FEMA, and they aren't worried.

I have seen a lot of "More people in America were killed by guns in high school last week than have been infected in America by Ebola". You can substitute "killed in car accidents" "Married to a KArdashian", etc.

BJPOctober 30, 2014 7:55 AM

How about the risk of dismissing those who consider something a greater risk than you do to be suffering from "fear" or "panic", when they may simply have a different risk heuristic?

Absolutely no possibility for blowback here. None at all.

MichaelOctober 30, 2014 8:00 AM

Unfounded Fear is always a bad idea.

That said, if you replace /Ebola/ with /Zero-day exploit/ the essay turns into bad security advice as

1- The seasonal flu, the newest exploit kit, might well smuggle enough Ebola into underpowered nodes, err, the uninsured, to saturate our ability to control transmission. try http://vax.herokuapp.com/

2- Doctors and testing technologies like the test-paper http://rt.com/news/199855-ebola-paper-test-gene/ need to see sick people (beyond fears now) in order to determine what's up with them. Dissuading them is not a good idea. checkups are.

3- False positives lead to refined detection techniques.

we'll know in a week or two if the thing is airborne, and if it is, fear might become a positive motivator.

AlanSOctober 30, 2014 8:06 AM

@Scott

It strikes me of another case of mistakenly over sensitizing terms like "terrorism" and "weapons of mass destruction."

Yes, but they are always in need of new justifications for violating civil liberties, as in the case of Kaci Hickox.

DerfOctober 30, 2014 8:10 AM

as the twitter verse has put it: "more Americans have been married to Kim Cardashian than have died from Ebola"

That said, the nature of this strain of Ebola when coupled with densely populated areas, a relatively long period of being infectious without symptoms, and the apparent ease of transmission makes this scary. Couple that with a government incapable of finding its own backside, much less securing it, and you have a situation where a skeptical populace is rather concerned.

BJPOctober 30, 2014 8:16 AM

Our host's 2007 essay, "In Praise Of Security Theater", is on point for this discussion. https://www.schneier.com/essays/archives/2007/01/in_praise_of_securit.html

If we stipulate:

1) Fear of Ebola is irrational (fear of infant abduction or having your paracetamol poisoned is irrational)
2) Responding with quarantines or declining to issue tourist visas to those from affected countries may be unnecessary or not fully effective (responding with RFID tags and tamper resistant packaging may be unnecessary or not fully effective)

Then do you begin to see my point?

No amount of "your fears are stupid" will soothe anyone, ever, and sometimes a bit of theater is justifiable and appropriate.

DilbertOctober 30, 2014 8:43 AM

We're told not to fear ebola, and give the statistic that "either directly or indirectly, influenza kills between 3,000 and 49,000 people per year." It turns out this number is only in the US - not world wide.

As of 10/29/2014, (http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/case-counts.html) ebola has infected a total of 13676 (mostly in Africa) and killed 4910. Am I saying we in the US should panic? No, not unless we start to get a major spread here in the US. But if that happens... if ebola does get a foothold in the US, then we'd be pretty well screwed. The transmission rate is high enough that it would spread pretty rapidly if we don't catch the initial infection. And with a mortality rate of rougly 50% that would be very bad indeed.

So far, the CDC and WHO haven't done a good job of managing this, or providing reasonable and consistent advice on how to handle the current epidemic. Coupled with the frantic and often conflicting information being provided by the President and various agencies here in the US, it's no wonder people are scared. We don't seem to know what the **** we're doing.

Chris HOctober 30, 2014 9:27 AM

Ebola falls into the category of "Low Probability, High-Cost" events. There is a good blog post pointing to an article on this, which may explain why people are worried: Evaluating Risk.

That blog poster would have been a little more sympathetic and less judgmental.

WinterOctober 30, 2014 10:04 AM

@Dilbert
"But if that happens... if ebola does get a foothold in the US, then we'd be pretty well screwed. The transmission rate is high enough that it would spread pretty rapidly if we don't catch the initial infection."

Several African countries, e.g., Nigeria and Senegal were able to clear ebola after it got a foothold. Nigeria with only a 8(!) deaths.

Do you really propose here that the USA are less able to handle an outbreak than those third world countries?

What do you know we do not?

FastStatsOctober 30, 2014 10:15 AM

2007 Data: 52,717 deaths from influenza out of 15,469,250 cases, for a death rate of 0.34% (less than 1%). The death rate from Ebola is in the range of 50 to 70%. Ebola cases have been doubling every month for the past several months. By June of 2015, at that rate, there will be over one million cases. Ebola fears are not unfounded.

Clive RobinsonOctober 30, 2014 10:45 AM

The one thing we can say about this Ebola outbreak is we don't actually know the mortality rate that it is likely to present in the West if it should actually get here (and the EU is considerably more likely to see it than the US).

In Africa, with poor life styles virtualy non existant medical aid and deep rooted suspician of the authorities the mortality rate was assumed to be close enough to 100% as to make little difference.

However if you look at the African mortality rate on infection by malaria parasite you also see quite dire figures, however in the West the figures are very very much different. Similar is true for other infections in that area of Africa. Thus we can assume that the African mortality rate may well be linked to living conditions, general health and available medical care that don't realy apply in the West.

Further it appears that what was initialy thought to be the case with transmission --you were almost immediatly infectious-- is not true, it would appear you only become infectious as symptoms start to appear ( as happens with many viruses).

This brings the law of small numbers into the equation, the US has had one person bring it into the country and infected two medical staff that had had no reason to initialy take issolation precautions,the patient sadly died, but the two medical staff have since recovered.

In the UK we have had one known case arive under issolation conditions who was treated successfully at the Royal Free Hospital in Hampsted North London. The hospital carried on functioning through out, without any issues and the majority of staff carried out their duties without change.

Thus the mortality rate of ebola contracted in the US is 0% currently which is not only statisticaly to small a group to judge but also subject to the law of small numbers in that if another person contracts ebola in the US and then dies the mortality rate would be 33%...

One fear that has been expressed but is actually thought to be a low risk is if Ebola becomes viable in an airbourn state. There are various arguments amongst experts, which is usually an indicator that the risk is low and subject to considerable scientific uncertanty and often agendas are being pushed publicaly for various reasons.

Personaly I don't believe action needs to be taken in the West currently, other than those who have reason to be overly cautious, who should thus consider either dusting off or updating their emergancy plans.

What however does concern me is what happens if we don't get a grip on the African outbreak.

Currently something over 150,000 people from Africa are stopped trying to illegaly enter the EU every year. However the numbers have increased in recent times, due to wars etc in Africa and the Middle East.

Due to the length of incubation time it is quite possible for ebola infected people to either illegaly enter the EU or infect a sizable percentage of the hundreds a day that try and in some cases succeeded to enter illegaly. Such illegals are not going to have or seek --untill to late-- the appropriate medical attention that could if caught early enough save their lives.

Unfortunatly due to certain political changes within the EU the number of border and rescue patrols in the Mediterranean on the EU's southern border have just been decimated. Which not only will result in more deaths by drowning, but actively encorage more illegal entry attempts, thus increasing what is currently a very small risk by an unknown amount.

Thus for those of a nervous disposition in the US keep an eye on the EU in about a months time.

HorspoolOctober 30, 2014 11:09 AM

There are (at least) two ways to alleviate the fear of Ebola.

One way, which our gracious host seems to endorse, is for US media and authority figures to minimize the threat. If we tell everyone there is nothing to fear, then they won't worry. They may all suffer later but at least they won't be scared now.

The other way is to implement appropriate protective measures-- reduce the fear of injury by reducing the probability! This our beloved authority figures refuse to do. All the commenters who suggest that since those putative ignorant slobs in Nigeria can handle Ebola, obviously the USA can handle it better, seem arrogant to the point of racism: West African countries fighting Ebola use classic public-health measures such as travel restrictions, contact tracing, quarantines, and careful techniques to reduce hospital transmission of the virus, all of which US authorities and ignorant web commenters wave off. We should be learning from Nigerian techniques, not mocking them!

Read some actual medical expertise on the question:

Assessing the Science of Ebola Transmission

Diseases like smallpox and measles killed perhaps half of all the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the New World in the 1500's because those people had no resistance. Ebola (not uniquely) has the potential to kill millions similarly.

It is idiotic to compare the threat from Ebola to that from auto accidents. We humans fully understand auto accidents and easily predict their rate and harmfulness statistically. Since we build and operate automobiles we control their availability and behavior directly. Ebola is a virus which mutates under selection pressures we do not control nor even understand well. Worse, Ebola is capable of exponential growth. So what if there are few Ebola cases in the US now? There were no Zebra mussels in the US and Canada before 1988 yet they are now the sourge of our waterways. Ebola is like the Zebra mussel, you want to keep it out, not wait for it to gain a foothold before you start looking (so far unsucessfully, in the Zebra mussel case) for ways to control it.

Because of Ebola's potential for exponential growth, especially if a slightly less-rapidly lethal strain emerges, it is genuinely dangerous and rational people would take measures to limit its transmission. If you want to reduce fear of Ebola, take steps to keep it from spreading!

DilbertOctober 30, 2014 12:02 PM

@Winter,

I'm actually proposing that due to our dense population and our ease of travel over wide areas that it's likely to spread more rapidly than in 3rd world countries with isolated populations and no modes of easy travel among said populations.

WinterOctober 30, 2014 12:21 PM

@Dilbert
You obviously have not followed the development of Lagos (20 million), Dakar (2.5 million) and other megacities in the region?

whoamiOctober 30, 2014 12:49 PM

"So now we're at a point where our fear of Ebola is inhibiting scientific research into treating and curing Ebola."

c'mon - why would anyone need to personally attend a conference in 2014?
how would it "inhibit scientific research" if they use video conferencing?

WinterOctober 30, 2014 1:13 PM

@whoami
"c'mon - why would anyone need to personally attend a conference in 2014?"

I take it you have not actually attended a scientific conference?

Just watching talks is not different from reading papers. Maybe we can eventually find a way to attend conferences virtually, but we are nowhere near that point yet.

Nick POctober 30, 2014 1:20 PM

@ whoami

I'll add that there's networking and collaboration benefits to attending conferences. These can improve one's work or career.

vas pupOctober 30, 2014 3:51 PM

Australia banned all travel and visas being suspended.
Did you find that in US media?
Media is the second oldest profession after you know the oldest one. Sorry, media shared that space with spies.

Bob S.October 30, 2014 4:29 PM

The fear and panic was justified to the extent the government scored a massive failure in responding appropriately to the Dallas event and of course the commensurate media hype. Helicopters, tanks and military guys in hazmat suits were supposed to show up out of nowhere. Instead, some political hack stood up and said let the locals handle it (which they did not) and then blamed the nurses when they caught Ebola.

I'm not sure what this has to do with security, regardless.

bitstrongOctober 30, 2014 5:51 PM

I went back and read security blogs from 2 to 3 years ago, some I remembered.

What stood out was the frequency that the term "scaremongering" was used. In retrospect it really seems to have been used those who wanted to appear confident, even when they didn't know what they were talking about.

Many of the worst fears have now materialized. Back then it was labeled scaremongering by the arrogant. My favorite are all the admonitions to simply choose a stronger password and if you got hacked it was because you were stupid. Oh, and just use Linux.

And here we are. "What? Me scared? Naw, it's just that little 'ole Ebola. No worse than the flu. They're just trying to scare you. "

bitstrongOctober 30, 2014 6:06 PM

Read Charles Blow in the NYT "The Ebola Hysteria."
Following this, it would be just fine to let your children play in the middle of an Interstate highway, because the cars are far off.

AnuraOctober 30, 2014 7:16 PM

I think any visitor, patient, or employee of a hospital that treats patients with Ebola should be subjected to a 21 day quarantine. Can never be too careful.

NordOctober 30, 2014 7:23 PM

This may be a bit off topic. I'm wondering who pays for Ebola-related medical bills in US? You obviously won't care if it kills you, but for those who are fortunate enough to survive, what are the consequences?

AnuraOctober 30, 2014 7:36 PM

@Nord

If you have insurance, your insurer will be responsible for the cost; depending on the terms of your insurance, you may be responsible for a portion as well. If you don't have insurance, then you will be entirely responsible. If you can't afford it, then the hospital will eventually sell your debt to a collection agency who will harass you until you either pay off the debt or declare bankruptcy, which will clear your debt (medical bills being the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US); going to a collection agency will result in a loss for the hospital, which will be made up for in government subsidies and increases in fees and prices for other patients (e.g. the infamous $20 aspirin).

AnuraOctober 30, 2014 7:52 PM

But that's the price you pay for the greatest1 healthcare system in the world, unlike the rest of the world who has to pay so much in taxes for their public system. Just compare the 2012 per-capita public healthcare spending by country:

United States: $4160
United Kingdom: $2762
Switzerland: $4001
Norway: $5222
New Zealand: $2623 (2011)
Netherlands: $4375
Iceland: $2847
Germany: $3691
France: $3317
Canada: $3224
Australia: $2733 (2011)

See? The US government spends less per person on healthcare than the governments of Norway and the Netherlands (and more than every other OECD country, but that's besides the point: the private sector is always cheaper or more expensive, or sometimes the same, depending on the situation).

http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/OECD-Health-Statistics-2014-Frequently-Requested-Data.xls


1The American healthcare system was named the greatest system in the world according to my own research, by talking to Americans who have never lived abroad

LisaOctober 30, 2014 11:40 PM

My biggest fear is that two men (one from Al-Qaeda and the other from ISIS) will infect themselves with Ebola, head to Mexico, sneak across the border into the USA, and then visit numerous public places (polling places, malls, transport, stadiums, etc.) to infect as many people as possible while repeatably getting gay-married to each other while discussing climate change and voting illegally. Even worse, if one man is white and the other black.

I hope that I can get some compensation for the movie rights for this terrifying premise, or at least 0.001% of all additional anti-terror spending this fear triggers. (So that I can get ten million per trillion spent!)

Strange that no public official or major media broadcaster cares about increasing cases and deaths from drug resistant antibiotics, primarily (>90%) of which are due to non-therapeutic administration to farm livestock in order to fatten them up more and quicker.

http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture/hogging-it-estimates-of.html

AnuraOctober 31, 2014 12:14 AM

@Lisa

"My biggest fear is that two men (one from Al-Qaeda and the other from ISIS) will infect themselves with Ebola, head to Mexico, sneak across the border into the USA, and then visit numerous public places (polling places, malls, transport, stadiums, etc.) to infect as many people as possible while repeatably getting gay-married to each other while discussing climate change and voting illegally. Even worse, if one man is white and the other black."

Which will eventually lead to people having sex with ducks.

WinterOctober 31, 2014 1:57 AM

@Anura
"The US government spends less per person on healthcare than the governments of Norway and the Netherlands (and more than every other OECD country,"

Indeed. This is especially galling when you realize that the people in the US spend more on health care per capita out of their own pocket (private insurance etc) than their government does from the taxes. So, the per capita cost of health care in the US is double what it is in the other OECD countries. Both in absolute numbers and in % GDP.

http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/media/Files/Publications/Issue%20Brief/2011/Jul/1532_Squires_US_hlt_sys_comparison_12_nations_intl_brief_v2.pdf

BWC! ISU! BOO!October 31, 2014 8:44 AM

You know who has well-founded fears right now? Chris Bishop and Tom Geisbert.

Clive RobinsonOctober 31, 2014 9:04 AM

@ Winter,

And proportianate to only US Gov spending the outcomes are in no way proportianatly better than low spending nations with out high cost medical insurance...

Thus you have to ask "where is all the money going", perhaps it's explained by major US health care organisations that are failing, but those behind them are trying to foist this model onto every other nation they can...

As the oldish saying has it "follow the money, and see where it leads you".

cjOctober 31, 2014 9:05 AM

Keystone Kops - Many doctors, nurses, techs, etc treated the two nurses from Dallas with Ebola (Nina Pham at NIH and Amber Vinson at Emory University). Maybe it is time to lock up all of those medical staffers from Emory and NIH. Also, note that the family of Eric Duncan - who were held in their uncleaned Dallas apartment - failed to catch Ebola.

vas pupOctober 31, 2014 11:30 AM

@Clive Robinson • October 31, 2014 9:04 AM
Very good point! In particular, recently one not smart woman from Canada suggested to merge Canada and US. She wrote the book related to promote such idea I guess any sane Canadian should resist such idea even for only reason: they do not want american health system imposed on them, even other issues: guns and crimes, illegal immigrants, political correctness, etc. not taking into consideration. Canadians should continue enjoy their own Canadian exceptionalism.
But I hate cold winter they provide US with (kidding!)

Bob TOctober 31, 2014 12:25 PM

These comparisons to the flu are B.S. You don't see healthcare workers in hazmat suits getting chemical showers after working with flu patients. You might as well be comparing Ebola to traffic accidents.

Bob TOctober 31, 2014 12:30 PM

Besides, my 49 year old butt has about the same chance of dieing from the flu as I do from Ebola, yet there's no shortage of f-nuts around every corner telling me to get a flu shot.

AnuraOctober 31, 2014 1:51 PM

For those of you with kids in America (or somewhere else where "Trick or Treating" is a thng), just remember that if your kids visit a house that has had someone who was in contact with someone who visited any part of Africa in the last year, they will contract ebola through halloween candy with a probability of 1.

AnambroOctober 31, 2014 2:39 PM

I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but here it goes anyway...

Ebola is truly dangerous, and has proved that it can bring a country to its knees if not properly contained. Long incubation period, high mortality rate, highly infectious - all the key ingredients for a true Plague are there.

Quarantine is the only guaranteed way to stop this disease on its tracks. It should be applied to anyone who has been in contact with infected people, even if they have no symptoms. This is one of those very rare cases where the welfare of society (actually, its survival) takes precedence over individual freedoms.

Yes, even doctors returning from West Africa should be quarantined - they are potentially as dangerous as anybody else, and maybe even more because of their repeated exposure to the virus. It's only three weeks of "house arrest", not the end of your life (hopefully).

HOWEVER, quarantined people should be compensated for their temporary loss of freedom. At the very least, they should get their full salary plus some compensation for their troubles. Their jobs should not be affected, and goods delivered to their doorstep. Who pays for this? The government. If we force people to make sacrifices for all of us, we should all pay them in return - and that is where our tax dollars come into play.

An while we're at it, I also think that all health workers exposed to Ebola should get a generous hazard pay - again, from out tax dollars. They are risking their lives for all of us, and that makes them heroes by definition.

Gerard van VoorenOctober 31, 2014 3:22 PM

@ Anambro • October 31, 2014 2:39 PM

"An while we're at it, I also think that all health workers exposed to Ebola should get a generous hazard pay - again, from out tax dollars. They are risking their lives for all of us, and that makes them heroes by definition."

As I said before in the previous Ebola treat, the most doctors have been sent from Cuba. So the amount of tax paying for that part in the US is modest.

I still think (actually I am quite sure) the Ebola threat in the US is a hoax. It is a racket for the coming elections.

quixoteNovember 1, 2014 2:45 PM

Weird. Even here there seem to be a number of misinformed commenters. Symptomatic of the atrocious job our media does providing information. (Their entertainment value isn't so good either. What are they good at?)

1) Ebola is not contagious before symptoms appear, and it takes some time *after* fever starts before virus particles start being secreted. Quarantine is for contagious people. Quarantine is completely irrelevant for symptom-free people. Monitoring is useful for exposed and symptom-free people, but quarantine is not. (Aka "Kaci Hickox knows what she's talking about.")

2) Ebola virus is not airborne and is unlikely to become an airborne infection. At least one reason for that is that this is an enormous (=heavy) virus that is killed when dry. It can't suddenly mutate into something small, light and desiccation-resistant any more than an elephant can turn into a tardigrade.

3) Contact tracing is the primary means to stop the spread of Ebola. Quarantine is for contagious people. The way you find out who could become contagious is to identify them through contact tracing, then monitor them, then quarantine them if they become contagious. Quarantining everyone who has so much as looked at West Africa on a map is a waste of resources. A small part of those resources devoted to medically useful contact tracing will be far more effective.

Sally ShearsNovember 3, 2014 8:26 PM

Young friend posted on Facebook a realistic looking scary photo with a headline proclaiming a new Ebola case in _____. Had a link to a page which said, somewhat ambiguously, "It's a joke."

Bad joke if you ask me. With so much fear, false reports and headlines are dangerous.

DudNovember 6, 2014 10:38 PM

Radionuclide pollution is notorious for lowering platelet & white blood cell counts. Fukushima Mega-Disaster damage has been massively underestimated, in my humble opine.

DudNovember 7, 2014 9:11 PM

Thank you, vas pup. I should have clarified my statement to discriminate MANMADE radionuclides.

Quantum dot technology seems to be a little beyond the reach of most people. It would be nice if something were Open Sourced for all to benefit.

The informative article you linked to references Cosmic radiation, including protons. There are at least three more types of radiation of concern, if you are aware of the inverse square law and it's relationship to "signal" strength. Those are Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and X-rays.

Quote from article linked by vas pup: ... "even X-ray machine operators back here on Earth are potentially exposing themselves to DNA damage."

As are other professionals where Bremsstrahlung radiation (x-ray) generation is possible, such as for welders.

For those applications, semi-conducting components such as diodes & transistors offer a low-voltage alternative to the high-voltage Geiger-Mueller tubes. Pulse-recording software is freely available for spectroscopy, and aiding in identifying various isotopic sources.

Table salt is also useful for dosimetry information.
http://enformable.com/2014/08/table-salt-may-help-scientists-understand-public-radiation-exposures-radiation-release/


This article reminded me of various fears, which for most people involve "the unknown". Hopefully we can all learn how to scan our foodstuffs (water shields detection), as leadership seems to only reserve this for themselves at this present time.

http://enenews.com/emergency-govt-network-radiation-testing-food-supply-democrat-republican-conventions-after-fukushima-obama-inauguration-seafood-meat-fruits-vegetables-milk-water-all-checked-radiological-contami


So far, it would appear that as many people have died of Enterovirus D68 here, as have died of Ebola in the US. That was a man in his twenties, contrary to many "stories" that insist it only affects children.

The "Mainstream Media" doesn't seem to help, and how can they?
They apparently "know almost everything about nothing."

To those whom have suffered, are suffering, or will suffer the Ebola disease, take heart. So far, it would appear that the odds of dying after having caught Ebola in the US is about 1 in 9. West Africa has not been any where near as fortunate (~60% versus ~11% in US). Let us bring some of our best minds to bear (our best weapons have involved our wits) and help them!

Let us also uncover why it is affecting so many now.
Is it because the virus has changed, or has humanity's immune systems changed.

How is it we only hear about possible DNA/mtDNA/RNA damage, and not about possible epigenetic damage, which involving the expression of various genes like switches?

That, and it seems we have based our assumptions of "damage" that cannot accurately reflect reality including the fact that such standards do not take non-cancer effects into account.

Title: "Limitations of the ICRP Recommendations for Worker and Public protection from Ionizing Radiation"
http://www.ccnr.org/radiation_standards.html

Arigato.

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