Gonner Goma?, Or “Ebola Goes To Town” Of Millions

Well, looks like we’re running the experiment of what happens when Ebola goes to town on a city of over 2 millions. If they don’t have 100% success at contact tracing and containment we’re looking at about a Million dead in that city alone. The minister who has it, rode into town on a bus, so everyone along the route and with secondary contact with folks form the bus are at risk.

This is the nightmare scenario. I strongly suggest folks have enough Prep to self quaranteen for at least a month, preferably two, should it escape the continent. This is the first step of the escape. At the first case out of Africa, make sure you can hunker down until it burns out.


Ebola case confirmed in Congolese city of Goma, home to over 2 million
By MORGAN WINSOR LONDON — Jul 15, 2019, 10:14 AM ET

The Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has spread to the city of Goma, a major transportation hub along the Rwandan border that’s home to more than two million people.

The confirmed Ebola case in Goma was announced late Sunday by the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s health ministry. The patient, a 46-year-old pastor from South Kivu province, was admitted to an Ebola treatment center in Goma, but then transferred to one in Butembo on Monday morning, according to a statement from the health ministry.

It’s the first Ebola case to be confirmed in Goma since the ongoing outbreak began nearly a year ago. The city, located on the nation’s eastern border with Rwanda, is the bustling capital of North Kivu province, one of the two affected provinces in the epidemic. It receives a large number of travelers from across the country and the greater region.

I do hope they learn that “quaranteen” is not a dirty word, and quickly.

However, the WHO’s director-general, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the identification of a confirmed case in Goma “could potentially be a game-changer in the epidemic” and he would reconvene the emergency committee as soon as possible to reassess the situation.

Ya think, Ghebre? Sheesh.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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32 Responses to Gonner Goma?, Or “Ebola Goes To Town” Of Millions

  1. llanfar says:

    If it breaks out of Africa I head to the store for 12-16 cases of water, canned goods, cat food, and cat litter 😷. If it makes it to the US I buy Mylar and duct tape (in case the transmission vector changes), and announce I’m working from home for a couple months.

    I expect the MSM will lag on the story to protect the GEBs…

  2. Larry Ledwick says:

    They have a partially effective vaccine now, but I understand it is very limited availability.


  3. Quail says:

    Well, that was the wrong link and I can’t find the one which stated she worked on it, only in the same lab. Sorry. There was a minor quake near us so I’ve been distracted by checking up on the elderly.

  4. Bill S. says:

    I can’t even count. Living in LA for 30 years or so, I should be dead from smog, early ice age, climate whatever, killer bees, imbecile drivers (this one is real – ever seen a snowflake driving into a rain squall for the first time?), armed robbery, being white in the wrong neighborhood at night, etc. Somehow I doubt that ebola is going to do all that well in a low humidity desert environment. But then – why not get a few extra jugs from Arrowhead and stock up on beef jerky – ehh.

  5. H.R. says:

    I’m in a ‘Major University’ town… well, the ‘burbs of the ‘burbs of the town, but I will be keeping an eye out. Ebola has a high probability of landing in ‘Our Fair City’ and not a few of the professors and staff live out our way.

    I am stocked up for a couple of months and if there is actually an outbreak, I have a travel trailer and can leave to no-wheres-ville for a couple of months.

  6. Yonason says:

    Additional precaution – if offered the vaccine, take it.

    I do hope they are able to get that on line, produced in massive quantities, and quickly out the door.

  7. Yonason says:

    “Quail says:
    16 July 2019 at 11:48 pm

    Well, that was the wrong link ”

    That’s scary enough. Breaching protocol in a lab like that is a very very serious matter. Glad they were kicked out, Even if no bad intentions were involved, carelessness in something this dangerous amounts to the same thing.

    Thanks for the link.

  8. A C Osborn says:

    I do not like to denigrate the poor of Africa, but in the past outbreaks quite a few have appeared to be too ignorant to understand the extreme need for quaranteen and continued to visit family and friends and try to go to work etc, thus spreading the desease.
    If that mentallity exists in the city as it did in the villages & towns previously things could get very serious very quickly.

  9. gallopingcamel says:

    Great paranoia! But are you paranoid enough?

  10. llanfar says:

    @gallopingcamel Probably not. Otherwise I’d already Have a full camping/survival kit.

  11. Bill in Oz says:

    Recently dr Malcom Kendrick suggested in an article that plague was not caused by yersina pestis bacteria spread by fleas and rats, but by an Ebola type virus.
    “f we look back in history, the black death wiped out half the population of Europe. What was it? It was almost certainly not the plague, although many people claim that it was. From the descriptions of those who died from it, it seems it was possibly a form of Ebola (haemorrhagic fever).

    ‘The Black Death of the 1300s was probably not the modern disease known as bubonic plague, according to a team of anthropologists studying these 14th century epidemics. “The symptoms of the Black Death included high fevers, fetid breath, coughing, vomiting of blood and foul body odor,” says Rebecca Ferrell, graduate student in anthropology. “Other symptoms were red bruising or hemorrhaging of skin and swollen lymph nodes. Many of these symptoms do appear in bubonic plague, but they can appear in many other diseases as well.”

    Modern bubonic plague typically needs to reach a high frequency in the rat population before it spills over into the human community via the flea vector. Historically, epidemics of bubonic plague have been associated with enormous die-offs of rats. “There are no reports of dead rats in the streets in the 1300s of the sort common in more recent epidemics when we know bubonic plague was the causative agent,” says Wood.’ 2

    Of course, we cannot be sure what the Black Death was. We do know that it came, it killed, it went. It also appeared to leave a legacy of people with CCR5 Delta32 mutations. People with this mutation cannot, it seems, be infected by the Ebola virus (or, indeed HIV). Ebola and HIV both gain entry to cells using the CCR5 protein, and if it is missing, the virus cannot get in. [Yes, you can cure HIV by giving bone marrow transplant from a donor with the CCR5 Delta 32 mutation – little known fact].

    Why would we have this mutation far more commonly in areas of Europe than, in say, Africa – where the Black Death did not occur? Unless it provided a survival advantage at some point, against a virus that was (or was very like), Ebola.”

    If Malcolm is right then maybe most of us with European ancestors already have developed a degree of immunity due to all those earlier major outbreaks starting with the 5th Century when it was called Justinian’s Plague in Byzantium where it wiped out 40% of the population, until 1910 when there was an outbreak in Sydney here in Oz.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    There’s a report that only 18 people were on the bus (and the implication that number didn’t change at stops along the way) and all of them have been corralled. There’s still the question of how many other folks the guy might have had contact with, but the assertion is that the have their arms around this already.

    I don’t know as I believe it… but to the extent it is true, it is hopeful.

    @Bill in Oz:

    There’s a genetic mutation named “W -something”… (yeah, ought to look it up.. and may be the same as the one you cite) that confers added immunity to all sorts of things. It is much much higher in survivors of the European Plague areas.

    BUT, not all Europeans have it, so don’t depend on that ancestry…

    “Buboes” are the classic sign of Bubonic Plague. I’d expect the folks of that era to know what they looked like. (Swollen lymph nodes in the groin). But who knows…

    Sidebar on Me:

    I regularly don’t get things that other folks get, despite high exposure, and then “toss off” things when they go try to move in. As my ancestors came from some of the worst hell holes of ancient Europe, I like to think I’m benefiting from their surviving… One hopes it is enough. But odds are I’ve got those gene mutations. Not going to test it though ;-)

  13. R. de Haan says:

    First line of defence, CLO2 (Chlorine Dioxide) dissolved in water and sprayed (6000PPM reduced to 350 PPM) to effectively neutralize infected objects, corpses, clothes, homes, cars, public transport, etc.
    Best method is to create a grid and start the decontamination process from inside each grid,
    Road blocks with decontamintion facilities and a no entry/access policy at a micro level can do wonders. Best way to have this product available in any home. Kills the virus instantly.by the process of oxidation. CLO2 is not only effective against Ebola but any virus, bacteria or fungus. It’s instant availability and application would make biological war fare entirely obsolete.

  14. llanfar says:

    @R. De Haan Whenever I have a cold or flu coming on, I do6 drops of ClO2 4 times. Does the trick save for my pesky lungs. I have issues inhaling it, so any bugs that get into the mucus in there take up residence for a week of bronchitis.

  15. Foyle says:

    Ebola is too contagious and short in it’s incubation period to be a serious threat in the west. People would self quarantine for a few weeks or month. Vaccine makes it even less of a threat. But it could certainly ravage the 3rd world where people live more day to day and are less educated and respectful of officialdom.

  16. Bill in Oz says:

    I wonder if the way western societies treat the sick & dead has changed a lot in the past 3-400 years.. When I read about those times people treated the sick in their own homes and undertakers did not exist as a profession. And that is remarkably like what happens now in Central Africa.. where Ebola spreads easily…Just a thought..

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    THE biggest problem isn’t East vs West or Rich vs Poor. It is URBAN vs rural.

    It has always been the case that infectious diseases kill far more people in cities where contagion is higher by a lot.

    That’s the problem.

    In a small rural village of 100 people, I’m likely to have contact with maybe 4 in a day. I’ll mostly be dealing with family members or tending my goats. At any one time (or week or two) almost nobody leaves the town. Deaths and contagion are localized.

    Put me in a major urban center, I can have VERY close contact with over 1000 just getting to work on the subway / stopping for a coffee, and walking the 3 blocks from the station to my high rise office where 100 of us may share the same bathroom on my floor…

    The “fan out” of exposure increases dramatically and the potential for a high exponential growth of cases goes way high.

    Then, for the vaccine, we have a limited amount and a linear production quantity with small growth and long lead times to make more production capacity.

    ALL it takes is for the exponential on new cases to exceed the stock of vaccine on hand, and it’s game over. You just can’t “contact trace” the 2000 people you brushed past in 3 subway stations, 2 trains, and a walk down the street.

    THE only thing going for us at present is that the “fan out” of new cases per case discovered is relatively low. We can “get ahead of it” with aggressive contact tracing and small village quarantines. That doesn’t exist in a “major transportation hub” of a few million people.

    Basically, right now we are HOPING that the 18 on the bus with this guy have been vaccinated (and it works and they didn’t have a chance to share it…) and that nobody else along the way or at the final destination caught it and doesn’t know it. (And, to a lesser extent, that IF some of them did get it, they were not “just passing through” on their way to Far Far Away…)

    It is a Giant Coin Toss that could come up 100% fine in 2 weeks with zero new cases and no contagion, or could come up 1,000,000 dead in a month or two. And NOBODY knows which it will be or what the odds are of each. Not for a couple of more weeks / one incubation cycle.

    So did the guy go to the lavatory along the way, at some stop, and manage to put some “wet contact” in a dirty bathroom? Or grab a doorknob with a sweaty hand and the next guy to grab it then wiped his nose… and got on a different bus to Kenya?

    So it’s a wide open experiment in multiple unknowns at this point. All we can do is hope and watch. “But Hope is not a strategy. – E.M. Smith”…

  18. Larry Ledwick says:

    I wonder if the way western societies treat the sick & dead has changed a lot in the past 3-400 years..

    Yes there were some documented changes in funerary practice, but the record is a bit jumbled and it depends on which community you look at and its relative wealth. There is still significant debate on the exact agent of death during the plague years and many of the deaths might have been due to other infectious agents which became more lethal as folks stayed home in small groups helping other infectious diseases like flu pneumonia etc to add to the death toll.

    Click to access 93a10cec3fb92955e05bfb37aa1cbd1979c0.pdf



  19. Bill in Oz says:

    The last major time plague hit London was in the 1670’s just before the great fire of London.
    Now that is perplexing E M as according to your way of thinking ( just above ), as London became a major major city with millions of people after about 1830, infectious disease like plague should have run riot….
    But it didn’t.

    That’s what I’m wondering about.. What changed I wonder…

    But how people treated the very sick & dying changed a lot in that time. Lots more people being treated in hospitals with quarantine procedures. And bodies are suddenly the job of ‘undertakers”. BTW I’ve always wondered at the linguistic origins of that word/name for this profession.
    Tthough in the USA maybe “Funeral Directors” is more more common ?

  20. Larry Ledwick says:

    One of the things that changed is the mid 1800’s is that the germ theory of disease first began to displace other theories (like bad air – miasma) as a result of Louis Pasteur’s work. That is also about the time of the first developments in modern disease control as Lister introduced the use of disinfectants like carbolic acid use in surgery and the use of carbolic acid to help control typhoid.

    By 1875, sterilization of instruments and the scrubbing of hands ands skin were widely practiced. Although some practitioners viewed carbolic acid spray as the embodiment of the Listerian theory and practice, its use began to wane by 1885. This was primarily because the carbolic acid proved to be caustic to the skin and body tissues, and sometimes caused poisoning. Many of the surgeons using the spray would experience bleached and numb skin, cracked nails, and sore lungs as they breathed in large quantities of the carbolic mist. Some surgeons became so ill that they abandoned using the spray entirely. Even Lister described it as ‘a necessary evil incurred to attain a greater good,’ and after many experiments, he found that boracic acid was a better antiseptic. In 1886, the first steam sterilizer was introduced in Germany and further hastened the abandonment of carbolic spray in surgery. The Johnson & Johnson Company later helped pioneer dry-heat and steam and pressure sterilization, and even the common “Bandaid,” created by the same company, can be directly traced to Lister’s influence on antiseptic use.

    In the days before sterilization and antiseptics, the death rate from amputation was approximately forty percent. By 1910, it had dropped to less than three percent. When Pasteur, Lister’s long-time ally, was publicly honored by his medical peers, he turned and bowed his head towards Lister, saying: “the future belongs to him who has done the most for suffering humanity.” Because of his insistence in sterilization, Lister contributed to one of the movements that made one of the biggest improvements in medical practice and is regarded by many to be one of the most influential medical men of the 19th century.

    An interesting note: Listerine mouthwash was named for Lister by Dr. Joseph Lawrence, as a tribute to the father of antiseptics.

  21. cdquarles says:

    Ah, yes, good ol’ phenol. What’s that you ask? Benzene modified with an OH. Yep, quarantine, sterilization, hand washing (which doesn’t sterilize but does reduce the skin surface count) and later antibiotics and vaccines. These *greatly* reduced the toll of infectious disease; so now we have the ‘diseases of long life’ to deal with, via the survivor effect/bias.

    Oh, yea, lest we forget, formaldehyde not only temporarily reduces decay (so lowers bacterial count that way), it also directly inhibits/kills bacteria through denaturing proteins.

    Want to know which surfaces have the highest counts? Mouth and large intestine. Stomach acid (pH 1) reduces them, too; so acid reflux into the esophagus lowers the count found there relative to the mouth. As the bicarbonate excreted by the pancreas as well as the duodenum neutralizes the stomach acid and as digestion in the alkaline fluid completes and absorption also; the counts begin to rise again. NB that there are lymph nodes all along the tract length to deal with the bacteria, from the tonsils to the appendix to the rectum.

  22. cdquarles says:

    For big cities, don’t forget isolating sewage from the rest of the water supply.

  23. andysaurus says:

    Pasteur gets all the glory, but Ignatz Semmelweis, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis was pretty good too. At least he got surgeons to wash their hands after they had been playing with cadavers.
    I have to admit a preference, as my Dad was an Austrian raised in Hungary.

  24. E.M.Smith says:


    Oddly, I was looking up the history of canned milk and found that Borden had started heat sterilizing milk to make it keep better decades before Pasteur did his thing. Really we ought to be talking about “Bordenized” milk not “Pasteurized”…

  25. yonason says:

    @A C Osborn

    “I do not like to denigrate the poor of Africa, but in the past outbreaks quite a few have appeared to be too ignorant to understand the extreme need for quaranteen and continued to visit family and friends and try to go to work etc, thus spreading the desease.”

    You don’t know the half of it!

  26. Bill in Oz says:

    @Yonason. Ohh well..Survival of the fittest is still operating.
    But it might be wise to put all persons from Madagasca through a lengthy quarantine screening period before allowing any of them to leave for an other country.

  27. Larry Ledwick says:

    And here it is the first direct transmission in the big city.

    KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Congo’s Ebola outbreak (all times local):

    4:50 p.m.

    The wife of the man who died of Ebola in Congo’s city of Goma this week has tested positive for the virus, hours after their 1-year-old daughter was confirmed to have the disease.

    The Ebola coordinator for North Kivu province, Dr. Aruna Abedi, confirmed the latest case to The Associated Press.

    The two new cases on Thursday are the first direct transmission of Ebola inside Goma, a city of more than 2 million people on the Rwandan border.

    Congo’s presidency has said the entire family is at high risk and that it is likely other family members will be confirmed to have Ebola.

  28. Quail says:

    That Canadian/Chinese researcher who was canned a few months ago shipped Ebola samples to China. I’m sure they already had wild types so I’m guessing they wanted the vaccine strains.


  29. E.M.Smith says:

    So one wonders if they wanted the samples to make a competing vaccine, or to know how to select a vaccine proof strain for weaponizing…

    2 August… add two to three weeks: about 14 to 23 August any contacts ought to be symptomatic.


    Says its not getting better…

    Ebola situation reports: Democratic Republic of the Congo

    On 1 August 2018, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu Province. The Ministry of Health, WHO and partners are responding to this event, and working to establish the full extent of this outbreak. Numbers may fluctuate on a daily basis due to many factors, including continuing monitoring, investigation and reclassification of cases. Alert and suspected cases (not reported here), are systematically investigated to confirm or exclude Ebola virus disease before inclusion in the case counts or discarded as non-cases.

    Latest numbers as of 28 July 2019
    Total cases: 2671
    – Confirmed cases: 2577
    – Probable cases: 94

    Deaths: 1790
    – Confirmed cases: 1696
    – Probable cases: 94

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm…. I guess they are counting the Minister from several days ago to get 4 cases in Goma?

    On 30 July, a confirmed EVD case was reported in Nyiragongo Health Zone on the outskirts of Goma city. The case worked as a miner in Ituri Province and travelled down through several outbreak hotspots, where he likely acquired the disease. Currently, there is no indication that the case had links to the to the first case identified in Goma on 14 July (see the 18 July Disease Outbreak News). Given that he was ill and in the community for several days before presenting to a health facility, secondary transmission to close contacts was anticipated. Two family members, a child and spouse, have subsequently tested positive and are receiving care in the Goma Ebola Treatment Centre (ETC). Other suspected cases among contacts are awaiting test results. Bolstered by months of preparedness, a sizable response, including exhaustive contact tracing and ring vaccination, was rapidly implemented upon detection of these cases with the aim of preventing tertiary spread or sustained local transmission in Goma city. Nonetheless, teams remain ready to rapidly respond to new cases. As of 1 August 2019, there are four confirmed case of EVD in Goma.

    One hopes their contact tracing is perfect and “ring vaccination” effective.

    Had this happened prior to the vaccine, the city would be toast… Now that will only happen if the growth of new cases exceeds the production rate of vaccines…

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