Tag Archives: Ebola

Better to have Ebola virus than to be caught stealing

“Dignity is not negotiable. Dignity is the honor of the family.” Vartan Gregorian

By Alex P. Vidal

SOME people may avoid us if we are infected with Ebola virus, but will sympathize with us nonetheless for humanitarian reasons.
If we are thieves, people will not only avoid us but will also denounce us, stab us in the back and question our culture.
Between having an Ebola disease and being a thief, we prefer the former.
Much better, of course, if we don’t have any contagious disease and with zero criminal record.
Some of us prefer to die of Ebola or others diseases than to live with a tarnished name because of graft and corruption.
In death, there is dignity if our integrity is intact.
In life, we die a thousand times once our dignity has been besmirched by dishonesty and crimes against moral turpitude.
It’s better to suffer instant death than to continue living and pretending as if everything is normal even after we were caught in flagrante delicto with our hands in the cookie jar.
Acting Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin should not begrudge critics who expressed “worries” when she and Armed Forces chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang went to Caballo Island to visit quarantined Filipino peacekeepers, who arrived from Ebola-hit Nigeria early this month, without wearing protective masks as required by the World Health Organization (WHO).


If we were Loreto-Garin, we would gamely accept the criticisms without showing any emotion, and prove those Doubting Thomases wrong.
How? Assure them that if she shows some signs of Ebola infection, she would resign immediately and isolate herself for medication before going to an exile in an island.
Loreto-Garin, 42, should also prove to all and sundry that she is not a corrupt public official; and it’s OK to die anytime as long as her name and the legacy of the Loretos of Leyte and the Garins of Iloilo are preserved and not tainted.
Meanwhile, when she attended the senate budget deliberations on November 24, Loreto-Garin was not treated shabbily.
In fact, Senators Bongbong Marcos and Bambam Aquino kissed her and shook her hand.
It was Senator Tito Sotto III who first expressed alarm and even requested Loreto-Garin, Catapang and others who went with them in the island to undergo quarantine.
He was among the senators who refused to come near Loreto-Garin during the budget hearing.


Loreto-Garin appeared panicky in her initial reactions when the unprotected visit tumult erupted last week: “I am not perfect. I might have lapses. But in critical situations like this, I will not do it without proper protocol on the proper guidance of the experts.”
She added: “People were asking, why not wait for the 21st day. If you wait for the 21st day, the decisions needed that time cannot be made.”
The DOH has repeatedly announced that Ebola virus is not contagious unless an infected person showed symptoms.
The peacekeepers on Caballo Island have been cleared of the virus and are just undergoing quarantine as part of protocol.
The symptoms of Ebola include fever, muscle pain, headache and sore throat followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash and in some cases internal and external bleeding, reported the WHO.

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Posted by on December 3, 2014 in HEALTH


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Can we just stop and talk awhile?

“Maybe then we could go for a ride drive down to the countryside. Get away from the gray and frenzied hurly-burly of the city life.” JOSE MARI CHAN

By Alex P. Vidal

THERE has been so much hatred and violence in the local, national and international news these past weeks.
Crimes, immorality, political bickering and graft and corruption have dominated the headlines and overshadowed so many positive events in the fields of foreign relations, education, arts, science and sports.
An Iloilo provincial official announcing to the world in a national event her displeasure toward her philandering husband and wishing in jest that he be injected with an anti-Ebola virus so that his womanizing days will come to a screeching halt.
A former Iloilo municipal mayor hauling her estranged husband to court for physical and verbal abuse.
A city hall consultant lambasted by his wife in the social media because of, again, womanizing.
Cain and Abel tearing each other apart publicly like real life enemies and dragging the name of the city mayor in their brutal mudslinging skirmish.


A city mayor and his erstwhile councilor allies swapping insults in their Facebook accounts and their respective sympathizers joining the fray.
A capitol bigwig accused of enriching himself at the expense of super-typhoon Yolanda victims and hiding his loot on an island.
A tough municipal mayor accused of ordering the murder of the assailants of his son, including the assailants’ family members who wanted to rescue the victims.
Tensions have exacerbated in the national level due to the endless muckraking of the main dramatis personae trying to malign each other in preparations for the mega political derby in 2016.
A governor apologizing not to his wife but to his younger mistress for the leaked sex photos and video that have caused a tidal wave of humiliation among their respective households before the national media.
A transvestite murdered by an American sailor for not revealing his/her true sexual preference.
Cops accused of “hulidap” and molesting women lawbreakers under their custody.


Filipino peacekeepers coming home from Ebola-hit Liberia treated like Ebola patients and driven away to a secluded Luzon municipality for quarantine as their superior officers and town officials squabble.
Even the social media is not spared from man’s hateful fulminations.
The rift between Senate President Frank Drilon and his former media consultant for Iloilo, Manuel “Boy M” Mejorada, has escalated in the national level when Mejorada filed plunder and graft raps against his former boss before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Drilon’s Iloilo sympathizers have banded together and impeached Mejorada’s integrity as a retaliatory act.
There is now a smorgasbord of name-calling, insults, character assassination and even physical threats.
The war has deepened and emotions are at fever-pitch.
Meanwhile, Mejorada continued to fire his artillery in the national media hopping from one TV and radio station to another in a bid to cripple Drilon in the bar of public opinion.
Tension exacerbates each time followers of both parties engage in unnecessary word wars and heated debates in the media programs and coffeeshops.
Why don’t they take a break first, stay calm and sober, stop and talk awhile?

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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in POLITICS


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Ilonggos avail IPV as world fights Ebola

“At no time in history have we succeeded in making, in a timely fashion, a specific vaccine for more than 260 million people.” Laurie Garrett

By Alex P. Vidal

While the whole world is in mad scramble to avail doses of experimental Ebola vaccines, Ilonggos can now avail of the inactivated injectable polio vaccine (IPV).
Also known as the Salk vaccine, IPV contains inactivated strains of polioviruses 1-3.
Department of Health (DOH) officials assured IPV has no risk of vaccine-related polio.
The introduction of the use of IPV in Western Visayas came as drugmakers around the world plan to work together to speed up the development of an Ebola vaccine and hope to produce millions of doses for use in 2015.
IPV does not stimulate antibody in the gut, so less effective against wild poliovirus, Dr. Alain Bouckenooghe, Sanofi Pasteur associate vice president for clinical research and development and medical affairs told Iloilo reporters in a press conference at Bantayan Resort in Guimbal, Iloilo October 24.
IPV protects only the immunized person and there are no community benefits, he added.
“We are almost near (in our campaign to eliminate polio),” assured DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin, who spearheaded the celebration of World Polio Day in Guimbal, Iloilo.
The Sanofi Pasteur official explained that IPV is given as the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis/polio vaccine (using a lower diphtheria dose, and without the haemophilus component, in this age group).
The primary course (for those not previously immunized) comprises three doses given one month apart.


A booster dose is given three years after the primary course (the three-year interval can be reduced to one year if the primary course was delayed).
A second booster dose is given 10 years after the first booster (usually given during the teenage years).
The 10-year interval can be reduced to five years if previous doses were delayed.
The DOH and its private partners, Sanofi Pasteur and Rotary Club, jointly announced the introduction of the use of the IPV in Iloilo province.
Oscar De Venecia of the Rotary Club said they will help sustain the campaign to eradicate polio and the clubs’ 24,000 members nationwide are committed to assist the DOH.
The use of IPV will cover the entire Western Visayas and the National Capital Region this year.
The rest of the country will follow suit next year, De Venecia disclosed.
The DOH said the country became the first developing country in Eastern Asia to introduce IPV in routine immunization, following the universal recommendation issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier in 2014.
It is also the biggest developing country in the world to introduce IPV and is expected to be watched closely by many countries which have already announced their intention to introduce IPV, it added.


The universal introduction of IPV, a vaccine that has been used in the majority of the developed world for years, is a necessary step toward achieving a polio-free world by 2018, said Garin.
In her video presentation inside the jampacked gymnasium, Garin explained the Filipinos have an emotional attachment to zero polio that stretches back to the start of mass polio epidemics in the world in the last 19th century.
The first prime minister of the Philippines and a hero of the country’s anti-colonial struggles, Apolinario Mabini, was a polio survivor who lived with lifelong disabilities caused by the disease, she emphasized.
According to the DOH, the last polio case in the Philippines was recorded in 1993.
With the DOH’s sustained effort on the polio eradication initiative, in October 2000 the Western Visayas region of the WHO and all member countries have been certified polio-free.
For a region to be certified as polio-free, there should be no reported cases of indigenous polio three years preceding the certification.

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in HEALTH


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Ilonggos fear poverty more than Ebola

“Given the scale of issues like global warming and epidemic disease, we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a can-do attitude to science rather than a can’t-afford-it attitude.” Martin Rees

By Alex P. Vidal

Amid reports that 4,877 of 9,936 patients have died of Ebola worldwide and there is a possibility that the deadly disease might spread in Asia, Ilonggos are unfazed.
“Poverty is more to be feared than Ebola,” thundered sidewalk vendor Ricardo Jerez of La Paz Public Market in Iloilo City.
Jerez, 52, is a father of three kids aged 16, 14 and 9.
He sells fruits and vegetables outside the public market.
Jerez’s 39-year-old wife is seven months pregnant to their fourth child.
“We don’t fear Ebola even if it will spread in the Philippines,” said Jerez while watching a “flash” report about Ebola on a small television.
“We worry about our foods every day, where to enroll our children and how to feed them on a day to day basis.”
Jerez, a former fishing vessel crew member, said his sister, a health worker in Saudi Arabia, was adamant to come home for the Halloween and Christmas vacations for fear of Ebola contamination.


“She must have received a false report about Ebola,” Jerez surmised. “There is no Ebola in the Philippines yet. Only poverty and graft and corruption committed by our politicians.”
Siomai and fruit juice stall attendant Jennifer Amigable, 27, of Tubungan, Iloilo said if given the chance, she is willing to work abroad even in Africa “to make both ends meet.”
“Ebola does not scare me. What scares me most is my bleak future here,” sobbed Amigable, a single parent and commerce graduate.
Money remittance security guard Rodolfo Junco of Tibiao, Antique said the threat that Ebola might spread in the Philippine if health authorities are not alert and don’t have the expertise to prevent it, does not alarm him.
Like Jerez, Junco watched the Ebola news on TV inside the money remittance center.
“I am more alarmed by the threat of our landlady (in a boarding house in La Paz district, Iloilo City) that she would evict us if we can’t pay our monthly rental fees for August, September and October,” Junco said in jest.


Newly-wed Junco, a former karate instructor, admits his salary as a security guard is not enough to sustain a baby and a housewife.
“Poverty remains to be the number source of our depression and anxiety,” Junco said in a Karay-a dialect. “Ebola is nothing compared to poverty which is like a slow death.”
According to the United Nation’s public health body, 9,936 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone–the three countries at the epicenter of the world’s worst-ever Ebola epidemic–have contracted the disease.
Reports said 4,877 people have so far died in total.
Researchers around the world are scrambling to beat the tropical fever, for which there is currently no licensed treatment or vaccine, with experts warning the rate of infections could reach 10,000 a week by early December.

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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in HEALTH


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Is it the real McCoy in the prophesy?

“The earth is attempting to rid itself of an infection by human parasite.” Richard Preston, The Hot Zone

By Alex P. Vidal

When he was still alive sometime in 2002, Dr. Rodolfo Jara-Mesa of La Paz, Iloilo City, handed to me a photocopied article from the Reader’s Digest that predicted the coming of a “serious” and deadly disease which he feared might decimate humanity “in the near future”.
I asked him if he or the article was referring to the HIV disease, a virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).
Dr. Jara-Mesa flatly said no.
Too bad I could not anymore find that article.
Like malaria and tuberculosis which nearly erased humanity some 600 to 800 years ago before medicine came up with a breakthrough to neutralize them in the 20th century, Dr. Jara-Mesa believed scientists would soon be able to discover the antidote to AIDS.
What could be that “serious” disease the article was referring to, doc?
Dr. Jara-Mesa admitted he had no idea.
The article, he explained, based the purported prophesy on the rapid population growth, poverty and lack of access to medicine, especially in famine-stricken countries like Africa and other so-called Third World countries.


When Dr. Jara-Mesa passed away in 2003, Ebola, otherwise known as Ebola virus disease (EVD) and Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF), was already wreaking havoc in Sudan and Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Dr. Jara-Mesa had no inkling that 11 years later, Ebola would take the entire universe by storm and is, in fact, now threatening to wipe us out—unless a vaccine will soon be developed to arrest it and prevent a feared epidemic.
Ebola actually was first detected in 1976 and the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 1,716 cases since that year until 2013.
Ebola became a global sensation in the heels of ongoing and the largest outbreak in West African Ebola outbreak, which is affecting Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria.
It has reached the United States and Canada, which is now moving heaven and earth to prevent the disease from invading the North America.
More than 4,000 cases have been reported worldwide as of press time, and the number is feared to increase, cautioned the WHO.


These are the key facts of Ebola, according to the WHO:
-Ebola Virus Dease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
-The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
-The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.
-The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in West Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas.
-Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks.
Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe burials and social mobilization.
-Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
-There are currently no licensed Ebola vaccines but 2 potential candidates are undergoing evaluation.


Do we feel some of the symptoms provided by health authorities?
The incubation period, the WHO explained, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days.
Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms.
First symptoms are the sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools).
Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.
Let’s hope the article given by Dr. Jara-Mesa 12 years ago had nothing to do with Ebola.
Judging from the way our health authorities worldwide panic, we hate to think that Ebola is the real McCoy in as far as the alleged prophesy in the Reader’s Digest article is concerned.

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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized


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