FitOldDog’s Warning: Ebola Could Wipe Out Two-Thirds Of The Human Race – Raise Awareness But Don’t Panic!

Exponential growth curve.

Beware exponential growth of humans or pathogens. Article linked to figure.

“Time has obscured the observations of many veterinary clinicians and researchers throughout the world who sensed the presence of a new disease when CPV-2 first made its appearance in 1978 [1976 in Europe] and then, within 1-2 years, spread worldwide.” Carmichael, 2005.

As a veterinarian with a clear memory of the spread of this new disease in dogs, canine parvovirus-2, and it’s lethal impact, before a vaccination program was adequately engaged, I guess I’m sensitized to the current ebola virus outbreak in humans. Our only hope is to contain and vaccinate, ASAP.

I’m just an old scientist, who loves Ironman triathlons, his family and friends. So when my partner Deb, an Emergency Nurse, said that she wanted to go to Africa to help with the Ebola outbreak, I hesitated for about two seconds, and then I replied, “That’s a good idea!”

Portuguese man-o-war

The population of the PMW [Portuguese man-o-war] is divided between those having their tentacles to the right of the sail and sailing on the starboard tack, and those having their tentacles to the left of sail and sailing on the port tack.” Losilevskii and Weihs, 2008. [classic phenotypic/genetic variance, promoting survival of the species.

Later that day, Deb said,You didn’t really seem too concerned about my safety, if I go to Africa,” and I replied, “You have to understand how my brain works. I’m slow to jump to feelings, as my mind is dominated, sometimes to my chagrin, by thinking and analysis. I thought, about what you said, considered the nature of infectious disease, and it’s role in the negative feedback needed to control any population overgrowth, this being layered on top of my opinion that the human race has been poised for negative feedback for sometime, and what else could I say. You have the skills!

Go, before it’s too late!

What can this old veterinary researcher do, in the meantime? Raise awareness by talking to people, but try not to instill panic, which can also spread like an infectious disease to foster disaster.

My left brain says, “This is an interesting problem.” My right brain says, “Shit! This is really dangerous for us all. Even some household pets, it would appear!”

I’m not a brilliant man, though some have called me a visionary, others an inspiration, some said I am clueless, and one friend even said, “You don’t know shit, man!” I enjoyed these comments, but I’m really just an eccentric with a love life.

Ebola virus structure.

Ebola virus structure. Article linked to figure.

Why this warning? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to run the math on ebola. One case leaking into a clean country, say the USA, and you have to track 10s to 100s of people to cutoff the spread. We’ve had one, and it has leaked to one, but that is with only 4,000 cases in Africa as of a few days ago. If the infected population in Africa reaches a 1,000,000 cases, which it most certainly could do, with little effort on the viruses part, there might easily be 1,000 to 10,000 cases in North America in no time, unless all chinks in our armor are blocked (best of luck with that one!). This would require 10,000 to 100,000 contacts to be tracked, and where would we find people who could do that safely. If you have 5 people to do the tracking in each case, it’s going to need 500,000 trained people, quickly. Best of luck with that one too, let alone the effect of panic – somewhat predictable, which is how many more people could be lost.

Canine parvovirus outbreak article in paper

Canine parvovirus outbreak in 1978. Image linked to source article.

Religious fanatics can, and have, killed millions. This is a fleabite compared to an out-of-control infectious disease, which can spread like a forest fire, and reduce any species by half or more in no time. The fact that about half of the human cases of ebola infection survive was another red flag to my brain. Such responses to infectious disease account, at least in part, for genetic diversity. This results in genetically-driven phenotypic variance, in all species (that I know of), be they Portuguese Man-o-War or humans.

Changes induced by fatal diseases, or major shifts in the physical environment, lead to extinction or rich genetic diversity.

They also leave in their wake a legacy of genetic diseases, such as sickle cell anemia (resistance to malaria) and cystic fibrosis (resistance to cholera).

don't panicWhat, I wonder, will Ebola do to us, if we fail to act quickly enough? I don’t want to lose Deb, but if people like her don’t act quickly enough Ebola will come and find her anyway.

I make no apologies for seeming alarmist, as this is a carefully contemplated warning by someone possessing intimate experience of infectious disease, in addition to awareness of the complexity and unpredictability of networks – we are all nodes in the network of the Biosphere, my friends.



  1. I hope you tell Deb to stay home because you want her safe and you love her. Relationships arent science experiments. And, she can help closer to home as ebola no doubt will come closer to all of us.

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.