Some of us Perpetual Notion Machine nerds like to have fun reporting and commenting on recent science stories in the news. But tonight’s episode, discussing the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, isn’t much fun. PNM’ers Josh Mitchell, Ary Clarke, and Kelly Schwartz, along with PNM engineer Kevin Lauterjung, describe the outbreak, but also discuss some other dangerous diseases like Lyme disease, Zika, and the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed around 10 million people worldwide. This Ebola outbreak is rather tame by comparison, with about 3,000 cases and over half in deaths. And this is still less than the Ebola outbreak in West Africa about 5 years ago. But the World Health Organization (WHO) is concerned enough to issue a PLEIC or a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. The PNM team discuss the microbiology of Ebola, how it’s transmitted, and why it’s so lethal.
Also discussed is the fact that an Ebola vaccine has been developed for use, even though, at least in the U.S., it has not been approved by the FDA. But despite its potential, there have been social ramifications and obstacles from widespread delivery.
On November 5, 2015, the Perpetual Notion Machine talked with UW-Madison epidemiologist Tony Goldberg about what the next deadly pandemic would look like. Here’s the audio of that show: