Posted: 12/29/2002 2:28:52 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/29/2002 2:32:52 PM EDT by cyanide]
Just saw on MNSBC where the military in Briton is going to be used to effect a quarantine to prevent people from fleeing an area if it is affected by a terrorist attack of biological nature. So if you try to leave a area they will "use force" to keep you and your family in the area to prevent spread of contaminants(if you and family die, well, thems the breaks). Wonder if the US Government has the same system in place. And if it would work, or if it would fall apart due to US citizens having arms.
Yes they do, it's administered by FEMA and as posted in another thread the program is called "Cordon Sanitaire". You won't find much if anything by searching FEMA accessible aources, but Center For Disease Control refers to it in their available .pdf files on Smallpox Containment.
John Ringo was kind enough to allow me to post his take on the subject here. Interesting read.
The context is a discussion of reasons for recent Federal vaccination laws and the possibility, widely discussed, that Saddam Hussein has smallpox, either weaponized or standard.
Okay, it's back to smallpox 101 again.
There are three varieties of smallpox (variola is the technical name by the way.) They are standard, hemorrhagic and...and...macular (damn, I have a hard time with that.) The difference between each, if anyone cares, is one codon. And all of them respond to the same vaccine. Vaccination wise, they are identical. (It wasn't the last couple of decades that they could even separate them.)
In the only definitive study of mortality with each, the mortality rate for unvaccinated persons for standard was a close approximation of 30%. This is the one that the news media always reports. "Smallpox has a mortality rate of 30%." They don't, usually, go on about how incredibly awful it is to survive smallpox, and I'm not going to either. The short comment I'll make is that absent major pain meds, I'll have a tendency to eat my Beretta if I get infected. It makes Ebola look like a piker.
The flip side is that onset is slow. Slow enough that if you get vaccinated within three to four days of infection the vaccine can start the antibodies working and you'll have a much better chance of survival. Mortality in vaccinated populations is about 3%. So, say that everyone in the US gets standard smallpox. (Won't, that's the whole point of having a vaccinated population) we'll still lose...somebody else do the math. Nine million people? Thereabouts? Realistically, it will be far less. Prepared populations can isolate the disease. It's a bastard to eradicate entirely, though. It has a very long linger rate in prime conditions.
But then we get to the other two types, hemorrhagic and macular. The gross mortality rate for unvaccinated persons from hemorrhagic is 94%. That's right, 94% of a population that is unvaccinated and becomes infected dies.
The up side is that onset is relatively swift and by the time the truly awful pain hits your pretty much insane anyway.
The mortality rate for vaccinated individuals is 50%. That is pre vaccinated individuals. Vaccination after the fact with hemorrhagic doesn't work. "Swift onset." Your immune system never gets a chance.
Macular smallpox is much the same but worse. Onset is swifter and no one who is unvaccinated has ever survived. I haven't seen a statistic for vaccinated populations, it's probably similar to hemorrhagic.
Now, that is for "standard garden variety" smallpox. What the Soviets were working with, apparently because so far they're still refusing to fess up, was weaponized hemorrhagic. There was a bad hemorrhagic outbreak in India in the 1960s, DelhiB is the name of the strain IIRC (probably I don't.) It had a very high mortality rate. According to the xSov scientist who is the sole source for most open intelligence, the Soviets took that stuff, bred it in bunches and coated it somehow to make it aerosol. That meant that they could spray it out of planes or, in the example used in the "Dark Winter" exercise, spray it around in shopping malls.
Casualties, due to the method of infection and onset, in unvaccinated populations is anticipated to be in the near order of 100%.
Now, the up side. (Yes, there is one, although not much of one.) We understand the enemy. We understand how it spreads. In the event of getting hit by macular or hemorrhagic in our current condition (unvaccinated populations, just like the American Indians, note) the response will be to shut down interstate transportation and let it burn itself out. Eventually, all the infected people will die and only be around people in space suits.
Burn the houses, burn the clothes, burn the cars, burn the places of business and then go back to work.
And that will be the only way to survive an attack with hemorrhagic.
"Ring vaccinations" won't work. Post infection vaccinations won't work.
Just collect the wounded, put them on a morphine drip and try to save one or two per hundred.
If it spreads beyond a certain number of casualties (the number is about 5 million, full infected according to Dark Winter again) it's liable to collapse society. Temporarily at least. We'll just have to see.
Oh, and the US is the most likely country to survive. We have an executive branch that can react to emergencies and a populace that is more or less willing to go along in such an emergency. Very few others do. Dictatorships can't maintain control in the face of something like this and I suspect the EU will be paralyzed (not to mention not having effective control of their unassimilated immigrant populations.) Islamic countries,
for a number of reasons, are near the bottom of the barrel. (Africa, by and large, is all the way at the bottom.)
Israel. That's another one that would do as well as can be expected.
In the event of a wildfire of hemorrhagic smallpox, the "great" Islamic nations like Indonesia and Egypt would be wiped from the face of the
They don't have a viable health system, they're packed in cheek by jowl and they don't trust their governments (with reason) to get it right.
If you want smallpox 102, there are websites.
Specific comments on the below:
The 3 deaths in 10 infections were of _vaccinated_ individuals. To find information on unvaccinated populations you have to look all the way back to the 18th century. During those outbreaks, hundreds, thousands, of people were infected and died. In the case of American Indian tribes (and we are epidemiologically similar) some populations had very near 100% casualties.
Comparing what happened in vaccinated populations to present day is a good way to wear your glasses, but rose was never my favorite color.
To Derek: If the infection is recognized quickly, you can cure pneumonic plague with Cipro.
"In Cipro we trust." Tom Brokaw's single decent line in a thirty year career.