Health

Chicago-Area Survival Medics Class In January

Another day, another survival-related training opportunity for Chicago-area blog readers. From the Live Free, USA website:

SURVIVAL MEDICS CLASS
Conducted by Live Free, USA – Instructor James C. Jones.

Jim Jones is a Certified Hazard Control Manager. Emergency Medical Technician and retired Safety and Security Manager for a fortune 200 corporation. He has spent over 40-years teaching survival skills and advocating family preparedness and self-sufficiency.

Jim is the founder of Live Free USA, an organization dedicated to the support of preparedness, self-reliance through public education and group support. He writes articles for several national publications and conducted frequent training programs on a wide range of preparedness, survival and self-reliance related topics.

This 16 hour course for medical professionals & novices alike has been divided into four sessions. Each class will run from noon to 4:00 Pm on the following Sunday’s. January 11th and 25th, and February 8th and 15th.

The Cabela’s Conference Center in Hammond has been reserved for all four Sunday’s. You will find the meeting room upstairs adjacent to the Black Oak Grill dining area.

To receive a certificate you must attend all four classes. The course separates the lecture classes from the hands-on sessions. Home practice materials will be distributed at the lecture classes so that you are ready for the hands-on practice.

Cost for all four classes is: $50.00 per person ($40 for Live Free USA members)

Registration and payments must be received no later than December 10, 2014. Space is limited. Early registration is recommended…

The 16 hour course will include the following topics.

SUNDAY January 11th:
PowerPoint and Lecture: Trauma diagnosis and management. Scene survey and safety, Blood born pathogen protection, Soft tissue injuries, wound care, bleeding control, musculoskeletal injuries. Burns, Shock management. Splinting, eye injuries, head injuries, abdominal and thoracic injures, gunshot wounds. Quiz. Distribution of home practice materials for suturing.

SUNDAY January 25th:
Hands-on Skills Practice: Unconscious Patient evaluation and survey, tourniquet application, splinting, bandaging, patent packaging, wound care and suturing

SUNDAY February 8th:
PowerPoint and Lecture: Medical emergencies recognition and management. Heart attack, stroke, poisoning, hypothermia, hyperthermia, anaphylaxis. Quiz.

SUNDAY February 15th:
Hands-on Practice: Conscious Patent evaluation, vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, etc.) CPR, IV administration (optional). Suturing final practice, Certificates issued. The participants may plan for further practice sessions and/or scenario drill in the months to come.

Looks pretty comprehensive (16 hours of training). And affordable too (cost for all four classes only $50). Not to mention it’s also at Cabela’s.

For more information, visit the Live Free, USA website here. Keep in mind that December 10 registration/payment deadline!

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Global Economy Flashes Warning Signals

I’m picking up on a growing number of “bad vibes” about the global economy these days.

First, Rich Miller reported on the Bloomberg website Thursday about the findings of the latest Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors:

The world economy is in its worst shape in two years, with the euro area and emerging markets deteriorating and the danger of deflation rising, according to a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors.

A plurality of 38 percent of those surveyed this week described the global economy as worsening, more than double the number who said that in the last poll in July and the most since September 2012, when Europe was mired in a recession.

Much of the concern is again focused on the euro area: Almost two-thirds of those polled said its economy was weakening…

Europe isn’t the only source of concern in the global economy, according to the quarterly poll of 510 investors, traders and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers. More than half of those contacted said conditions in the BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are getting worse, compared with 36 percent who said so in July.

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Granted, it’s just a poll. But there’s also this from British Prime Minister David Cameron in a piece he penned that was published on The Guardian (UK) website Sunday:

Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.

As I met world leaders at the G20 in Brisbane, the problems were plain to see. The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too. Emerging markets, which were the driver of growth in the early stages of the recovery, are now slowing down. Despite the progress in Bali, global trade talks have stalled while the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine are all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Cameron added the following, which I thought was pretty funny (disturbing?):

When we faced similar problems in recent years, too many politicians offered easy answers, thinking we could spend, borrow and tax our way to prosperity. Those were the wrong answers then; they are the wrong answers now. We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sound like any country you know?

Finally, exacerbating fears about global economic health was the following “shock” announcement. Mitsuru Obe and Eleanor Warnock reported on The Wall Street Journal website this morning:

Japan Falls Into Recession

Japan’s economy shrank for a second quarter in a row, after a sales-tax increase took the steam out of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ’s bid to turn Japan into a global model of revival.

Mr. Abe, who has sought to revive the world’s third-largest economy after two mostly sluggish decades, is set to announce this week that he will delay plans to raise the nation’s sales tax next year and call elections in December…

“Two mostly sluggish decades”

Some really bright financial-types suspect Japan’s so-called “zombie economy” is what’s ultimately in store for America. While I have no doubt about a coming U.S. economic crash, I remain somewhat more optimistic for the country’s prospects upon emerging from the coming carnage.

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Cameron, David. “David Cameron: Red lights are flashing on the global economy.” The Guardian. 16 Nov. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/16/red-lights-global-economy-david-cameron). 17 Nov. 2014.

Miller, Rich. “World Economy Worst in Two Years, Europe Darkening, Deflation Lurking: Global Investor Poll.” Bloomberg.com. 13 Nov. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/world-outlook-darkening-as-89-in-poll-see-europe-deflation-risk.html). 17 Nov. 2014.

Obe, Mitsuru and Warnock, Eleanor. “Japan Falls Into Recession.” The Wall Street Journal. 17 Nov. 2014. (http://online.wsj.com/articles/japan-falls-into-recession-1416182404). 17 Nov. 2014.

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Trust The Ebola ‘Pollyannas’ At Your Own Peril

“Calm down- America is officially Ebola-free”
-Public Radio International web article headline, November 10, 2014

“America all clear of Ebola- for now”
-Yahoo! News web article headline, November 11, 2014

“Ebola In US Cured, Craig Spencer Released From Hospital, America All Clear”
-Inquisitr.com web article headline, November 12, 2014

One might think reading the above “Pollyannish” headlines that the threat to the United States from the Ebola virus is over. I, for one, remain skeptical. Why’s that? Consider the following from Martha Mendoza on the Associated Press website November 1:

Top medical experts studying the spread of Ebola say the public should expect more cases to emerge in the United States by year’s end as infected people arrive here from West Africa, including American doctors and nurses returning from the hot zone and people fleeing from the deadly disease.

But how many cases?

No one knows for sure how many infections will emerge in the U.S. or anywhere else, but scientists have made educated guesses based on data models that weigh hundreds of variables, including daily new infections in West Africa, airline traffic worldwide and transmission possibilities.

This week, several top infectious disease experts ran simulations for The Associated Press that predicted as few as one or two additional infections by the end of 2014 to a worst-case scenario of 130…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“As few as one or two additional infections by the end of 2014 to a worst-case scenario of 130.”

A number of high-profile preppers with medical backgrounds have weighed-in on the danger posed by Ebola. First, there’s Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy-fame. Sharon Churcher wrote on the Daily Mail (UK) website back on Halloween:

Florida surgeon Joe Alton, who believes the US government is deluding American citizens over the risk of infectious disease, says: ‘Members of the preparedness community are not crazy. What is crazy is not to be prepared for disasters – preppers are the normal people.

‘The US government has a website Ready.gov that says people should always be prepared for natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes and floods. It does not make sense not to also prepare for infectious diseases.’

He says: ‘This is a virus that has a 70 percent mortality rate and the experience we’ve had with the cases in Dallas and New York and with President Obama making ‘fairness’ a priority over public health and safety has made preppers – including doctors like me — suspicious of the notion that we can rely on the authorities to protect us…

‘I think it is highly unlikely that entire communities will be overwhelmed in this country by an epidemic but the situation in Dallas showed that our hospitals are not prepared.’

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

No Ebola epidemic. But likely inside the United States by the sound of it.

Readers may recall that back in August I also talked about Dr. Alton and Nurse and their take on Ebola. From that post:

Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy/The Survival Medicine Handbook-fame- just wrote on the Doom and Bloom website on July 30 in “Ebola Update”:

I recommend stocking up on masks, gowns, eye protection, and gloves, and learn about how to have an effective survival sick room.

He added later in the comment section:

The best masks are N95 or N100, the N95 are more readily available and somewhat more breathable. Masks by themselves are not enough, though, some kind of eye protection and coveralls would be useful additions to your medical storage for pandemics.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Churcher also talked about Tess Pennington, publisher of the Ready Nutrition website and author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster. From the piece:

Former American Red Cross staffer and mother of three Tess Pennington says: ‘I was working at the Dallas chapter of the Red Cross on September 11, and having been through that and a Houston hurricane, ‘I firmly believe that every family should be prepared for disasters.

‘When Ebola started migrating to America, I bulked up on N100 respirator masks, which block out more particles than N95s, and also on latex gloves, which are the best for bodily fluids because they are non permeable.

‘I also have purchased DuPont Tychem suits – twelve suits for each of us: my husband, our 12 year old boy and our 10 year old and 9 year old girls.’

Things may be quiet right now in the U.S. as far as Ebola is concerned. But I suspect that’s only temporary based on the above projections.

It’s probably only a matter of time before the next Ebola case is discovered on our shores.

If readers were planning to prep for the virus, this lull in the action might be a good time to take care of that. Otherwise, should more cases start popping up in the U.S. again, you may have a hard time getting what you need.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Mendoza, Martha. “Scientists Try To Predict Number Of US Cases.” Associated Press. 1 Nov. 2014. (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_EBOLA_HOW_BAD_CAN_IT_GET?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-11-01-10-25-24). 13 Nov. 2014.

Chrucher, Sharon. “We are NOT nutty survivalists, says Ebola’s Dr Prepper: Medical ‘lunatics’ stocking up on Hazmat suits insist THEY are the only normal ones.” Daily Mail. 31 Oct. 2014. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812488/We-NOT-nutty-survivalists-says-Ebola-s-Dr-Prepper-Medical-lunatics-stocking-Hazmat-suits-insist-normal-ones.html). 13 Nov.2014.

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Would Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Ban Assault Weapons?

When Pat Quinn was Governor, Illinoisans knew where he stood on so-called “assault weapons.”

With incoming Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, it’s just not that clear.

So much so I wonder if after a major mass shooting or terrorist attack on U.S. soil and the political winds were blowing in that direction, Governor Rauner would sign off on an “assault weapons” ban.

Think that’s far-fetched? Consider what I wrote back on March 2:

The four Republican candidates for the office- State Senators Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, and businessman Bruce Rauner- were recently given campaign questionnaires by the Associated Press, in which gun rights was one of the topics.

According to the AP, two of the four candidates may support a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

From last Tuesday:

In a campaign questionnaire for The Associated Press, the four candidates — state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner — all said gun rights need to be protected but that some public safeguards should exist.

The four differed over assault-style guns — high-capacity weapons that have been used in some of the deadliest mass shootings. They currently aren’t illegal statewide, and a proposed statewide ban backed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn was pulled from consideration last year in Springfield…

Dillard, of Hinsdale, and Rauner, of Winnetka, both left open the possibility they would support a ban. Rutherford, of Chenoa, and Brady, of Bloomington, oppose such a ban…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I added later in that post:

So what about Rauner? The Associated Press did think his questionnaire answer was “more vague” than Dillard’s.

Turning back to their piece:

Rauner gave a more vague answer, saying he supports background checks that keep guns away from criminals and people with mental illness.

“Going beyond that requires a very careful balance between promoting public safety and protecting constitutional rights,” Rauner wrote…

Unless Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner actually come out and say they are against a state AWB, I would chalk them up as possibly being in support of an “assault weapons” ban if the political winds were blowing in that direction.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this from Michelle Manchir on the Chicago Tribune website on October 15:

Rauner would not say whether he supports an assault weapons ban during a debate Tuesday night, instead saying that the “most important thing we can do with guns is to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and (the) mentally ill.”

On Wednesday, Rauner reiterated that point at a Little Village event where he sipped coffee with Latino clergy and leaders invited by his campaign.

“Pat Quinn has been a failure on crime. Keep the guns away from criminals and the mentally ill and then the real answer for crime is to make sure that the American Dream and opportunity is available to young people in our neighborhoods,” Rauner told reporters when asked whether not speaking out for an assault weapons ban could cost him votes in some segments of the electorate…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Manchir concluded then-gubernatorial candidate Rauner was “back-and-forth on guns.”

A number of Illinois owners of so-called “assault weapons” might feel they’re safe from any ban with Bruce Rauner now at the helm of the state.

But if I had one of these military-pattern semi-automatic long guns in the state, I’m not so sure I would.

Then again, when you consider what (who) the alternative was on November 4…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Manchir, Michelle. “Quinn hits Rauner on gun control.” Chicago Tribune. 15 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-quinn-hits-rauner-on-gun-control-20141015-story.html). 5 Nov. 2014.

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 Crime, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Health No Comments

Oak Park And Cook County Referenda For More Gun ‘Control’ In Illinois, U.S.

Here’s the latest from “ground zero” for gun “control” in the United States. Voters in Cook County and Oak Park (Cook County, Illinois) will have the opportunity to vote on the following referenda in next week’s election. For Cook County voters:

Shall the Illinois General Assembly enact the Illinois Public Safety Act (Senate Bill 3659) which would require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?

And for Oak Park Township voters:

Shall the Federal Government enact legislation requiring universal background checks of criminal and mental health history records for all transfers of ownership or possession of firearms, including transfers which occur at gun shows, over the internet and privately, as a step toward preventing the ownership or possession of firearms by criminals and those with serious mental illnesses, and as a step toward preventing gun trafficking altogether?

Regarding that Cook County referendum- I understand its primary purpose (along with other referenda appearing on the November 4 ballot) is to energize Democrats to vote in this mid-term election.

As for that Oak Park referendum- Your guess is as good as mine. I’m going to go with making a statement, seeing that both referenda are non-binding.

I will say this though. After the next mass shooting or terrorist attack on American soil with a significant number of casualties, expect the results of both (should voters “approve” them) to be trotted out by various politicians pushing more gun “control.”

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Protecting Against The Ebola Virus

August 4, 2014
Outbreak Update

The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1603 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 887 deaths, as of August 1, 2014. Of the 1603 clinical cases, 1009 cases have been laboratory confirmed for Ebola virus infection.”

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, August 5, 2014

A little over five months ago, I first started blogging about the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. I wrote at the time:

Am I worried Ebola might spread to the United States?

Not really. From what I understand, the quality of a country’s healthcare infrastructure plays an important role in containing the threat…

Still, the public health authorities need to keep on top of this.

While I remain dubious about a widespread outbreak of Ebola (in its current form) in America, I am curious about the measures an individual can take to protect against the deadly virus.

Consider the following from the “Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever” area on the CDC website:

When cases of the disease do appear, there is increased risk of transmission within health care settings. Therefore, health care workers must be able to recognize a case of Ebola HF and be ready to employ practical viral hemorrhagic fever isolation precautions or barrier nursing techniques. They should also have the capability to request diagnostic tests or prepare samples for shipping and testing elsewhere.

Barrier nursing techniques include:

• wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
• the use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
• isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.

The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or secretions of an infected patient.

Even though these are barrier nursing techniques being discussed here, I’m confident these same protective measures can be employed by the common Joe.

Still- what kind of masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles are required for the job?

I actually came across a really interesting website this morning called PreventEbola.com. From their home page:

This web site is brand new and was established on August 3, 2014 to provide you with common-sense information on how to protect yourself and your family from the outbreak of the Ebola Virus. This site contains information that you are not being told by the media or by government officials. Sadly, no outlet in the mass media is telling anyone how to protect themselves, so we decided to do so!

And on their “How to Protect Yourself” page, the following is recommended:

• N100 or P100 filter masks
• Waterproof eye protection like swimming goggles
• Disposable latex or nitrile gloves
• Chlorhexidine gluconate hand soap/sanitizer
• 43-day supply of emergency food

N100 or P100 filter masks? Those are kind of expensive. How about N95 particulate respirators? They’re much more affordable, and I have a bunch of them socked away for household tasks and emergency situations, if needed:

3M N95 Mask
3M 8511 Particulate N95 Respirator with Valve, 10-Pack
($15.87 per 10-pack on Amazon as I type this)

Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy/The Survival Medicine Handbook-fame- just wrote on the Doom and Bloom website on July 30 in “Ebola Update”:

I recommend stocking up on masks, gowns, eye protection, and gloves, and learn about how to have an effective survival sick room.

He added later in the comment section:

The best masks are N95 or N100, the N95 are more readily available and somewhat more breathable. Masks by themselves are not enough, though, some kind of eye protection and coveralls would be useful additions to your medical storage for pandemics.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

From what I understand, N95 particulate respirators have also been recommended for use around Ebola by the International Association of Firefighters and American Academy of Family Physicians.

As for the rest of those protective items- they seem easy enough to source as things stand right now.

That being said, during the worldwide H1N1 pandemic of 2009, I remember watching N95 masks and hand sanitizer disappear left and right on Amazon and eBay.

In real time.

I hope I don’t witness anything like that again soon.

You can read more about Ebola on the CDC website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Alton, Joe. “Ebola Update.” Doom And Bloom. 30 July 2014. (http://www.doomandbloom.net/ebola-update/). 5 Aug. 2014.

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Saudi MERS Infections And Deaths Underreported

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last brought up Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) on Survival And Prosperity, though I first blogged about the novel coronavirus starting back in February 2013.

But this morning, I stumbled onto something disturbing on the website of the Gulf News (UAE), courtesy of Zawya:

Dubai: The Mers virus has caused nearly 50 per cent more deaths in Saudi Arabia than has been officially reported, a review of medical data by Saudi health authorities shows.

The survey by the Ministry of Health revealed that 282 Saudis and non-Saudis have died in the kingdom from Mers since the disease was first detected in September 2012 — a 48 per cent increase over the previously announced toll of 190.

There also have been 688 confirmed cases of the disease instead of 575, according to the revised figures the ministry issued this week. Its statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, didn’t explain the discrepancy in figures or why it went unspotted…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In case readers aren’t aware, Ramadan- when large numbers of Muslim pilgrims from around the globe visit Saudi Arabia- begins on June 28.

Last year, 5 million pilgrims and visitors came, according to an Agence France-Presse piece on the Gulf News website.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Mers fatalities hugely under reported.” Zawya. 5 Jun. 2014. (http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/mers-fatalities-hugely-under-reported-1.1343345). 5 Jun. 2014.

“No Mers infections during Ramadan pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.” Agence France-Presse. 13 Aug. 2013. (http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/no-mers-infections-during-ramadan-pilgrimage-in-saudi-arabia-1.1219902). 5 Jun. 2014.

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Thursday, June 5th, 2014 Emergencies, Health, Middle East No Comments

WHO: West Africa Ebola Outbreak ‘Serious,’ ‘Spreading Geographically’

Not much significant news has been coming out of West Africa lately regarding their Ebola outbreak (first blogged about back on March 24). And then I spotted the following last night. Stephanie Nebehay and Saliou Samb reported on the Reuters website Wednesday evening:

Guinea’s capital Conakry has recorded its first new Ebola cases in more than a month, while other previously unaffected areas have also reported infections in the past week, according to the World Health Organisation.

The spread of the two-month-old outbreak, which Guinean authorities earlier said had been contained, risks further complicating the fight against the virus in a region already struggling with weak healthcare systems and porous borders.

“The situation is serious, you can’t say it is under control as cases are continuing and it is spreading geographically,” Dr Pierre Formenty, a WHO expert who recently returned from Guinea, told a news briefing in Geneva on Wednesday…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Charlie Cooper added on The Independent (UK) website earlier today:

As of Wednesday, 281 cases of Ebola had been detected in Guinea, with 186 deaths…

And regarding Ebola’s spread:

The first confirmed cases were detected in Sierra Leone earlier this week and the country has now recorded 16 cases and five deaths…

According to Cooper, fighting the deadly virus is proving to be more difficult than expected because infected patients are being forcibly-removed from treatment facilities by family members.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Nebehay, Stephanie and Samb, Saliou. “West Africa Ebola outbreak still spreading, ‘situation serious': WHO.” Reuters. 28 May 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/28/us-ebola-westafrica-idUSKBN0E81IQ20140528). 29 May 2014.

Cooper, Charlie. “Ebola: Deadly outbreak crosses border as mistrust hampers medical staff.” The Independent. 29 May 2014. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ebola-deadly-outbreak-crosses-border-as-mistrust-hampers-medical-staff-9456917.html). 29 May 2014.

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Thursday, May 29th, 2014 Africa, Emergencies, Health No Comments

Illinois Public Health Chief On MERS: ‘Risk To The General Public Remains Extremely Low’

“U.S. health officials had recently confirmed the country’s first two cases of MERS, raising fears about the global spread of the virus, which has been responsible for a worsening outbreak in Saudi Arabia. More than 500 cases have been reported worldwide, with about 30 percent proving fatal.

The World Health Organization said on Wednesday that while its concern over MERS had significantly increased, the disease does not yet pose a global health emergency…”

-Reuters.com (India), May 15, 2014

Although one of the country’s two known cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) traveled through Chicago recently, the top public health official in the state of Illinois does not think the virus poses a significant risk to area residents. From an Illinois Department of Public Health news release yesterday:

Illinois Department of Public Health Director Reassures Illinoisans of Vigilance for MERS-CoV

No spread of MERS-CoV from first U.S. case, but second U.S. case identified

CHICAGO – Although there is no transmission of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) related to the first U.S. case who traveled from Saudi Arabia to Indiana on April 24, 2014, Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director LaMar Hasbrouck is reassuring Illinois residents that IDPH, local health departments and health care providers remain vigilant for any new cases of MERS-CoV.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) yesterday announced the second confirmed MERS-CoV case in the U.S. in a person who traveled from Saudi Arabia and ultimately to Florida on May 1, 2014. Similar to the first case, the patient is isolated in a hospital, health officials are following up with close contacts to the patient, and out of an abundance of caution, health officials are notifying people who traveled on flights with the patient.

“While this second confirmed case of MERS-CoV is unwelcome, it is not unexpected and we anticipate seeing additional cases imported to the U.S.,” said Dr. Hasbrouck. “We will continue to watch for additional cases of MERS-CoV and are at-the-ready to conduct laboratory testing should it be needed. I want to reassure Illinoisans that the risk to the general public remains extremely low as MERS-CoV has not been found to spread easily from person to person in community settings.”

(Editor’s note: Bold in body text added for emphasis)

There is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for MERS, according to the CDC.

You can read the entire news release on the IDPH website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 Health, Middle East No Comments

Deadly MERS Virus Lands In Chicago, Discovered In Indiana

Uh-oh. MERS- which I’ve been blogging about for a while now- is here in the United States. And it traveled via international airlines to Chicago, then by bus to Indiana. From a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention press release about an hour ago:

CDC announces first case of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus infection (MERS) in the United States
MERS case in traveler from Saudi Arabia hospitalized in Indiana

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) was confirmed today in a traveler to the United States. This virus is relatively new to humans and was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012.

“We’ve anticipated MERS reaching the US, and we’ve prepared for and are taking swift action,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “We’re doing everything possible with hospital, local, and state health officials to find people who may have had contact with this person so they can be evaluated as appropriate. This case reminds us that we are all connected by the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink. We can break the chain of transmission in this case through focused efforts here and abroad.”

On April 24, the patient traveled by plane from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to London, England then from London to Chicago, Illinois. The patient then took a bus from Chicago to Indiana. On the 27th, the patient began to experience respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, coughing, and fever. The patient went to an emergency department in an Indiana hospital on April 28th and was admitted on that same day. The patient is being well cared for and is isolated; the patient is currently in stable condition. Because of the patient’s symptoms and travel history, Indiana public health officials tested for MERS-CoV. The Indiana state public health laboratory and CDC confirmed MERS-CoV infection in the patient this afternoon.

“It is understandable that some may be concerned about this situation, but this first U.S. case of MERS-CoV infection represents a very low risk to the general public,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases. In some countries, the virus has spread from person to person through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. However, there is currently no evidence of sustained spread of MERS-CoV in community settings.

CDC and Indiana health officials are not yet sure how the patient became infected with the virus. Exposure may have occurred in Saudi Arabia, where outbreaks of MERS-CoV infection are occurring. Officials also do not know exactly how many people have had close contact with the patient.

So far, including this U.S. importation, there have been 401 confirmed cases of MERS-CoV infection in 12 countries. To date, all reported cases have originated in six countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Most of these people developed severe acute respiratory illness, with fever, cough, and shortness of breath; 93 people died. Officials do not know where the virus came from or exactly how it spreads. There is no available vaccine or specific treatment recommended for the virus…

It’s a shame, but global air travel makes it easier for a nasty virus from overseas to spread to other parts of the world- including here. Let’s hope the public health officials are correct in their stated belief about there not likely being any more infected individuals running around out there, and that they successfully contain this bug.

You can read the entire CDC press release on their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Friday, May 2nd, 2014 Health, Middle East, Travel 2 Comments

Resource Of The Week: The Great Northern Prepper’s ‘Prepper Resources’ Page

I recently stumbled on a preparedness blog- The Great Northern Prepper, “Where Preparedness is a state of mind as well as a style of life”- by ex-Marine and security contractor Richard Morgan.

The Alaska native has amassed a large number of prepping resources (in .pdf format) on his aptly-named “Prepper Resouces” page.

“Over 570 and counting!” according to Morgan.

The resources fall under the following categories:

-General Preparedness
-Homesteading
-Wilderness Survival
-Food Preps
-Water
-First Aid/Medical
-NBC- (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical)
-EMP
-Military Field Manuals
-Prepper Tech
-Gardening (lots here)
-Building Plans (tons here)
-Work Magazine
-Natural Disaster Preparedness

I took a look at a few of these .pdf files, and most were teriffic.

Anyone looking to populate a flash drive or other storage device with freely-available prepper resources in an electronic format might want to start here on The Great Northern Prepper blog.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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While Ebola Grabs The Headlines, Coronavirus Makes A Comeback In The Middle East

While I’ve been blogging about the Ebola outbreak in West Africa (121 dead last last I heard), I’ve noticed a different virus that I’ve talked about before is making a comeback further east. Deema Almashabi and Oliver Staley reported earlier today on Bloomberg.com:

The government of Saudi Arabia is trying to reassure its citizens that the most recent outbreak of a respiratory virus isn’t a cause for alarm following 16 new cases, including two deaths, reported in the last nine days.

The Saudi health ministry sent text messages through local carriers yesterday asking the country’s 30 million residents to check its website, call a free hotline and check its official Twitter account for updates on the coronavirus, which causes Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome or MERS…

Almost 230 people are known to have been infected since the virus emerged in Saudi Arabia two years ago, and 92 of them have died, according to the World Health Organization. Much about the disease and how it’s transmitted is still unknown…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The first time I discussed the coronavirus on Survival And Prosperity, the attention hadn’t yet focused on the Middle East. Rather, it was on Europe. I blogged on February 18, 2013:

Novel coronavirus (NCoV). A SARS-like virus I’ve been hearing more of recently. And of particular concern to the World Health Organization (WHO). From a February 16 posting on the “Disease Outbreak News” section of their website:

The United Kingdom (UK) has informed WHO of another confirmed case of infection with the novel coronavirus (NCoV). This is the third case confirmed in the country this month and is in the same family cluster as the two recently confirmed cases.

The latest confirmed case does not have recent travel history outside the UK. The case is recovering from mild respiratory illness and is currently well.

The confirmation with NCoV in this case with no recent travel history indicates that infection was acquired in the UK. Although this new case offers further indications of person-to-person transmission, no sustained person-to-person transmission has been identified

As of 16 February 2013, WHO has been informed of a total of 12 confirmed cases of human infection with NCoV, including five deaths…

WHO does not advise special screening at points of entry with regard to this event nor does it recommend that any travel or trade restrictions be applied.

WHO continues to closely monitor the situation.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

12 confirmed cases of this new coronavirus. 5 deaths.

The vibe I’m getting from public health circles is that human-to-human transmission of NCoV is pretty difficult, so there’s not much worry of a pandemic at this point in time.

Still, like the WHO suggested in their bulletin, it’s something worth keeping an eye on. People infected with the novel coronavirus have developed acute respiratory illness with symptoms of shortness of breath, cough, and pneumonia. There are no specific treatments for the illnesses caused by the virus.

By last summer, the coronavirus that now had a foothold in the Middle East was being called MERS, or MERS-CoV on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Coronavirus/Novel coronavirus/MERS/MERS-CoV- something to keep an eye out for in addition to Ebola.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Almashabi, Deema and Staley, Oliver. “Saudi Arabia Seeks to Ease Concerns After New MERS Cases.” Bloomberg.com. 15 Apr. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-15/saudi-arabia-seeks-to-ease-concerns-after-new-mers-cases.html). 15 Apr. 2014.

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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 Africa, Europe, Health, Middle East No Comments

CBO: Updated 2014-2024 Budget Projections Show Substantially Rising Budget Shorfalls, Federal Debt

That idea that the U.S. could someday resemble a “banana republic” might not be too far off the mark. From the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office website today:

As it usually does each spring, CBO has updated the baseline budget projections that it released earlier in the year…

Between 2015 and 2024, annual budget shortfalls are projected to rise substantially—from a low of $469 billion in 2015 to about $1 trillion from 2022 through 2024—mainly because of the aging population, rising health care costs, an expansion of federal subsidies for health insurance, and growing interest payments on federal debt. CBO expects that cumulative deficits during that decade will equal $7.6 trillion if current laws remain unchanged. As a share of GDP, deficits are projected to rise from 2.6 percent in 2015 to about 4 percent near the end of the 10-year period. By comparison, the deficit averaged 3.1 percent of GDP over the past 40 years and 2.3 percent in the 40 years before fiscal year 2008, when the most recent recession began. From 2015 through 2024, both revenues and outlays are projected to be greater than their 40-year averages as a percentage of GDP (see the figure below)…

In CBO’s baseline projections, federal debt held by the public reaches 78 percent of GDP by 2024, up from 72 percent at the end of 2013 and twice the 39 percent average of the past four decades (see the figure below). As recently as the end of 2007, federal debt equaled just 35 percent of GDP

Such high and rising debt would have serious negative consequences. Federal spending on interest payments would increase considerably when interest rates rose to more typical levels. Moreover, because federal borrowing would eventually raise the cost of investment by businesses and other entities, the capital stock would be smaller, and productivity and wages lower, than if federal borrowing was more limited. In addition, high debt means that lawmakers would have less flexibility than they otherwise would to use tax and spending policies to respond to unexpected challenges. Finally, high debt increases the risk of a fiscal crisis in which investors would lose so much confidence in the government’s ability to manage its budget that the government would be unable to borrow at affordable rates…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read the entire assessment and view the complete document on the CBO website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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WHO: ‘One Of The Most Challenging Ebola Outbreaks That We Have Ever Faced’

Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve been following that Ebola outbreak in West Africa for some time now. Here’s the latest from CNN tonight:

The Ebola outbreak in coastal West Africa is still contained to Guinea and Liberia, the World Health Organization announced Tuesday, despite rumors of the virus spreading to other countries.

Cases have been reported in Sierra Leone, Mali and Ghana, but the WHO says none has been confirmed. Rumored cases in Mali are still being investigated.

The number of suspected cases in Guinea has grown to 157, with 101 deaths. Sixty-seven have been confirmed as Ebola. In Liberia, 21 cases have been reported, including 10 deaths. Five of the cases have been confirmed as Ebola.

The outbreak has “rapidly evolved” since originating in the forests of southeastern Guinea. The city of Guekedou, near the borders with Sierra Leone and Liberia, has seen the majority of the deaths.

Twenty cases are believed to have occurred in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, according to WHO.

“This is one of the most challenging Ebola outbreaks that we have ever faced,” said Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In my March 24 post, I noted that Laurent Duvillier, a UNICEF spokesperson, warned in an e-mail that same day:

Risk of international spread should be taken seriously.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Meanwhile, U.S. public health officials don’t seem to be too concerned about the outbreak coming to our shores.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

“WHO: Ebola outbreak one of ‘most challenging.’” CNN. 8 Apr. 2014. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/08/health/africa-ebola/). 8 Apr. 2014.

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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 Africa, Emergencies, Health, Preparedness No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 24: Restart And Recap

It’s been a few months since I last published a “Project Prepper” post.

Considering all the material I have that’s just waiting to be blogged about, I don’t envision another layoff like that one happening again soon with this or one of the other series of posts currently running on Survival And Prosperity.

Today, I want to recap the “Project Prepper” series so far.

At two dozen posts, key topics I’ve blogged about since October 2012- when the first post debuted- have included:

• Starting up the “Project Prepper” series due to an increased awareness of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to life and lifestyle where I’ve decided to acquaint myself more with “prepping” via a sustained “hands-on” program of learning by doing

• Relocating from Chicago to the suburbs with an eye towards eventually settling down in Wisconsin (moved from Chicago to the northwest suburbs in late spring 2013)

• Establishing a prioritized list of 6 “innate survival needs” that my preparedness education will focus on:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

• Starting and building the foundation of an emergency water supply

• Starting an emergency food supply

Now, in these two dozen posts I’ve talked about items I’ve purchased as part of the “Project Prepper” series. For example, the Scepter 5 Gallon Manual Venting Water Jerry Can with CRC (Light Blue/Military Style) to store emergency water.

Going forward, I’m adding a new page to Survival And Prosperity this weekend entitled “Gear And Supplies” where I’ll be listing gear, supplies, and other items talked about in this series of posts and elsewhere on the blog- and links for where to buy them- if I feel they might offer something to readers.

It’s nice to be back in the saddle again. Until next week…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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