written by reader Ebola: To Parse, Perchance to Parlay


By DrKSSMDPhD, October 28, 2014

[Ed. Note: Dr. KSS writes for the Irregulars about medicine and biotech stocks. He chooses his own topics, and his words and opinions are his own.]

Fruit bats in West Africa

Careful analysis of Ebola sequences in infected Africans confirms this: the entire present Ebola outbreak emerged as a consequence of one boy in Meliandoua, in eastern Guinea, eating a piece of partially chewed fruit, found on the ground in December 2013. A fruit bat had swooped for a mango snack, but the sweet bit had sluiced from its mouth. Fruit bats are a natural reservoir for Ebola, and in a region often short of food, are also grilled or made into soup. In a week, that child and his mother were both dead from Ebola. All other cases have been transmitted human-to-human stemming from this first case. So the Ebola genome tells us.

Some years back I took a roadtrip with friends from Tokyo southwest to Kyoto. Mountains in Japan are always home to Buddhist shrines and temples, and we stopped to visit Kiyomizu-dera, a famous one perched on an unusual hillside: very steep, but not cliff-like in its drop-off. Legend is that when monks residing at Kiyomizu in earlier centuries were grappling with spiritual or emotional matters, they’d often solve the problem by taking a proverbial running jump off the hillside at Kiyomizu. If