Ebola research: Fever not a surefire sign of infection – LA Times

October 22nd, 2014

If we’re only looking for fever while screening Ebola victims, we may be missing 13% of cases. Yikes.

For public health workers screening more than 1,000 air travelers who arrive each week in the United States from Ebola-stricken West Africa, one symptom above all others is supposed to signal danger: fever.

So long as an individual’s temperature does not exceed 101.5 degrees and there are no visible symptoms of Ebola, health authorities say it should be assumed the person is not infectious.

Yet the largest study of the current outbreak found that in nearly 13% of “confirmed and probable” cases in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and elsewhere, those infected did not have fevers.

via Ebola research: Fever not a surefire sign of infection – LA Times.

Falls whitewater letter to the editor

October 21st, 2014

I just wrote this to the N&O:

Thanks to the N&O for advocating again for a whitewater park. I recall the excitement I felt when the Falls Whitewater Park Committee appeared before Raleigh’s parks board with its proposal to fund construction of this park. I urge whitewater enthusiasts to visit www.fallswhitewaterpark.org and give generously to make this spectacular park a reality.

I Saw Firsthand How Nuts Airlines Are Getting With Ebola Fear

October 21st, 2014

USAirways flight attendants had a full-fledged freakout Sunday at RDU Airport over a passenger they suspected of having Ebola, according to one local blogger. How did these superhero flight attendants, presumably not experts in infectious diseases, diagnose Ebola you ask? The woman had an African accent and asked for a club soda.

Yesterday I took a US Airways flight from Raleigh-Durham to Washington, DC to drive some Hellcats. So far so good, right? Across the aisle from me was a woman, from Boston, who was feeling a bit queasy. She asked the flight attendant for some club soda. They responded by trying to kick her off the plane. Any idea why?

If we’re absolutely being honest, there were two very simple reasons why: the woman was black, and had an African accent. In the popular culture of panic, those two factors seem to be enough to turn an entire plane full of people around and return to the gate to attempt to kick a paying traveler off a plane.

via I Saw Firsthand How Nuts Airlines Are Getting With Ebola Fear.

N&O changes

October 20th, 2014

Gary Pearce weighed in on the News and Observer’s recent print changes so I figured I should do the same.

During our fair visit Friday, I stopped by the N&O booth and chatted with one of the reps there. I volunteered that I liked the new changes to the paper (the local section and front section have been merged) and was told that I’m “one out of a million.” Apparently the feedback from subscribers has been mostly negative.

I pay more attention to the local stories since that’s something the N&O can cover better than anyone else. I like that the local coverage is getting more prominent.

On the other hand, though, I do have to fight with my daughter (mainly) for a section of paper to read in the mornings. Not having a front and local section makes it difficult to share.

I certainly don’t blame the N&O for experimenting, though. I think any newspaper that doesn’t try to change and adapt in these times is at risk of extinction in these fast-moving times for journalism.


October 19th, 2014

A Facebook friend (one who does not share my political outlook) forwarded a photo that illustrated the value of spanking. It showed a kid getting beat, with the caption “with more of this, there would be less of this,” showing a trio of young men dressed as gang members. I shook my head.

It reminded me of a spectacle I came across as I was on my way to the Player’s Retreat Saturday afternoon. As I was pulling into the parking lot, a father was loading his kids into his car. The father was shouting at his misbehaving kids to get in the car. His young son, probably four years old at the most, was defiantly yelling back at his dad, echoing his very same tone. As I rolled by, I saw the father’s hand smack the boy’s rear hard before the father loaded his son into the car. I thought the show was over but when I got out of my car I was appalled to hear the father screaming at the top of his voice “that is enough!” He was so loud I heard him across the parking lot even with his windows rolled up. He then drove off and I just shook my head. If his kids weren’t terrified before, they were now.
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Twitches and fatigue

October 19th, 2014

My initial optimism about the magnesium supplements helping with the muscle twitches I’ve had has worn off. The twitching has continued, spread out all over my body now. In fact, one night last week I felt the muscles between my shoulder blades twitch when I was sleeping – waking me up. It’s the biggest damn pain in the ass.

To top it off, we had only walked about the fairgrounds for about an hour before I started feeling very fatigued. I felt like my arm and leg muscles were slow as molasses. It dawned on me that night that I am finally able to effectively define fatigue versus simple tiredness. Fatigue is like tiredness but without the mental urge to sleep. Fatigue is not having any energy while still maintaining the will to do something. The mind is willing but the body unable. It seems that the fatigue that would once make a visit to me for a few weeks every year or so has begun to occur far more frequently and persistently. And it really sucks. I’m tired when I have no right to be and it’s starting to affect my quality of life.

I hope to revist my doctors soon to discuss next steps. This journey is obviously not over yet.

Weekend update

October 19th, 2014

It’s been a busy weekend. Friday morning was the press conference and the official kickoff of the Parks bond campaign. NFL stars Torrence and Terry Holt joined other city officials to urge passage of the bond. As the marketing co-chair of the bond committee, I helped plan the press conference and some of the talking points used. The location of the Chavis carousel was perfect, the weather was perfect, the messaging was perfect, and it all just came together. What’s more, I was able to collect the photographs of many attendees, all to add to our “I Flip 4 Parks” social media campaign. Oh, and the official website, iFlip4Parks.org, was unveiled as well. Marketing has been a group effort, with the Raleigh Chamber pitching in as well as committee members Jeff Tippett (committee chair), myself, and Patrick Buffkin (speakers chair). The website was designed by Scott Reston with video provided by Napoleon Wright. Everyone did a super job!

Friday afternoon was the visitation for Thomas Crowder, held in the lobby of Meymandi auditorium. There was a huge turnout of people paying their respects. I was glad to meet many of Thomas’s family and say hello to those I’ve already met.
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Thomas Crowder

October 15th, 2014

Thomas Crowder wrote the first “What I’ve Learned” column for NCModernist in 2008. Here it is again with some of his words of wisdom.

Raleigh native Thomas Crowder began his career as a draftsman with Holloway and Reeves Architects in 1973. In 1976 he moved to Bartholomew and Wakeham Architects until forming his own firm ARCHITEKTUR in 1993.

Crowder was one, if not the last, of North Carolina’s architects to become registered without formal architecture education, grandfathered under NCARB’s apprenticeship program which was abolished in 1984.

In the early 1980s he worked with Harwell Hamilton Harris on additions and renovations to a house for Kathy and Norman Bartholomew, which Harris originally designed for NCSU Professor Duncan Stuart.Crowder served multiple terms on the Raleigh Planning Commission and the Raleigh City Council.

Crowder wrote the very first article in NCMH’s What I’ve Learned series in March 2008:

via Thomas Crowder.

Thomas Crowder

October 14th, 2014

I began this post back on 25 September, the day Thomas Crowder resigned from the Raleigh City Council. I had to stop writing because it felt like an obituary and it was too soon for that. Thomas passed away this afternoon.

Thomas Crowder

Thomas Crowder

I’ve been in a funk for the past few days after hearing that the health of my friend Thomas Crowder has taken a dramatic turn for the worse.

I first met Thomas in person during the 2007 election when he appeared at the League of Women Voters candidate forum. He reminded me a bit of John Wayne, larger than life.

The last time I saw him was about a year ago. We were outside the Raleigh Times one morning when he suddenly stopped speaking and stared at me.
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Canadian Public Health Agency scrubs Ebola website

October 13th, 2014

As I touched on in the previous post, I recently came across some websites that reported that the Canadian Public Health Agency had recently changed the description on their website of research that suggests that Ebola can be spread through the air. The changes soften what was once an alarming statement about the spread. Here’s the August 2014 version:

In the laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated

Ebola airborne transmission is strongly suspected

“In he laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not been conclusively demonstrated.”

Now here’s the September 2014 version:

In laboratory settings, non-human primates exposed to aerosolized ebolavirus from pigs have become infected, however, airborne transmission has not been demonstrated between non-human primates

Ebola airborne transmission is not demonstrated.

“In laboratory settings, non-human primates exposed to aerosolized ebolavirus from pigs have become infected, however, airborne transmission has not been demonstrated between non-human primates.”

No explanation was provided for the change in the wording, which removed “strongly suspected” and changed “not been conclusively demonstrated” into “not been demonstrated.”
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