Religions and territories in Europe, Africa and Middle East – Maps

25 ago

Le mappe – come tutte le rappresentazioni pittografiche –  parlano da sole. These maps – as any pictographic representation – speak for themselves.















Originally posted on Demata

Islamic State: why USA were (again) caught unprepared?

25 ago

Obama’s management of policies towards the Islamic countries and Israel – if might seem like a new American isolationism, until last year – could be affected by a very clear inability to understand the motivations, strategies and phenomena. Much more than during the management of G. W. Bush.

The list is long: the Escape from Iraq, the leave from Afghanistan and Central Asia, the ‘secular’ uprisings  (Day of Rage) in North Africa, the Islamic uprise in Egypt and Libya (as in ‘French’ Algeria and Tunisia things are different), the defeat of the embassy in Benghazi, the weakening of Assad in Syria with the bad results that we know, the unjustified ostracism toward Iran (which as usual is behaving responsibly), the free hand of Israel in the Palestinian Territories and, today, the decision to use drones only when IS was at the gates of Baghdad and after having left them to pillage arsenals and gold reserves of the banks, as well as take control of mines and oil wells or pipelines.


It is not possible that such a series of errors is due to incompetence, we have to understand what the source of that stubbornness to ‘do nothing’, or what could be the point of view of Barak Obama on religion and more generally what do our decision maker study and /or mind on human behaviour.

We all remeber that Barack Obama’s religious background is variegated: his mother was raised by non-practicing Christians; his father was raised a Muslim but was an atheist at the time he was born, his step-father was also Muslim, but open animist and Hindu beliefs.

As a child, Obama studied for two years at one Muslim school and then two years at a Catholic school.
As he writes in his book ‘The Audacity of Hope': “For my mother, organized religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness. However, in her mind, a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education. In our household the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology.
In sum, my mother viewed religion through the eyes of the anthropologist; it was a phenomenon to be treated with a suitable respect, but with a suitable detachment as well.”

According to Barack Obama, religious faith must be used to “tackle moral problems” but not “divide the nation” and too often religious leaders use faith to “exploit what divides us” by saying that the only issues that matter are abortion, gay marriage, school prayer, and intelligent design.
Of what religions should deal if not with marriage, prayer, education and lifestyles?

So, when Barack Obama abandoned this skepticism to be baptized as an adult, he preferred the Trinity United Church of Christ, a little ‘like Baptist’ religious organization that emphasizes the freedom of the individual conscience over adherence to creeds of hierarchical authority.
Where this “individual freedom” over adherence to creeds of theologists – for Barak Obama – is well cleared in a 2007 speech to United Church of Christ’s Iowa conference: “...somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it is because the so-called leaders of the Christian right are all too eager to exploit what divides us. … I don’t know what Bible they’re reading. But it didn’t jibe with my version.”
Has Obama created an his own version of the Bible, according to what agrees with what is written there?  Have a true believer to trust in the whole ‘Book of God’ (Bible, Gospel, Qur’an, Sutras, Bagavagita etc) or just in the part that he likes? And how to overcome divisions if you are not willing to jibe and to compare different versions?

The question is not (only) religious, but politic (that is more general than the one Mr. President): it is very difficult to understand the context of the Middle East and Europe, if you’ve been brought up to believe that organized religion ‘too often dressed up closed-mindedness’ and you follow a personal Jesus, without even being available to jibe your (own) version.
It is not an approach – a method of interpretation of reality – exclusive of Barak Obama and the Democratic Party: we find it also in Europe on the left bank of the Seine in Paris or of the Tiber in Rome.

The idea (wrong) that evolution and progress can be synonyms or that the wars of liberation are ‘holy’ or that a phase of social chaos must inevitably lead to an order ‘better’ than the previous one, or that the engine of human relations is profit and not the personal /private affections. That we can protect children without first protecting the family and the parenting.


What is wrong?

Certainly not the idea that men can join into a unique human project, regardless of the religion or the moral and social ideas that they have.
What does not work is – as mentioned – is the very nineteenth century approach to ‘what is the Man’ and how it can be managed at best.

As example, the idea that a peaceful and ‘wealthy’ society can put in place a “natural selection” of a progressive human race, as any organisms interacting with their environment.

This, in a nutshell, the ‘analogic’ idea that came to life in the many last century theories about the social causes of crime trends. Today, even for years, we know that – in reality – a part of us have genes that make them intolerant of the rhythms and lifestyles of our industrial-commercial society, as we know that our media – saturated with sex and violence – and the ‘education in the family – often distracted or inadequate – are the primary causes far more the social /economic status of individuals.

Disappointing hypothesis  – that have raged for nearly two centuries – if we can not pay pensions without imperialism, and if at least two generations Muslims give birth three times as many children as we ‘Caucasians’ do. Islam developes a social system more adaptive than ours, if we have to stay on those last century theories

What to do, then, if you believe that the ‘equal opportunities’ are the key requirement to create a social habitat that allows the best men (peaceful, syncretic and collaborative) to evolve preferentially on the ‘worst’ (violent, integralist and macho)?
Isolate the ‘infected’ area and wait for each other’s throats … is an old political practice.
It was – for example – the choice of Reagan, not shared by George Bush senior, to prefer the demagogue Yeltsin to the political Gorbachev , when the USSR fell apart. Well lucky for a decade, embarrassing – having regard to expolit mafia-business – for another ten, and, today, here again the fearsome Russian fleet and here again the ancestral relationship between the people and the soldiers.

Same story for Obama in Irak or Lybia or Afghanistan … and we can see the results: the heads of so many innocent people sent through social networks to our decision-makers look like too much at the head of pig or horse mobsters everywhere left on the doorstep of those who wish to intimidate.

Oil fields into action area of ISIS

Oil fields into action area of ISIS

About the primary causes of crime trends, what is the role of religion and where are ‘civilization and education’, if USA and Europe fail to ensure to their families a society where children are not exposed to violence, sex and familiar abuses as in ours?
Who of us can mind the seeds of a citizen coming from a state where family, old people and children are preserved? Or about movidas, just a river of alcool and – not infrequently – public sex … or corruption, which we exported before and now returns to us magnified by revolving doors and narco-mafia-terror recycled funds. Or  the maze of enormous public agencies created to ‘facilitate’ the democratic participation  and … not rarely do not facilitate anything than corruption and expenses.

In Europe, where these ideas were born and applyed, many citizens are going to vote extreme right parties, in name of the ‘people’ (volk) and of the ‘territory’ (sippe) … as the Indoeuropeans did until a pair of hundred years, maybe minus …   in name of some ‘equal opportunities’ and of an ‘inner but cooperative’ system.

In USA, it is not much time from the success of Clin Eastwood film ‘Gran Torino’ and the debats on the desirability of  ‘old school’ education for our young people. As, two years ago, when Eastwood criticized Obama (“a body with a grin behind”) for his handling of the conflict in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, the closure of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, from which a lot of tenacious Jihadist punctually re-come in fight as  in Syria-Irak.
A very ironic speech, in which Eastwood for about a quarter of an hour has “exchanged” words with an empty chair, pretending that there was a sitting President Obama. A return response to Obama via Twitter: “This seat’s taken” …
But can a seat be considered taken if the person who is sitting is also reluctant to make decisions? Or  withdraws its troops and leave prisoners then allows its allies to arm them?

Was just demagogy if Mitt Romney said - during the Presidential Campagn in 2012: “Barack Obama had promised to save the planet, I promise to help you and your families‘? Or is this the real need of the common people in a ‘equal opportunities machine’ where richs become richest and middle class poorest?
I promise to help you and your families‘, as European Right Parties as Islam … as a correct relationship between institutions and citizens
should be.

And in this – today we can say – Obama has failed: nothing new jobs and, if it was not for Fiat in Detroit, not even those. The domestic spying of citizens has increased, as are the taxes imposed on the middle class. Meanwhile, the Californa and Nevada are almost a Hispanic majority, while the citizens of the states of the Middle West and South – that is the ‘real’ Americans – have almost no influence on the election of the President and federal policies. Last years he started a collision route with Putin, because the White House was firmly oriented to support rebels against the Syrian government …

Not only welfare, entertainment and subsidies or renevues: people needs to have education and job opportunities in the place where they were born and according to own talent. Stay home and make yourself useful to your people, what better?

A weak military strategy and absent (or fool) foreign policy now will force the United States to put in place more men and resources, while the relationships with Saudi e Israel have to change because of what is happening in Syria and Iraq.
By the way Obama is due not necessarily intervene until IS was about to take possession of the dam that feeds Baghdad and … in the vicinity of the pipeline that starts from Saudi Arabia and to the Mediterranean.

ISIS Area activity Syria Irak

If, after years of low-profile foreign, was just the first African-American president and the pacifist to trigger World War III – as Pope Francis announced in Korea days ago – not merely a historical nemesis, like Arthur Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister known for the so-called strategy of appeasement towards Hitler and the intervent in France with a crushing defeat in 1940.

Meanwhile, the stock market rises and the dollar too, Germany talks with Putin, Britain is tired of the mess done by the United States in ‘her own’ Commonwealth, France and Italy – in tow to Obama’s party –  fail again to recover, within a few years there will be elections for Obama, Hollande or Renzi and … I would go very well with the Barak’s mom ideas, but international politics can not afford prejudices or amnesias.

Originally posted on Demata

Università migliori nel mondo: quali le italiane?

20 ago

Ogni anni, l’ateneo Jao Tong di Shangai pubblica l’Academic Ranking of World Universities (Arwu), una sorta di classifica generale mondiale dei migliori 500 atenei.
Tra questi sono solo 21 gli atenei italiani, nessuno è tra i 150 migliori in assoluto.

Tra la 201° e 300° posizione troviamo il Politecnico di Milano e l’Università di Firenze, in penultima fascia (301-400) ci sono la Normale di Pisa, Milano Bicocca, Federico II di Napoli, Roma Tor Vergata. In fondo classifica, tra le ultime 100, c’è anche l’Università Cattolica, con quelle di Cagliari, Ferrara, Genova, Palermo, Parma, Pavia, Perugia e Trieste, tutte ben precedute da facoltà africane, asiatiche e latinoamericane.

Questo lo stato dell’arte.

Riguardo la Medicina, solo MIlano e Torino figurano tra le prime cento, Napoli, Firenze, Genova e Bologna tra le prime 200, mentre Roma si colloca nella parte bassa della classifica. Non è azzardato ipotizzare che l’elevato costo della Sanità italiana sia correlabile ad una formazione obosoleta o pregiudizievole e poco manageriale.

Riguardo Storia e Sociologia, nessuna università italiana figura entro i primi 200 atenei: siamo superati persino dall’University of the Witwatersrand nel Sudafrica e da quella australiana di Wollongong. E’ sotto gli occhi di tutti – nel nostro paese – quali possano essere le conseguenze di un tale ‘vuoto’ sull’informazione giornalistica, sulla politica e sulla formulazione e l’attuazione di norme e leggi, sulla formazione e selezione del personale pubblico, sulla formazione dei docenti.

Nelle scienze ce la caviamo, con Milano, Pisa e la Sapienza tra 76 e  100 in matematica, con Bologna al 50° posto e Padova tra il 51° e il 76° per la fisica, con Bologna e Firenze per la Chimica e Milano per la Biologia tra la 100° e la 150° posizione. In ingegneria il Politecnico di Milano è tra i primi 100 atenei, mentre quello di Torino si colloca tra i primi 150 insieme all’Università di Milano e Roma, con la Sapienza, rientra tra i primi duecento. Il problema è che questi (pochi) cervelli spesso li regaliamo all’estero o li teniamo precari fino ad età avanzata.

In Economia, solo Milano vede la Bocconi tra i primi 100 e la Statale entro la 200° posizione. E i risultati sull’economia e la finanza italiana si vedono.

Delle tante blasonate facoltà umanistiche, nessuna traccia. Non a caso c’è in Italia – ancora oggi – un filone di pensiero che considera gli studi universitari come una mera forma di acculturamento.

Morale della favola, se non siamo ancora un paese di ignoranti ci manca poco.
Se dobbiamo lagnarci dei nostri partiti o dei nostri media, dovremmo ancche prendercela con chi forma ‘la classe dirigente’.
Se volessimo processi e cure efficienti, dovremmo prima metter mano ai luoghi – fuori classifica – dove formiamo medici e giuristi.
Se volessimo dei giovani ‘migliori’, dovremmo verificare prima la ‘qualità’ di chi gli fa da insegnante.

Originally posted on Demata



Syria: two young Italian Catholic girls kidnaped by rebels

7 ago

Two young Italian aid workers, Greta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo, were kidnaped  6 days ago in Syria, where they landed since last July 28, practically as soon as they arrived on site.

According to some local sources both girls may have been seized in al-Abzimu, a village to the west of Aleppo, although the internazional aid project had taken hold – initially – about thirty miles, at Haram in the governorate of Idlib, where news are recording an upsurge in fighting by months.

The rebels is seen fighting against the Syrian army as among themselves and they are:

  • the Free Syrian Army, composed by Army units against the legitimate government, backed by the powerful Hazzm family , supported by the United States and whose commander, General Salim Idris, has long since fled to Qatar;
  • the Islamic Front, known to be supported by the Saudis
  • Al-Nusra Front, post-Al Qaeda organization
  • the Sham Legion, Jaysh al-Sham, Ahrar ash-Sham, Suqour al-Sham Brigade, Syrian Martyrs’ Brigade, Jund al-Aqsa, Liwaa al-Umma, all militias made ​​up by Sunni fundamentalists

The territory that goes from Idlib Aleppo is virtually out of control with a series of clashes and the retreat of the regular army – due to heavy attacks with explosives  – as the contending of ‘freed’ villages among rebel different factions, with hundreds of deaths.
For example, the town of Haram – when our aid workers went and monitored – had just passed under government control to that of the Free Syrian Army, while the arrival of the two girls in Syria the same small town had passed into the hands of al-Qaedist Al Nusra of which leader, Emir Yaqub al Omar , was killed by a car bomb in center of Idlib town, more or less as they were abducted.

A predictable risk, if we consider that the two girls were waving the flag … of the Free Syrian Army, in the pictures exhibited on the internet, as confirmed by the third co-operatr who stated that during the visits on March “we were always accompanied and escorted by local staff, with a high degree of safety ‘, in practice armed militiamen.

A combat zone, there’s nothing else to say, of those that even war reporters avoid.

Vanessa Marzullo  Greta Ramelli Bandiera Flga Free Syrian Army

Vanessa Marzullo, Greta Ramelli – Flags Free Syrian Army

Why – with such a situation –  the three volunteers launched the ‘Project Horryaty for the health care of rural populations’, going in Syria’?
Did they not know as  it is more that one year that father Paul dall’Oglio was kidnapped in Raqqa, that it needed several months to have free the thirteen Trappist nuns kidnapped in Maalula? Risks confirmed as real, days ago, when militamen kidnapped and killed in Homs last western stayed there, the Dutch Jesuit Frans Van der Lugt, in Syria since 1964.
Information that at least should have known by Roberto Andervill an expert aid worker, President of the Palestinian Community of Lombardy and operator for IPSIA (an ong federated with the Catholic Association of Italian Workers).

Conversely, from the information taken from the official Facebook page “Health care in Syria-Horryaty”  the curriculum of the two kidnapped girls appears really minimal and common sense would have advised them to work – alone and virtually untrained – in an area where two young girls – Catholic and sympathizers for the unsuccessful rebel faction – ccould easily be considered a ‘military target’, especially if Horray (a) ty in Arabic sounds like ‘liberators’.

In fact, if Greta Ramelli, 20 years old, already had experiences in Zambia and Calcutta,  in Missionaries Charity structures, Vanessa Marzullo has gone in full war zone at 21 years, with graduate studies in progress for Linguistic and Cultural Mediation and “by 2012 will be dedicated to the Syria, the news spread through blogs and social networks to the organization of exhibitions and events in support of the Syrian people in revolt. This culminates in the organization and creation of the Health Care Project in Syria. “

Two quiet girls – grown in the parish circuits  as seems – practically kidnapped a few hours after their arrival on the spot, in a context from which more experienced and organized operators and NGOs  stay away. Practically, a gift for the terror gangs operating in the Middle East.

In fact, cards and warnings for travelers to Syria – edited by the Italian Departement of Foreign Affairs – already stated – on March 14, 2012 – the Italian Embassy in Damascus suspended its activities, while just 15 last July a notice recited that “in view of the current situation of high risk and serious danger, you should not go to Syria and we reiterated the invitation to our compatriots to leave the country.”

“We encourage you to avoid travel within the city … and you are strongly advised not to embark on any trip within the country …  The risk of kidnappings is very high, bombings and violence throughout the country including the capital. The peripheral areas of the capital and Aleppo are to be avoided due to violent clashes among regular army and armed groups of the opposition. “

Therefore, the travel of Greta and Vanessa was planned on partial and / or arbitrary infos, or perhaps ruling ‘biased’, given the flags of the Free Syrian Army …
And now someone will have to work hard to bring them home.

Originally posted on Demata

Siria: rapite due giovani cooperanti italiane … che non avrebbero dovuto essere lì

7 ago

Due giovani volontarie italiane, Greta Ramelli e Vanessa Marzullo, originarie della Lombardia, risultano sono scomparse da 6 giorni in Siria, dove erano dallo scorso 28 luglio, praticamente non appena arrivate sul posto.

Secondo alcune fonti locali potrebbero essere state sequestrate a al-Abzimu, villaggio ad ovest di Aleppo, anche se il progetto aveva preso piede – inizialmente – ad una trentina di chilometri, nella zona di Haram nel governatorato di Idlib, dove da diversi mesi si registra una recrudescenza dei combattimenti.

I combattimenti vedono contrapposti sia contro l’esercito siriano sia tra di loro:

  • il Free Syrian Army, composto da militari ‘pronunciatisi’ contro il governo legittimo, appoggiato dalla potente famiglia Hazzm, sostenuto dagli Stati Uniti ed il cui comandante, General Salim Idris, è da tempo fuggito in Qatar;
  • l’Islamic Front, notoriamente sostenuto dai Sauditi
  • Al-Nusra Front, organizzazione post-Qaedista
  • la Sham Legion, Jaysh al-Sham, Ahrar ash-Sham, Suqour al-Sham Brigade, Syrian Martyrs’ Brigade, Jund al-Aqsa, Liwaa al-Umma, tutte milizie composte da integralisti sunniti

Il territorio che va da Idlib ad Aleppo è praticamente fuori controllo con una serie di scontri attualmente in corso che da mesi vedono sia l’arretramento dell’esercito regolare a causa di pesanti attentati con esplosivi sia il contendersi dei villaggi ‘liberati’ tra gli stessi ribelli, con centinaia di morti.
Ad esempio, la cittadina di Haram – quando i nostri cooperanti l’avevano sopralluogata – era appena passata dal controllo governativo al quello del Free Syrian Army, mentre all’arrivo delle due ragazze in Siria il piccolo centro era passato nelle mani dei Qaedisti di Al Nusra di cui, più o meno mentre venivano rapite,  un’autobomba ne uccideva a Idlib proprio il leader, l’emiro Yaqub al Omar.

Aggiungiamo che le due ragazze nelle foto esibite su  internet sventolavano la bandiera siriana … del Free Syrian Army e che il terzo cooperante  ha ben precisato che già durante i sopralluoghi di marzo “siamo stati sempre accompagnati e scortati da personale locale, con un alto grado di sicurezza”, cioè miliziani armati.

Una zona di combattimento, non c’è altro da dire, di quelle che persino i reporter di guerra evitano.

Vanessa Marzullo  Greta Ramelli Bandiera Flga Free Syrian Army

Resta un mistero – con una situazione del genere – su cosa abbia indotto i tre volontari a varare il progetto ‘Progetto Horryaty” per l’assistenza sanitaria delle popolazioni rurali e rientrare in Siria proprio mentre le notizie sul posto erano davvero poco rassicuranti  e mentre da oltre un anno mancano notizie su padre Paolo Dall’Oglio,  rapito a Raqqa, solo dopo mesi sono state liberate le tredici suore trappiste rapite nel convento di Maalula e  giorni fa è stato rapito e ucciso ad Homs il gesuita olandese Frans Van der Lugt, in Siria dal 1964, e ultimo occidentale rimasto lì.
Informazioni che almeno Roberto Andervill avrebbe dovuto conoscere e considerare, visto che è un volontario esperto, presidente della Comunità palestinese di Lombardia e socio IPSIA (federato con l’Associazione Cattolica dei Lavoratori Italiani). 

Viceversa, dalle informazioni tratte dalla pagina Facebook ufficiale “Assistenza sanitaria in Siria-Horryaty”, emerge un curriculum delle due ragazze rapite davvero minimale e il buon senso avrebbe sconsigliato di farle operare – da sole e praticamente inesperte – in un’area dove due giovani ragazze, cattoliche e simpatizzanti per la fazione ribelle soccombente, posso ritenersi facilmente un ‘obiettivo militare’, specialmente se Horray(a)ty in arabo suona come ‘liberatori’.

Infatti, se Greta Ramelli, 20 anni, aveva già esperienze in Zambia e a Calcutta, in strutture missionarie della carità, Vanessa Marzullo è andata in piena zona di guerra a 21 anni, con gli studi universitari in corso per Mediazione Linguistica e Culturale, dal 2012 si dedica alla Siria, dalla diffusione di notizie tramite blog e social networks all’organizzazione di manifestazioni ed eventi in sostegno del popolo siriano in rivolta. Questo culmina nell’organizzazione e nella nascita del Progetto Assistenza Sanitaria in Siria”.

Due ragazze tranquille – cresciute nei circuiti parrocchiali a quanto sembra – rapite praticamente a poche ore dal loro arrivo sul posto, in un contesto dal quale si tengono ben  lontani operatori e ong ben più esperti e organizzati. Praticamente, un regalo per le bande di terroristi che operano in Medio Oriente.

Infatti, le schede e gli avvisi per i viaggiatori che si recano in Siria –  curate dal Ministero degli Affari Esteri italiano – precisavano già il 14 marzo 2012, che l’Ambasciata d’Italia a Damasco ha sospeso le proprie attività, mentre proprio il 15 luglio scorso un avviso recitava che “in considerazione dell’attuale situazione di elevato rischio e di grave pericolosità, si sconsiglia di recarsi in Siria e si ribadisce l’invito ai connazionali ancora in loco a lasciare il Paese.”

“Si invita ad evitare spostamenti all’interno delle città … e si sconsiglia vivamente di intraprendere alcun viaggio all’interno del Paese … Elevatissimo è il rischio di rapimenti, attentati e violenze in tutto il Paese tra cui la Capitale. Le aree periferiche della capitale e di Aleppo sono assolutamente da evitare a causa di violenti scontri tra l’esercito regolare e i gruppi armati degli oppositori.”

Dunque, sarebbe davvvero da comprendere perchè una certa parte del volontariato italiano non si sia resa conto che stavamo ‘spedendo’ due ragazzine inermi in Siria in data 28 luglio 2014, sulla base di un approccio dimostratosi parziali e/o arbitrario, forse pregiudiziale o ‘fazioso’, viste le bandiere del Free Syrian Army …

Anche questa volta, come per padre Dall’Oglio sj e le suore trappiste, La Farnesina ci racconta di un rapimento ad opera di delinquenti comuni.
Ma voi ci credete?


Originally posted on Demata



Ebola contagion: the state of art

4 ago

It was 1976, in the valley of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire), when it was recognized for the first time a virus – belonging to the family Filoviridae – extremely aggressive to humans, causing a lethal hemorrhagic fever with 88% .
Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a range of symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, generalized pain or malaise, asthenia and only sometimes external and internal bleeding. Some believe (PE Olson, CS Hames, AS Benenson, EN Genovese – 1996) that the Plague of Athens – which afflicted the city from 429 BC to 427 BC and which Thucydides tells us – was a kind of Ebola haemorrhagic fever.

Some populations of lowland gorillas, chimpanzees and antelope of central Africa are carriers of the virus and have been decimated by Ebola, which is, above all, in three species of bats (Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti, Myonycteris torquata) spread throughout the Afro-Asian equatorial belt that have been voted as natural hosts or viral stocks.
The chain ‘food’ sees the bats leave partially eaten fruits and contaminated by saliva, of which land mammals such as gorillas and antelopes then will eat.


Among humans, the virus is transmitted by direct contact with infected bodily fluids, or, in lesser proportion, by epidermal contact or with the mucous membranes. The incubation period can range from 2 to 21 days, but is generally 5-10 days.

Although viral transmission by air, between monkeys, has been demonstrated in the course of an accidental epidemic occurred in American laboratories located in Virginia, but there is little evidence of human to human transmission routes.

In the early stages Ebola does not seem to be extremely contagious contact with affected individuals as in the early stages does not seem to cause the disease, but as the disease progresses, bodily fluids in the diarrhea, blood in vomit and represent an extreme biohazard.
There is no cure or vaccine, only when the sick are handled promptly we have  a 30-50% of survivals.

So far, due to the lack of appropriate tools and protocols of sanitation, epidemics had broken out in the poorest areas and isolated, but now Ebola has come to the millions people town – as  Conakry, Freetown and Monrovia – and continues to expand despite modern hospitals and trained personnel.


Since March, there have been more than 1.20o Ebola cases and 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as several others for infected travelers returning to their countries, including a woman from Hong Kong, a Briton and two Nigerians.

But what makes it so dangerous?

“There are no direct flights from West Africa to Hong Kong, but an infected person has arrived in the city by air,” said the Minister of Health of China – “Since Ebola is a highly contagious disease, suspected cases will be put into isolation soon as they are identified. “(South China Morning Post)
Same concerns from the British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond: in all cases the infected people had been tested for Ebola that was negative.
And ‘this is the reason why the World Health Organization declared’ out of control ‘the epidemic.

The possibility that, taking advantage of promiscuity, and the degradation of the Underworld illegal, Ebola can ‘win’ a city … as in the horror novel The Hot Zone by Richard Preston.

Until now it was thought unlikely that Ebola could be developed with characteristics pandemic worldwide, because of its difficulty to spread by air.
This time, Ebola has been more insidious because less identifiable symptoms: only half of the patients presented cutaneous or internal bleeding but, in the rest of the cases, are prevalent fever and intestinal manifestations and the epidemic had been brewing for months in small villages and widened the metropolitan slums .

In addition, the definition of “highly contagious” – given by the Minister of Health of China – riferisi goes to the fact that the transmission through oral exposure and through conjunctiva is probable and has been confirmed in non-human primates (Jaax NK, Davis KJ, Geisbert TJ, P Vogel, Jaax GP, Topper M, Jahrling PB – FEB 1996) and has been demonstrated in the laboratory (Johnson E, Jaax N, White J, Jahrling P – Aug 1995) that enough drops of 0.8 -1.2 micrometers to ‘contain’ the pathogenic potential, ie the virus.
Recently, it has been shown to be transmissible from non-contact by pigs in non-human primates. (Weingartl HM, Embury-Hyatt C, Nfon C, Leung A, Smith G, G Kobinger – 2012)
It is not a coincidence Ebola and other haemorrhagic fevers have also been classified as Class A biological weapon, such as anthrax or botulism. (EK Leffel, Reed DS – 2004)

But to complicate the landscape, there are two incidents that occurred in the U.S. between 1989 and 1990.
The first took place at the Hazleton Research Products’ (HRP) Reston when they were quarantined (standard procedure) one hundred macaques (Macaca cynomolgus fascicularis) resulted affected by Ebola and sent by Ferlite Farms on the island of Mindanao, in the Philippines, via Manila, Amsterdam and New York. In that case – inexplicably as incubation period of EBO in nonhuman primates is 5-7 days – were also infected monkeys arrived 30 days later the macaques and segregated in a different area of ​​quarantine.

Six of the 178 people who had had contact with the infected monkeys showed serological evidence of infection with Ebola-Reston, but without developing a disease-related filovirus.
Out of 550 people with different levels of exposure to the monkeys (or monkey tissues or body fluids), 7.6% tested positive for at least one of filoviruses (EBO-Z, EBO-S, EBO-R, EBO-CI, MBG) but none of the 42 had a disease caused by a filovirus.
The case of the infected monkeys in the United States urged the Philippine government to monitor workers Ferlite Farms: about 186 people twelve showed serological evidence of infection with EBO-R, while forty indirect immunofluorescence test was positive, but showed no symptoms detectable.

However, at the moment, the precautions to be observed for Ebola are the same as for the other viruses that are transmitted by contact (HIV and Hepatitis C): good hygiene habits, such as hand washing and use of gloves and masks , proper management of hypodermic needles and aseptic techniques.

Citizens Collapsing

The Plague of Athens

According to Daniel Bausch, an expert at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans interviewed by Wired, according to which “could happen? I think so. Would turn into an epidemic too? I do not believe. The screening at airports are essential, but there would have to worry even if it were to be some chance of infection, it is sufficient that health workers should take appropriate precautions. “

Measures which, however, were used by Dr. Kent Brantly and nurse Nancy Writebol, just returned to the U.S., after contracting the infection.

Therefore, as explained to the newspaper Done Pierangelo Clerici, president of Italian clinical microbiologists : “what bothers most of this time, however, the jump is that the virus has made ​​a Guinea … it would be good that even Italy began to activate measures of attention in airports and reception centers” even if it has direct flights with countries there is officially an epidemic.

Originally posted on Demata

Ebola: quali i rischi di trasmissione e contagio?

4 ago

Era il 1976, nella valle di Ebola della Repubblica Democratica del Congo (ex Zaire), quando venne riconosciuto per la prima volta un virus appartenente alla famiglia Filoviridae estremamente aggressivo per l’uomo, che causava una febbre emorragica con esiti letali dell’88% .
La febbre emorragica dell’Ebola comprende una gamma di sintomi quali febbre, vomito, diarrea, dolore o malessere generalizzato, astenia e solo a volte emorragia interna e esterna. Alcuni ritengono (Olson PE, Hames CS, Benenson AS, Genovese EN – 1996) che la Piaga di Atene, che afflisse la città dal 429 a.C. al 427 a.C e di cui narra Tucidite, fosse una febbre emorragica del genere di Ebola.

Alcune popolazioni di gorilla di pianura, scimpanze e antilopi dell’Africa centrale, portatrici del virus, sono state decimate da Ebola, che è presente, soprattutto, in tre specie di pipistrelli (Hypsignathus monstrosus, Epomops franqueti,  Myonycteris torquata) diffuse in tutta la fascia equatoriale afroasiatica sono state  ritenute ospiti naturali o riserve virali.
La catena ‘alimentare’ vede i pipistrelli abbandonare frutti parzialmente mangiati e contaminati dalla saliva, dei quali i mammiferi terrestri come i gorilla e le antilopi poi si nutriranno.


Tra gli esseri umani, il virus viene trasmesso mediante il contatto diretto con i fluidi corporei infetti, oppure, in minor proporzione, per via epidermica o per contatto con le membrane mucose. Il periodo di incubazione può variare dai 2 ai 21 giorni, ma generalmente è di 5–10 giorni.

Sebbene la trasmissione virale per via aerea tra scimmie sia stata dimostrata nel corso di un’epidemia accidentale verificatasi in laboratori americani situati in Virginia , vi è una scarsa evidenza di trasmissioni aeree da uomo a uomo.

Nelle prime fasi l’Ebola sembra non essere estremamente contagioso: il contatto in fase precoce con individui colpiti sembra non causare la malattia, ma come la malattia progredisce, i fluidi corporei presenti nella diarrea, nel vomito e nel sangue rappresentano un rischio biologico estremo.
Non esistono cure o vaccini, solo quando gli ammalati vengono gestiti prontamente a livello sintprobabilità di sopravvivenza.

Finora, a causa della carenza di strumenti appropriati e di protocolli igienico-sanitari, le epidemie erano scoppiate nelle aree più povere ed isolate, ma ormai Ebola è arrivato alle città aereoportuali (Conakry, Freetown e Monrovia) e, nonostante ospedali moderni e personale addestrato, continua ad espandersi.


Dal mese di marzo, sono stati registrati oltre 1.20o casi di Ebola e 672 morti in Guinea, Liberia e Sierra Leone, oltre a diversi altri per viaggiatori infetti rientrati nei propri paesi tra cui una donna di Hong Kong, un britannico e due nigeriani.

“Non ci sono voli diretti da West Africa a Hong Kong, ma una persona infetta è arrivata in città in aereo”, ha dichiarato il ministro della Salute cinese – “Dal momento che Ebola è una malattia molto contagiosa, casi sospetti saranno messi in isolamento, non appena sono identificati.” (South China Morning Post)
Medesime preoccupazioni dal British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond: in tutti i casi le persone infette avevano fatto un test per Ebola che era risultato negativo.

E’ questo il motivo per il quale l’Organizzazione Mondiale per la Salute ha dichiarato ‘fuori controllo’ l’epidemia. Ma cosa lo rende così pericoloso?

La possibilità che, avvantaggiandosi della promiscuità, del degrado e dell’underworld illegale, Ebola possa ‘conquistare’ una città … come nel romanzo horror The Hot Zone di Richard Preston


a-map-of-africa-giving-dataFinora si riteneva piuttosto improbabile che Ebola potesse svilupparsi con caratteristiche pandemiche a livello mondiale, per via della sua difficoltà a diffondersi per via aerea.
Stavolta Ebola si è mostrato più insidioso perché da sintomi meno identificabili: solo una metà dei malati presenta  emorragie cutanee o interne, nel resto dei casi sono prevalenti febbre e manifestazioni intestinali e l’epidemia covava da mesi nei piccoli villaggi per poi allargarsi alle bidonville metropolitane.

Inoltre, la definizione di “malattia molto contagiosa” – data dal ministro della Salute cinese – va a riferisi al fatto che la trasmissione attraverso l’esposizione orale e attraverso la congiuntiva è probabile ed è stata confermata in primati non-umani  (Jaax NK, Davis KJ, Geisbert TJ, Vogel P, Jaax GP, Topper M, Jahrling PB –  Feb 1996) e in laboratorio è stato dimostrato (Johnson E, Jaax N, White J, Jahrling P – Aug 1995) che bastano gocce di 0,8-1,2 micrometri  per ‘contenere’ il potenziale patogeno, cioè il virus.
Recentemente, è stata dimostrata la trasmissibilità senza contatto da suini a primati non umani. (Weingartl HM, Embury-Hyatt C, Nfon C, Leung A, Smith G, Kobinger G – 2012)
Non a caso Ebola e altre febbri emorragiche sono anche state classificate come armi biologiche di categoria A, come l’antrace o il botulino.  (Leffel EK, Reed DS – 2004)

Ma a complicare il quadro ci sono due incidenti avvenuti negli USA tra il 1989 e il 1990.
Il primo avvenne presso la Hazleton Products Research ‘(HRP) di Reston quando vennero messi in quarantena (procedura standard) cento macachi (Macaca fascicularis Cynomolgus) affetti da Ebola ed inviati dalla Ferlite Farms nell’isola di Mindanao, nelle Filippine, tramite Manila, Amsterdam e New York. In quel caso – inspiegabilmente   dato che  periodo di incubazione di EBO nei primati non umani è di 5-7 giorni – vennero contagiate anche le scimmie arrivate 30 giorni dopo i macachi e segregate in una diversa area di quarantena.

Sei delle 178 persone che avevano avuto contatti con le scimmie infette mostrarono evidenza sierologica di infezione con Ebola-Reston, ma senza sviluppare una malattia filovirus-correlata.
Su 550 persone con diversi livelli di esposizione alle scimmie (o tessuti di scimmia o fluidi corporei) il 7,6%  risultò positivo ad almeno uno dei filovirus (EBO-Z, EBO-S, EBO-R, EBO-CI, MBG), ma nessuno dei 42 ebbe una malattia causata da un filovirus.
Il caso delle scimmie infettate negli Stati Uniti spinse il governo filippino a monitorare  i lavoratori della Ferlite Farms: su 186 persone, dodici mostravano evidenza sierologica di infezione da EBO-R, mentre una quarantina risultava positiva al test immunofluorescenza indiretta, ma non avevano mostrato sintomi rilevabili.

Ad ogni modo, al momento, le precauzioni da osservarsi per Ebola sono le stesse che per gli altri virus che si trasmettono per contatto (HIV e Epatite C): buone abitudini di igiene, come lavarsi le mani e l’uso di guanti e mascherine, corretta gestione di aghi ipodermici e tecniche asettiche.

Citizens Collapsing

La Piaga di Atene

Secondo Daniel Bausch, esperto della Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine di New Orleans intervistato da Wired, secondo il quale “Potrebbe succedere? Penso di sì. Si trasformerebbe in un’epidemia anche da noi? Non credo. Gli screening negli aeroporti sono fondamentali, ma non ci sarebbe da preoccuparsi nemmeno se dovesse presentarsi qualche caso di infezione, basterebbe che gli ufficiali sanitari prendano le adeguate precauzioni”.

Misure che, comunque, erano usate dal dottor Kent Brantly e dall’infermiera Nancy Writebol, appena rientrati in USA, dopo aver contratto l’infezione.

Dunque, come spiegava al Fatto Quotidiano Pierangelo Clerici, presidente dei microbiologi clinici italiani: “quello che preoccupa di più questa volta però è il salto che il virus ha fatto un Guinea … sarebbe bene che anche l’Italia iniziasse ad attivare misure di attenzione negli aeroporti e nei centri di prima accoglienza” anche se non ha voli diretti con i Paesi vi è ufficialmente l’epidemia.


originale postato su demata


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