Author Archives: vetmed

Ebola: The Most Dangerous Virus In The World

Microbes, life forms too small to be seen by the unaided human eye, make our bodies their home and use it to live and reproduce. Among these microbes are viruses, more like machines than organisms, with only one purpose: to keep making more of themselves. Viruses inhabit living cells and use the cells’ machinery to reproduce, so the cells can’t work the way they’re supposed to. The results are generally horrible, and none more so than those of Zaire ebolavirus. Zaire ebolavirus can kill about 90% of the people it infects, though the current outbreak in West Africa has killed only about 65% of the confirmed cases according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Zaire ebolavirus image courtesy of The Tech Journal (click image).

Ebola is transferred through contact with infected bodily fluids, even sweat, and people infected with Ebola must be isolated in a health care facility. Symptoms of Ebola include vomiting, diarrhea, and haemorrhage (losing blood through openings on the surface of the body). In spite of this, contact with infected bodily fluids is not hard to come by, and Ebola is quite easy for a healthy person to contract. In addition, Ebola has started making its way around the world, and nobody is really safe. Humans have no official pharmaceutical defense (vaccines, drugs, medicine, etc.) against Ebola, making Ebola the deadliest virus in the world to humans, even more so than the almost invariably fatal (if untreated) rabies virus since humans have developed effective vaccines and treatments for rabies.

So how can we avoid Ebola? It’s worth pointing out that Z. ebolavirus can be killed with soap, so wash your hands frequently. If someone diagnosed with or suspected to have Ebola has been on your property, the area should be professionally cleaned and disinfected. Everyone who’s been on the property since the infected individual should be tested for Ebola as symptoms do not appear immediately after infection and may have been contracted by a visitor or resident. Ebola has a horrifying reputation, and the results are very real. Nonetheless, if we all do our part, Ebola is unlikely to become a global pandemic (rapid infections and outbreaks all over the world). A YouTube video by TestTube puts this matter in clear perspective:

YouTube Preview Image

– Jared Martin

Biomechanics and Human Mobility

The biomechanical operations of the human body can be largely attributed to the classes of lever systems composing the human musculoskeletal system. The human body is predominantly composed of first class lever systems and third class lever systems with high distance advantages. A first class lever system consists of an exertion of effort on one side of a fulcrum and an acting force on the other side of the fulcrum. A third class lever system consists of an exertion of effort close to a fulcrum and an acting force further from the same fulcrum. A Wikipedia image of lever classes with first class at the top (load and effort reversed from most human muscle systems) and third class at the bottom can be found here:

By applying a large amount of effort, humans are able to move limbs in relatively wide arcs with appreciable speed, but humans are not relatively well equipped to exert large amounts of force in comparison to other animals. In other words, humans are more capable of greater feats of mobility than they are of feats of great power and generally can’t carry much more than their own body weight. Muscles operate by contracting and pulling, not by pushing. The biceps, for instance, attach to the forearm near the elbow and pull to lift the load of the arm all the way out to the hand at the same angle corresponding to a larger arc around the elbow joint. If a human were to extend their arm and pushed on an object with the back of their hand, the triceps attached to the forearm would contract and pull the hand in the opposite direction around the elbow joint.

Further clarification of human muscle lever system biomechanics can be found here: YouTube Preview Image

– Jared Martin