There is another patient in the US with Ebola, marking the third to be diagnosed with the disease within our borders (also all in the state of Texas). But, there is still no need to panic (and this coming from someone who catches just about everything so, really, don’t panic).
Here are some facts about Ebola:
Patient #1 caught Ebola while traveling in Africa (kind of a dick move to bring it back with him). Patients #2 and #3 were his nurses. These nurses were in close contact with a dying Ebola patient in a quarantine facility. Although fully gowned and gloved, they were constantly handling very infectious material and the simple act of taking off gloves improperly after tending to the patient could have led to contamination and infection. Walking past someone with a fever won’t do it.
I love the movies Outbreak and Contagion but don’t go off and watch them, freaking yourself out to a point where you become a hermit sitting in a bath of hand sanitizer. Use them as a learning tool (mostly of what not to do). Ebola isn't airborne and it has an Ro of 2 (pictured; H1N1 (swine flu) is 1.6). There is always the possibility that the virus could evolve into something more serious (like the initial virus did in both movies) but, technically, that is true for any virus. Do you sit around worrying about when the flu is going to evolve into a flesh-eating zombie-creating virus? No, that would be silly and a waste of your precious mind-power.
So, go buy yourself some hand sanitizer, wash your hands regularly and don’t let people get their bodily fluids on you. Not only will you not get Ebola, you won't get the common cold or the flu either (BONUS)!
In my Google Scholar alert today was a scientific paper that I didn't think would be entirely appropriate to write a blog post about but was too hilarious to pass up..... (disclaimer: this article may not be appropriate for young audiences in that even as a grown-ass woman it made me giggle with immaturity...click at your own risk)
That's right people... this is an article investigating the evolutionary significance of fellatio (if you don't know what it is, look it up). Their results: what probably every male in the known universe could tell you, it happens because it feels good and there's real reward in that kind of pleasure.
But, looking past the seemingly obvious results, what I find astonishing about this paper is:
Today I got the results back from testing my blood for Rickettsial antigens and while looking up the species of Rickettsia my blood was tested against I discovered a very interesting fact which totally blew my lab-mate and my mind.
R. prowazekii is the closest free-living relative of mitochondria.
Let me translate... The statement above is saying that an ancestral strain of a current species of parasite called Rickettsia prowazekii is the closest common ancestor of mitochondria. This ancestral species was a Rickettsia-like intracellular symbiont, meaning it relied on its relationship with another organism (in this case another cell) to live. The term "free-living" is a little misleading, as R. prowazekii cannot live outside of a host or vector, but, R. prowazekii is "free-living" in the fact that it is no longer intracellular, as its closest common ancestor to mitochondria was.
As scientists studying DNA we learn a lot about mitochondria (circular DNA within eukaryotic cells responsible, in most part, for energy production). We are taught that the most likely origin of mitochondria was when one single-celled organism engulfed another creating an endosymbiont (cell living within a cell). There are multiple theories about the engulfing versus the engulfed cells but the typical explanation is an anaerobic (can live without oxygen) bacteria was engulfed by a nucleus-bearing cell. This cell-in-a-cell combo evolved to be able to create its own energy and later developed the capability to become multicellular organisms.
So, this ancestral species evolved into both mitochondria and R. prowazekii: mitochondria when it became fully incorporated into the other cell (mutual symbiosis) and R. prowazekii when it became a parasite (non-mutual symbiosis). In all of the times we have been taught about the origins of mitochondria, it was never mentioned that the common ancestor isn't just any bacteria but the common ancestor of a parasite. It puts a whole new dynamic on the origin story and the evolution of symbiotic relationships as well.
The original statement was found on Wikipedia but was verified by this scientific publication:
A little something to get your brain thinking and to help you obtain as high an appreciation for Bill Nye the Science Guy as I do. I love that man! It's long but its an interesting listen.
The newspaper, almost as much of an endangered species as the cheetah. But, as great as it is having all the news you could ever ask for at your fingertips with the advent of the internet, there is definitely something nostalgic and gratifying about reading a newspaper. I don’t get a newspaper, but I did get a S’Mores Maker (right) in the mail today in a box stuffed with pages from the October 18, 2013 Wall Street Journal. And, amongst those pages, I found this very interesting article (below).
Something to ponder.....
The length of time between the existence of the Stegosaurus and the Tyrannosaurus rex is longer than the length of time between between the existence of the Tyrannosaurus rex and yourself.
...approx. 80 million years go by...
...approx. 65 million years go by...
I am a biologist and my life is crap!