With the most recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, causing the deaths of close to 900 people as of this writing in August 2014, along with reports that some people infected with the disease are now arriving in the U.S., many of us should now be asking this question: In all of my preparedness procedures, how do I protect myself, my family, and others in my bug-out or bug-in location from Ebola and other deadly diseases? What do I do if family and/or friends show up weeks after a full-fledged pandemic has broken out? Do I welcome them instantly with open arms? Or, do I firmly insist on some type of quarantine procedure before admitting them through our gates?
Suppose several weeks have now passed by since the collapse. You, your family, and your rusted friends are now safe in your bug-out location. Suddenly, your cousin and his family show up at the gate, haggard, hungry, thirsty and despondent. One of his small daughters is very ill and is being carried by your cousin on a modified backpack. You had strongly recommended that your cousin join you weeks ago, immediately after the collapse, but he kept insisting the city would be able to turn the power and water back on in a few days. They never did. They took several days packing their belongings into two vehicles, which later on ran out of gas on their way to your location. Now, they were forced to cover over seventy miles on foot, which was no small chore with a sick child.
Simultaneously, you have heard radio reports of a world-wide pandemic of a new, deadly strain of Ebola. It started in West Africa and quickly spread to Europe, Asia, and the Americas. At first, doctors in the U.S. claimed to have contained the disease to a few isolated cases. However, it has now spread worldwide into a full-fledged pandemic. You also heard disturbing reports of many illegal aliens, now infected with Ebola and other diseases, continuing to stream across our southern border. All of these reports reminded you of the importance of maintaining not only normal OPSEC (operational security) but also now disease-relate OPSEC. The few refugees who showed up at your gate were not given the hose to refill their water bottles but were tossed a few disposable water bottles from a safe distance. However, you haven’t let anyone in yet, and now your cousin is here, fully expecting you to open the gate. What do you do?
First of all, here are some facts about Ebola, from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Ebola causes hemorrhagic fever, characterized by fever, headache, joint and muscle aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A rash, red eyes, hiccups, and internal and external bleeding may be seen in some patients.
- Incubation period lasts from 2 to 21 days, and is “often” fatal, according to the CDC.
- Ebola can be spread in several ways:
- Direct contact with the blood and/or secretions of an infected person.
- Contact with objects, such as needles that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
- One strain known as Ebola Reston was spread from monkey to monkey in a primate research center in Reston, Virginia, through the air. This was described in the best-selling book, “The Hot Zone.” The monkeys were later euthanized.
- The CDC even admits, “while all Ebola virus species have displayed the ability to be spread through airborne particles (aerosols) under research conditions, this type of spread has not been documented among humans in a real-world setting, such as a hospital or household.”
So, if we already know that Ebola is usually fatal (“often” is an understatement– the World Health Organization states the Ebola fatality rate is 90%), and that it is possible for at least some strains of the disease to be spread through the air, what types of precautions should we take to prevent family and friends from becoming infected with Ebola or other life-threatening diseases?
Starting now, as much as possible, avoid contact with people in high-risk areas. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. At the very least, be aware of anyone coughing or who looks ill, and maintain as much distance as possible. What about those shopping carts at the grocery store? Some stores are already providing sanitary, disinfectant wipes to clean off the handles. At the very least, carry a handkerchief or tissues for this and other uses.
As reports begin to circulate that Ebola/other diseases are spreading openly into our cities, take further preventative action. Avoid shaking hands with others as much as possible. If possible, wear gloves. In China and many countries, many people even wear anti-viral Biomask masks over their mouths to reduce the possibility of infection. You think these measures are extreme? Just wait until Ebola or a similar disease becomes a full-fledged epidemic or pandemic. I guarantee that you’ll see a lot of people wearing gloves and masks, and you’ll see a lot less people mocking those who do.
What about hospitals? Suppose you have to take your son with a possible broken ankle to the emergency room, and you find yourself sitting between a sick teenaged boy and a sick woman, both of whom have a loud, hacking cough. Suppose the boy doesn’t bother to cover his mouth when he coughs. You still think wearing a mask or holding a handkerchief to your face is weird? Or, to up the ante, suppose this hospital is in a large city close to our southern border, where large numbers of illegal aliens who are carrying contagious diseases are reported to be crossing. Let’s further suppose that both the boy and the woman sitting next to you are bleeding from the nose and mouth, in addition to coughing. Now do you think some preventative action might be needed?
Here’s another one for you: What about health clubs? Most of us are quite familiar with the workout warrior who drips sweat all over the treadmill or elliptical machine. Do you really want to be the next person to clamp your hands onto it? Don’t think that spray bottle of “disinfectant” the health club urges you to use will remove every last trace of that potentially tainted bodily fluid. In fact, we could see closures of any number of sports facilities, if Ebola or other diseases get too far out of hand. You think it won’t happen? As of this writing, several soccer stadiums in Liberia, West Africa, have already been closed, due to concerns about Ebola. In neighboring Senegal, several food markets have been closed. If we see a serious outbreak of this or any other dangerous disease in our country, it will cause closures of many businesses and public services, causing a major disruption in our way of life.
Let’s get back to your own situation. Suppose you do make it safely to your bug-out (or stay in your bug-in) location. As soon as you arrive, be sure to establish a disease quarantine protocol for any new arrivals, whether family, friends, or others. It might look something like this:
- Anyone who shows up at the gate must wait outside, keeping a safe distance from established bug-out members. There are no exceptions. Besides posting the usual No Trespassing” sign or “Trespassers will be Shot” signs, it may be helpful to give a bit of explanation, such as: “Due to the risk of infection from contagious diseases, visitors must remain outside gate/fence until cleared for entrance.”
- Any new arrivals qualified for later admittance into your compound, (family or friends) must camp out in a designated “probationary area,” located a safe distance from your compound. Since the incubation period of Ebola lasts up to 21 days, they should remain on quarantine probation for at least four weeks. Six or eight weeks would be preferable. After the designated time period has elapsed, probationary members will need to be observed carefully for any signs of illness, based on previously described symptoms. They should also be screened for symptoms of other diseases. Only after being cleared should they be allowed to enter your compound.
- Any food and water probationary members receive should be either left in a designated area by the fence/gate for pickup or thrown over the fence. It’s possible that a hose could be rigged up on a fence or tree limb to squirt down from a safe distance into a holding tank for use by quarantined probationary members. The same applies for any implements used, including cups, plates, forks, and even small shovels for restroom use and any other supplies they need. So, it would probably be wise to stock up on all of these items that will be used only by the “Probies” and burned or sanitized at some point later. Water could be also delivered in separate containers, and the containers not sent back across the fence for refills. It may be wise to rinse out used 2-liter bottles now to stock up for future use. Probationary members should never be allowed to touch your water faucet until after the probation period has ended and they are cleared for admittance.
- Probationary members must maintain distance from members of your group. How much distance? I don’t know, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Now, complications are bound to happen. What if, for example, your cousin’s wife complains loudly that she’s sick and tired of having to dig a hole to go to the restroom? Now she wants to use your restroom, which has the “luxury” of well-water and a flush toilet that is connected to a septic tank. What if she starts screaming hysterically and even, somehow, jumps or digs under your fence and sprints towards your house, brandishing a sharpened stick or knife? What do you do? Oh, you don’t want to think about such things now? You think it will never happen? Think again. There is a very strong likelihood that this and many other similar, or even worse, scenarios will play out in the future, each one compromising and potentially placing into jeopardy the health of you, your family, and your friends.
Here’s another possible complication: What if your sister and her family show up a week after your cousin? Now, you’re going to have to establish a second quarantine area, and each area will need to remain separated from everyone else until the 4-6 weeks are up and they are cleared. Anyone who has contact with anyone else starts all over again. In case anyone thinks this is extreme, remember that we are dealing with a potentially deadly disease which, in some cases, has been proven to be spread through the air. Imagine the guilt you or others may feel as you watch your own son or daughter in separate quarantine for confirmed infections of Ebola or some other disease go through the litany of horrible symptoms, only getting progressively worse, as you despondently ponder why you were so negligent in protecting them from exposure.
Do we know for sure that a world-wide pandemic, or at least regional epidemics of disease will happen in the future? Actually, we do; the answer is “yes”. Jesus himself said in the last days, “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places…” (Luke 21:11). Pestilences include any type of disease, including Ebola, AIDS, Cholera, Dysentery, Bubonic Plague, Avian Flu and many others. And notice the plural tense of “pestilences”. So, in all likelihood, we will see a combination of different diseases ravage our world, with varying precautionary procedures needed for each one. In case someone claims that this verse doesn’t apply, because we have always had diseases throughout all history, keep in mind that Jesus further pointed out that the various afflictions affecting the earth in the last days would be “the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:8). In other words, wars, earthquakes, famines, and pestilences will increase in both frequency and severity, leading up to his second coming, in a similar fashion to the pains experienced by a woman giving birth.
Another confirmation of this is found in the book of Revelation, when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are described. In Revelation 6:8, the rider of the fourth, or pale, horse is described as having “power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.” So, we know that plague, which by definition could be either sickness afflicting people, or disease-crippling crops via locusts, scale or other means will, along with other calamities, kill 25% of the world’s population in the future. With the current world population estimated at over seven billion, this amounts to approximately 1.7 billion deaths worldwide. So, the effects of pestilences in the future will be catastrophic.
Now, why do you think God would tell us in his word ahead of time about all these future terrors? To get us prepared, that’s why! First and foremost, we should be prepared spiritually. We need, right now, to quit bowing down before the idols of materialism and get right with God, before it’s too late. This is what has gotten us in trouble already. In the past, whenever a nation or group of people forgot about God and ran after various forms of idolatry, God’s judgment came sooner or later, reducing that nation to rubble and sending its people into captivity. I personally believe that America is now paying the price for our collective sins of abortion, sexual immorality, drugs, alcohol, crime, and other perverted practices.
Throughout history, whenever people have turned their back on God, judgment is not far behind. For example, when the ancient Israelites rejected the Lord, he told them: “I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me,” and “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another.” (Amos 4:6-7) So, the good news is God selectively blesses those who seek him, but selectively curses those who don’t. If we and those around us will get right with God, there is strong indication that he will take care of us in the midst of famine, drought, and disease. On the other hand, in those areas where people reject God, there is a strong indication that punishment will come.
Of course, despite all of our best intentions, there are still scores of people, including many Christians, who are dying and will continue to die for their faith. For example, thousands of Christians in Muslim-controlled countries, such as Iraq and Syria, are being forced to either “submit” to Islam or die. Hence, we receive the news reports of beheadings and crucifixions of many believers. One thing I have learned is that you cannot put God into a box and demand that he act in a certain way to conform to the whims of your interpretations of different Bible verses. However, I do believe that regardless of the outcome of our own lives and those around us, we do have control over our own spiritual destiny.
It may be that even after taking many precautions that many of us will die anyway, either from disease, hunger, thirst, attacks from violent refugees, or other reasons. In this case, at least we will know we did our best to protect ourselves, our families, our friends, and others. Those of us who have a right relationship with God have eternal life. However, to simply sit around and do nothing to protect those we love is tragic. To be negligent is even worse. Take action today, and take even more action in the future, to keep you and your loved ones alive and healthy and to survive and thrive during the coming post-collapse tribulation.