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Are Ebola Tests Reliable?

Published on October 22, 2014

Ebola is difficult to diagnose when a person is first infected because the early symptoms, such as fever, are also symptoms of other diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever and even common influenza. "The symptoms are extremely nonspecific in the beginning — Ebola looks like almost anything," said Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious-disease specialist at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, New York.

Enhanced Ebola screenings began Saturday at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport as authorities moved to ensure passengers potentially carrying the virus don’t make it into the United States. Anyone traveling from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will be singled out by Customs and Border Protection, who will take their temperature with a non-contact thermometer and ask them a series of questions.

The most common test for Ebola is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Unfortunately this test can be negative during the first three days an infected person has symptoms, said Dr. Sandro Cinti, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Michigan Hospital System/Ann Arbor VA Health System. "Somebody could be in the hospital for three to five days before a diagnosis [of Ebola] is confirmed," Cinti told Live Science. "The important thing is keeping the patient isolated until you can get to a diagnosis."

We have already seen an entire cruise ship denied port because of one woman with the flu who ended up being negative for Ebola when tested. What are health and medical officials going to do when the flu season starts in earnest?

ABC New York reports, “Testing for Ebola is done at the CDC. According to a CDC spokesperson testing for Ebola takes 1-2 days after they receive the samples. The primary testing is PCR. This is performed on blood that has been treated to kill and live virus [sic]. So far CDC has tested samples from around 6 people who had symptoms consistent with Ebola and a travel history to the affected region.”

Paul Craig Roberts writes, “Five US airports that have flights to the infected west African countries have imposed screening on incoming passengers, such as temperature checks. This is better than nothing, but if, as is believed, the deadly virus has a long incubation period, this screening would only catch people with symptoms, and, of course, there are many reasons for high temperatures, especially during cold and flu season. So what our incompetent public officials have arranged is screening that will quarantine people who have caught a cold but fail to catch those carrying Ebola who have not yet come down with it.” It is twice as long as health officials are counting on and why they are deceiving themselves and the public about this is unfathomable.

“Testing for Ebola is difficult and time consuming,” writes Time Magazine. With hospitals closed and doctors overwhelmed, it is almost impossible to prove that the cause of death is the deadly virus. “These days, if someone dies, it’s Ebola. There is no testing, no questions. Just Ebola, and they take the body away. No one has time for coffins.”

Tests don’t really confirm the presence of disease, not reliably at least. Many medical tests are deceptive and often useless when yielding up false negatives and even false positives. No test is 100% accurate. The Journal of Clinical Microbiology said in 2002 that the PCR test can yield false negatives for viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola: The U.S. Department of Defense said in August, “The possibility of a false negative result should especially be considered if the patient’s recent exposures or clinical presentation indicate that Ebola Zaire virus infection is likely, and diagnostic tests for other causes of hemorrhagic illness are negative.”

Newsweek published: On July 15, Omeonga’s boss walked into his office at St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia full of worry. The hospital director told Omeonga he had shaken hands with a man who was later diagnosed with Ebola, and now he was feeling ill—the director had been vomiting, had a headache, and was running a high fever. But two days later, when the diagnostic test came back negative, that worry was banished, and Omeonga and his colleagues began caring for the director as they would a typhoid or malaria patient. “We wore gloves, but we were not very strict at all.”

A week later, the director’s symptoms got worse, and he was tested again. This time, it came back positive for Ebola—the first test was a false negative [i.e. the test erroneously showed that the person did not have Ebola, when he did]. Suddenly, everyone who had cared for him was a possible Ebola case. The hospital became a quarantine zone. The director died on August 2, the same day Omeonga began to feel sick. Of the 20 health workers who had been in contact with him during that week, 15 came down with Ebola a short while later, including Omeonga. Nine of Omeonga’s colleagues died. He and five others survived.

The PCR test is cumbersome and takes anywhere from 12 hours to four days to yield a result. Dr. Bob Garry, a scientist at Tulane University is sitting on millions of rapid diagnostic kits capable of spotting the Ebola virus instantly. Garry and his team are prepped and ready to have hundreds of thousands, “even millions,” of the rapid tests ready to send to West Africa. But without 100% proof that it works, they’re at a standstill.

The value of the rapid diagnostic test lies in its simplicity. It consists of a small white lancet, which requires just a small drop of blood. In 15 minutes or less, a positive or negative line will appear on the test, indicating Ebola positive or negative. "They work like pregnancy tests except its blood," says Garry. “What our tests would permit one to do is to basically see if a person has Ebola on the spot.”

Dr. Alan Wu, a chemistry lab director at San Francisco General and professor at lab medicine at University of California SF, said he believes the rapid diagnostic testing is necessary in the U.S. as well. At his hospital in San Francisco, he’s received CDC training in preparation for an outbreak. But if a case comes in that he suspects is Ebola, he won’t be able to test it himself. Wu has been instructed to send the vial to the CDC’s headquarters in Atlanta—one of 12 labs in the nation (according to the CDC) capable of performing the test.

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Investigative reporter Jon Rappoport has had a lot to say about Ebola:

The two primary diagnostic tests for Ebola—the antibody and the PCR—are completely useless for verifying the presence of millions of Ebola virus in a patient—which is what you need to begin to say that patient is an "Ebola case."

In 1988 with AIDS, and more recently with Ebola, I’ve explained the list of factors that would make people sick and kill them—factors that have nothing to do with HIV or Ebola virus. In essence, this is how you create a fake epidemic. Real death, false explanation. You tie together and link together people who are sick and dying for various reasons, and you claim they’re all dying because of the One Germ.

According to Rappoport, “The US diagnostic test for Ebola is utterly unreliable. Using the test to claim a patient has Ebola or doesn’t have Ebola is scientific fraud. Therefore, any pronouncements made by the Centers for Disease Control, where all the US testing is done, are worthless. The PCR is completely unreliable for a disease diagnosis. Why? Two reasons. First, technicians start with a tiny, tiny sample of genetic material from the patient. This sample may or may not be part of a virus. Mistakes can be made. Obviously, the techs want the sample to be viral in nature; otherwise, the diagnostic test will be a complete bust. But more importantly, the whole rationale for PCR is wrongheaded. Doctors and researchers only find a miniscule bit of hopefully relevant material in the patient to begin with. The PCR amplifies that bit so it can be observed. But to consider the possibility that a virus is causing a disease in a patient, there must be huge numbers of that virus working actively in his body. The PCR never establishes that. Finding a tiny trace of viral material in a patient says absolutely nothing about whether he is ill, has been ill, or will become ill.

“Don’t be misled by pronouncements that “previously healthy people,” exposed to a virus, suddenly collapsed and died. You have no idea whether those people (health workers, for example) were previously healthy. A very detailed investigation by competent and unbiased people is necessary to establish the truth. Further, automatically assuming the “previously healthy” people were serious infected with a particular virus—without effectively testing them—is absurd. One of the cornerstones of (fraudulent) AIDS mythology is that a group of previously healthy men, being treated at the UCLA hospital, had their immune systems wiped out by HIV and only HIV. This was an enormous lie. While conducting research for my book AIDS Inc., I studied the published medical summaries on those men and it was obvious, from the number and types of medical drugs they’d taken in the past, that they were anything but “previously healthy.” In other words, a number of factors contributed to their immune-system collapse”, concludes Rappoport

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Dr. Mark Sircus AC., OMD, DM (P)

Professor of Natural Oncology, Da Vinci Institute of Holistic Medicine
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine
Founder of Natural Allopathic Medicine

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