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Would You Help A Neighbor After An Emergency?

Would You Help A Stranger After An Emergency?

By Rich Gilbreath SHTFandGO February 7th, 2019 (Free License to share with link back to original article)

Reality

We all know people that do not prepare, save, or stock up on water, food, and supplies. One thing certain after an emergency event, there will be people without provisions, or people that have lost their supplies to flooding, fire, etc. If you live in an urban area or highly populated community, you will undoubtedly run into those in need. The question you will be forced to consider, “Do you Help?” If you are one of the prepared and have a surplus of supplies, will you give aid, food, and water to those around you in need? There’s a good argument to make for either decision. Let’s analyze the benefits of helping your fellow man and the detriments and exposure to harm you may be accepting.

Helping Others

Anyone that has received help from a stranger in a minor situation, as in a disabled car, dead battery, or a flat tire, definitely feels the immense power of good will, and a feeling of indebted gratitude. Now multiply this exponentially, when a major disaster, catastrophe, or emergency situation is forced upon the public, and people are placed in a hopeless situation. Anyone in distress will be highly emotional with fear, doubt, disbelief, and perhaps anger. These feelings will be compounded if the person in distress has a family or perhaps small children. The saying, “Don’t mess with momma bear”, rings true in humans as well. When you couple a high stress situation, with a family’s fear for their children, people will make rash decisions in the attempt to protect family. This in turn can and will put your family in danger, if this happens. I personally have been on the side of receiving help and is one reason why I prepare for emergency. I do not want to repeat that scenario if at all possible, be it even the most prepared can find themselves in dire straits.

Individual possibilities are endless but here are a few as an exercise in thought.

  1. A person or family graciously accepts your help calm and orderly.
  2. A person or family accepts your help, is gracious, scared and overwhelming offers to repay you and attempts to help with any work to be performed.
  3. A person or family accepts your help, but seems scared and distant.
  4. A person or family accepts your help, but seems ungrateful or indifferent
  5.  A person or family accepts your help, and begins asking questions about you, your family, and how you’re able to help others.

All the above situations have a different dynamic, but every possibility would require situational awareness and some much more than others.

Let’s break each one down to help understand the underlying issues.

  1. A person that is very calm and orderly, seems benign on the surface, but one should be aware and understand that, in an emergency people are scared and unsure. If a person had just witnessed a life changing event, they will be rattled, and understandably so. I would pay close attention to someone that accepted help, and had very little emotion. This could be a result of shock, but nevertheless, be aware.
  2. A person that accepts your help but is emotionally upset is a normal reaction. A person that receives help and thanks you and offers to help out anyway they can, is on the surface a more trustworthy person. This doesn’t dismiss the fact that you don’t know this person, or their family, so still keep aware, but your alarm bells are not ringing.
  3. A person that accepts your help, is scared and distant or quiet may just simply be in shock, and unable to function properly. This person may need more attention to help calm down, and would recommend having someone stay with this person and understand that people that are scared, can flip out. I would help out this person to the best of my ability, but I would not allow this person near any sensitive property, or I would not share any information about how well you are equipped.
  4. and 5. These two situations, would immediately raise all red flags. I can understand people being in shock or in disbelief, but if someone showed the slightest indifference to even ungratefulness, they would be removed immediately. I would still help the person asking questions, because people are curious, but after aid had been given, they would be asked to go. If questions were asked after a longer period of time with this person or people, but they seemed helpful and very gracious, I would just accept they may be curious, but I would have to make a judgement call at that time, and assess the personality and situation.

Practice a high level of Situational awareness regardless of the encounter.

Obviously, these examples above are just some of the possibilities. Be aware that in helping others, you are assuming and putting your family at some level of risk. This should be evaluated on an individual basis, and yet, we should never lose the fact we are humans, and humanitarian efforts should be made to help others in need. That doesn’t mean you have to do it with blind faith. While humanitarian efforts will be rewarded most times, human atrocities have and always will exist. It is good to help your fellow man, but just as you have prepared for you and your family, prepare to make hard decisions to protect them as well. This exercise, doesn’t mean you will help others, but it at least get you preparing and thinking about this kind of decision, before it is thrust upon you and you have to make a decision quickly.

What to Give

We have seen after natural disasters, people in general are willing to go to great lengths to help others. Helping others after an emergency seems like a noble endeavor. You have to ask yourself, wouldn’t you want someone to help you if you were in distress. What to do, and how to react are not always clear. Some things you will need to focus on are possible length of the emergency, how much provisions you have available, and whether or not you have supplies to spare.

How to make an evaluation:

  1. Person or persons requesting help appear to be in actual need.
  2. Person or persons are injured.
  3. Person or persons needing help are willing to trade provisions. example (clean water for food)
  4. Provisions person or persons are asking for will put myself or family in need.
  5. Person or persons requesting aid may want more than I’m willing to give in an unknown duration of emergency.
  6. By helping others, I will be showing my provision status and possibly undulley putting my family at risk of theft or attack.
  7. By helping some people, I will be inviting others to request help which could deplete my provisions.
  8. Violence and civil unrest has broken out threatening myself and family well being.

There is plenty of good reasons to help others in distress. There are also very good reason, not to help. You and your family will need to make a decision on each situation your presented with at the time. Just think about different options you have, and what level you may be willing to contribute. There is no right or wrong answer. There is just your answer. Sometimes when choosing to help others, your emotions may be at a high level, especially if the decision to help includes young children.

Protection

If you decide to help others or not, you need to protect your family. Using your awareness of the situation, you will need to decide ahead of any conflict, whether you are willing and to what extent you will defend your provisions and family. The extent of emergency will be a factor. For example, a destructive tornado, being a localized event, will have emergency support people helping after the disaster has passed. Where as, a national or world disaster, may not ever have emergency professionals coming. These factors will greatly change the way you think about helping others.

Some things to think about in preparation.

  1. Do not show others your provisions, how much you have, where they are exactly, and how much protective devices you possess.Plan to have extra. This can be used to help others, or to barter with.
  2. Make a plan for emergency. Share with family members where things are, and how to access them.
  3. Set protection areas and how to secure your property.
  4. Make decisions ahead of an emergency.

In Closing

Whatever you decide and how you react in an emergency situation, you will need to live with your decisions. Deciding to help others or use deadly force during a disaster, doesn’t automatically exonerate you from responsibility or allows you a clear conscience. If you and your family are threatened use like force in response. If you decide to help others, realize you may be on the receiving end of help at some point in the future. Be kind, Be good, and Good Happens to You. Live by this and you will be fine.

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A Closet Full of Toilet Paper.

A Closet Full of Toilet Paper

A story written by Rich Gilbreath January 17th, 2019

Prepping was just living before it was prepping. I used to love going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. They lived in a country community surrounded by orange groves and barren hills in the foothills of central California. The smell of a wood fire burning is their cast iron stove, the fishing trips to the local lake, and a closet full of toilet paper brings a smile to my face even now. Many laughs were had, at my Grandpa’s expense over the years, about his closet full of toilet paper. When I was a young child I never could understand why they had so much toilet paper, but this is how my story began.

Grandpa Dotson was born in Abilene, Texas , 1917 to parents originally from Tennessee. This was at a time before the Great Depression, but during WWI. As a child, life was not easy, and the family travelled around the area looking for work. They settled in an area with Mom, Dad, and the extended family that needed farm workers. At this time in our history the US was wrapped up in WWI and the war machine and the resulting economics were in full swing. Farms across the country were not sharing in any prosperity the war had produced for many other sectors such a manufacturing and steel working. Farm and produce prices plummeted and farm workers were left behind. You can see from the charts below, Farms were beginning to be foreclosed upon at a higher and higher rate year after year. Displaced farm workers were forced into a situation that was difficult to recover from easily. Since Most farm workers didn’t know much other than farming, as it was a way of life. To compound things, workers that once worked in the fields picking cotton and fruit were experiencing displacement by more and more modern equipment, making large farms more efficient, and smaller farms that couldn’t afford equipment, just failed. Sharecropping had then become the family business, and farm workers did whatever they could to put food on the table. This proved to be a difficult thing to accomplish.

Sharecropping is a form of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on their portion of land. Mostly families would sharecrop because it was the only option left. Media many times, shows poor black families were tied to the land with no way out, but all ethnic families were affected. My grandfather’s family were sharecroppers and lived by and off the land, literally.

After Delbert’s Grandparents died and mid Great Depression, the family out of opportunities, relocated to Farmersville, California to the Government Work Camps for the poor. The entire family had to find work when and wherever they could. His parents, brothers and children picked cotton, oranges, and fruit in various fields around the area. This depressionary time was tough for so many families and people were suffering. The Grapes of Wrath was much more than a book by Steinbeck, it was real life and it wasn’t easy.

The Great Depression, Work Camps, and Starvation were just the precursor to the real challenge for Delbert Dotson.

Once The Great Depression broke and families began getting back to work and providing for their families, tragedy struck the family once again. Grandpa Dotson was able to save enough money to buy a parcel of land in a partnership with his brother located in Visalia, California. This parcel included a group of small rental homes and finally allowed the family the appearance of some security. Things were actually beginning to look up.

The polio vaccine was beginning to be released in 1955, but 6 years earlier Delbert Dotson was diagnosed with paralytic polio. The virus attacked and left him unable to walk or provide for his family for over a year. He was one of the lucky ones though. The disease didn’t cripple or kill him completely, but rather left him with one side of his body weak and atrophied. He learned to walk again and began working in jobs that didn’t require leg strength. Grandpa never recovered completely, but was able to walk well enough to continue working and still continued to provide for the family. The old adage, “What doesn’t kill you” proved too true on a very real level. Ruby, his wife, his children and other family members were able to find work in the cannery industry and field work. This allowed the family to keep the property and put food on the table.

The lessons learned from a life in the early to mid 1900’s were of hard knocks for so many families. History shows a great time of prosperity for so many families after WW2, and this is true, but many families struck by tragedy, hardships, or wrong career choices, ended up in the food lines at some point. This story is not to dissimilar from many other families born in or around the Great Depression. People that prevailed during hardships learned that the only way to survive, even in modern times, was to work hard and prepare for tough times. At some point, things can and will go upside down. We are currently experiencing the longest period of world peace in human history. Yes the media is constantly telling us how bad the world is, and it is true to a certain level. There are truly bad actors in the world, and we see and hear about their destructive actions all the time. People are dying around the world in war and people are suffering, but as an overall percentage of our population fewer people die in mass today than at any other time in human history. This is your time to prepare. You save in good times for bad. Stock up on food, equipment, and supplies, you may need. The false sense of security could end tomorrow and you have to ask yourself, Are You Prepared? If history has taught us anything, it is that the world can reach a boiling point and spiral down into an abyss of despair. War, disaster, political and economic forces can create a world in which everyone fails. While western societies struggle with which Iphone to buy, the 3rd world is quickly catching up to our stages of development from our early 1900’s and they can and will repeat our mistakes. The fringe religious, the under-represented, and radical mindset, is a modern powder keg waiting for a match.

Delbert and his family did finally recover and retired in the foothills of Central California, and this is where all my early childhood memories are based.

Toilet paper makes me smile. What? How is this even a subject of this discussion? My grandfather’s giant stash of toilet paper, lends me to believe in the future. Many of us actually prepare in a time that is easy and plentiful. A time will eventually come that requires planning, preparedness, and tough decisions. A time when we’ll call on the great reserve of toilet paper we have in the closet. We prepare to survive and allow our family, children, and grandchildren, to survive whatever situation is thrust upon us. As a child, we never quite understood the closet full of toilet paper. As I became an adult, this became obviously apparent. Toilet paper was a luxury we today take for granted, and also a message about a future that will eventually come.

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New Higher Output 50 BMG Rocket Stove by Bullet Proof Rocket Stoves

Bullet Proof Rocket Stove 50 BMG Cooking and Heating

The redesigned 50 BMG.  Higher output, easier storage, and better air control.

Made In USA By Americans.

Bullet Proof 50 Gravity Feed Rocket Stove and Tent Heater

Great Stove for families and heavy duty cooking needs, and accepts 4″ standard venting pipe to use as a temporary heating stove.  Includes damper and ash tray for easy cleanout.

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It’s Time To Leave- Part 2, by Pat Cascio

bugging out in an RV

Our family has a plan for bugging out, if it’s time to leave and things come to that. Actually, we have several plans. I am continuing to tell you my plans. Yesterday, I shared my choice of weapons for self defense and hunting. My Choice of Blackhawk Products Let me share a word on my choices here. As long time readers will realize, I’m a big fan of Blackhawk products. (Know that they do not pay me to promote their products. I just happen to think very highly of the quality of their gear, and that’s why I selected it.) …

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It’s Time To Leave- Part 1, by Pat Cascio

bugging out in an RV

Timing is everything, if you decide to bug out and leave! I receive no less than 150 e-mails per day. Many of these are from our readers, even though my e-mail address is no longer listed on SurvivalBlog.com. Readers kept it, even after it was removed. I honestly don’t have time to respond to every e-mail I receive each day. However, one question I get the most often is about bugging out before, during, or after a SHTF scenario, and there is no one answer to this dilemma. Plan For Many Situations I’m getting on in years. Very shortly, I’ll …

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The Well-Balanced Gun Collection

gun_collection_311844

A topic that comes up in more than half of my consulting calls, is firearms. Most survivalists gravitate toward guns for obvious reasons. If anything, SurvivalBlog could surely be labelled a “guns and groceries” oriented blog, and most of our readers are like-minded. We tend to have large gun collections. We aren’t entirely gun-centric, but our concept of preparedness includes owning guns and having full proficiency in their use. The greatest difficulty vis-a-vis guns for those in our community is not hand-wringing about whether or not we should own them. We’ll leave that pseudo-question up to the leftists. Rather, our …

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Backup Power, A Review by KS

Power Outages from EMP

Backup power for when the grid goes down or you have to bug out should be an important part of everyone’s prepping plan. For some, that power supply might be more important than others, especially those with medical conditions. Those might be people on dialysis, CPAP machines, or any other health-related electrical pieces of equipment. Then, there’s the obvious short-term food storage issue we think about relating to our refrigerators and freezers. Long-term uses might include recharging batteries, running Ham radio equipment, et cetera. Real Options For Backup Power For many years, the only real option for backup power was …

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‘Twas the Night After SHTF- Part 2, by H.C.

The intent of my article is to first, bring to view the reluctance issues we have that keep us from securing our stuff, and also to think ahead when actually doing it. The only thing worse than not hiding your preps, is hiding them poorly! Common Arguments About Caching (continued) In part 1, we began listing and addressing some of the common arguments against caching. Let’s continue with this. I Will Defend My Stuff If Necessary Will you defend your stuff? Have you thought all of that through? If you are caught off guard with a couple of nasty people …

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‘Twas the Night After SHTF- Part 1, by H.C.

Twas a night after SHTF, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, except for the louse; The rifle was hung over the chimney with care, In hopes not to use it, but to know it was there;   The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of normalcy, danced in their heads; And mamma still canning, and I getting undressed, Had just been discussing how we felt so blessed;   When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang with my rifle to see what was the matter; Away to the …

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Smoke Grenades – Any Utility?, by T. in Virginia

gng-smoke-grenades

I’ve participated in a few discussions recently about the utility, if any, of smoke grenades and similar devices to an average person, or even a reasonably trained and equipped prepper, in a SHTF situation. There are certainly some valid points to both sides of the arguments. So, this short article is intended to share a few thoughts to help SurvivalBlog readers make up their own minds. Smoke grenade use generally falls into two areas— signaling or obscuration. Large scale smoke, such as from vehicle-mounted or stationary military-style generators, can also have other applications that are beyond the intended scope of …

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7 Best Tent Stoves To Make You A Winter Camping Hero

Bullet Proof Rocket Stoves 50 BMG Rocket Stove Flame

We are excited and honored to have been featured on Skilled Survival website with one of our products. They featured our 50BMG Rocket Stove in the “7 best tent stoves to make you a winter camping hero.” Here is the link to the article. Thank you Justin Jackson and his team for the feature.

https://www.skilledsurvival.com/tent-stove/

7 Best Tent Stoves To Make You A Winter Camping Hero

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What Would a WROL World Look Like?

What Would a WROL World Look Like?

What are you prepping for? Is it a natural disaster like a wildfire, tornado or hurricane? Those are perfect examples of common events that occur every day. Nature has a way of dealing us unexpected circumstances from time to time and we, as humans try to roll with the situation as best we can. That is one of the benefits of prepping in that you are proactively planning for events, and the fallout of events now before you find yourself possibly affected by disaster. There are large and small examples of emergencies but prepping gives you a method of working through examples and making potentially lifesaving decisions all from the comfort of your computer or as in Sideliner’s case; the easy chair.

From a big-picture perspective we can look at regions where certain types of natural disasters are more common. If you live in areas where you have identified many potential risks as part of your prepping plan, some people advocate designing your own threat matrix. A threat matrix is really just a decision-making system where you assign a level of risk and probability to each disaster. This is supposed to help you decide which disaster is more likely or impactful to your life and thus should be worked on first. For example, California has routinely seen floods, earthquakes, mudslides, wildfires and you have to throw in the risk of blackouts, riots, nuclear fallout and most recently drought. You could line all of these threats up on a page, assign them a number and a risk and start making plans accordingly. Now that I think of it, why would anyone want to live in California anyway?

As a resident of California this might make sense because you have seen the first-hand effects of these disasters, but what if there was a different type of emergency that we haven’t really seen in this country before? What preparations would you make if you knew now that the FEMA tents weren’t going to be popping up, truckloads of relief supplies weren’t headed your way and that sooner or later scores of news media and Red Cross volunteers weren’t going to be descending on your town to document the devastation?

What would a WROL world look like?

WROL is a term that means Without Rule of Law. I don’t know who coined it first but it seems to accurately describe the worst type of scenario preppers imagine. A WROL world could spring up spontaneously or it could grow out of some relatively common natural disaster. To imagine a WROL world you would simply have to imagine no police, fire or ambulances coming to your aid. In a WROL world you would be on your own or left with your band of friends and neighbors to provide for yourself all of the services that are now gone.

If you look around you might have seen glimpses of a WROL world even if they are quickly controlled. Looting is an example of WROL behavior and so are riots. The two go hand in hand but the police rely on controlling the crowd to a large extent to keep these events from growing much larger than they are. If the police are not available or are overwhelmed, what happens then? When the rioters and looters don’t have any reason to stop the spread of rage and violence, what do they move on to next?

Imagine something as benign as the power grid failing for some arbitrary period. Let’s say a fluke takes out the power for the entire eastern seaboard for one month. This could be a terrorist caused outage, solar flare or some random chain of events that causes a domino effect of failures to equipment and systems. Imagine also that this happens in August and the east coast is also experiencing warmer than usual weather.

Without power, what could possibly happen in the US? Do you think riots would break out? Could you see looting of stores? Without power there would be no way to refrigerate food. You wouldn’t be able to pump gas, run credit card machines or ATM’s, air conditioners or ice makers. Cell towers would be ineffective. Would you be able to go to work? Not likely unless your job involved something manual that was completely not reliant on electricity or fuel. My job is 100% dependent on the internet and electricity. Public transportation would be down and even government services would be unable to help. So what would millions of hot, hungry and panicked people do?

What would you have to worry about in a WROL world?

Is this all a fairytale? Maybe. There are a lot of people who believe nothing bad like this will ever happen and that our way of life will keep on chugging along in more or less the same fashion it always has. I have said many times that I hope that is our shared reality, but I am planning for the chance that it doesn’t. My own threat matrix is my gut. You will find no shortage of people who say worrying about things like this is a waste of effort.

By very definition WROL means there is law and order so normalcy is pretty much out the window. With a failure like this there wouldn’t be enough police, National Guard or military combined to help everyone out. All of these soldiers, police and firemen would have their own families to watch over most likely and I could see many of them, if forced to choose between going to work stopping a riot or staying at home to defend their wife and kids would choose the latter. Again, there will be those who disagree and say that the professional soldier, police officer or fireman would never abandon their post and communities will rally together to take care of one another in times of crisis. Maybe when the crisis is over, but not while everyone is going through it.

What can you do now to prepare for WROL?

My WROL scenario above is relatively short-lived. There have certainly been natural disasters where the destruction caused power outages for a long time. In my example, presumably we would have half a country that could rally to help us but assume for a second help isn’t on the way. You are on your own for a month of potential lawlessness. Imagine a month of the Purge lived out in real life?

Limit your exposure

Who makes the best target? They guy right in front of you. If there is widespread violence being carried out in the name of rage or of need, stay far away from it. You don’t want to be anywhere near the chaos that is going on and it would be better to let it burn out as much as possible before it gets to you. In this case bugging out may be your best option so have a plan for that contingency in your back pocket. In my scenario you would have plenty of time to make that decision, but you should have prepping supplies together before the ability to acquire them has passed. This includes everything you need for food, water, shelter, security and hygiene for a minimum of 6 months. Start small if you have to.

Use the buddy system

If you do have to travel or bug out, you don’t want to go it alone. Someone needs to be there to watch your six and potentially pull you out of trouble. In a without rule of law world, I foresee deadly force as being much more prevalent and warranted if your life is in danger. I am not saying to go out and shoot people walking down your street, but if they are threatening your life then you have a choice to make. It is better to consider this now as opposed to in the moment even though I realize and admit that thinking about killing someone is a lot different from actually pulling the trigger.

  • Neighborhood watch on Steroids
  • Thinking of your neighborhood from a tactical perspective
  • Coordinating a neighborhood response plan

Keep an eye out

If there is a real threat of violence in your neighborhood, you won’t be able to simply lock the door and hope they will go away. If you haven’t already, post-event you should form up with your neighbors immediately to draw up plans for security and address any needs of anyone in your local group. Whatever you did or didn’t do before the event will need to go out the window if you want to survive. It takes more than one person to stand guard all night.

  • Protecting your family when the bad guys come down the street
  • Looter Defense Tactics

Arm yourself responsibly

And legally. I am a big advocate of responsible firearm ownership. This assumes you have the training and knowledge of how and when you should discharge that firearm in the course of defending your life. It has been said that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun and I believe that. Just make sure you are the good guy in this situation.

A WROL world is what I envision as a mixture of a war zone and a mad-max movie rolled all into your favorite disaster flick. Essentially, I never want to go through anything like this but if something this catastrophic comes your way, you better make sure you have a plan and you are ready to go.

First seen on http://www.theprepperjournal.com/2015/05/18/what-would-a-wrol-world-look-like/

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Summer Series on Neglected Tropical Diseases: Shedding Light on NTDs

Summer Series on Neglected Tropical Diseases: Shedding Light on NTDs

 

The chances are that if you turn on your television or scan your local news sources, you will hear about infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis and Measles. Now, can you say the same for Buruli ulcers? How about Guinea Worm disease? Chagas disease? Yaws or Schistosomiasis? Your response might not be as certain.

 

This is not because the diseases only infect a few people each year or are not as dangerous. Actually, combined, these diseases categorized as Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) impact more than one billion people every year [1]. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NTDs include communicable diseases that exist in tropical and subtropical climates of nearly 150 countries, and mostly impact those living in poverty with close proximity to infectious vectors [1]. The WHO has created a roadmap to treat, prevent and eliminate the burden of NTDs, which includes five strategies of control: Preventative chemotherapy; Vector and intermediate host control; Veterinary public health; Intensified disease management; and Procurement of safe water, sanitation and hygiene [2]. The goal of incorporating these strategies is to reduce disease burden and eradicate at least two NTDs by 2020 [1].

 

As of 2017, WHO recognized 17 diseases as neglected tropical diseases [1,2], including:

  • Dengue and Chikungunya
  • Rabies
  • Blinding Trachoma
  • Buruli Ulcer
  • Endemic Treponematoses (Yaws)
  • Leprosy (Hansen Disease)
  • Chagas Disease
  • Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Cysticercosis
  • Dracunculiasis (Guinea Worm Disease)
  • Echinococcosis
  • Foodborne Trematode Infections
  • Lymphatic Filariasis
  • Onchocerciasis (River Blindness)
  • Schistosomiasis (Bilharziasis)
  • Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (including Ascariasis, Hookworm and Whipworm)

 

“Neglected” is a powerful word. Most of these diseases occur in areas of economic hardship, strife, and are just a small part of the challenges faced by the affected communities. Those most affected by NTDs have insecurities far beyond what we can effectively grasp in the majority of the United States. While the threat of disease is high, it is miniscule to the challenges of poverty, food insecurity, lack of medical care and poor sanitation. This summer, the Disease Daily will be hosting a Neglected Tropical Disease Series, where it is my goal to introduce you to these lesser-known diseases. The series hopes to raise awareness to their global impact. While NTDs might not be running rampant in your community, our global community is in need. Addressing NTDs requires awareness, policy changes, medical access and community support to provide the tools necessary for treatment and hopefully one day, eradication.

 

 

Sources:

[1] http://www.who.int/neglected_diseases/diseases/en/

[2] http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/70809/WHO_HTM_NTD_2012.1_eng.pdf;jsessionid=C79D57A92E69F28C8657CB3B311E0B5D?sequence=1

Neglected Tropical Diseases NTDs WHO Outbreak News CC Image Courtesy of RTI Fights NTDs on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/rtifightsntds/34949843103/in/photolist-Vfp5HM-26tiqDw-nxM4gF-nghuyJ-fkoX9y-22Dyscq-26wQ9Dp-XyD2eZ-qD9GYg-JMxg7K-nxws3Q-nghrSZ-nghBdJ-26tinbQ-nghAQw-nghmEr-nghy1m-nghNNE-nghiEX-nghsXB-nghSWQ-E5eqcF-WdYcpQ-nghQuf-23FtfgE-WtYu1Z

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Unexpected Hepatitis A Outbreaks Spread Throughout the U.S.

Unexpected Hepatitis A Outbreaks Spread Throughout the U.S.

 

In 2017, several states have experienced acute outbreaks of Hepatitis A, namely Michigan, Kentucky, Utah, Colorado, and California. Each state varies in regards to outbreak onset and population affected, but one similarity has emerged among these states where those experiencing homeless and people who inject drugs (PWID) have been the largely affected population.

 

Hepatitis A

 

Hepatitis A is an infection caused by the Hepatitis A virus, and is typically transmitted through the fecal-oral route or consuming contaminated food or water [1]. Symptoms of the infection include fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, diarrhea and jaundice; symptoms can last up to two months after the initial infection. Hepatitis A is a vaccine-preventable disease. These outbreaks have been severe, with over 80% of cases requiring hospitalization [2]. The specific strain of Hepatitis A virus (genotype IB) is not commonly seen in the U.S., but is rather common in the Mediterranean, Turkey and South Africa [10]. The initial source of the outbreaks among these states is unknown, but several states have linked cases serologically.

 

PWID are at increased risk of contracting hepatitis (A, B, or C), as it can be spread percutaneously [12]. Thus, it is impossible to ignore the role that the current opioid epidemic has played in the rise in Hepatitis A cases among PWID. In addition, those experiencing homelessness often have less access to clean toilets and handwashing facilities, and can be hard to reach when attempting to vaccinate [10], increasing likelihood of transmission.

 

 

State Outbreaks

 

Michigan

 

Michigan began to see an unexpected number of Hepatitis A cases since August of 2016, and the outbreak has continued to present day. Almost 600 cases have been recorded, including 20 deaths [2]. This outbreak is nearly 10 times the amount of cases typically seen over this time period. No link to common sources of food or beverages has been found between cases, but a pattern has emerged where homeless people and PWID are at greatest risk for infection [3].

 

Kentucky

 

As of late November, 31 cases of Hepatitis A have been reported in Kentucky, a 50% increase from the average annual number of cases seen in the past decade [4]. No deaths have occurred due to this outbreak. 19 of the 31 cases have come from Jefferson County, which contains the city Louisville, and have also shown a pattern of homelessness and IV drug use among cases [4].

 

Utah

 

Since the beginning of 2017, Utah has reported 112 confirmed cases of Hepatitis A, 102 of which are associated with the current outbreak. The areas affected in this outbreak have reported around a 70% hospitalization rate for cases; however, no deaths have been reported [5]. Again, the populations largely affected in this outbreak are those experiencing homelessness and PWID.

 

Colorado

 

The outbreak in Colorado has reached double the number of expected cases in 2017 [6], with a total reported case count of 62 [7], and one death [8]. Fifteen counties in total have been affected, with the greatest number of cases coming from the Denver and El Paso counties. Many of the Colorado cases have occurred among men who have sex with men (MSM) and homeless individuals, and two cases have been linked to the outbreak in California [9].

 

California

 

San Diego, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles counties have reported an outbreak of Hepatitis A within California. Within these three counties, there has been a total of 672 cases reported, 430 hospitalizations (64.0% hospitalization rate), and 21 deaths [10]. The California Department of Public Health reported that the majority of patients in this outbreak are experiencingare homeless ness or IV drug users. The outbreak in California is the largest Hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. since the introduction of the vaccine in 1996 [10].

 

The Hepatitis A virus infection is easily preventable through vaccination, however,though many adults remain unvaccinated as the vaccine was introduced in 1996. As of 2016, the reported rate of hepatitis A vaccination among adults aged 19 or greater was just 9.0% [14].  It is possible for the vaccine to be effective after exposure to the virus, if administered within 2 weeks of the exposure [1]. Due to the current outbreak, there has been a large increase in demand for the vaccine in order to prevent further transmission. However, this has caused a shortage of the Hepatitis A vaccine, leaving it difficult for public health departments to combat the outbreak effectively [11]. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are supporting efforts to increase vaccine supply and vaccine policy development [13]. Education campaigns regarding proper sanitation, Iin addition to vaccination, education campaigns regarding proper sanitation are being used to put an end to the outbreak that is now affecting several U.S. states.

 

 

 

Sources:

 

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm

[2] http://outbreaknewstoday.com/southeast-michigan-hepatitis-outbreak-nears-500-cases-20-deaths-89056/

[3] http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/12/11/hep-outbreak-southeast-michigan-extremely-unusual/925112001/

[4] https://healthalerts.ky.gov/Pages/AlertItem.aspx?alertID=43060

[5] http://health.utah.gov/epi/diseases/hepatitisA/HAVoutbreak_2017

[6] http://www.denverpost.com/2017/08/30/colorado-hepatitis-a-cases-spike/

[7] https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2017

[8] http://outbreaknewstoday.com/colorado-reports-doubling-hepatitis-cases-2017/

[9] http://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/30/two-colorado-hepatitis-a-cases-linked-california-outbreak-killed-19-people/

[10] https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/Hepatitis-A-Outbreak.aspx

[11] https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/clinical-resources/shortages.html#note1

[12] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/populations/idu.htm

[13] https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/outbreaks/2017March-HepatitisA.htm

[14] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/ss/ss6501a1.htm

 

hepatitis a United States hepatitis genotype IB injection drug users outbreak Outbreak News CC Image Courtesy of the World Bank on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/worldbank/6442287941/

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Essential Survival Skills You Should Learn, by B.T.

Life is a game of survival. Everything is possible. Anything can happen. Preparation is the key, but what if you are struck unaware? What if you are left with nothing but the clothes on your back and a flashlight? Getting lost in the wilderness or being stranded on an island can be tough, but you will live if you have the will and courage to tackle the unknown and make do with what’s in front of you. The Art of Survival When it comes to events of a catastrophic scale, there’s nothing more important than staying alive and focusing on …

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Getting Home In The Event Of An EMP- Part 2, by B.M.

emp Explosion

We are looking at what might be required if you are working in the city a great distance from your family’s home. My scenario is that I work 50 miles away, which would require a two day walk. I’ve already talked through the basics of day one, which is focusing on getting as far as possible while being the Gray Man. Now, let’s look at what might happen next. Overnight and Day Two So, you have had a fortunate day. You’ve covered 30 miles, but you are exhausted. You’ve eaten once; you are sweaty, tired, worried, and it is getting …

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Getting Home In The Event Of An EMP- Part 1, by B.M.

emp Explosion

I want to open by saying that this is not a blueprint for long-term survival or preparedness, nor is it the same as a bug-out-bag scenario. This is a guide for getting home in the initial stages of a grid-down scenario. I served in the USMC,  worked the streets of this country for 25 plus years and I have also traveled extensively (to 60 plus countries). I have dealt, on a regular basis, with human beings from all walks of life, and there is no accounting for the ignorant and irrational behavior that they display. The One Thing You Can …

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Medical Supplies, Principles of Use and Purpose, by J.V.

Today’s world climate seems to reinforce more and more the need to be prepared for various situations that might arise. Everything from terrorism to tensions with whatever country it is this week. We all need to do our part to be prepared. This includes the medical side of things. Knowledge and Practice Nothing beats knowledge and practice of a particular skill set. Even without the proper tools, if you understand the principle inside and out, you can think of ways to adapt and use what supplies you have on hand. This is the true meaning of survival– making due with …

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Guest Post: How The Globalism Con Game Leads To A ‘New World Order’, by Brandon Smith

Green economy

When globalists speak publicly about a “new world order” they are speaking about something very specific and rather sacred in their little cult of elitism. It is not simply the notion that civilization shifts or changes abruptly on its own; rather, it is their name for a directed and engineered vision — a world built according to their rules, not a world that evolved naturally according to necessity. There are other names for this engineered vision, including the “global economic reset,” or the more general and innocuous term “globalism,” but the intention is the same. The ultimate goal of the …

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Preparing for Chaos, Theory and Application- Part 2, by DF

Order and Chaos

In part 1 of this two-part article, I wrote about the theory behind the reason for preparing for chaos and provided and overview of the laws of supply and demand. Then, I moved from theory into practical matters. I began with alternative feed for chickens, as chickens are a means for sustaining us when the SHTF and our transportation system is not delivering feed, chicks, or supplies to our stores. We have looked at crabapples and how to provide them with various insects. Now, let’s look at sunflowers to use as chicken feed. Sunflowers/Sunflower Seeds One of my neighbors grew …

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