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Ebola Tag

With all the crises we report on daily, it is easy to lose track of, I thought it would be wise to review the situation related to Ebola, which was the American press panic flavor-of-the-month in August. It looks like another American is heading toward the Emory University medical facilities for treatment:
A fourth American who contracted Ebola in West Africa was expected to arrive in the U.S. for care Tuesday and will be treated at an Atlanta hospital where two other aid workers successfully recovered from the disease, the hospital said Monday.
The other three patients appear to be recovering from their infections at this point. I suspect the quality of medical care here is still higher than in in West Africa (even in the wake of Obamacare). Koby Sebastian Spio-Garbrah, Global Managing Director at DaMina Advisors, indicates that the doctor-patient ratios may be key in predicting the spread of the disease:
An analysis of a basic global healthcare metric - doctor-patient-ratios - may be the key in helping identify the next most vulnerable West African states to the ongoing Ebola outbreak. Unsurprisingly, Liberia and Sierra Leone, which have remained the epicenters of the pandemic, have the worst doctor-patient ratios in West Africa, at over 86,000 patients-per-1-doctor in Liberia, and 45,000 patients-per-1-doctor in Sierra Leone. Nigeria, which has lately received a lot of media attention ironically has the best doctor-patient ration of any West African state and is probably the least vulnerable during this outbreak. Due to climatic factors connected to the epidemiology of Ebola, the northern arid West African states of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad or Mauritania are unlikely to see any major outbreaks. However the tropical coastal states, whose porous land borders adjoin Liberia and Sierra Leone, remain very vulnerable.
A good video review of the situation comes from Paper News TV:

While many Legal Insurrection fans may disagree with my assessment of the limited risk that the two American Ebola patients are to our country, my basic point is sound:  The uncontrolled entry of people infected with much easier to transmit and more common pathogens should be the main focus of concern. As my compatriot Bruce Carroll brilliantly noted, the "CDC’s selective information dumps mirrors how the rest of the Obama Administration has been less than transparent." Furthermore, the only consistent policy approach of the White House is: ""You never let a serious crisis go to waste." With this in mind, what better way to create fear in order to hide policy disasters and to distract people from the news of worldwide chaos then to focus on a devastating disease that is nearly 100% fatal? Cue Tom Frieden, the head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Ebola's spread to the United States is "inevitable" due to the nature of global airline travel, but any outbreak is not likely to be large, US health authorities said Thursday. Already one man with dual US-Liberian citizenship has died from Ebola, after becoming sick on a plane from Monrovia to Lagos and exposing as many as seven other people in Nigeria.

As an environmental health and safety professional who has written a book about "bloodborne pathogens," such as the Ebola virus, I read with both interest and alarm Bruce Carrol's post, No concerns here: Ebola patients headed to Georgia. Shortly after writing that book, I was hired by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta to present a safety training program. While I was there, I was privileged to tour their containment facilities, which were highly impressive. The personnel in charge of running those facilities were also (and remain), highly trained, very professional, and have well placed pride in their innovative and protective measures. I would like to give you an idea of what goes into a BioSafety Level 4 Containment Facility, to which the Ebola-infected Americans are being sent:
  • The use of a positive pressure personnel suit, with a segregated air supply, is mandated.
  • Entrances and exits  contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard.
  • Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors from opening at the same time.
  • Members of the laboratory staff have extremely thorough training in handling extremely hazardous infectious agents, and have already had much experience in handling lower hazard biological agents.
  • The containment facility is either in a separate building or in a controlled area within a building, which is completely isolated from all other areas of the building.
For the very interested Legal Insurrection fan, more information is given here. In other words, if I were an American infected with Ebola, this is where I would want to be sent. The most knowledgeable medical experts on exotic infectious diseases are there and this facility is best equipped to stop the spread of the pathogen to anyone else.

The international volunteer medical organization Doctors Without Borders has issued a chilling warning -- that the deadly Ebola virus is "totally out of control." The Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with infected people and causes internal bleeding and organ failure. There is no cure or vaccine so infected patients must be quarantined to stop the rapid spread of the virus. According to the World Health Organization, an Ebola outbreak can result in over 90% fatality rates. Bart Janssens, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders, said Friday that the international community must send in more resources to stop the current Ebola epidemic.
"The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave," Janssens said. "And, for me, it is totally out of control." The outbreak has caused more deaths than any other of the disease, said another official with the medical charity. Ebola has been linked to more than 330 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to the World Health Organization. The current outbreak, which began in Guinea either late last year or early this year, had appeared to slow before picking up pace again in recent weeks, including spreading to the Liberian capital for the first time.
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