'In the Unlikely Event Ebola Does Reach Our Shores...'
Ebola has come to America. A Liberian national named Thomas Eric Duncan contracted the virus in September while still in Liberia. When he became symptomatic, he went to a Dallas hospital, telling them he was visiting from Liberia. That information was not passed along, however, and they sent him home with an antibiotic prescription. Now, there is a second possible Ebola patient who came in close contact with Duncan, and as many as 80 people may have been exposed. Duncan remains at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas in serious condition.
Duncan left Liberia on Sept. 19, arriving in Dallas the next day. He reported feeling sick on Sept. 24 and sought treatment on Sept. 26. He wasn’t admitted to the hospital until Sept. 28, however, when he was critically ill. Duncan never should have been allowed into the country in the first place.
According to The New York Times, “Officials said Wednesday that they believed Mr. Duncan came into contact with 12 to 18 people when he was experiencing active symptoms and when the disease was contagious, and that the daily monitoring of those people had not yet shown them to be infected.” That includes five children from four schools, as well as three paramedics.
The World Health Organization estimates more than 7,100 people in West Africa have contracted Ebola, and more than 3,300 have died – 1,800 in Liberia alone. That’s more than all other Ebola outbreaks since 1976 combined. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 1.4 million people could become infected by January unless it’s stopped.
The White House announced Wednesday it will not impose travel restrictions, which is nigh inexplicable. The State Department banned flights to Israel in July as a political stunt, but isn’t bothering to prevent another Ebola carrier from entering the U.S. now. Some 13,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – the three nations affected – have visas to enter the U.S.
Yet CDC has assured Americans that the risk of epidemic here is low. “We’re stopping it in its tracks in this country,” says CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. “There’s all the difference in the world between the U.S. and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading.”
Preventative measures and treatment are indeed far superior in the U.S., and while Ebola is deadly in each of its variant forms – it is much like AIDS or HIV – transmission requires substantial direct contact with an infected person. It is not airborne, nor is it spread through casual contact. This common strain of Ebola was first identified in 1976 and is a very stable virus with no record of mutation, making it more virulent.
That said, there is no cure. And given that in the last few months the CDC’s stellar status was tarnished by reports that its personnel were careless with some deadly pathogens – including anthrax, avian flu and smallpox – it’s understandable many Americans question CDC’s assessment of the Ebola risk.
Indeed, Dr. Jesse Goodman, a former top scientist at the Food and Drug Administration, warns, “It is quite appropriate to be concerned on many fronts. … [S]everal people were exposed before the individual was placed in isolation, and it is quite possible that one or more of his contacts will be infected.”
On the other hand, Barack Obama said recently, “The chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low … [even] [i]n the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores.” Yes, and we could keep our doctor and our insurance, too. In honor of Obama’s evaluation of “chances,” we believe the CDC should designate the American outbreak, “O'bola.”
So what should you do?
We’ve learned how to restrain the spread of these diseases because of our notable early detection of outbreaks and well-rehearsed preventive measures to contain and isolate the infected. Early detection and containment is critical when dealing with bacterial and viral infections.
While the CDC’s risk assessment regarding the threat of an Ebola epidemic in the U.S. is correct, we recommend you review their Ebola fact sheet, as well as The Patriot Post’s resources for Two Step Individual Readiness Plan for sheltering in place. Keep an eye on the situation.