Why is it OK to have anyone traveling from an Ebola infected country travel to the United States? This is crucial because according to MyFox DFW a patient in a Dallas hospital has been confirmed to have the deadly Ebola virus. This is the first of what may be many Ebola cases in the United States, and when Fox News has reported that British Airways has canceled all flights in and out of Liberia until the end of year, why hasn’t the United States?
While Tom Frieden, M.D., the head of the Centers for Disease Control at an Atlanta press conference on Monday stressed that the “strict isolation” will contain the virus and reduces the possibility of infection, what happens if others in his circle of contacts are infected?
The unnamed patient was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas after he reportedly began showing symptoms of the disease. Director Frieden emphasized that the patient had not shown symptoms when departing Liberia on Sept. 19, upon the patient’s arrival to visit family treatment was sought on the 26th and two days later on the 28th, was admitted. On September 30th the Ebola infection was confirmed.
Many medical experts in America are attempting to quell public panic by saying that the Ebola virus will not become an epidemic. Yet, upon further questioning Director Frieden admitted that there is a possibility that the patient’s family and anyone who came in contact with the patient could also have been infected.
More than 3,000 Ebola deaths have occurred in West Africa since the recent outbreak based upon reports from the World Health Organization. The virus infected countries include, Liberia, Nigeria, Guinea, Senegal and Sierra Leone, according to MyFox DFW.
One of the concerns that have been raised by media is the lack of availability of the ZMapp experimental drug which was used to successfully treat two previous infected Ebola patients. Dr. Edward Goodman with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital confirmed that the ZMapp drug is not on hand.
How Ebola is passed:
What the head of the CDC did not state is the extensive ways that the Ebola virus can be passed which are listed in their own fact sheet. The deadly virus can be passed according to the CDC by:
— Direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes)
— With blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, feces, vomit, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
— Objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus and infected animals.
Ebola Symptoms include:
— Abdominal (stomach) pain
— Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)
— Severe headache
— Muscle pain
— Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)
Although health officials are using two primary guidelines to decide whether to test a person for the virus, like travel to West Africa and if the person has been near a person or relative exposed, where do they draw the line? What about the individuals who came in contact with patient zero’s family or friends or even person standing in line at a grocery store in Dallas?
For travelers it is especially crucial that you understand that the CDC is now placing recommendations on Interim Guidance concerning Ebola Infection for airline crews, cleaning personnel, and cargo personnel. This was updated on September 19th. Some of the revised guidelines include,
Managing ill people on aircraft if Ebola is suspected: “Ask sick travelers whether they were in a country with an Ebola outbreak. Look for or ask about Ebola symptoms: fever (gives a history of feeling feverish or having chills), severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea (several trips to the lavatory), stomach pain, or unexplained bleeding or bruising.”
There are far too many questions than there are answers but one rationale solution is to shut down all travel to or from the infected countries until further notice. Otherwise the Dallas Ebola case will be more than a one week headline; it could become a true epidemic.