Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, brought in from Liberia by a man visiting family in Dallas, Texas. He had been here about a week before becoming ill enough to go to the emergency room. He told ER medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital he was visiting from Liberia, noting the Ebola outbreak there, and true to my biggest fear they dropped the ball – into the fire, per say – and released him after failing to recognize his symptoms. He returned to the ER two days later, by ambulance, and was admitted immediately.
He has since been diagnosed and CDC representatives are going door-to-door in the neighborhood surveying neighbors. The ambulance he rode in is no longer in use until it has been decontaminated. The hospital is taking the necessary precautions now. But originally, protocols were not followed, and this is disconcerting to me, especially in a place like Dallas that has a huge international traveling population.
The man’s family has five school-aged children he has been in contact with, who then went to school. I pray none of those children get sick. That could be absolutely catastrophic. Kids touch and share all kinds of things and are not great at washing their hands. We all know this. Kids get diarrhea, vomit, and have traces of saliva, urine, and feces on their hands. And they are almost always sweaty, especially if they are outdoors. I’m not panicking about this, nor do I think anyone else should, but this is some frightening shit. THAT is why the medical protocols were put in place and that is why I am so upset that the hospital missed this on first visit.
Besides being spread by all bodily fluids, Ebola can also survive outside the body for one to two days. Simply touching an infected person can be fatal. The virus is continuing to spread in West Africa at an alarming rate, making this the deadliest outbreak in history. Many frightened and confused infected people in those countries are hiding from health workers – hiding in their homes infecting their families and others in their villages out of fear and ignorance. Ignorance is often deadly.
I heard on the news last night that so far there have been almost 6600 confirmed cases of Ebola and almost 3100 deaths. I also heard The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation granted the World Health Organization $4 million for help in the Ebola fight, as well as so many others working to help by contributing time, money, knowledge and expertise – especially those on the front lines trying to stop the monster from spreading any further.
Getting back to the U.S. case, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden seems quite confident that there is no danger of this disease spreading out of control. I’m glad he is so sure, because I’m afraid that I’m not. I read somewhere when asked if this newly diagnosed Ebola patient would be sent to one of the four isolation units in the country, Frieden had said this was not needed because “virtually any hospital can provide the proper care and infection control” – seriously … hospitals have high infection rates resulting in “superbugs” over the last decade or so.
I would think the special isolation units have highly-trained staff to provide care – staff who have practiced exposure to these types of infectious diseases. I certainly hope Dallas doesn’t drop the ball again.
After this initial blunder, I hope all medical professionals are following the CDC protocols put into place regarding this disease. They are truly our first line of defense in this battle and they have to be ever vigilant.
Just something I was thinking about . . .