Kevin Fobbs
Are you now safe from Ebola in America - how to detect it and be protected!
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By Kevin Fobbs
October 6, 2014

Why is it OK to have anyone traveling from an Ebola infected country travel to the United States? This is crucial because according to CNN Thomas Eric Duncan an African from Liberia, now patient in a Dallas hospital, carrying the deadly Ebola virus is in critical condition. He is the first of what may become tidal wave of Ebola cases across the United States. To stem the Ebola crisis British Airways has cancelled all flights in and out of Liberia until the end of year. The true question is why the Obama administration is resisting doing the same to safeguard and protect the American public in the United States?

While Tom Frieden, M.D., the head of the Centers for Disease Control at an Atlanta press conference last week stressed that "strict isolation" will contain the virus and reduces the possibility of infection, what happens if others in his circle of contacts are infected? At least 10 people, mainly family members are at higher risk after coming into direct contact with Duncan, reported CNN.

Duncan was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas after he reportedly began showing symptoms of the disease and was admitted. 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 and 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.

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, but 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 38.6C or 101.5F)

  • Severe headache

  • Muscle pain

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

  • Weakness
Although health officials are using use 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 friend 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.

© Kevin Fobbs

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Kevin Fobbs

Kevin Fobbs is founder and president of a policy organization called National Urban Policy Action Council (NuPac), www.nupac.info that supports conservative colorblind solutions to universal issues and domestic policies that impact urban America... (more)

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