Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I hate to say "I told you so!" . . .


. . . but I did.  In March.  And I've been repeating it since then, most recently last month.  Now it's here.

A patient at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, federal health officials announced Tuesday.

The patient was in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which had announced a day earlier that the person’s symptoms and recent travel indicated a possible case of Ebola, the virus that has killed more than 3,000 people across West Africa and infected a handful of Americans who have traveled to that region.

The person, an adult who was not publicly identified, developed symptoms days after returning to Texas from Liberia and showed no symptoms on the plane, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said the patient came to the U.S. to visit family and has been hospitalized since the weekend.

There's more at the link.

The victim has been staying with family, so the odds are pretty darn good that at least one or two of them may have been infected.  He may have had contact with hundreds or even thousands of people - fellow passengers on the plane that brought him;  everyone he's brushed against while walking in the street, or shopping at a supermarket, or sharing an elevator;  everyone he's eaten with, or shared a restaurant with, or . . . you get the idea.  Even if he never touched them, but sneezed or coughed in their vicinity (thereby dispersing droplets of body fluid), they're at risk.  Furthermore, the odds are pretty good that some people who've had contact with the victim are now in other cities besides Dallas.  They'll have flown somewhere, or driven somewhere, or taken the bus or train somewhere.  Are they carrying the infection?  Your guess is as good as mine.

People, I can't emphasize this too strongly.


THERE IS NO CURE FOR EBOLA.


There isn't even an effective palliative treatment for Ebola.  The only thing they can do for you is isolate you, give you lots of liquids and enough food to stay alive, and hope for the best.  Furthermore, there are only four hospitals in the entire United States that have the specialized isolation units required to handle Ebola patients.  Better by far to avoid infection than to hope you'll survive a disease that, in this outbreak so far, has killed more than half of those who contracted it.

I recommended some time ago that it might be a good idea to stock up on pathogen-filtering surgical masks and nitrile examination gloves.  I'd also suggest laying in a supply of bleach (which, mixed with water, is a standard disinfectant measure), hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.  I repeat those recommendations again, with a rider to buy them NOW.  At the moment they're all freely available.  Once we have a few more cases, particularly after one occurs in a city other than Dallas . . . they won't be.  Furthermore, follow the guidelines to avoid infection.  They're sound common sense.

Peter

EDITED TO ADD:  And now they tell us the patient first came to the ER with symptoms on September 26th, but went home (or, in other words, was allowed to go home).  He was re-admitted to hospital and isolated on the 28th after testing positive for Ebola.  WTF???  If he showed symptoms on the 26th, he'd have tested positive on the 26th.  Given the deadly nature of the disease, why did no-one in the ER put two and two together and realize what his symptoms might indicate?  Why did no-one take a detailed medical and travel history and figure out what he might be carrying?  And where did he go, and with whom did he have contact, during those two days?  He sure as hell was infectious during that time!!!  They can start by checking every single person who was in the ER with him on the 26th, staff and patients alike . . .



15 comments:

Boyd said...

Peter, ebola isn't airborn. Water droplets in the air are exceedingly unlikely to transmit it. http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/

Anonymous said...

@ Boyd .....Wrong. its already been proven that within enclosed spaces it does transmit from primates on one side of the room to the other with all being in cages.

Might not won't to get caught up in all the propaganda the fed.gov puts out there...

Rolf said...

Interesting times, indeed.

Peter said...

@Boyd: I'm afraid things have changed. The CDC now admits that airborne transmission may be possible, although no-one knows for sure. I wrote about it a while back:

http://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2014/08/ebola-threat-takes-on-new-dimension.html

Anonymous said...

Big +1 on gaining your cleaning supplies now - I'm pretty sure hand sanitizer ALONE will become very scarce, at least in the short run.

Divemedic said...

To be fair, all 5 of the people treated here in the US have recovered. The deaths all occurred in third world hell holes in Africa, where many people still practice VooDoo and have not even heard of basic sanitation.

Cause for concern? Yes
Cause for panic? Not really.
I worry more about the tuberculosis that is endemic among our homeless population than I do Ebola.

Peter said...

@Divemedic: I hear you . . . but I've seen hemorrhagic fever in Central and West Africa - whether it was Ebola or not I have no idea, as this was back in the '80's when distinctions were rare. However, having seen its effect on those who caught it, let's just say that I have an abundance - a super-abundance - of caution where Ebola is concerned.

Peripatetic Engineer said...

The CDC is downplaying the risk of transmission associated with ebola. They say it's hard to transmit and easy to kill. Well, so was HIV and look what happened with that virus. And if it is so difficult to catch the virus, why do they only handle it in a Level 4 biological lab?

skidmark said...

[quote]I recommended some time ago that it might be a good idea to stock up on pathogen-filtering surgical masks and nitrile examination gloves. I'd also suggest laying in a supply of bleach (which, mixed with water, is a standard disinfectant measure), hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes. I repeat those recommendations....[/quote]

Just about everybody has already come out with proof that "hand sanitizers" will not kill the Ebola virus. Other than wrapping yourself in plastic the best the experts can come up with is to wash your hands with hot water and soap. I suppose that would also be advised for any other body parts that might be exposed to the virus.

stay safe.

Anonymous said...

Panicked fear mongering, by a government desperate to stop the November elections,and make "their guy" into Americas Robert Mugabe. Ebola is NOT airborne and isn't even as contagious as influenza. FYI Ebola has only infected 300,000 people and killed 10,000 in THIRTY YEARS. Influenza kills about three to five million EVERY WINTER. If this "pandemic" were half as contagious as influenza the death toll would already exceed one billion. Take a deep breath and THINK people.

boyd said...

Peter, I said "exceedingly unlikely" you said "may be possible" so in order to uphold my status and reputation as an internet old timer, duty now calls upon me to state "No! You're right!".

The guantlet is thrown sir! The all caps key awaits ;-)

raven said...

How does one make a decision when all "official" information is corrupted? They lie as a matter of course about everything. If there was a crisis, they would tell us , or not, based on a political power consideration. We have had many many examples of this, anyone following the financial news know the lying is constant- no gov. figures can be trusted.

tweell said...

From my minor understanding, ebola quickly perishes when dry, but can last for some time when wet. There have been news stories on the current outbreak noting that some people were catching it from cab seats - the infected person was sweating profusely, and the next fare sat there before the seat dried. There was also the westerner that peed on the health providers when informed that he had ebola, some of those workers are now dead. Ebola has to be fairly contagious considering the number of western doctors (with hopefully the best equipment and knowledge) that have come down with it.

If this does become a pestilence, Obama will go down in history as the worst president ever. He certainly won't be able to keep power, especially after sending our military over to Africa to get sick as well. He may control the Perfumed Princes of the Pentagon, but the US military is a very conservative bunch.

campbell76209 said...

I live north of Dallas. In this potential, significant public health problem they can't give us much information about the infected man. Wouldn't want to deprive him of his rights. There are probably a couple of EMT's in isolation and an ambulance sitting around for 3 weeks since the man was transported with a fever. The man has his own ward. They have to track his movements and find everyone he had contact with - which included children. Who is going to pay for all this?

We've been told: It's okay - only spreads via bodily fluids. That doesn't comfort me.

When the health people talked about the situation they used the word "expert" a great deal. People in the government are not impressing me they are there for their expertise or blind loyalty.

campbell76209 said...

Here's a good write up by a blogger:

http://raconteurreport.blogspot.com/2014/09/ebola-simon-sez-you-need-to-wake-fuck-up.html