. . . 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 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.
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 . . .