Tag Archives: thomas duncan

On being alarmist about Ebola.

Fa19eONNot alarmist.  Concerned.  Just as each and every one of you – I think there may be three that follow my limited commentary – should be.

We get more than eight or nine cases in this Country, we are going to have problems.  We have had three cases really – Duncan and then two nurses he infected.  The others were brought here by the government.  Which is fine, they recovered, and if I was working overseas to help quell the fire that burns in West Africa and got Ebola, I too would prefer to be in an intensive care unit here in the US.  I would thank my luck for that, being here rather than in some backwater in Africa.  And now as opposed to six months from now.

What happens when we get multiple breakouts and cases, more than one West African in Texas – say we have multiples in more than one metropolis?  I fear we will be in trouble.  Its already been predicted, up to 130 cases by January, here, in the US.  Circumstances of how those cases came here aside…. .

One Thomas Duncan comes here, and shacks up with his extended family some of whom are here illegally perhaps?  Could happen.  Will they go to a medical provider while they are not shedding the virus, not asymptomatic?  No.  Of course not.  After they feel run-down and start being symptomatic?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  While that occurs, will they – can they – pass it along?  Yes.  CDC data says yes, if you believe it.  Will they have contact with who knows how many others during that time?  Yes.  During that time they will use public transportation, go shopping here and there, go to their place of employment and have contact with untold numbers of others, all of whom have to be traced and all of whom have to be isolated?  Yes.  If their families get infected, including any children, won’t those children will go to schools, day-care, etc?

To those that say you can’t get Ebola from casual contact:  First, do you want to chance it (that is alarmist perhaps, but the CDC has waffled on that liklihood), and Second, is there a difference between airborne viruses – bacteria really, turberculosis comes to mind – and that which can be transmitted via contact?  Studies show that Ebola can survive on a surface.  We know we are to wash our hands and not touch our faces when out and about during flu season.

Do we have symptomatic carriers out and about, and who seek to conceal the fact?  Its already happened.  Duncan was one.  Dr. Craig Spencer was, IMHO, in denial, and is another.

The more cases we get abroad, the greater likelihood we have of breakouts in this country.  That is statistics.  Nothing will absolutely ensure that cases don’t import here.  But tightening controls at the border, denying entry for those that have been to these countries, checking temperatures at entry points, quickly isolating and imposing quarentines and tracking contacts help.  Yes.  But when will the system fail?

Go to any busy ER lately?  How long will anyone sick with Ebola sit in that ER before isolation?  How many will be truthful when there?  How many may avoid going there for fear of immigration issues?  Can whatever facility they go to handle that patient (patients)?  Its bigger than that.  How many cases of enterovirus have been imported here because of the current administrations lax immigration policies?  (Read my other posts).  What happens then if Ebola gets any foothold in Mexico City, Caracas, or Guatemala City?  There will be a flight from the afflicted area.  To here.  To the good ol’ US of A.

We are lucky, with the capability of our medical professionals in this Country.  Our system has its limits though.  As does society.  We are not immune to this disease just because we feel we have the best healthcare available.  Or because we are ‘Mericans.  We are not immune from stigma, unrest, and the economic upheaval that will happen if this “problem” breaks out in New York, Atlanta, DC, or any other large metropolis.

We are not going to just “deal with it” if that happens.

So, take care of yourselves and consider how you might prepare and make the best of it.  If this thing burns out in West Africa and we are alright, well, alright.  I am happy to be wrong.

I think we will be, ultimately, alright.  But I question our current leadership.

(Disclaimer: I smoke, drink and eat too much fast food.  I am content to be a fat-and-happy-‘merican dying of heart or lung disease.  I don’t want to die of Ebola.  Ebola is not the same as dying of cirrhosis, emphysema, or clogged arteries.  That’s it.  Obama still reaches over the sneeze-shield.  Like a weirdo).

[steps off of soap-box and kicks it away].

The Case for Closing Borders, continues.



So many feel that closing borders – limiting travel – won’t make a difference with Ebola.  Canada, since limiting travelers from West Africa has been criticized:

That move was slammed Wednesday by Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the World Health Organization, who said closing borders will not stop spread of the Ebola virus.

“I understand the fear in the community, but the fear factor is way too high and out of proportion to the risk,” Chan told Bloomberg News in an interview. “No evidence exists to support the effectiveness of travel bans as a protective measure.”

We’re not debating the existence of unicorns here.  We don’t have the difficulty in proving a negative.  I know this common-sense-obvious-to-everyman-800-pound-gorilla-elephant-in-the-room fact: Thomas Duncan came from West Africa.  He then infected two of his nurses who have thankfully recovered.  What happens when we have not one Duncan, but more.  5, 50 or 500?

It goes without saying, as the number of infections in afflicted countries increases, so does the possibility that a person with Ebola will carry it here.

“So we had two exports in the first 2000 patients,” Frieden said in a recent interview. “Now we’re going to have 20,000 cases, how many exports are we going to have?

Imperfect as they are, travel limitations are but one tool in the toolbox.  And ignorance of evidence is evidence of ignorance.

WHO’s Friday numbers.