A mortal enemy that can't be bribed....
The World Health Organization calls Ebola "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times." As reported by AP:
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, citing World Bank figures, said 90 percent of economic costs of any outbreak "come from irrational and disorganized efforts of the public to avoid infection."
Staffers of the global health organization "are very well aware that fear of infection has spread around the world much faster than the virus," Chan said in a statement read out to a regional health conference in the Philippine capital, Manila.
"We are seeing, right now, how this virus can disrupt economies and societies around the world," she said, but added that adequately educating the public was a "good defense strategy" and would allow governments to prevent economic disruptions.
Already, Ebola has claimed 4,000 lives. But WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said that closing off commercial travel from Ebola epicenter countries could hamper rescue efforts.
A second AP report noted that some 70 workers cared for the Ebola patient who died last week at a Dallas hospital:
Caregivers who began treating Duncan after he tested positive for Ebola were following a "self-monitoring regimen" in which they were instructed to take their temperatures regularly and report any symptoms. But they were not considered at high risk.
Typically, the nurses, doctors and technicians caring for a contagious patient in isolation would be treating other people as well, and going home to their families after decontaminating themselves. The hospital has refused to answer questions about their specific duties.
The 1,400-plus pages of medical records show that nurses, doctors and other hospital employees wore face shields, double gowns, protective footwear and even hazmat suits to avoid touching any of Duncan's bodily fluids. Ebola spreads through direct contact with those fluids, usually blood, feces and vomit. The virus has also been detected in urine, semen and breast milk, and it may be in saliva and tears.
CDC officials said there were chinks in that protection at Texas Presbyterian, but they have not identified them and are investigating.
So there were "chinks" in the hospital's Ebola care regimen....
One Ebola virologist said that Ebola strains have "inherent capacity" to spread by air (4:17). Yet Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the gov't is not misleading Americans (4:17). We should, he said, "distinguish between an 'outbreak' & 'unfortunate events.'" Fauci rejected Democratic contentions that budget cuts were responsible for the Ebola crisis--"not so at all" said he.
One disease control CEO warned against the current "fire brigade" model of containing Ebola & other lethal viruses:
Pandemics are generally not random, one-off events. Close viral cousins of HIV, for example, were jumping for many years from chimpanzees to people in Central Africa before a strain emerged that led to the AIDS pandemic. Ebola outbreaks have been common in recent years. In August, while the world focused on West Africa, a second outbreak of Ebola occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It emerged from an animal-to-human transmission that was unrelated to the West African epidemic.
The Ebola outbreak in Congo, unlike the one in West Africa, occurred in a rural area without easy connections to large population centers. But the way it was controlled shows what is possible regarding futures eruptions of infectious disease.
Airport screenings are, alas hardly foolproof, as patients may be asymptomatic for 21 days. They may even take medication that reduces their body temperature, evading airport remote thermal screening.
Bottom Line. Once again the government is in catch-up mode. Ebola may well be contained. But while crossing the street blindfolded may get one safely across, that hardly means it was prudent. Neither was getting behind the curve on Ebola.
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