Monday, October 20, 2014

Ebola Hits the East Coast

Ebola Hits the East Coast

Presidential Press Conference
10/15/14 5:45 pm

Another medical worker, from Dallas, has been diagnosed with Ebola. The problem is that she is flew on a commercial airline twice in the last week. On October 8th the health care worker, Amber Vinson, flew from Dallas-Fort Worth to Cleveland. On Monday, October 13th, she took a return trip back.

Vinson is one of two medical workers who treated Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who now have the Ebola virus themselves. The other employee, Nina Pham, is reported as being in an “improved condition” according to the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden.

The CDC is contacting passengers that were on flight1143 from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13th. They want to interview all 132 passengers. Since Vinson was not showing any symptoms at the time, they say that the risk of them contracting the disease is minimal. However, Dr. Frieden claims that she had a fever of 99.5 before she boarded the flight.

Vinson and Pham, both work at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where they treated Ebola patient Duncan. Vinson is being transferred from the Dallas hospital to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. Emory has successfully treated two cases of Ebola, are working on a third, and Vinson will be their fourth case.

President Obama held a press conference tonight to address the issue of Ebola in this country. While he tried to assure US citizens that we are at a minimal risk, he closed the conference by stating that if the epidemic in West Africa is not controlled, then “it will spread globally.”

He suggested that concentrating on controlling the outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone is “an investment in our own public health.” Some news reports suggest that if we do not stop it now, the entire world could be faced with outbreaks as soon as this December.

President Obama said that he has spoken to leaders in Japan, Germany, France, Italy, and Great Britain in order to develop a plan for dealing with the outbreaks in West Africa. He has also spoken with his cabinet about plans that could be implemented in this country. One of his suggestions is to have a mobile CDC unit in place within 24 hours at any facility in the country that has a diagnosed case of Ebola.

He went on to say that Ebola is not like the flu, that it is not an airborne infection. He reassured us that it cannot be caught unless you come in direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms. “Showing symptoms” seems to be a very loose term. A symptom such as a fever may not be very noticeable.

More stringent measures are being put in place in hospitals in case they are faced with dealing with an Ebola patient. Airlines in the US are also scrutinizing passengers more now, especially if they appear to be ill. If Ebola is detected, contained, and treated properly, it can be controlled, but if we keep having people traveling around, coming in contact with thousands of people, and disregarding proper health and safety regulations than we may soon be facing outbreaks just like the ones in West Africa.

“If the procedures are followed properly, they work,” stated President Obama. This may be true, but if the outbreaks in West Africa are not contained immediately the entire world may be in serious danger. Global leaders need to develop a plan to deal with it, protect their countries, and all the countries in the world.

WLM 10/15/14

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