Sunday, October 12, 2014


I hate to believe this but, perhaps we’ve done too good a job of eradicating the diseases that used to be an unpleasant backdrop to our ancestor’s existence. Heck we have a letter from my great great grandmother in Kansas around the turn of the last century. She discusses this and that and then it’s “oh by the way there are rumors of small pox in the neighborhood.” Gulp. Theodore Roosevelt lost his mother and his first wife on the same day. Mom to typhoid, wife to kidney disease. Thanks to vaccinations mumps, measles, chicken pox and whooping cough are don’t even clear the horizon for most folks and polio is a distant, unpleasant memory.

So now we have our knickers in a twist over a disease that can only be spread, in this country, by contact with who already has the disease. And in no way do I want to down play the horror of this disease in countries with no money, no training and no medical infrastructure.

Apparently one of the health care workers who worked with the patient from Africa has tested positive for the virus and there’s a full court panic press in the comments section.

One sensitive individual suggested euthanizing a suspected patient before they need treatment. ?!?!?!? Hey, genius, until the patient shows symptoms they probably can’t spread the disease. It’s too bad that in the early stages Ebola acts like several other diseases, say sinusitis. That was the working diagnosis when the late Mr. Duncan went to the ER the first time.

Apparently his admission that he’d recently arrived from Liberia wasn’t flagged the first time. Geez, abdominal pain, a headache that he rated as an eight on a scale of ten and a temp of 103 degrees. What does it take to get admitted these days? The hospital has been accused of racism. Frankly I’d be more interested in his insurance status and whether THAT was a factor in sending him home with a pat on the back, antibiotics and see your regular doctor ASAP. Poor guy was probably feeling so crappy he didn’t think to fire back with “I just here, I don’t HAVE a doctor.”

Fortunately most of the comments on the thread called him/her out as the total idiot that they are. But there are plenty more “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” to go along with this one.

Others want to ban all incoming travel from Africa. I suspect that like Sarah Palin they don’t realize that Africa is a CONTINENT containing many different countries from Egypt to South Africa. Or from Mozambique to Tanzania. Do we close the borders to travelers from say South Africa or Tanzania? They’re hundreds of miles from the outbreak.

Oh, and it ‘s all a plot by America hating, fascist, communist, Muslim loving whatever president Obama to destroy God, motherhood, apple pie and the good ol’ U S of A. Actually the level of scientific ignorance displayed is not only appalling it’s down right scary.

Let’s all take a deep breath, OK? This is a disease spread by direct contact with infected patients. Although on the off chance that somebody might have contaminated the local well I’d boil the water until the outbreak is over. This started last March and coincidentally the two countries hardest hit have histories of civil wars that lasted years. They are dirt poor. The medical infrastructure is almost nonexistent. Hell, they can barely afford aspirin much less deal with this virus.

Yes, they need all the help we can give them. The good news is that the only way you can get Ebola in this country is by being in contact with another patient. There is no reservoir of the virus out in the woods somewhere. The current suspect is a variety of bat, but that’s just speculation. Until it’s absolutely necessary let’s keep our eager fingers off the panic buttons for now. OK?

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