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Saturday, August 02, 2014

Coming to America-Ebola patients

WHO warns virus could spread to other countries; 'Catastrophic' loss of life...

Two American medical missionaries diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia could be back in the USA next week for treatment at a special medical isolation unit at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital, the U.S. State Department said Friday.

Kent Brantly, an American doctor diagnosed with Ebola in Liberia, was working at an Ebola treatment center in Monrovia on behalf of the North Carolina medical missionary group Samaritan's Purse.(Photo: Joni Byker for Samaritan's Purse)

One is to arrive Monday in a small jet outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases. The second is to arrive a few days later, said doctors at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital, where they will be treated.

The private aircraft based in Atlanta was dispatched to Liberia where the two Americans — Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol — worked for U.S. missionary groups.

Nancy Writebol of Charlotte is a medical missionary with Service in Mission. She was working at a medical center in Liberia when she was diagnosed with Ebola. Her husband, David, has been allowed to visit her while wearing a suit to protect against hazardous materials.(Photo: Servic
e in Mission)

Are health authorities risking a U.S. outbreak?


A patient infected with Ebola is being flown into the United States to be held for medical examination and treatment at Emory University in Atlanta, reports The Guardian. (1) "Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is set to receive a patient infected with the deadly Ebola disease currently sweeping through swaths of west Africa," the paper reports.

Reuters is reporting that the patient is one of the two American humanitarian aid workers infected with Ebola while responding to the outbreak in Liberia. Dr Kent Brantly of Texas and Nancy Writebol, a missionary from North Carolina, have both showed signs of improvement, but remain in serious condition.

The disease, which has no known cure, has reportedly killed at least 700 people during the current outbreak, in which there have been more than 1,000 confirmed, probable or suspected infections.

This event will make the first time in history that a level-4 biohazard infectious agent is being transported by air into a large U.S. city while still multiplying inside a living patient. This startling revelation brings up all sorts of questions that range from the gullibly hopeful to the impossibly sinister. Here are some of the thoughts going through people's minds on this right now: 

Thought #1) HUH? Why are they bringing an infected Ebola patient into the USA? Do they want to start a pandemic here? 

Thought #2) Hooray for Emory! They are reaching out to save the life of a brave American doctor! 

Thought #3) They are going to use this guy as a human guinea pig to run medical experiments on him, hoping to produce a profitable treatment for Ebola. 

Thought #4) This is commendable! There's simply better medical care in the USA and medical professionals want to save this doctor's life. 

Thought #5) At what risk? Isn't transporting an infected patient by air, even in a private aircraft, just begging for a pandemic outbreak across the United States? Doesn't this risk the lives of 300 million people?

Thought #6) The Department of Defense needs the body so they can harvest newer strains of Ebola as part of their viral weaponization program. 

Save the doctor! 

There are multiple layers of agendas happening here all at the same time. At the most basic level, front-line doctors and medical scientists simply want to save their colleague, and they likely believe bringing him back to the USA offers him the best chance of survival. 

At the same time, we cannot refute the fact that there are drug company profit interests at stake in all this. The worse the Ebola problem becomes, the more money can be made from future Ebola vaccines or anti-viral treatment drugs. We already know one company called Tekmira has already been awarded a $140m contract by the Department of Defense for its Ebola drug development program. 

At an even spookier level, we also know that Ebola is one of the most easily weaponized viruses on the planet. We also know the U.S. Department of Defense has already developed weaponized strains of Ebola and keeps them supercooled in a level-4 biohazard facility somewhere. This is justified on the grounds of "national defense," of course, just in case the survival of the nation one day depends on deploying a global killer virus on enemy territory, I suppose. 

You can bet blood samples from this patient will be shared with Pentagon virologists, just in case it's some new strain with a mutation that makes it an even better bioweapon than what the military already has. 

At what risk? 

Nobody argues with the compassionate idea of saving the life of an American doctor. The man put his life on the line for others, and he deserves our best efforts to save his. My prayers are with him as he struggles to overcome this terrible disease. 

At the same time, we must all very carefully consider the risks associated with intentionally bringing Ebola into the USA, transporting it across a large body of water in which the virus could never survive on its own. By transporting this patient into North America, U.S. health authorities may have just followed the steps the virus "wanted" them to follow. 

What happens if someone makes a mistake during this patient transfer and the virus gets loose? The proof that mistakes can happen even among well-meaning doctors is readily apparent in the fact that this well-meaning doctor sadly became infected himself. He obviously did not intend to become infected with Ebola. Thus, even medically-trained personnel can and will underestimate the ability of this Ebola strain to spread. 

What happens if there is an air transport accident? Suppose the jet experiences a critical flight systems failure and barrel rolls into the forests of Georgia? The chance of this happening may seem very, very small but it is not zero. And if it happens, then suddenly we have Ebola on the loose in Georgia, possibly spreading across the streets of Atlanta. 

What happens if a terrorist organization operating inside U.S. borders stages some sort of raid or attack on the Emory University isolation room for the sole purpose of acquiring (and then deploying) Ebola as a bioweapon? Is this doctor's room going to be guarded by Special Forces teams to prevent this? What security will exist around this patient? 

What happens if this Ebola victim infects others at Emory University who are working on him or near him? Surely there will be blood draws taking place, and blood draws and IVs involve sharp objects. Sharp objects pierce protective gloves and clothing. One little prick from a needle is all it takes for a full-blown infection to occur, and yes it has happened many times in the past with a variety of infectious agents. 

Why are U.S. health authorities not sending U.S. medical teams to the infected patient instead of bringing the infected patient to America? This is not an irrational question. Why not give this doctor the advanced treatment he deserves and keep Ebola a continent away at the same time? 

These are questions we should all be seriously asking right now as the future of all our lives may be impacted by these decisions. Ebola is nothing to play around with, and over-confidence in dealing with Ebola can be fatal to a great many people. 

Remember, this particular strain of Ebola has already overwhelmed the full government resources of several countries in West Africa. Doctors who were fully versed in safety measures involving biohazards underestimated their own exposure and allowed themselves to become infected. This virus has already shown an ability to out-maneuver a surprising number of health experts, including one of the world's top Ebola doctors who died from the disease earlier this week. Now, Emory University infectious disease experts are bringing this virus to the continental United States, and the rest of us can only sit back and hope they haven't grossly underestimated the ability of this virus to leap from victim to victim. 

Massive emergency drill in New York City

The New York City Department of Health conducted a massive emergency preparedness drill at 30 facilities across the city on Friday.
They tested the delivery of emergency medications in the event of a biological attack, such as anthrax, or other large-scale public health emergency in the city. The majority of the deliveries will take place to public school buildings.
It's the largest surprise drill in the city's history. The drill was scheduled to take place from approximately 6:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The majority of participants were given no notice to better test and simulate a real emergency and response

Infected Ebola patient being flown to Atlanta: Are health authorities risking a U.S. outbreak? ~ HealthyAeon:

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1 comment:

  1. While THIS incidence of transport is likely perfectly safe and precautions at Emory would almost certainly limit an outbreak to within the facility, this move sets an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS precedent.
    This Federal government which is charged FIRST AND FOREMOST with the protection of American Citizens seems more and more willing to extend international courtesies involving EXTREME RISK to those very people it is BOUND BY LAW TO PROTECT.


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