Friday, October 17, 2014

A Third Case of Ebola... On A Cruise Ship? Really?

So right now there is a cruise ship off the coast of Belize on which was a woman who began showing signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus. The woman is a nurse in Dallas. Texas. but it has not been confirmed whether or not she worked at Texas Health Presbyterian or whether she had any contact with Thomas Duncan.

And there she sits.

But let's look at it hypothetically for a minute. IF this woman is indeed a nurse at THP and did have contact with Thomas Duncan she will be the second one who traveled after having that contact. If she has Ebola she has exposed how many people to the virus now?

The director of the Center for Disease Control, Dr. Thomas Frieden, said yesterday that the second nurse with the disease, Amber Vinson, is a health care worker and "should have known not to travel for 21 days after having such contact." But if we're not going to prohibit travel from countries that are being ravaged by the virus, why should a health care worker, who wore the best protective gear available when she was caring for Mr. Duncan, be worried about traveling? President Obama said you can't get the virus from casual contact. (The CDC said you could.)

So no travel ban from the countries with thousands of Ebola victims but self-imposed travel bans for Americans who may have been exposed? Yeah, that makes great sense.

The nurse from the cruise ship, who has now been confined with a second passenger to a smaller vessel used to transport passengers to and from the mainland. She will not be allowed back on board the cruise ship nor will the government of Belize allow her to come ashore to be transported via ambulance flight back to the States.

There are over 4600 people on board the cruise ship. If the nurse has Ebola, who knows how many people came into close enough contact to catch the virus and be infected? For that reason the cruise ship is sitting still, quarantined for three weeks, to determine if anyone has the virus. At least they're doing that instead of returning to the United States. But here's the problem. Anyone else on that ship who develops Ebola has now exposed even more passengers to the virus. With over 4500 people on the ship how long do you quarantine it if others develop Ebola?

This is why we need to stop travel (temporarily) from the three effected West African countries, stop entry of anyone with passports from those countries and pay closer attention to the origin of travel, in case someone tries to get here from another country, as did Thomas Duncan. This virus doesn't follow political rules. It does what it wants. Just a week after the Obama administration said the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the US are low, we've already got a third case and a possible fourth - that just happened to be on a ship full of people.

The President is still fighting the travel ban but he's now saying he'd be open to it if it is supported by his expert advisers. I wonder how many people will have to develop the illness before his "experts"will change his mind. After all - he just appointed an "Ebola czar," a liberal, insider, Democrat lawyer with no medical training and no experience dealing with contagious illnesses.

I know when I want medical advice I go to an attorney and when I want legal advice I go to a doctor. Don't you?

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