Friday, October 31, 2014
Ebola and the Bike Ride, by rockync of The Swash Zone
I applaud Kaci Hickox for defying the reactionary political hacks and demanding release from a mandatory quarantine but I also fear for her safety. The pols and the media have managed to create yet more hysteria and hype which of course has brought out the craziest of the crazies.
The comments concerning Kaci have run from take her nursing license, send her back to Africa to charge her with murder if anyone becomes infected and dies of ebola in Maine.
Kaci does have the support of much of the actual medical community. HERE is a article from the New England Journal of Medicine which reads in part: "We have very strong reason to believe that transmission occurs when the viral load in bodily fluids is high, on the order of millions of virions per microliter. This recognition has led to the dictum that an asymptomatic person is not contagious; field experience in West Africa has shown that conclusion to be valid. Therefore, an asymptomatic health care worker returning from treating patients with Ebola, even if he or she were infected, would not be contagious. Furthermore, we now know that fever precedes the contagious stage, allowing workers who are unknowingly infected to identify themselves before they become a threat to their community."
The ANA (American Nurses Association) has also made a statement HERE in regards to mandatory quarantine. This reads in part:
“The American Nurses Association (ANA) opposes the mandatory quarantine of health care professionals who return to the United States from West African nations where Ebola is widespread. ANA supports registered nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned to the United States after treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, in her challenge of a 21-day quarantine imposed by state officials in Maine, her home state."
There have been a total of 9 cases of ebola on American soil. Thomas Duncan is the only one who unknowingly brought it with him from West Africa and subsequently died of the illness. Of all the people he was in contact with, including family members who shared living quarters, only two people were actually infected with ebola from Mr Duncan and that was the two nurses who either broke protocol or were inadequately prepared by their hospital administration. Of all the people they came in to contact with, NONE have come down with ebola. The other six ebola cases were all Americans working in West Africa who were knowingly returned to the US for treatment in Atlanta, Nebraska and Oklahoma. No health care workers have become infected from treating these patients and they have all recovered.
Now that the flu season is upon us, let's take a look at that. Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans come down with the flu. Of those 20,000-40,000 die from complications of the flu. Every year people go to work and interact with others while knowingly or unknowingly being infected with the flu. Unlike ebola where you have to symptomatic to be infectious, with the flu you have a 1-4 day incubation period and you can be infectious at least one day BEFORE symptoms appear!
Can you imagine applying the same hair-brained logic to the flu as to ebola? Mandatory quarantine if you come in to contact with someone who has the flu. If you go to work with the flu and your co-worker's 90 year old Aunt Louise dies two weeks later from complications of the flu, you should be charged with murder. And if you won't stay home and you have an Asian strain of flu then we should just pack you up and send you and your flu to Asia!
People need to get a grip and community leaders need to grow a brain - caving to public hysteria and pandering to the fear mongers because it is an election year is some of the WORST reasons to make unreasonable demands on decent, caring people who go above and beyond to do the work they love.
We DO NOT have an ebola epidemic in the United States and there has NOT been a state of emergency declared anywhere in the United States due to ebola so therefore any mandatory quarantine is a criminal offense called unlawful restraint or kidnapping.
This is the same kind of ignorance and irrational fear that led to witch burnings and the Grand Inquisition.