It’s hard to overstate just how badly the nation’s first confirmed case of Ebola, was botched by public health officials. First the patient, Thomas Eric Duncan was allowed to travel to this country from an Ebola ravaged country. That’s problem #1. The time to Ban Travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea was six months ago. But the Obama Regime won’t consider it, even now. Worse, the president killed the Bush era quarantine rules in 2010 that “required air passengers to submit more information to airlines and strengthened the government’s authority to detain travelers suspected of carrying disease.”
Problem #2: He was sent home from the hospital after telling the nurse that he had recently traveled to Dallas from the Ebola Capital of the world, Liberia. The doctor wasn’t informed, but he didn’t ask either.
The CDC has made it a top priority to assure the public that Ebola does not pose a serious threat in the U.S., but has not made it a priority to reexamine travel restrictions from afflicted countries, border screening methods, or problem #3 – the treatment and disposal of contaminated items.
The whole approach has been lackadaisical and insufficient – because hey – it’s not like EBOLA is any big deal, right.
Via Fox News:
As Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who showed symptoms of the often-fatal disease shortly after arriving from Liberia, was being treated in isolation at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, relatives in Dallas resisted a quarantine amid reports that cleanup specialists were balking at disinfecting their home.
Still, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), insists he’s confident Ebola can be contained in the U.S., unlike in Africa where it has killed more than 3,300 since the current outbreak began late last year.
“I have no doubt we will control this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely,” Frieden said.
By now perhaps you’ve seen this picture of workers at the Ivy Apartments cleaning the Ebola vomit off the sidewalk in front of Duncan’s apartment – with a power-washer – wearing no protective clothing.
A WFAA TV Dallas/Fort Worth Channel 8 news chopper took the following photograph showing how workers are cleaning up the vomit:
And here’s another screenshot showing a guy walking through the power-wash runoff:
Couldn’t they be tracking it on the bottom of their shoes as they move around? What about the power-wash guys? Where did they go next?
How long was that vomit out there? How many animals waded through it and spread it around while it was out there?
That might be a pretty good way to spread Ebola … especially if experts are right that Ebola spreads through aerosols.
Similarly, the Ebola patient’s sweat-stained sheets have been left on his bed for days without being removed, and soiled towels are still in the apartment – even though his family is still quarantined in the same apartment – because they can’t find workers willing to remove them.
As we noted yesterday, arrogance and carelessness may lead to unnecessary deaths.
WFAA TV Dallas/Fort Worth Channel 8 news reported that the Centers for Disease Control ordered the sidewalk to be power-washed that way. With no protective suits – without cordoning off the area.
As Fox News reports, CDC Director Frieden’s assurances come amid “calls for better screening of U.S.-bound passengers from Ebola-affected nations and word that Duncan’s initial triage was bungled at the hospital.”
At a Dallas apartment where Duncan stayed after arriving Sept. 20, family members were legally quarantined Thursday after refusing to comply with Dallas health officials requests that they stay home. Doctors are taking the temperatures of four family members in the unit where Duncan was staying twice a day to monitor symptoms as part of the health surveillance efforts being led by CDC officials and local Dallas authorities.
But the ease at which Duncan passed the screening, coupled with the fact that Ebola victims may not become symptomatic for weeks after exposure, raised questions about how best to keep the disease off American soil. Jessica Vaughn, a researcher affiliated with the nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, said officials have the right to ban anyone from entering the U.S. if they pose a potential threat to public health or safety.
“Other countries are banning travellers from outbreak countries, and we should, too,” Vaughn told The Washington Post. “In the middle of a health crisis, the government should be setting up more robust screening protocols.”
Meanwhile, health officials in Dallas acknowledged that Duncan’s clothing and bedding were still in plastic bags and had not been removed, The Dallas Morning News reports. Officials were seemingly unsure how to delegate the removal of contaminated items from the apartment.
Asked why Duncan’s items and clothing were still at the location, the county’s Health and Human Services director responded that it wasn’t his agency’s responsibility.
The items will soon be “appropriately disposed of,” a county judge said.
The Conversation: We Should Have Said Something Earlier
The Conversation: Contagion on the honor system: