The CDC Should Reevaluate Its Ebola Protocols

So. A nurse in Dallas who had treated the Ebola-infected man from Liberia, was diagnosed with the deadly disease at 9:30 last night. She’s the second person in the United States who has been diagnosed with Ebola.

“At some point there was a breach in protocol” CDC director Tom Frieden said to explain how he thought the health care worker was infected.

Via The New York Times:

While the new Ebola patient was not publicly identified, officials said that she was a nurse who had helped treat Mr. Duncan at a hospital here and that she may have violated safety protocols. It was the first confirmed instance of Ebola being transmitted in this country. Officials expanded the pool of people they had been monitoring, because the nurse had not been among the 48 health care workers, relatives of Mr. Duncan and others whom they were evaluating daily.

***

The woman was in stable condition on Sunday. Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources, which oversees Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, told reporters on Sunday that the worker had worn protective gear when coming in contact with Mr. Duncan, although he did not detail the type of contact.“This individual was following full C.D.C. precautions,” Dr. Varga said, adding, “Gown, glove, mask and shield.” Asked how concerned he was that the worker tested positive despite the precautions, he replied, “We’re very concerned.”

Despite Dr. Varga’s reassurances about C.D.C. precautions having been followed, Dr. Frieden said it appeared the woman had breached safety protocol at the hospital, possibly when removing the protective gear. Speaking on the CBS program “Face the Nation” and later at a news conference, he said that questioning of the worker had not identified precisely how a breach occurred, and that the cause of her infection was not known. Dr. Frieden said everyone who treated Mr. Duncan was now considered to be potentially exposed and that other cases of Ebola were possible.

National Journal’s Ron Fournier said on Twitter that he thinks it’s time for the CDC to reconsider its protocols.

I expressed my similar concern, later Sunday morning.

Some doctors are disputing the CDC’s assertions about how Ebola is spread.

A group of German medical doctors in a peer-reviewed medical journal article published by Oxford University Press have challenged a key assumption regarding the Ebola virus repeatedly asserted by Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The researchers found that a patient showing no symptoms of the disease can still transmit a virus like Ebola by air if droplets containing the virus are transmitted to another person by a sneeze or cough.

As WND reported Tuesday, the World Health Organization has admitted that “wet and bigger droplets from a heavily infected individual, who has respiratory symptoms caused by other conditions or who vomits violently could transmit the Ebola virus over a short distance to another nearby person.”

***

Dr. Norman M. Balog, D.O., a board-certified family doctor practicing in Silver Spring, Maryland, brought the research of the German medical team to the attention of WND as evidence that the CDC’s Frieden could not prove his assertion air travel was safe as long as a person infected with Ebola were not showing symptoms. An infected person can go as long as 21 days in an incubation period before being infected.

“Dr. Freiden is either completely uninformed of this research,” Balog explained to WND in an exclusive telephone interview, “or he is deliberately lying because he does not want to panic the general public.”

Balog pointed out that asymptomatic carriers of diseases infecting others is a phenomenon that has been widely documented in virology studies for decades.

 

The Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. David Lakey  health officials are still trying to figure out how the nurse got infected.

Meanwhile, the CDC is bracing for more Ebola patients.

The C.D.C. said it would conduct a nationwide training conference call on Tuesday for thousands of health care workers to ensure they would be fully prepared to treat a patient with Ebola.

“The care of Ebola patients can be done safely, but it’s hard to do it safely,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the C.D.C., told reporters Sunday. “Even a single, inadvertent innocent slip can result in contamination.”

So this is our new normal.  Americans now get to deal with a hideous third world disease that causes death in up to 80% of those infected – because we have a president who refuses to authorize a travel ban from effected countries.

In Boston, a hospital quarantined a man who was showing “Ebola-like symptoms.”

He had recently been in Liberia.

During a press conference outside of Beth Israel, officials said the patient will undergo an evaluation to determine whether Ebola is a possible cause of the patient’s symptoms. If warranted, the hospital will test for Ebola and send the collected material to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC generally take 24 to 48 hours to return test results.

The patient was carried to Beth Israel by Brewster Ambulance. In a statement, company president Mark Brewster said the patient was waiting in his car, as instructed by Harvard Vanguard personnel. The Brewster Ambulance team followed its Ebola protocol when interacting and transporting the patient.

“Our staff has been carefully preparing over the last several weeks for situations like this, and today those preparations were put into practice,” Brewster said. “The actions by all emergency responders, including Braintree fire fighters and police and our EMS team, went exactly according to protocol.”

The Boston Public Health Commission now says that the patient “does not meet criteria to be considered someone at high risk for Ebola.”

Of course – all these panics, false alarms and eventually –  inevitably – “real things” could be avoided if we had one major protocol in place.

Via Attkisson’s article: Ebola: Officials Sound the Alarm:

“Failures in leadership have allowed a preventable disease to spin out of control,” write Lawrence Gostin and Eric Friedman in the current issue of the medical journal Lancet. Gostin, a Georgetown Law professor, is Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Public Health Law & Human Rights. Friedman is Project Leader for the Joint Action and Learning Initiative on National and Global Responsibilities for Health.

If nothing changes, public health officials estimate there will be 1.4 million Ebola cases worldwide by January. There are no current projections as to how many of those might be in the U.S.

U.S. officials have repeatedly stated that we “will” have more Ebola cases here. How do they know?

“It’s inevitable,” one official told me. He asked not to be quoted by name.

Fair is fair…

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK,” Obama said in May of 2008.

If Western Africa gets Ebola – then so should we.

UPDATE:

And see – I’m not the only one saying this. 

Via Moonbattery, Psychiatrist Keith Ablow tries to understand Obama’s refusal to stop to  Africans from infected West African nations from traveling here.

Such a travel ban would go some distance to stem the tide of Ebolophobia [i.e. Ebola anxiety], too. It would symbolize our country’s intention to shore up its defenses against the illness. But President Obama is very sensitive to being defined in any way by the borders of this country. I think he sees himself as a citizen of the world and sees Americans as having infected others with our deadly economic policies [i.e., capitalism] for a long time, thereby inflicting untold suffering on developing nations. To now lead the way to America insulating itself from a scourge sweeping the very countries he seems to think we have preyed upon could, of course, strike him (if only unconsciously) as profoundly unfair.

I believe the president may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations. And if he does, that is a very dangerous psychological stance from which to confront Ebola.

Let me say this plainly, as a psychiatrist who has studied this president only from a distance: In order for President Obama to keep thinking of himself as the leader of the world — and not just the free world — it may be that our boundaries must remain porous, allowing illegal immigrants and, potentially, even diseases to flow through them. …

The toll of having a president who seems to see America as having no particular manifest destiny may be seen in the spread of ISIS abroad. And it could be seen, God forbid, in not mounting a sufficient immune defense here at home, to Ebola.

Obama believes in spreading our wealth and their misery