October 13, 2014
The Ebola epidemic is spiraling out of control and our government must take aggressive measures to contain it. Medical science is not capable of curing this condition. Even with the most advanced care, Ebola has a 50% death rate. When an infectious disease this deadly is rampant, the only options are quarantining the afflicted and preventing travel into the United States from areas of the world where Ebola is endemic. This is Epidemiology 101.
Thus far, our public officials have been inaccurate in their predictions. First the President said that it was “unlikely“ that Ebola could enter the United States. Four days later, it was here. A passenger from Liberia – one of the countries where the epidemic is centered – was allowed into the country. Then we told that the proper precautions were being taken and that Ebola would not spread. Perhaps, we should have been suspicious when the dedicated personnel trying to save this poor man dressed like astronauts. Then a courageous nurse, who was caring for a man she never met at the risk of her own life, contracted Ebola. Now were are being told that she did not follow the proper “protocol” by CDC (Center of Disease Control) Director Dr. Tom Frieden.
Ebola is a hideous disease. It is caused by a virus that invades and destroys human cells. Patients initially have flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscles aches and rash. As the virus invades the liver, kidneys, stomach and intestinal tract patients experience bloody diarrhea, vomiting and constant pain. Eventually, it decimates the clotting system, resulting in the oozing of blood and mucus from every bodily orifice. In then invades the brain resulting in seizures. Finally there is internal bleeding, intractable pain and death. Those who survive are often permanently disfigured with scars.
As a practicing physician of 30 years, I have witnessed greatly improved diagnostic methods and treatments. But there is one thing about my profession that hasn’t changed – we are an arrogant bunch. Maybe it is because most of us were once the smartest kid in the class. Maybe it is because we are used to having our orders followed without question.
This arrogance is oozing out of many of the published reports by physicians that I have seen to protect the President’s policy. For example, Dr. Frieden has stated that Ebola is not spread through “casual contact.” How can he possibly know this for a fact? If that is true, why are the brave nurses caring for look like their doing a lunar walk? Furthermore, how can he be sure that the Ebola virus won’t mutate and become airborne like the H1N1 flu virus did in 2009? He further assures us that not allowing denizens of afflicted countries will actually make the epidemic worse. But he does not offer a scintilla of rational data to support this assertion.
Other doctors has pointed out that the disease has an incubation period of 2 days to 3 weeks. This means that a patient who has come in contact with the virus will not have symptoms for this amount of time. This is why checking the temperature of people at airports who are coming from countries where Ebola is prevalent is silly. Yet, we are being told that this is good public policy.
Before political correctness invaded politics, the solution to such an epidemic would be simple. Exclude all flights from countries when the infection is prevalent. Isolate all individuals who have exposed. For the brave Americans fighting the disease in other countries, they should be allowed to return when they wish, but placed on special military flights and isolated while they are tested for Ebola in their blood. Newer techniques such as PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) can determine with tremendous accuracy those who are infected even before they develop symptoms. It is time for our President and public health officials to step up to the plate and protect the American people. That’s their job.