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The media has been ablaze with news surrounding the two confirmed cases of the deadly Ebola Virus.  Both patients have now been brought to Emory University Hospital for treatment, the second arriving just this morning.  I have heard many people debate whether or not these Americans should have been brought back to the states for treatment when they have a highly contagious virus with basically no cure.  I have done my own research and have formulated my own opinion.

What we know:

Previous outbreaks have been basically contained and well-localized.  The current outbreak has been on a much wider scale.  It began in March of this year with a wider spance and larger area of spread.  Basically, a person infected may leave the area by plane feeling well and become ill enroute with symptoms – thus the problem with the current crisis.  It is basically just a plane ride away.

The current epidemic is primarily across Gambia, Sierre Leone and Liberia.  Previous outbreaks have seen up to a 90% fatality rate.  According to the CDC, currently there have been 729 deaths out of 1353 confirmed infections.  This equals about 53% mortality.

What are the symptoms?

– Sudden onset of fever usually 103-105 degrees

– Intense weakness, sore throat and headaches

– Profuse vomiting and diarrhea (occurring usually 1-2 days after above symptoms)

– Severe virus leads to internal hemorrhage and subsequent death

How Is It Spread?

It is NOT airborne and NOT spread by droplets – like measles or influenza.  You CAN NOT acquire Ebola virus if someone coughs or sneezes close to you.  It is not spread by casual contact.

It IS acquired by direct contact with infected secretions – vomit, diarrhea or blood

What Is the Risk To Us?

The risk is quite low to citizens living and working in the US. ERs and critical care units are well equipped to handle anyone presenting to the hospitals with recent travel and possible symptoms.  Those caring for the two patients are well-trained in a hospital well-equipped to handle an infection of this magnitude.

Ultimately, there is limited threat in bringing these Americans home and much more to be learned about the treatment of Ebola virus and where better equipped to gain this knowledge than in a high-tech medical unit affiliated with the CDC?  Intensive research is occurring as we speak with both patients receiving a highly investigative antibody serum, that until now has only been studied in primates — and things are looking very promising.  Therefore, we will be equipped to not only help those in Africa but those who step off the plane here in the US infected.  We will be able to provide better safety to all those concerned about this outbreak!

Those cost I am certain is astronomical, but the cost of doing nothing is far more expensive — ultimately my life, my child’s life or your life.  I am in favor of treating these Americans here at home.

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