Ebola is creating a wave of terror across the United States even though the epidemic is some 9,000 miles away in western Africa and the two Americans who were infected and have been returned home were sealed in white hazmat suits as they were taken from a sealed ambulance to a sealed hospital room.
According to a report from National Public Radio on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control has had 22 suspected cases of the deadly virus reported to the agency, although only four actually met the guidelines where testing would be advised.
The agency is suggesting that a person be identified as having “high-risk exposure,” which would be contact with blood or body fluids of “someone known to have or suspected of having Ebola,” and getting a high fever within 21 days, to be tested.
But the real number of tests done so far is far from certain. According to a report from Paul Joseph Watson at Infowars, there have been six such cases in New York City, where the results were not released publicly.
“There have been about a half a dozen patients who have had their blood tested because of concern, those particular patients their stories were not made public,” said CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
One of the latest alarms about a possible Ebola case came in Columbus, Ohio, where a 46-year-old woman who recently traveled to west Africa was put into isolation in a hospital.
According the ABC report on the situation, she was awaiting results of the test done after the CDC asked hospitals to determine patients’ travel history if there are symptoms.
A Baltimore case that raised concerns later turned out to be malaria.
One of the New York patients was being treated, but it appeared that the cause of the illness was not Ebola.
The deadly viral infection has been raging in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone in recent weeks, claiming nearly 900 lives already, according to the World Health Organization, which is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars for its work there.
The two aid workers who were stricken, then returned to the U.S., were Dr. Kent Brantly, who was taken to Atlanta for treatment at Emory University Hospital, and Nancy Writebol, who also returned to Atlanta for treatment.
On a Reuters blog, Celine Gounder wrote that the likelihood “that other Americans could get Ebola from Brantly or Writebol is extremely small. Ebola is not airborne. It is spread through direct contact with a sick patient or infectious bodily fluids. Brantly and Writebol are being treated in a specialized unit, separate from other patients at Emory University Hospital. The healthcare workers staffing this unit will be working in shifts and have access to personal protective equipment. Hospital staff will follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s infection control guidelines for management of contaminated fluids, materials, equipment and surfaces. This is in contrast to working conditions in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where the disease has been spreading.”
Where there is cause for concern, according to a Fox News report, is along the U.S.-Mexican border, where illegal aliens – including some from the epicenter for Ebola – have tried to enter the U.S.
A Customs and Border Protection report showed from January to July 2014 some 71 arrived from the African nations where the outbreak now is at its worst.
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., wrote to the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fox reported, and raised concerns about those unapproved entries by people carrying “swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis.”
“As the unaccompanied children continue to be transported to shelters around the country on commercial airlines and other forms of transportation, I have serious concerns that the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too rapidly to control,” he told the CDC.
The Guardian is reporting that in Sierra Leone and Liberia soldiers have been dispatched to shut down travel among remote villages through which the disease could be spread.
That’s even as suspected cases are being investigated in Saudi Arabia, Britain and other locations, and airlines have suspended flights to and from the region.
But radio talk show host Michael Savage, who has a Ph.D. in epidemiology, said the government’s handling of the problem – is a problem itself.
“The morons who are running America are bringing infected patients to America, allegedly to treat them, but we all know it is an untreatable disease. It can only be managed. The entire story of bringing these Ebola patients from West Africa to America stinks to high Heaven. There is much more involved,” he wrote in a commentary on the issue.
“It should be noted that there has been a bioterrorism potential related to the hemorrhagic fever viruses. Some of them can be transmitted to humans through a respiratory route. Although there is no current evidence that any of these viruses have been weaponized or developed into a biological weapon, all of them are considered by military medical planners to have a potential to be disseminated through the air to be weaponized or to be used with other agents that could weaponize them.”
He continued, “So here are some questions. All these experts on television are telling us it’s perfectly safe and we need not worry. And the lamest answer comes when you ask them how the medical doctor who they brought to Atlanta contracted Ebola in Africa. Their answer is always the same: ‘Oh, an accidental needle prick.’
“This is nonsense. It is possible they were experimenting on the poor African villagers and the disease got out of control. Now, they are bringing in highly infectious patients into this nation that is Ebola-free. In doing so, they are violating the primary rule of contagion: isolation. They are now using this: ‘We must fight our fears or remain compassionate.’ This story is unraveling.”
He also noted that the National Institutes of Health had announced an Ebola vaccine trial that was to begin next month.
“What does that mean? Well, what it means is this: Until the current outbreak of Ebola, many in the industry said there was not a great need for an Ebola vaccine, because the virus only caused 10-100 infections per year. But that’s all changed.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported quarantine officers were stationed at airports, 1,500 city workers were trained for bioterrorism and outbreaks, and special transportation and hospitalization plans were in place for patients suspected of being infected.