CLAY DUBBERLY ‘DOAH CONTRIBUTING WRITER
The spread of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) has many Americans worried about the risk of a potential U.S. epidemic if not contained soon.
Ebola is a disease of hu- mans and some mammals caused by an ebola virus. Humans can be infected with Ebola if they come in contact with contaminated objects from or bodily fluids of an- other who has contracted the disease.
The disease is consid- ered highly infectious but not highly contagious. Highly infectious, because an in- finitesimally small amount can cause one to contract the virus, but not highly contagious be- cause so far transmission has been limited to physical contact with the bodily fluids of someone infected, rather than through airborne exposure.
However, some say that the virus may mutate and be- come airborne. Dr. Benjamin Carson, retired neurosurgeon and American author, argues, “…we must realize that some viruses are known to undergo mutations, which make them even more virulent. If the Ebola virus becomes even more pathologic, the ensuing panic and destruction of hu- man life could go far beyond what is currently being acknowledged.”
The total number of Ebola cases exceeds 8000, with 4000 coming from West Africa. On Aug. 8, 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern.”
The US Centers of Dis- ease Control and Prevention (CDC) projects that by late January 2015 there will be 550,000 West African cases – but when you account for underreporting, the figures could rise to over 1.4 million.
In a recent study, the WHO Global Response team suggests that, “without drastic improvements in control measures, the numbers of cases of and deaths from [Ebola virus disease] are expected to continue increasing from hun- dreds to thousands per week in the coming months.”
Currently, six U.S. citizens have been infected with Ebola; one has died.
A second Ebola infection on U.S. ground occurred at a Texas hospital, urging President Obama to announce on Oct. 15, “We’re going to make sure that something like this is not repeated, and that we are monitoring, supervising, overseeing in a much more aggressive way exactly what’s taking place in Dallas, initially, and then making sure that the lessons learned are then transmitted to hospitals all across the country.”
Obama organized a rapid response team for the CDC to help hospitals without experi- ence treating Ebola. He said, “I think what we’ve all learned over the last several weeks is that folks here in this country in a lot of non specialized hospitals and clinics don’t have that much experience dealing with these issues. So we’re going to have to push out that information as aggressively as possible.”