Ebola outbreak

Over the last few weeks, Ebola has found its way into the United States and has caused one death so far, but it has begun to infect other Americans. Thomas Duncan, a Liberian, flew into the United States carrying Ebola on September 20th and he died shortly after on October 8th. He was treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, where the disease spread to one of his nurses. It is still up in the air as to how this nurse contracted the disease, considering she was dressed head to toe in a hazmat suit and was educated on how to handle this situation.

Nina Pham, Duncan’s’ nurse, became the first person in the United States to contract Ebola. She was transferred to the National Institutes of Health Isolation in Maryland. Pham is still being treated and is still in good health. More than 4,000 people have died from Ebola, the majority of them in Western Africa in places such as Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The question that arises now is why President Obama is still allowing air traffic from Western Africa into the United States.

If the United States has the proper tools to stop the spread of this disease, than key personnel should be going to Western Africa to do so. Bringing the disease into the United States is only putting another country in danger. HOW MANY EBOLA PATIENTS ARE OUTSIDE OF WEST AFRICA? At least 17 cases have been treated outside of West Africa. Green = Recovered Orange = In Treatment Red = Died Figure 1. This is a map of all of the people who have contracted Ebola outside of West Africa as of October 16th, 2014. (Www. nytimes. com).

Thomas Duncan’s death came eight days after his diagnosis, which began a country wide scare immediately. Hospital staff around the country began to panic, worrying that they were not prepared for what was in store. Duncan first looked for treatment on September 25th, but he was sent home neither with any answers about why he was sick nor any treatment to cure it. We still are unsure as to why Duncan was sent home, considering his travel history and symptoms. There are many “what ifs” in this situation. What if Duncan had been treated when he entered the hospital on September 25th?

We are unsure exactly, but we hope that this tragedy would not have happened had he been treated earlier. According to the _Washington Post_, Duncan’s family feels that Thomas was not treated properly because he is an African man. They feel that the American nurses were only fighting for the whites and not for the blacks. This is a very controversial statement, and it appears that the Presbyterian hospital in Dallas, Texas did everything in their power to try and save Duncan. Over Columbus Day Weekend, I went home for the weekend to Marshfield, Massachusetts.

I was informed of a potential case of Ebola in Braintree, Massachusetts. Braintree is about twenty minutes from my home, and only ten minutes away from my aunts and uncles. We all immediately panicked and began calling each other discussing our fears about this outbreak. We were given minimal information, but we knew that a man who had recently traveled from Liberia had entered Harvard Vanguard in Braintree complaining of flu like symptoms. This man had been to Harvard Vanguard earlier that day to fill a prescription, but later he felt sick and came back to be checked out.

He immediately was isolated outside of the hospital in an ambulance, where he was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. After multiple hours and many news broadcasts, we were informed that this man tested negative for Ebola. There have been multiple Ebola scares in the United States over the past few weeks. A plane was quarantined at a Las Vegas Airport on October 10th after a passenger reported feeling ill. This Ebola threat was ruled out shortly after the quarantine. In Boston at Logan Airport, another plane was quarantined on October 18th after five passengers

complained of flu-like symptoms. The plane was coming from Dubai and landed in Boston around two p. m. where health officials fully prepared in HAZMAT suits met them. Two of the passengers appeared to have a fever and flu symptoms and were taken immediately to Boston Medical Center. The other three passengers, who did not appear to have a fever but complained of symptoms, were immediately taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

The workers and passengers aboard the flight did not leave the aircraft until 5:30 p. m., when they were eventually allowed to get their luggage and go on their way. This event sent a huge scare over the media and people not only in Boston but also around the entire United States. Shortly after, Seven News Boston tweeted out that “State and City officials say there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Massachusetts, and no cause for alarm. ” Though these words are comforting, it is difficult to remain calm when flights from Africa are still being allowed into the United States. On Wednesday, October 15th, President Barack Obama finally spoke out about the Ebola virus.

NBC news reported that Obama stated “I want people to understand that the dangers of you contracting Ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak in this country are extraordinary low, but we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government. ” Although Obama said that, it is difficult to believe considering a scientist from the University of Bern stated that if the disease kept spreading the way it has been in Liberia, there will be at least 100,000 deaths by the first of December. Now that we see how serious this disease is, we need to come together and figure out a way to stop it from spreading.

On Friday October 17th, Obama appointed Ron Klain ‘czar’ of the United States plans to stop the spread of Ebola. Klain has many ties in the government, for example he served as Chief of Staff for Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore. Ron Klain is well known by the White House and President Obama, so that’s why they felt he was the right person for the job. Though, Klain has absolutely no background in medicine or science, so it is confusing as to how he is supposed to stop this spread. On Sunday October 19th, the government and officials held a meeting regarding Ebola.

Klain did not attend the meeting and has yet to speak out to the public about his plan. It is difficult to believe that this man is suited for the job if he isn’t getting educated and educating fellow Americans. The question we need answered is how the United States is going to make sure that Ebola does not spread any further. My original thought was to stop all air traffic from West Africa into the United States. If the United States has the capability of helping those who are sick, then they should be traveling to them to help, rather than bringing them into the United States.

I began doing some research to see if this was a possible and effective way to stop the spread of the disease. I found a survey by NBC News that showed that a majority of Americans (58%) supported a ban of flights out of countries suffering from an Ebola outbreak. After looking on the Internet, I came across a map of all of the air travel out of West Africa. Figure 2. This is a map of all of the air traffic out of West Africa. (www. forbes. com) I learned that you couldn’t just seal the country. Whether by land or by sea, people will escape the epidemic and end up in the United States, we just won’t know where.

Forbes. com compared a travel ban to locking yourself in a cabin on a sinking ship and praying that the water doesn’t seep through the gaps. Although the ban seems logical, we must realize that Thomas Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola in the United States, had traveled to America from Belgium after flying there from Liberia. This ban would require a complete ban of flights out of Western Africa, which is just not reasonable. After talk of the ban, the United States decided to only allow travelers from Ebola infected countries to fly into five American Airports.

JFK International in New York, Newark Liberty International, Washington Dulles International, O’hare International in Chicago and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta are all prepared to screen travels from the infected countries. These five airports already account for 94% of all arrivals from the affected countries (Appuzo). Aside from flying into one of the five available airports, passengers must also report their temperature daily for three weeks, along with any other potential symptoms of the disease (McNeil). State and Local Health Officials will be required to find and potentially detain anyone who fails to check in.

In Washington, President Obama approved the C. D. C’s plan and said the government will continue to put appropriate measures into place. Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York called the move a “good and effective step” toward protecting Americans (Appuzo). We must educate our citizens and stop the disease all together. First, people must learn the possible ways to contract the disease. Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, objects that have been contaminated with the disease and infected animals. Ebola is not spread through the air or water.

Though in Africa, Ebola may be spread through contact with bush meat, which is the meat of wild African animals. According to Daniel Cooney at Forest news, In Africa’s Congo Basin, people eat an estimated five billion tons of bushmeat per year. We also must keep close eye on those monitoring the travelers from West Africa. The C. D. C’s plan to allow West Africans to only fly into five particular airports is a step in the right direction to end Ebola in the United States. There can be no slips in which infected people are allowed to roam free throughout the country.

Any signs of Ebola must be taken seriously and be handled by educated health officials. We must make sure that all protective gear is worn properly and no skin is exposed to the disease. We have already had a nurse contract the disease because of this, and it is important to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. Nigeria eliminated the disease all together by using safe and effective methods. It is important that the United States does the same and Americans remain safe from the disease. Obama has finally stepped out about the disease and I hope to see the government get more involved in the elimination of this disease.

There have been two more cases of Ebola over the past week, but it seems that the doctors have it under control and that patients are getting better, not worse. With the right methods and strategies, it is possible that Ebola could be wiped from the United States all together.

Works Cited “20,000 cases or 100,000? How researchers predict Ebola’s spread. ” _Washington Post_. The Washington Post, n. d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. . Apuzzo, Matt, and Manny Fernandez. “5 U. S.

Airports Set for Travelers From 3 West African Nations. ” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes. com/2014/10/22/us/ebola-west-africa-united-states-flights. html? _r=0 (accessed October 22, 2014). “Ebola and bush meat in Africa: Q&A with leading researcher. ” CIFOR Forests News Blog. http://blog. cifor. org/23924/ebola-and-bushmeat-in-africa-qa-with-leading-researcher? _ga=1. 239419523. 1260789577. 1413303503#. VD1VOrDF_y0 (accessed October 21, 2014). “Ebola and Liberian Bodies: Thomas Eric Duncan’s Death Raises Doubts About Treatment. ” _Time_. Time, n. d. Web. 16 Oct. 2014. . “Is bush meat behind Ebola outbreak?. ”

BBC News. http://www.bbc. com/news/health-29604204 (accessed October 19, 2014). “Majority of Americans Want Flights Banned From Ebola Countries: Survey – NBC News. ” _NBC News_. N. p. , n. d. Web. 15 Oct. 2014. . Mcneil, Donald. “U. S. Plans 21-Day Watch of Travelers From Ebola-Hit Nations. ” The New York Times. http://www. nytimes. com/2014/10/23/health/us-to-monitor-travelers-from-ebola-hit-nations-for-21-days. html (accessed October 22, 2014). “Thomas Duncan, the Texas Ebola patient, has died. ” _Washington Post_. The Washington Post, n. d. Web. 14 Oct. 2014.

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