Ok, so the fear of every New Yorker has finally come...
Dr. Craig Spencer, who treated Ebola patients while working for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres
is the first Ebola case diagnosed in New York, and the fourth in the US.
The Doctors Without Borders physician tested positive for the deadly virus six days after returning from Guinea where he was treating patients.
And this is causing a panic in the city that I love the most.
He left Guinea on October 14th and returned to New York City on October 17th via Europe. On October 21st, he began to feel tired and developed fever and diarrhea, common symptoms of Ebola,
on October 23rd in which he immediately contacted medical services and was taken to Bellevue Hospitalwhere he is being kept in isolation.
It is normal for New Yorkers to panic as the usual transportation is the subway which he took, (A train to 14th St-8th Ave, Manhattan then L train to Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn), visited a bowling alley (The Gutter) and took an Uber cab just one day before he was rushed to the hospital with a 103F fever.
And earlier that day, he even went on a three-mile jog and took the 1 train to the High Line
before eating out at a restaurant.
That's the key, he didn't know yet that he will feel sick. The early symptoms of Ebola are similar to other more common, diseases. This makes it difficult to diagnose Ebola in someone who has been infected for only a few days.
Before we make some comments, for those who are not yet knowledgeable about Ebola, let us have a quick review:
(I used the World Health Organization guidelines to accommodate all readers worldwide)
Symptoms of Ebola virus disease
Incubation period: ---the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms
is 2 to 21 days.
Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms.
sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat
vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding (e.g. oozing from the gums, blood in the stools).
low white blood cell and platelet counts and elevated liver enzymes.
(If you want to learn more about Ebola, click here.)
So basing from these,
New Yorkers should not panic unless they were in contact with the patient
when the symptoms arise.
His fiancee and two friends are now under observation
but health officials will continue to determine if anyone else requires monitoring.
I personally admire the healthcare workers who volunteer to reach out to those in need
and those who are courageous enough to take care of Ebola patients
even though that would mean risking their own lives.
I think WHO should revise this for healthcare workers who travelled to Ebola-affected countries
to volunteer as they are already known to be possible Ebola virus carriers.
Dr. Thomas Frieden, president of the CDC, told the panel:
"Our concern now is with healthcare workers who are caring for him."
So this is my question:
(this might not be heard by anyone influential
but for you readers at least to ponder on)
Why won't the government mandate all healthcare workers
who took care of an Ebola patient in quarantine for at least 21 days
(they must be compensated though!)
since that is the incubation period?
None of them would know if they got the virus until then.
Being a healthcare worker myself,
I personally think that's the best way to promote safety for everyone.
As they say,
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
In Dr. Spencer's case,
we can not blame him
as there was no governing rule for him to stop getting out of his house.
If there was a mandatory rule,
then he could have in isolation.
Anyways, WHO has already identified at least
two experimental vaccines which it believes could be promising.
At a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland
the UN health body said it wanted tests of the vaccines to be completed by the end of December.
Let us hope and pray that this would be effective.
What are your thoughts?
I want to hear from you.