Political Football = Ebola
The topic of Ebola continues to permeate the mainstream media. The very few cases that have presented themselves outside of West Africa have the entire Western World in a tizzy. The latest salvo has been the thought process of quarantining anyone that comes from West Africa for 21 days prior to being declared “Ebola Free”. It’s such a shame that so much is being made of this issue and it has all turned political. Very few of these politicians, media anchors, etc. have a clue about what they are talking about, but they certainly have a point of view now…right or wrong.
The politicians can do us all a favor and stop posturing and presenting their point of view unless they actually have a clue about what they are speaking about. The truth is, most of the people that are on the front lines of this crisis are volunteers working with Non Government Organizations (NGO’s) like Medical Ministry International. The politicians and media types need to talk to us, not formulate their own opinions. We live with disease on a regular basis in the developing world. The crisis is not here in the United States and it never will be. Yes, a few people may present symptoms and then need to be quarantined, but you cannot do this randomly for every single person that comes into the country.
Why? If governments make it harder for volunteers to go and fight the fight at the point of the disease, they will not be able to go. If these heroes are not able to go, people are going to die. If the governments want to create a travel containment process, then start funding an Air Bridge that would be a series of Charter Flights from the U.S. to West Africa. This would provide the supplies, personnel, etc. that are needed to address the disease, and could also provide an easy way to handle those that are returning. There are few NGO’s that have the resources to pay for their own flights, in fact at MMI our volunteers pay their own way so that we can provide .94 of every $1 that is given to the organization to serve the poor. We don’t have the resources to fund charter flights, but we do have the expertise.
Please stop buying into the hype. Yes, the CDC and our government dropped the ball earlier in the process. This has led to them getting their act together after the fact and slowly they are catching up. We cannot allow this dysfunction to affect the real need and that is the need for resources and focus on West Africa. The truth is, we have had two cases of Ebola that occurred when the hospital team was not ready and did not have the equipment and plan ready to address the disease. Both of these people have recovered. The rest of the patients have contracted the disease in West Africa, and when they needed help, fortunately we have been able to help these heroes recover.
There is also a misnomer out there that some cases have not presented a fever as an early symptom. Let me clear this up. When your body has been fighting to stay alive, it presents a fever to fight off illness. If you have become so tired and dehydrated that you cannot present a fever, you are close to death. Bottom line, if you are a reasonably healthy person, you will present a fever as an early symptom of Ebola. All of these people that have come back not showing any sign of symptoms are NOT a risk to the public. They should be self monitoring and when a sign of symptoms presents itself, they will immediately call for help. This is what Dr. Spencer has done in NY. It makes sense, if you present any sign, the sooner you can get help, the better your chance at survival. There is no need for a quarantine as anyone stupid enough to not self monitor is risking their own health, which is the best preventative of all.
Overreaction and political posturing will not solve the problem, in fact it has totally distracted the focus from where it should be…West Africa. Please take a step back, relax, and help us to address the disease at where it has started and is killing the less fortunate. These are good people that have done nothing to deserve the plight they currently face.