Monday, November 17, 2014

Ebola Nurse Resents Appellation

Good.  She needs to be addressed formally as Kaci Hickox, Ebola Nurse for the rest of here career.
I never had Ebola. I never had symptoms of Ebola. I tested negative for Ebola the first night I stayed in New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s private prison in Newark. I am now past the incubation period – meaning that I will not develop symptoms of Ebola.

I never had Ebola, so please stop calling me “the Ebola Nurse” – now!
But she did land in New Jersey with a fever; practically the first sign of Ebola, having come from a country with an active breakout of Ebola, and where she had been treating Ebola patients, and could be reasonably presumed to have possibly been in contact with the virus.

The fact that she tested negative upon arriving in New Jersey means effectively nothing. At this point, Ebola tests aren't very good, and people often show early symptoms (fever...)  before they test positive.

The case of Dr. Martin Salia is illustrative.  Salia, a Sierra Leonian doctor treating Ebola, who contracted the disease there, and was flown to the us for treatement, fell ill, and initially tested negative for Ebola, and was congratulated by his friends and staff (including hugs and hand shaking, and kisses?) stayed ill, and later tested positive for Ebola.  He died in a special Ebola ward in Nebraska:
Salia tested negative for the disease on Nov. 7, days after becoming ill. He tested positive Nov. 10. Smith said "false negative" test results are possible in the first days of symptoms when the viral load is relatively low.

Daniel Johnson, director of critical care at Nebraska Medical Center, said Salia was critically ill when he arrived at the hospital, where the medical team quickly had to combat kidney and respiratory failure. Salia was placed on dialysis, required a ventilator and received plasma from a surviving Ebola patient, the physicians said.

Multiple medications included experimental ZMapp therapy, a new drug that has shown promise in fighting the disease.
No doubt his friends and relatives who had contact with him between the 7th and the 10th are also insisting on their right to run free unless they test positive, too.

At this time, scientists can give us some guidance as to who should be put under quarantine, but ultimately, the step of taking someones civil liberties away to protect the rest of us from a horrible disease must reside in our politicians. Healthcare workers must not be allowed to choose their own level of containment, because history suggests that they chronically underestimate their own chances of getting ill, and the probabilities of passing the disease into the populace.

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