A plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola while treating patients in West Africa, landed at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia, at around 11am this morning - the first ever case of Ebola on US soil. He is being escorted to Emory Hospital under police escort. His colleague Nancy Writebol will arrive later on a separate flight as the planes are equipped to deal with one quarantined patient at a time. As ABC reports, both are listed in "serious but stable condition." The CDC's director explained the infected patients pose little risk to others, adding "these are American citizens. American citizens have a right of return. I certainly hope people’s fear doesn’t trump their compassion." What is perhaps raising that fear among Americans (and frankly the world after yesterday's WHO warning of "high risks of spread to other countries") is the fact that, as Reuters reports, more than 100 health workers fighting Ebola have contracted it themselves.
Live Feed of arrival...
Ambulance carrying first Ebola patient on US soil en-route to Atlanta hospital (via NBC11) pic.twitter.com/RqDqcuT2ni— PzFeed Top News (@PzFeed) August 2, 2014
News coverage looks OJ-esque as helicopter cameras follow white ambulance carrying #Ebola patient through Atlanta streets.— T.J. Holmes (@tjholmes) August 2, 2014
As ABC reports, this is the first time the Emory Hospital unit will house patients who are truly infected with a dangerous disease.
Samaritan's Purse confirmed that Dr. Kent Brantly was the first American patient to be evacuated from Liberia aboard a private air ambulance. The flight landed about 11 a.m. Saturday.
Brantly and Nancy Writebol, an aid worker, will be treated at a specialized unit at Emory University in Atlanta.
Both Brantly and Writebol are listed in "serious but stable condition," according to Samaritan's Purse, the aid group Brantly for which worked. Writebol is expected to arrive in the U.S. early next week.
Brantly and Writebol worked at a hospital in Liberia. He's the first patient infected with Ebola to be on U.S. soil.
“The reason we are bringing these patients back to our facility is because we feel they deserve to have the highest level of care offered for their treatment,” Dr. Bruce S. Ribner, an infectious disease specialist at Emory who will be involved in their care, said at a Friday afternoon news conference.
“We depend on the body’s defenses to control the virus,” he said. “We just have to keep the patient alive long enough in order for the body to control this infection.”
“From the time the air ambulance arrives in the metropolitan Atlanta area, up to and including being hospitalized at Emory University Hospital, we have taken every precaution that we know and that our colleagues at the C.D.C. know to ensure that there is no spread of this virus pathogen,” he said.
But fear remains...
The director of the disease centers, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, agreed that the patients posed little risk to others. And he added: “These are American citizens. American citizens have a right of return. I certainly hope people’s fear doesn’t trump their compassion.”
And perhaps rightly so as Reuters reports up to 100 health workers have been infected while treating Ebola patients... As The American Dream's Michael Snyder notes, something is different this time...
This is the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history, and this particular strain appears to be spreading much more easily than others have. So far, 1,323 people have been infected in the nations of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. Of those 1,323 victims, a whopping 729 of them have died. But a number that is even more alarming was buried in the middle of a Reuters report on Friday. According to Reuters, “more than 100 health workers” that have been fighting Ebola in Africa have contracted the virus themselves. Considering the extraordinary measures that these health workers take to keep from getting the disease, that is quite chilling. We are not just talking about one or two “accidents”. We are talking about more than 100 of them getting sick. If Ebola is spreading this easily among medical professionals in biohazard body suits that keep any air from touching the skin, what chance are the rest of us going to have if this virus gets out into the general population?
In case you are tempted to think that this could not be possible and that I am just exaggerating, here is the relevant part of the Reuters article that I was talking about…
More than 100 health workers have been infected by the viral disease, which has no known cure, including two American medics working for charity Samaritan’s Purse. More than half of those have died, among them Sierra Leone’s leading doctor in the fight against Ebola, Sheik Umar Khan, a national hero.
This has the potential to be the greatest health crisis of our lifetimes.
But don’t just take my word for it. The following is what the head of the World Health Organization, Dr. Margaret Chan, just told the press about the disease…
“If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socio-economic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.”
That certainly doesn’t sound good.
Remember, there is no vaccine for Ebola and there is no cure.
Most of the people that get it end up dying.
And right now even our most extreme containment procedures are failing to keep health workers from contracting the disease.
I put the following quote in an article the other day, but I think that it is worth repeating. The health professionals that are on the front lines of the Ebola fight in Africa are going to extraordinary lengths to keep from getting the virus…
To minimise the risk of infection they have to wear thick rubber boots that come up to their knees, an impermeable body suit, gloves, a face mask, a hood and goggles to ensure no air at all can touch their skin.
Dr Spencer, 27, and her colleagues lose up to five litres of sweat during a shift treating victims and have to spend two hours rehydrating afterwards.
They are only allowed to work for between four and six weeks in the field because the conditions are so gruelling.
At their camp they go through multiple decontaminations which includes spraying chlorine on their shoes.
But those precautions are not working.
More than 100 of them have already gotten sick.
So why is this happening?
Nobody seems to know.
Like I said, something is different this time.
A top Liberian health official has already stated that this outbreak is “above the control of the national government” and that it could easily develop into a “global pandemic”.
It is absolutely imperative that this disease be contained until experts can figure out why it seems to be spreading so much more easily than before.
But instead, health officials are beginning to ship Ebola patients all over the planet.
In fact, two American health workers that have contracted Ebola are being shipped to a hospital in Atlanta…
Two American medical missionaries diagnosed with the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia could be back in the USA next week for treatment at a special medical isolation unit at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, the U.S. State Department said Friday.
The State Department did not name the two individuals, saying only that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was facilitating their transfer on a non-commercial flight and would “maintain strict isolation upon arrival in the United States.”
One is to arrive Monday in a small jet outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases. The second is to arrive a few days later, said doctors at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, where they will be treated.
Could this potentially spread the virus to our shores?
I am sure that they are taking as many precautions as they can.
However, even if those patients do not spread the disease to this country, the reality of the matter is that it will always be just a plane ride away. All it takes is for one person carrying the virus to get on one plane.
And if Ebola does start spreading in the United States, it could change life in this nation almost overnight.
We could very easily see forced quarantines and draconian restrictions on travel. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “This Is What Could Happen If Ebola Comes To The United States“.
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Finally, since every crisis and tragedy has an opportunistic silver lining, and "can't be put to waste," those who prefer to see the Ebola epidemic as opening avenues of profitability are encouraged to read the following article on a Canadian company which just may be the next CYNK, especially if the Ebola crisis does indeed spread away from "only" Africa.