UPDATE: TEXAS HEALTH OFFICIALS INCREASE NUMBER OF POSSIBLE CONTACTS OF EBOLA VICTIM TO 100
Despite promises by all asunder that any Ebola epidemic in America will be "contained" the dreadful news this morning appears to confirm this is not the case. From one patient, Eric Duncan, just 2 days ago, to 4 schools and 18 people yesterday (according to Texas Governor Rick Perry) to today where NBC News has confirmed with the Dallas county health and human services that 80 people came into contact with the Dallas Ebola patient or his family (including 12-18 direct). The ambulance workers are also under close watch after Duncan vomited on the ground outside an apartment complex as he was bundled into an ambulance. In addition, CBS is reporting one possible Ebola patient in isolation in Hawaii. Contained? Perhaps it is time to rethink the ethics of disease control once again.
The Dallas patient had initially sought treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital late last Thursday and was sent home with antibiotics rather than being observed further, even though he told a nurse he had recently returned from West Africa. By Sunday, he needed an ambulance to return to the same hospital, where he was admitted.
A nurse asked about the travel as part of a triage checklist and was told about it. “Regretfully, that information was not fully communicated throughout the full teams. As a result, the full import of that information wasn’t factored into the full decision making,” Texas hospital official Mark Lester said.
Two days after he was sent home from a Dallas hospital, the man who is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was seen vomiting on the ground outside an apartment complex as he was bundled into an ambulance.
"His whole family was screaming. He got outside and he was throwing up all over the place," resident Mesud Osmanovic, 21, said on Wednesday, describing the chaotic scene before the man was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday where he is in serious condition.
That was the day "I called CDC to get some actions taken, because I was concerned for his life and he wasn't getting the appropriate care," Duncan's nephew, Josephus Weeks, told NBC News on Wednesday night. "I feared other people might also get infected if he wasn't taken care of, and so I called them to ask them why is it a patient that might be suspected of this disease was not getting appropriate care?"
Weeks added that he hoped "nobody else got infected because of a mistake that was made."
NBC has confirmed with the Dallas county health and human services that 80 people came into contact with the Dallas Ebola patient or his family.
Director Zachary Thompson said these 80 people were not in close contact, but they did have some kind of contact with or exposure to the patient.
Separately, Texas health officials have ordered four family members who had contact with the Dallas Ebola patient to stay home and not have visitors to prevent the potential spread of disease.
The order, hand delivered to Thomas Eric Duncan's relatives Wednesday night by Texas Department of Health Services officials, legally requires the family to comply until at least Oct. 19, when the incubation period has passed and the family is no longer at risk of having the disease.
And then there is this....
Doctors are keeping one possible Ebola patient in isolation in Hawaii, but symptoms could reflect many illnesses.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) October 2, 2014
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As we noted previously, it is perhaps time to discuss the ethics of disease control a little more broadly before the totalitarian weight of government comes to bear.