*The Ebola epidemic is the worst outbreak in history and it is steadily wreaking havoc across West Africa.
So far, this frightening disease has killed 887 lives and over 1600 cases have been documented. In addition, the numbers are not slowing down. Two American missionary/medical workers infected with the deadly Ebola virus were transported over 6,000 miles back to the United States to be treated in Atlanta, GA.
Some Atlantans are fine with it, while others are clearly upset and have mixed feelings. Others are terrified at the possibility that this deadly disease could end up spreading across America.
“I have mixed feeling about this. It frightens me to think this could be widespread. Every day I hear it spreading more and more. Honestly, I feel like Emory may be experimenting with this at the expense of so many people’s lives. I pray for the best,” says Sandra Walker, self-employed Advertising Executive.
The Ebola virus is not an airborne transmission. It is transmitted through direct contact with the blood, secretions, or other body fluids of ill people, and indirect contact (with needles and other things that may be contaminated with these fluids). There has to be direct contact frequently with body fluids or blood states the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.
“I wish that I could say that it is a good idea to have them to come to Atlanta for treatment, but they could have given them treatment back over there in Africa. It is already proven to be the case as the other volunteer has already received treatment and is on her way to Atlanta tomorrow. Also, there is a person that they have just found in New York that might have it as well. This country is not the country that is so great that (we have a) fix and cure for everything. We can give support from a far and not here. I know that they are Americans. We should help our fellow man. But this is something that is very dangerous and there is not yet a cure for at this time. But this is just how I feel,” says Darryl Holland, an Atlanta computer technician.
“Well, since Atlanta is home of the CDC, it is a responsibility that has to be undertaken. It is my hope that all precautions are 100 percent in place to secure the unknown,” says Jazz Saxophonist Dee Lucas.
According to one Atlanta doctor who wished to remain anonymous states, “You’re transporting a patient across the country to receive treatment while there are patients right there in Africa that need treatment,” he says. “Everybody has a fear of Ebola being transmitted in our country which should not be a concern because they are going to take all the necessary precautions to prevent that. I don’t think we are at risk. My issue is what about the people of Africa who need the same treatment in their country. It looks like we are concerned about one person versus the masses of people that have contracted it. It starts looking like the “Haves and the Have Nots,” says the prominent Atlanta physician.
According to the CDC, Ebola has no known cure and can be treated only with “supportive therapy,” such as balancing the patients’ fluids and electrolytes, monitoring vital signs and treating any additional infections. Experimental treatments have been tested and proven effective in animal models but have not yet been used in humans. However, an experimental drug was used on the missionary workers, and is raising many questions. Dr. Kent Brantly seems to be improving according to Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the CDC. However, he is still being monitored while being treated at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital.
The World Health Organization does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions on Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. However, the CDC issued warnings last week to avoid travel to the three West African countries.
A question that comes to mind is if the Ebola virus is transmitted in the same way HIV and Hepatitis B or C are transmitted, why are there so many precautions (hazmat suits, protective gear, isolation unit) being put into place? According to Emory Healthcare website:
“The Ebola virus is part of a list of agents that the United States government has determined to be a threat to bioterrorism. This list is called Level A agents. Because Ebola is on this list, we are required by law to take extra precautions when handling materials that may be contaminated or when treating patients that are infected with it.”
While some are extremely worried about the Ebola outbreak in the U.S., others have confidence that CDC has everything under control and that the U.S., will be fine. The only thing the U.S. can do is to pray and sit back and hope for the best.
Atlantans Weigh In ...
“I think it dangerous because it is spreading so rapidly and easily through patients and people in general. I do think they should have been transported to Emory, that’s where some of the #1 doctors are and they specialize in different things or vaccines to help the patient with this tremendously.” ~ Jasmine Williams, graduate student.
“While I understand that his family is concerned with his health, and my prayers go out to them, it is my opinion that he should not have been transported back to United States, until he had fully recovered from this disease. Yes, he may be in an isolated unit, but there is no guarantee that the virus is totally contained therefore placing others in harm’s way.” ~Tonya Williams, Life Coach
“Atlanta is a big city… These patients need be to treated somewhere and Atlanta is where the CDC is. Quite naturally, the physicians who study these types of diseases would also be there. There’s no need to fear two persons, under a special confinement in a city that’s millions of square miles in size.” ~Debra J. Gordon, writer.