Viewpoints: Why Emory accepted American Ebola cases; calls for terrified Americans to 'chill out'

Published on August 8, 2014 at 12:18 AM · No Comments

Los Angeles Times: The Great Ebola Scare
Blame it on Richard Preston. "The Hot Zone," his 1994 nonfiction science thriller about the spread and devastation of the Ebola virus, pretty much set the standard for terrifying contagion scenarios. ... Ebola has secured a special place in the American imagination. It's not just an illness but a phantasmagoria, a hideous acid trip come to life. Maybe that's why some people, convinced that two infected patients in a state-of-the-art isolation unit represent a direct path to a zombie apocalypse, have gone so far as to send nasty emails to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and to Emory University Hospital (Meghan Daum, 8/6). 

The Washington Post: I'm The Head Nurse At Emory. This Is Why We Wanted To Bring The Ebola Patients To The U.S.
A second American infected with the potentially deadly Ebola virus arrived at Emory University Hospital on Tuesday from Africa, following the first patient last weekend. Both were greeted by a team of highly trained physicians and nurses, a specialized isolation unit, extensive media coverage, and a storm of public reaction. People responded viscerally on social media, fearing that we risked spreading Ebola to the United States. Those fears are unfounded and reflect a lack of knowledge about Ebola and our ability to safely manage and contain it. Emory University Hospital has a unit created specifically for these types of highly infectious patients, and our staff is thoroughly trained in infection control procedures and protocols (Susan M. Grant, 8/6). 

Los Angeles Times: Chill Out, America: An Ebola Reality Check
Though it is impossible to predict how the crisis might have been handled had it begun in the United States or in Britain, the lack of medical infrastructure in several of the affected countries and frayed relations between civilians and hospital authorities after decades of brutal civil wars heap further pressure onto the epidemic. In the U.S., it is fair to assume that visiting a hospital will bruise your purse-strings but save your life; in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, that assumption is not so easy to make (Charlotte Lytton, 8/6). 

The Wall Street Journal: Experimental Medicine In A Time Of Ebola
A virologist carrying out mouse experiments in a lab in Hamburg five years ago accidentally pricked her finger. The syringe contained the Zaire Ebola virus, the same strain wreaking havoc today in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. There is no approved treatment or vaccine for Ebola, or even one that has passed the first phase of safety trials in human volunteers. Yet unlike those exposed to Ebola in West Africa recently, the Hamburg virologist was quickly offered an experimental vaccine (Jeremy Farrar, David Heymann and Peter Piot, 8/6). 

USA Today: Ebola Myths Range From Dumb To Deadly: Our View
Sometimes, misinformation can spread faster than a deadly virus, as proven in recent days by the hyperventilation about Ebola. Tuesday, while a man who had visited West Africa was screened for the disease at a New York hospital, tabloids screamed about an "Ebola scare" in the Big Apple. On Wednesday, officials said the man doesn't have the virus (8/6). 

USA Today: Ebola Research Flows Away From Poor: Other Views
More money goes into fighting baldness and erectile dysfunction than hemorrhagic fevers (8/6). 

On other health topics -

The New York Times' The Upshot: Why The Hepatitis Cure Sovaldi Is A Budgetary Disaster For Prisons
There is only one group in the United States with a constitutional right to medical care: Prisoners. That is why the introduction of an expensive new drug to treat hepatitis C is forcing prison administrators to begin wrestling with a big dilemma -- save their budgets or treat their inmates (Margot Sanger-Katz, 8/7). 

Bloomberg: Obamacare Bends The Reality Curve
In a telephone survey of 3,565 people conducted in mid-July, Bankrate asked people variations on the same question: How has their access to health care changed over the last year? Note, that's not a predictive question (What will happen?) or a question of opinion (What should happen?). The pollsters just asked people what had happened to their own situation since Obamacare's main provisions kicked in. From their answers, Republicans and Democrats seem to be living in two different universes (Christopher Flavelle, 8/7).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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