Is mandatory quarantine the answer to contain Ebola outbreak in the USA?

Dr. Craig Spencer, a New York based physician who cared for Ebola patients through Doctors Without Borders, is now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital receiving care.

Dr. Craig Spencer, a New York- based physician who cared for Ebola patients through Doctors Without Borders, is now in isolation at Bellevue Hospital receiving care.

On Saturday, October 25, The World Health Organization (WHO) released figures which show that more than 10,000 persons have been infected with Ebola, with almost 5,000 dying from the disease as the infection rate grows internationally.

However, those infected with the disease since the outbreak began in March, are confined mainly to three West African countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. 20 cases were reported in Nigeria, which has now been declared Ebola-free, one in Mali, four in the United States, one in Spain and one in Senegal. In the United States, one person, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who was visiting family in Texas, has died from the disease.

The other infected persons are all health care workers who either cared for Duncan or other infected persons while performing humanitarian missions in the countries ravaged by the disease. So debate now rages about the actions taken by governors in Illinois, Florida, New York and New Jersey in enforcing mandatory quarantine for any person who returns to US soil after being in contact with Ebloa-infected individuals in West Africa.

This action comes on the heels of New York-based Doctors Without Borders physician Craig Spencer, 33, who was transported to Bellevue Hospital in lower Manhattan on Thursday, October 23, where he later tested positive for Ebola. Spencer returned from a mission caring for Ebola patients on October 17 and though he self-monitored, and contacted medical officials when his temperature spiked, his actions caused panic among New Yorkers, some of whom believe that he placed others at risk by failing to place himself into quarantine immediately upon his return to the USA, as a precautionary measure.

ABC medical director Dr. Richard Besser, who has himself travelled to Liberia to work with Ebola-stricken patients, warns that the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), where he previously worked, are sufficient. Those guidelines require people returning to the US from Ebola-stricken areas take their temperature twice per day for 21 days, as Besser did, and immediately report to the hospital if a high temperature occurs. But Governors Andrew Cuomo (D-New York) and Chris Christie (R- New Jersey), beg to differ, insisting that mandatory quarantine is the only way to safeguard the public. Who is right?-OnPointPress.net.

US Ebola infections mount but President Obama, CDC, urge calm

President Barack Obama promises "aggressive" efforts to control Ebola.

President Barack Obama promises “aggressive” efforts to control Ebola.

By Carmen Glover

As fears grow about an Ebola epidemic engulfing the USA, President Barack Obama and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director Dr.Thomas Frieden, urge residents to be calm, dismissing the idea  that  the threat seems is rising with the revelation that a second nurse contracted the disease while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola on October 10, after his condition rapidly deteriorated when he finally received care.

Duncan contracted the disease after escorting a pregnant neighbor to the hospital while he was visiting Liberia. The neighbor succumbed to Ebola and Duncan then returned to his family in Dallas, Texas on September 20. According to reports, the nurses cared for Duncan once he was admitted to the hospital the second time around. They were not wearing protective clothing during the initial two days of his care, only donning body coverings after they confirmed that he had Ebola. By then Duncan allegedly had “projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea,” and the nurses’ lives were placed in danger.

Thomas Eric Duncan was turned away from Texas Presbyterian Hospital on 9/25 with a fever of 103. He died a few days  after his admission on 9/27/2014.

Thomas Eric Duncan was turned away from Texas Presbyterian Hospital on 9/25 with a fever of 103. He was admitted on September 27 and  died  on October 10.

President Obama cancelled fundraising events in New York on Wednesday, remaining in the nation’s capital to meet with senior advisors for health, national security and homeland security to examine the current US Ebola policy.

“I know that the American people are concerned about the possibility of an Ebola outbreak, and Ebola is a very serious disease. Because of the measures that we’ve put in place, as well as our world-class health system and the nature of the Ebola virus itself, which is difficult to transmit, the chance of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low,” President Obama said.

Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden speaks during a news conference after confirming that a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, announced Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014, in Atlanta. The person, an adult who was not publicly identified, developed symptoms days after returning to Texas from Liberia and showed no symptoms on the plane, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Tom Frieden speaks during a news conference after confirming that a patient at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has tested positive for Ebola. -Photo Credit: AP.

On Wednesday, October 15, fresh concerns emerged with confirmation that Amber Vinson, another of the more than 70 nurses who cared for Thomas Duncan after he was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 27, contracted the disease and took a plane to Cleveland, Ohio, before she showed symptoms. Vinson reportedly visited her family and took care of details for her upcoming wedding. Vinson was airlifted to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, one of the four US Hospitals which is fully equipped to treat patients who have the disease.

Amber Vinson, the second Texas nurse to contract Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan.

Amber Vinson, the second Texas nurse to contract Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan.

Coming on the heels of fellow nurse Nina Pham also contracting the disease, Vinson’s infection has driven fears to a fever pitch, resulting in the 130 passengers on the airline that she traveled being contacted by the CDC for monitoring. The airline has been decontaminated and removed from active use.

Nina Pham, the first Texas Hospital nurse to contract Ebola while caring for Thomas Duncan.

Nina Pham, the first Texas Hospital nurse to contract Ebola while caring for Thomas Duncan.

It is unclear if Vinson will get a blood transfusion from surviving missionary doctor, Kent Brantly, who generously provided his blood to Pham, who is currently in isolation at her place of work. Pham has been providing cheery updates that she is doing well and receiving the best care possible. One thing is clear: Duncan did not receive a blood transfusion. According to reports, he had a different blood type from the doctor.

As more details unfold about the new cases of the Ebola infection, questions swirl about breach of “protocol,” leading many to ask: What protocol did they really observe at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in the first place?

Dr Kent Brantly,  American missionary doctor who survived Ebola after receiving specialized care and experimental drugs.

Dr. Kent Brantly, American missionary doctor who survived Ebola after receiving specialized care and experimental drugs.

“This is not the new AIDS,’ Frieden cautioned at one of his my press conferences since the multiple outbreaks. The President addressed the breakdown in care and steps taken to prevent future episodes. “We have learned some lessons, though in terms of what happened in Dallas. We don’t have a lot of margin for error. The protocols and procedures that are put in place must be followed.”

A nervous nation waits for word about the next person to contract the disease, a reality that many believe is certain to occur, despite words of confidence issued by the President and Frieden.  Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday that 4,493 people have died from Ebola in three main countries in West Africa: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone–OnPointPress.net.