A patient infected with Ebola is being flown into the United States to be held for medical examination and treatment at Emory University in Atlanta, reports The Guardian. (1) "Emory University Hospital in Atlanta is set to receive a patient infected with the deadly Ebola disease currently sweeping through swaths of west Africa," the paper reports. The patient is reportedly one of the American doctors who was recently infected with the disease.
This event will make the first time in history that a level-4 biohazard infectious agent is being transported by air into a large U.S. city while still multiplying inside a living patient. This startling revelation brings up all sorts of questions that range from the gullibly hopeful to the impossibly sinister. Here are some of the thoughts going through people's minds on this right now:
Thought #1) HUH? Why are they bringing an infected Ebola patient into the USA? Do they want to start a pandemic here?
Thought #2) Hooray for Emory! They are reaching out to save the life of a brave American doctor!
Thought #4) This is commendable! There's simply better medical care in the USA and medical professionals want to save this doctor's life.
Thought #5) At what risk? Isn't transporting an infected patient by air, even in a private aircraft, just begging for a pandemic outbreak across the United States? Doesn't this risk the lives of 300 million people?
Thought #6) The Department of Defense needs the body so they can harvest newer strains of Ebola as part of their viral weaponization program.
Save the doctor!
Personally, I tend to think there are multiple layers of agendas happening here all at the same time. At the most basic level, front-line doctors and medical scientists simply want to save their colleague, and they likely believe bringing him back to the USA offers him the best chance of survival.
At the same time, we cannot refute the fact that there are drug company profit interests at stake in all this. The worse the Ebola problem becomes, the more money can be made from future Ebola vaccines or anti-viral treatment drugs. We already know one company called Tekmira has already been awarded a $140m contract by the Department of Defense for its Ebola drug development program.
At an even spookier level, we also know that Ebola is one of the most easily weaponized viruses on the planet. We also know the U.S. Department of Defense has already developed weaponized strains of Ebola and keeps them supercooled in a level-4 biohazard facility somewhere. This is justified on the grounds of "national defense," of course, just in case the survival of the nation one day depends on deploying a global killer virus on enemy territory, I suppose.
You can bet blood samples from this patient will be shared with Pentagon virologists, just in case it's some new strain with a mutation that makes it an even better bioweapon than what the military already has.
At what risk?
Nobody argues with the compassionate idea of saving the life of an American doctor. The man put his life on the line for others, and he deserves our best efforts to save his. My prayers are with him as he struggles to overcome this terrible disease.
At the same time, we must all very carefully consider the risks associated with intentionally bringing Ebola into the USA, transporting it across a large body of water in which the virus could never survive on its own. By transporting this patient into North America, U.S. health authorities may have just followed the steps the virus "wanted" them to follow.
What happens if someone makes a mistake during this patient transfer and the virus gets loose? The proof that mistakes can happen even among well-meaning doctors is readily apparent in the fact that this well-meaning doctor sadly became infected himself. He obviously did not intend to become infected with Ebola. Thus, even medically-trained personnel can and will underestimate the ability of this Ebola strain to spread.
What happens if there is an air transport accident? Suppose the jet experiences a critical flight systems failure and barrel rolls into the forests of Georgia? The chance of this happening may seem very, very small but it is not zero. And if it happens, then suddenly we have Ebola on the loose in Georgia, possibly spreading across the streets of Atlanta.
What happens if a terrorist organization operating inside U.S. borders stages some sort of raid or attack on the Emory University isolation room for the sole purpose of acquiring (and then deploying) Ebola as a bioweapon? Is this doctor's room going to be guarded by Special Forces teams to prevent this? What security will exist around this patient?
What happens if this Ebola victim infects others at Emory University who are working on him or near him? Surely there will be blood draws taking place, and blood draws and IVs involve sharp objects. Sharp objects pierce protective gloves and clothing. One little prick from a needle is all it takes for a full-blown infection to occur, and yes it has happened many times in the past with a variety of infectious agents.
Obviously, infectious disease experts are going to be extremely careful with this patient and everything he comes into contact with, but 100% containment is impossible to achieve. You might achieve 99.999% containment or even better, but the physical process of moving a doctor from an aircraft into a hospital isolation room involves a level of risk which is greater than zero. No one can honestly say there is zero chance of an Ebola outbreak occurring from this situation, because "zero" isn't a valid concept when Ebola is at your doorstep.
Why not send the medical teams to the patient instead?
Why are U.S. health authorities not sending U.S. medical teams to the infected patient instead of bringing the infected patient to America? This is not an irrational question. Why not give this doctor the advanced treatment he deserves and keep Ebola a continent away at the same time?
These are questions we should all be seriously asking right now as the future of all our lives may be impacted by these decisions. Ebola is nothing to play around with, and over-confidence in dealing with Ebola can be fatal to a great many people.
Remember, this particular strain of Ebola has already overwhelmed the full government resources of several countries in West Africa. Doctors who were fully versed in safety measures involving biohazards underestimated their own exposure and allowed themselves to become infected. This virus has already shown an ability to out-maneuver a surprising number of health experts, including one of the world's top Ebola doctors who died from the disease earlier this week. Now, Emory University infectious disease experts are bringing this virus to the continental United States, and the rest of us can only sit back and hope they haven't grossly underestimated the ability of this virus to leap from victim to victim.
Because if they're wrong, it's not just a simple matter of a doctor making another mistake: it's something that could place all our lives at risk by subjecting us to a deadly pandemic with a horrifyingly high fatality rate of 50 - 90 percent. (Interestingly, the high fatality rate actually works against the virus because it causes victims to die so quickly that they don't live long enough to spread it around. A more "successful" virus would have a much lower fatality rate of around 5% coupled with very long incubation times in infected carriers.)
The recent discovery of loose smallpox vials in CDC labs doesn't exactly give me confidence in the government's ability to handle infectious disease agents in a safe manner. As Natural News previously reported: (2)
The virus was stored recklessly in six glass vials inside a cardboard box. It was previously thought that this pathogen, "one of the most virulent infectious diseases" known to mankind, was kept only in two places, one at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, and the other at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR) in Novosibirsk, Russia.
If you're looking for solutions for preventing Ebola infections, check out this article on Chinese Medicine formulas for treating "hot blood" pandemics.
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