DALLAS — While expensive medical equipment used on Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Presbyterian Hospital Dallas was decontaminated with disinfectants, the 60-inch TV hanging in the apartment of his fiancee was sawed in half, stuffed in a hazmat drum and incinerated.
“That Samsung was one of the hardest cuts of our lives, but we were told to get rid of everything that could be replaced and we did,” said Brad Smith, vice president of Fort Worth-based CG Environmental - the Cleaning Guys, which decontaminated Louise Troh’s home at the apartment complex where Duncan became symptomatic with vomiting and diarrhea.
This was the first time that a residence in the United States had ever been decontaminated for the Ebola virus. There were no manuals, no specific guidelines by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on what to do. In Texas, the county and city had to come up with a plan quickly to rid the place of any remaining Ebola virus, to prevent its spread while providing peace of mind to a fearful community.
The response now appears to be decontamination overkill, compared with what the CDC and other health agencies recommend for hospital disinfection.
Chalk up one for the “but, Rick, I thought that was your departments dirty diaper.” No. It’s the Fed. Yeah that Fed. The one who attempts to level the field across the board. So the Rick, I must be on meds, or I could actually debate, Perry and the usual gang of bomb throwing, big gummint hating, free range chicken loving home grown or shipped in from the psyche ward legislators in Tejano all got their shorts in a knot screaming about how the Obama Socialist Oligarchy failed to actually do the job of state regulators. Like think. Or act. Or be useful. “What do we do Rick? Ted? Ted!?” How about work with all the resources available? Put aside the immense Dallas Presby fuckup, the blame lays with…..Ready? People outside the state that we like to keep outside the state. Big Gubmint Ebil. “We must admit, along the way, we have seen ample opportunity for improvement, from the CDC all the way to the hospital,” he said.
No mention of Rick or Ted or Gohmert or any other wanking gift to humanity seeking truth and closure. Nope. GOP on parade.
Recently here at LGF a lot of people have been posting things refuting right wing fear monger about Ebola. Emil Karlsson however took on another false claim about the disease, this one dealing with how it ought to be treated.
Ebola is a virus that causes a dangerous hemorrhagic fever disease with a high mortality rate. Right now, there have been at least 9000 cases of Ebola viral disease and ~4500 documented deaths. It has spread to seven different countries: Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States, although according to the October 17th update from the World Health Organization (WHO) the outbreak seems to have ended in Senegal.
In the wake of this human tragedy, pseudoscientific “treatments” against Ebola have cropped up like weeds around the Internet. Various websites suggest antioxidants, selenium, vitamin C, Vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, estradiol, infrared radiation, sodium bicarbonate, cannabis, coffee, fermented soy, silver and salty drinking water. Natural News, the largest website promoting quack treatments in the world, even posted an article recommending homeopathy and describing how to prepare remedies. However, this was pulled after a couple of days as apparently homeopathy for Ebola was a too deranged idea even for Natural News.
Recently, Fran Sheffield (the director of Homeopathy Plus Australia) put up a petition (webcite) at change.org urging the WHO to “test and distribute homeopathy as quickly as possible” to contain outbreaks of Ebola. This petition, together with 2000 signatures, were sent to Director General Dr Margaret Chan at the WHO in early October. Unfortunately, it contains numerous scientific, medical and logical errors that will be discussed in this article. The irrational peculiarities of the messages left from supporters of homeopathy for Ebola will also be explored.
Ebola is threatening much of the world’s chocolate supply.
Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cacao, the raw ingredient in M&M’s, Butterfingers and Snickers Bars, has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins. The West African nation of about 20 million — also known as Côte D’Ivoire — has yet to experience a single case of Ebola, but the outbreak already could raise prices.
The World Cocoa Foundation is working now to collect large donations from Nestlé, Mars and many of its 113 other members for its Coca Industry Response to Ebola Initiative. The initiative hasn’t been publicly unveiled, but the WCF plans to announce details Wednesday, during its annual meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on how the money will fuel Red Cross and Caritas Internationalis work to help the infected and staunch Ebola’s spread.
We’ve been covering the Ebola panic a lot here on LGF, but here’s something that really puts things in context, in a way that many people here might not have thought of. Stassa Edwards discusses the history of racists using fear of disease to attack and demonize minorities, and how that fear was used to justify everything from imperialism to nativist legislation. Warning, this gets pretty disturbing, in more ways than one.
On October 1st, the New York Times published a photograph of a four-year-old girl in Sierra Leone. In the photograph, the anonymous little girl lies on a floor covered with urine and vomit, one arm tucked underneath her head, the other wrapped around her small stomach. Her eyes are glassy, returning the photographer’s gaze. The photograph is tightly focused on her figure, but in the background the viewer can make out crude vials to catch bodily fluids and an out-of-focus corpse awaiting disposal.
The photograph, by Samuel Aranda, accompanied a story headlined “A Hospital From Hell, in a City Swamped by Ebola.” Within it, the Times reporter verbally re-paints this hellish landscape where four-year-olds lie “on the floor in urine, motionless, bleeding from her mouth, her eyes open.” Where she will probably die amidst “pools of patients’ bodily fluids,” “foul-smelling hospital wards,” “pools of infectious waste,” all overseen by an undertrained medical staff “wearing merely bluejeans” and “not wearing gloves.”
Aranda’s photograph is in stark contrast to the images of white Ebola patients that have emerged from the United States and Spain. In these images the patient, and their doctors, are almost completely hidden; wrapped in hazmat suits and shrouded from public view, their identities are protected. The suffering is invisible, as is the sense of stench produced by bodily fluids: these photographs are meant to reassure Westerners that sanitation will protect us, that contagion is contained.
Pernicious undertones lurk in these parallel representations of Ebola, metaphors that encode histories of nationalism and narratives of disease.
We need an infrastructure that considers all the players who need to work together. We need to be proactive, as New York has been, with using “fake” patients to test hospital readiness and practice drills to identify lapses in procedures.
We need a health care system that cares for all, even for those without insurance, without causing them to delay seeking care until they are seriously ill, perhaps infecting others in the process (e.g., tuberculosis, more commonly).
And we need to take the politics out of funding for public health and research. We need to approve a strong Surgeon General like Dr. Vivek Murthy, and not have appointments like his be derailed by the NRA and their politicians. NIH’s budget was reduced by $446 million from 2010 to 2014, and subjected to inappropriate politically motivated interference in its decision making. The CDC’s discretionary funding was cut by $585 million during this same period. Shockingly, annual funding for the CDC’s public health preparedness and response efforts were $1 billion lower for 2013 fiscal year than for 2002. These funding decreases have resulted in more than 45,700 job losses at state and local health departments since 2008. Again, it is not just the Ebola that is a looming threat. We need to worry about vaccine-preventable but neglected infections like influenza, measles, and whooping cough; the serious emerging viral infections in the US like Enterovirus-D68, chikungunya and dengue, as well as overseas MERS and bird flus, and natural disasters.
A health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week, has tested positive for Ebola in a preliminary test, the state’s department of health said in a statement.
SUAKOKO, Liberia — The dirt road winds and dips, passes through a rubber plantation and arrives up a hill, near the grounds of an old leper colony. The latest scourge, Ebola, is under assault here in a cluster of cobalt-blue buildings operated by an American charity, International Medical Corps. In the newly opened treatment center, Liberian workers and volunteers from abroad identify who is infected, save those they can and try to halt the virus’s spread.
It is a place both ordinary and otherworldly. Young men who feel well enough run laps around the ward; acrid smoke wafts from a medical waste incinerator into the expansive tropical sky; doctors are unrecognizable in yellow protective suits; patients who may not have Ebola listen to a radio with those who do, separated by a fence and fresh air.
Here are the rhythms of a single day:
Soon after their arrival, about a half-dozen doctors and nurses gathered near whiteboards for the handoff from the night shift. There were 22 patients, and no deaths overnight. The center — which includes a triage area, a restricted unit for patients suspected of having Ebola infections and another for those in the grip of the disease — is not teeming like some clinics in Monrovia, more than four hours west. It is designed to accommodate up to 70 patients, but it is still scaling up after opening a few weeks ago and has just two ambulances to ferry patients.
An 8-year-old boy had been too weak to lift a liter bottle of oral rehydration solution to his mouth through the night. Bridget Anne Mulrooney, an American nurse, reported that she gave him a smaller bottle and sheets to keep warm. A woman who had lost both her baby and husband to Ebola and was suspected of having the disease herself was refusing food and medications for symptoms and other possible illnesses, such as malaria. A man in his 70s, a talkative staff favorite, was now confused, his sheet covered in blood. He had been admitted four days earlier, but laboratory tests confirming an Ebola diagnosis had not come back yet. “I think he’s positive,” said Dr. Colin Bucks, an American. “I think this will be an end-of-life event.”
Eight patients needed intravenous fluids to combat dehydration. One patient was described as happy. Another was playing cards.
Morning devotion began with a song and clapping, performed in triple time. About 18 local workers, most wearing rubber boots and blue hospital scrubs bleached so often that they were now pastel pink, danced and then prayed for God’s mercy on the treatment unit and those who worked there. Some folded their hands, sheathed in bright-colored gloves, at their heart. In unison, the Liberians sang, “Cover with your protective arms, O God.”
Sean Casey, an American who is the center’s team leader, gathered his department heads for what became a conversation about patient flow. The head of the ambulance crew said five patients with possible Ebola infections were awaiting rides to the center. But the ward with suspected cases was full, Mr. Casey said, and needed to be cleared first. Lab results were required, so patients without Ebola could be discharged and the confirmed cases could be moved to the other ward. The center also had some patients who were ill with other maladies. They should have been transferred to the local hospital, but it offered only limited care since reopening after six nurses died of Ebola.
The managers also discussed labor issues involving the 175-member Liberian staff, some of whom had walked out days before in one of the pay disputes common among the country’s health workers. The leaders and those who abandoned patient care would not be rehired because it was crucial to have a dependable staff, Mr. Casey said. Then he sent everyone off.
“Go forward and do well,” Mr. Casey instructed.
A Liberian woman scooped steaming yam porridge out of a blue bucket — breakfast for the patients and staff. The food is prepared off-site, at a university that is closed because of the outbreak and houses many of the staff members. The center has people working as cleaners, sprayers and waste removers — part of the so-called WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) team — who continuously disinfect the site and remove contaminated material. Still, the sight was a little jarring: The woman was putting the food into plastic foam plates just a few steps from the dressing rooms for staff members coming out of the decontamination areas, the pharmacy, and past a refrigerator with a sign marked, “Ebola blood tests. NO FOOD.”