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Articles, News and Blog

How Communicable is Ebola?





200 Healthcare Workers Die Caring for EBOLA Patients

Michael Dane
Executive Director at Florida Assisted Living Coalition


"Nurses United" is the largest Nurses Union in the United States. Its members are upset at the lack of urgency authorities have taken in regards to the EBOLA outbreak and preparing healthcare workers here at home. The union is threatening to picket hospitals if nurses are not given the proper training to take care of Ebola patients. 

A report published in DNA which is the reference for my commentary suggests that our government is aware that other countries like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are projected to have 10,000 new cases of Ebola per week by December. Death toll has crossed the 4,500 mark in these countries. The fatality in Texas last week has America on edge. Two nurses who gave the Texas patient care have caught the virus. 

On Friday, Nurses United said: "There are no protocols." What are other countries like India doing? On Thursday, cabinet secretary Ajit Seth spoke with chief secretaries of all states to review preparedness. The government will set up 10 new laboratories in various parts of the country to conduct tests for Ebola. 

Perhaps the U.S. should follow their lead. Aggressive screening for Ebola will be done at all Seaports and Airports with an emphasis on international travelers. A tracking system under the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) will aggressively pursue "contacts". 

Provision of personal protection equipment (PPE) is top priority.

"We have stocks of PPE from H1N1 days. But H1N1 was airborne. Ebola spreads by contact. PPE stocks from then have to be solidified," Dr Ranjit Guleria of AIIMS told dna. "Doctors and healthcare workers need to be trained on and take off protective equipment. There is a protocol." Healthcare workers are most at risk as long as they follow the protocol established and utilized in other countries. 

Making the equipment available will help save Health Care workers lives! So far 200 healthcare workers have died of Ebola in west Africa. Dr Guleria said aggressive surveillance at ports of call are a step toward combating the outbreak; aggressive isolation of cases of Ebola; special training to doctors and healthcare workers, and fully-equipped facilities to quarantine, test and treat Ebola-infected patients are the four important needs of the hour.

"You got to ask questions. Do you have fever? Have you traveled to and from countries in west Africa?" "Ebola takes 20-22 days to incubate. The virus manifests itself only after that. Doctors have to learn to read the signs," . Guleria added "no country can be totally prepared to tackle Ebola." 

"The enemy here is a virus: Ebola. What we need to do is all take responsibility for improving the safety of those on the front lines" — Says; Tom Frieden, director, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, United States. The World Health Organisation promised on Saturday that it would publish a full review of its handling of the Ebola crisis once the outbreak was under control, in response to a leaked document that appeared to acknowledge the WHO had failed to do enough. 

The WHO said in a statement that it would not comment on the internal document cited in an Associated Press story on Friday "We cannot divert our limited resources from the urgent response to do a detailed analysis of the past response.

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