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It’s Only a Little Ebola….

admin October 15, 2014

Recently, the news has been abuzz about ebola — specifically, health care workers contracting ebola.  This is how it should read:

“Health care worker A has been infected with ebola.  S/he was caring for a patient infected with the disease, and had been placed under proper quarantine as a precaution.  Unfortunately, s/he did develop symptoms.  We hope for a positive outcome in this case and thankful that the spread of disease has been prevented.”

This is not what is happening.

Instead, they’re reporting things like this:

  • “Nancy Snyderman apologizes for violating quarantine.”
  • “Health care worker is diagnosed with ebola one day after returning from a cross-country plane trip.”
  • “Man dies of ebola after knowingly exposing lots of people.”

Uh…what?

Ebola is an incredibly deadly illness, for which there is no known cure.  (And at this time, I can’t even begin to guess about alternative treatments.)  No one wants it to spread on American soil, yet we’ve now had three diagnosed cases (plus the doctor who flew home after infection and recovered).  Health care workers aren’t taking this very seriously, evidently, and in doing so, are placing us all at risk.

But it’s okay, you guys.  Because the real threat clearly comes from unvaccinated children….

It’s Okay, We’re Professionals

“Dr” Nancy Snyderman apologized for violating quarantine by saying, basically, that she’s a health care professional and she would know if she were sick.

Only, she wouldn’t.  

Ebola has a potentially long incubation period, and you can begin to display symptoms at any time — in 6 hours, a day, a week — until that incubation period is over and it’s safe to say you haven’t been infected.  Not having symptoms or feeling bad now does not mean that you are not contagious.  It does not mean you won’t develop symptoms.  It’s impossible to know for sure until the incubation period is over that you aren’t risking others’ health by going out in public.

But, oh, she says it’s okay.  So it must be.

And yet…we have the case of the health care worker who cared for a man with ebola, hopped on a plane for a week-long visit with family and friends across the country, hopped another plane to get home, and was diagnosed with ebola the following day.  Maybe she was even beginning to feel a little “off” by the time she got on that second plane.  And she knew she was within the window of incubation and that she’d been exposed to ebola.  She knew!!  And she got on a plane anyway, potentially exposing hundreds of people.  (On the plane, and in both airports.)

If it were possible for health professionals to “know” they would or wouldn’t get ebola, then this wouldn’t have happened, but it did.

Why are precautions not being taken?  Why are health care workers who care for patients not being placed on automatic quarantine?  Why are they at least told not to travel, especially by plane?!  This seems obvious — if we’re to prevent the spread of ebola, and protect public health, then we need for people who are definitely being exposed to be under quarantine until they are past the incubation period.  This is an absolute must.

Health care workers don’t appear to be taking this seriously at all.  They’re placing our health at risk.

Blame the Unvaccinated

Meanwhile, these same people are saying — if we would just vaccinate all children, then public health wouldn’t be at risk.

It’s so hypocritical it’s unbelievable.

Health professionals claim it’s “all about public health.”  If that were true, then they would be taking ebola a lot more seriously.  That’s a much bigger and more imminent threat to public health.  It’s actually deadly, and people are actually being exposed to it.

But no…let’s just blame everything on the parents who don’t vaccinate.  Those children, even though they haven’t been exposed to anything, are walking disease carriers who are single-handedly destroying public health.

The lack of critical thinking is breathtaking.

It seriously boggles my mind that people are blaming unvaccinated children, who might someday be exposed to chicken pox (almost never deadly) as a bigger threat to public health, than health care workers who care for ebola patients, are definitely exposed to a truly deadly illness, and then hop on planes.  Just…wow.

Worse, some people are using this ebola scare as a way to drum up even more anger and bullying towards parents who don’t vaccinate.  Like these aren’t actually separate issues.  (Newsflash: although there is an ebola vaccine in human trials, there isn’t one approved for use yet, so everyone is at equal risk.  And it’s being fast-tracked and won’t have been properly safety-tested when/if it is released.  How about we focus on quarantine, something that carries no risk and could stop the spread if it were actually used properly?)

It’s just fabulous that people are using absolutely everything to conjure more anger towards those who don’t vaccinate.  And I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible.

Frankly, when health care professionals aren’t taking quarantine seriously, and aren’t using every known method to prevent the spread of disease, their words about the importance of vaccines from a public-health perspective are completely empty.

It’s Time to Stop the Madness

We need to stop blaming “unvaccinated children” and “people who question vaccines” for all the problems in the world.

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to health care.  Not on vaccines, and not on anything else.  There simply is not.  We need to stop pretending that there is.  We need to stop pretending that there is a consensus about this, too.  The “official organizations” may have their recommendations, but lots of other health professionals have come to different conclusions.

For now, let’s just stop the anger and the hate towards people who question vaccines, and let’s start proper precautions to prevent the spread of ebola.  Like putting all health care workers who care for sick ebola patients under automatic quarantine that ends 21 days after their last contact with the patient.  That would be truly smart for public health.

How do you feel about the ebola issues and blaming parents of unvaccinated children?

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22 Comments

  1. Which news channels are doing this? I’ve heard nothing of this, but it is frustrating to no end. I’m so tired of the one sided newscasts.

    Reply

  2. You might be interested in this article about protecting and treating Ebola naturally.
    http://drsircus.com/medicine/ebola-saving-lives-natural-allopathic-medicine

    Reply

  3. you are right- these “healthcare professionals” don’t seem to be too worried about exposing others. It’s despicable.

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  4. Thank you! It is lauable that the news (which I never watch on purpose) actually says that unvaccinated children are much higher risk to the population than Ebola. Blame. Blame. Blame. Thank you for standing up for common sense!

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  5. This is the most egregious example of a linkbait headline and false equivalence falacy I’ve ever seen, Kate. Congratulations.

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  6. We have brought, I believe, 5 people infected into the country for treatment and no one else was infected. It appears the Dallas hospital is the real issue. They were not equipped or prepared to have some one unexpectedly pop in with, as you put it, a little Ebola. And not automatically quarantining EVERYONE in the hospital that cared for the man is insane.

    But you completely lost me on the no-vaccine bit. I have been trending this topic closely and have not seen a single peep about un-vaccinated children. I get that the vaccine topic is a passionately debated one, but you are really reaching here.

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  7. I think you are overly-playing the victim card. I haven’t read any news reports that place blame on parents who don’t vaccinate. Personally, I’m happy the ebola vaccine studies are moving at a good rate of speed right now. Containment helps very much to stop the spread of the disease, but the risk of such a deadly disease spreading easily is far too great to not consider every possible preventative measure, including vaccines.

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  8. I have not heard the conversation about Ebola turn to bring in unvaccinated kids. That is a very irrelevent conversation. I have been following on the BBC and NPR online mostly. I am not surprised but think it has no place in this issue. There have been so many wrong turns taken with the care of this disease both abroad and at home. As a nurse (not currently working) I can say I am sad for the workers at that Dallas hospital. They were given a very sick and contagious patient to care for and were not given proper equiptment or instruction. I am sure they were understaffed and were scrambeling to figure it out. I put that on the hospital and the cdc. I agree that people should be watched carefully once they have cared for a patient with Ebola. I am not sure why the CDC allowed her to fly in the first place much less home with a low grade fever.

    90%of infections to healthcare workers is due to improper use (and especially removal) of the protective gear. I think the CDC knows the Dallas hospital really underperformed and that is why they are saying there will probably be more cases. They cannot clean up this mess they made and try to blame the staff. They need effective protocols in place and hospitals need training. I think the Drs Without Borders staff receive 2 weeks of training in gear and disnfection before being in contact with Ebola patients.

    Will be interesting to see where all this mess takes medicine in the US. Thanks for the post.

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  9. I don’t quite understand how you make the jump from an Ebola outbreak to the notion that there are people blaming unvaccinated children for the problem. Can you provide a link to something that supports that notion?

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  10. What I am getting from this “article” is that you feel that people are blaming those people/children who are not vaccinated on the Ebola issue? Because honestly? I’ve not seen that. I have not seen any finger of blame (for Ebola) being pointed at the non-vaccinated.

    The problem here in the US with Ebola is that the hospital in Dallas was not prepared to deal with an Ebola patient and the necessary precautions were not initially taken, which resulted in infections. Ebola has absolutely NOTHING to do with vaccines and whether or not your children have received them. The only illnesses that vaccines prevent are the illnesses that they were created to prevent. Not Ebola, which as of this writing has no vaccine to receive.

    So yeah. False equivalency.

    Reply

      • That is an opinion piece. That is not a medical official saying that un-vaccinated people are worse than Ebola. Although I will agree that there is more chance of catching measles or whooping cough because of un-vaccinated people than there is of catching Ebola. And when I say this, I am talking about people who are immunosuppressed (infants, people on immune suppressing drugs). Heck, it is possibly more likely that we can catch Malaria or West Nile before we catch Ebola.

        Let me ask you a question. I know your stance on vaccinations. Do you suppose that today’s Ebola is something akin to the pasts Polio or Smallpox? These are diseases that were eradicated via the use of vaccinations. If they were to come up with a vaccination for Ebola, would you get it? Would you have your kids get it?

        Reply

  11. Hi Kate,
    you don’t seem to have understood that Ebola is only contagious when you start showing symptoms of the disease. I agree that it was irresponsible of the nurse to travel, as it could have flared up at any time during her travels. However, your post makes it seem like Ebola is contagious during the incubation period, whether the infected person is showing symptoms or not. It is generally agreed that Ebola is only contagious when symptoms are present and the fever is over 38 degrees Celcius. Seeing as the nurse only started to have symptoms the morning after her arrival, it is quite unlikely that she infected anyone on the plane she was travelling in or anyone she met on her travels.

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  12. I loved the article I read today. It basically said if you’re concerned about getting ebola, be sure to wash your hands and get a flu shot. I don’t understand how the flu shot is going to help you if you get ebola, but there’s the media insanity for you!

    Reply

  13. EXCEPTIONAL article. Finally, someone who gets it. Its amazing, the amount of fear mongering going around – in my opinion, its all to scare the crud out of everyone so that when the ebola vaccine comes out (anytime now, I read it was fast tracked) people would RUN to get it ($$$$).
    Blaming these things on the unvaccinated is insane. Again, from my research, Africans are some of the highest vaccinated populations in the world (behind America, of course).
    There are also a number of ways to prevent and cure ebola. They’re just natural medicine based, so everyone blows them off. The sad thing is, western medicine doctors (and the CDC) would allow a person to die rather than try a holistic treatment like Vitamin C or colloidal silver. I just don’t understand that reasoning, and don’t understand how society trusts people like that.

    Reply

  14. Amen, Kate. It’s sort of hypocritical of people to claim that vaccines are a matter of public health and safety when Ebola exposed people are galvanting around the U.S. – possibly infecting other people. THe CDC has totally botched the entire scenario. These two issues are very much connected and will be even more so when that dreaded vaccine hits the market. People are going to line up for that thing and those who refuse are going to be a “threat.”

    And for those people commenting on here that claim you are over-reaching – you are most definately not. I just had a conversation with my boss about Ebola and the vaccine issue came up. He actually said…”These people with Ebola are the same idiots who refuse to vaccine. That mindset is what kills people.” I had to laugh at his comment because I find his mindset the most dangerous of all. Last time I checked, chicken pox was most definately not Ebola. 🙂

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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