The recent Ebola outbreak, including the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, has the city of Dallas shaken pretty bad. As the first Ebola incubation deadline quickly approaches, leaders are doing their best to calm the locals but residents have been sent home from work, volunteers have failed to show up at after-school programs and patients are avoiding the hospital where the first United States case of Ebola was found.
Jennifer Staubach Gates, Dallas City Councilwoman, said she contacted a lawyer to help three men who reported their employers sent them home from work for fear they could be carrying the Ebola virus. Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas County, attempted to reassure residents of Vickery Meadow that they are safe as he made his presence known in the apartment where Duncan stayed. He released two letters from federal and state health officials stating:
Judge Clay Jenkins is not at risk and posed no risk to others through his interactions with the family.
Thousands of immigrants from Mexico to Afghanistan call Vickery Meadow home. Many do not speak English so city officials enlisted doctors who could explain the virus to neighborhood residents in their native tongue and ensure them of their safety.
While health officials did their best to present a unified front, they wanted to remind the community that they are still on the lookout for any signs that the virus had spread. Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Tom Frieden, said:
We can never forget that the enemy here is a virus. The enemy is Ebola, not people, not countries, not communities — a virus.
People infected by Ebola can begin experiencing symptoms eight to ten days after being exposed to the virus. Out of the 48 people being monitored, 10 are confirmed to have had close contact with Duncan. Texas health commissioner, Dr. David Lakey, said:
This is a very critical week and we are at a very sensitive period when a contact could develop symptoms. We are monitoring with extreme vigilance.
Baron Peter Piot, MD, PhD FRCP was the first man to identify the Ebola virus back in 1976. He said it took two Americans to be repatriated and 1000 Africans to die before a public health emergency was declared. Piot said this is going to occur again unless this epidemic is brought under control in West Africa; if not it will be a continuous source of infection for countries around the world.
Professor Piot is a microbiologist known for his Ebola and AIDS research. He helped discover the Ebola virus and led efforts to contain the first recorded case of Ebola. Piot has also served as a professor at many universities across the globe and has studied Ebola extensively while pioneering many research efforts on the virus.
While working at the Institute of Tropical Medicine Piot’s team travelled to Zaire to help stop the Ebola outbreak which was spreading through the country. A nun in Belgian had fallen ill and a doctor who was working in Zaire sent the nun’s blood sample for further research after he could not identify her illness. Piot and his colleagues discovered the virus and then travelled to Zaire to help. The outbreak was stopped within three months after killing nearly 300 people. Piot has issued a warning in this most recent case stating, “The slightest mistake can be fatal.”
The city of Dallas is shaken up after the Ebola virus entered their city and has now taken the life of Thomas Eric Duncan. The first Ebola incubation deadline is approaching quickly and leaders are doing their best to calm the residents and ensure them they are safe. As the news travels quickly of Duncan’s demise the city is again alarmed and discomforted.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)