The Ebola virus outbreak which was once ravaging through West Africa has found its way to the United States of America. The question that seems to have already been answered is, “Is America ready for the Ebola takeover?” The obvious answer is no. The recent incident in Texas confirmed the fears of many Americans when a Dallas hospital sent home a man who entered their facility with the virus.
A new genetic analysis shows that the West African outbreak probably started with one person being infected. According to a report in the Journal Science the initial introduction of the West African variant is believed to have been caused by a person who was infected by a bat. Once the person became infected, the virus transmitted from person to person. Researchers say it is clear that it is now being spread by people and not animals.
Pardis Sabeti, who led the study, said a remarkable detailed picture has been painted through their research of how the virus spread to Sierrra Leone and Liberia from Guinea. This transmission has been blamed from more than 1,500 people’s death. Sabeti, an associate professor at Harvard University and a senior associate member at the Broad Institute, said:
We can see it entering different villages. All the sequences are very similar, suggesting it came from a common source.
The World Health Organization has predicted as many as 20,000 people will have been infected before the virus is contained. The epidemic has already infected at least 3,000 and 1,500 have already died. The concern is the numbers reported are the only ones that doctors are aware of because many in other countries do not trust the medical system or are afraid to go to the hospital while others have simply vanished into the forest.
With these predictions and the entrance of the virus into the United States, hospitals will need to tighten their training for potential Ebola victims. The recent incident in Texas has caused a scare because the virus was not properly contained. Reportedly, this patient may have had contact with more than 100 people.
Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national, was sent home from Texas Health Presbyterian with Ebola highlights erroneously. The man showed up at the hospital complaining of abdominal pain accompanied with a fever. Duncan was not isolated although he reportedly told a nurse he had recently returned from West Africa. According to the hospital, it was not human error directly but was instead related to updated software that made the doctors miss a note flagged by a nurse which stated Duncan has come from Liberia. At the request of his nephew, the man returned to the hospital by ambulance two days later.
Vice president for the hospital system, Dr. Mark Lester, explained the initial “overall clinical presentation” from the patient did not reflect he had the virus. Lester said Duncan denied he had been in contact with anyone who was infected. This explanation did not justify the hospital’s decision to release the patient for many who said, “Dr. Lester’s excuse was unnerving to say the least.”
The California Nurses Association has previously warned hospitals they need to increase their training on Ebola preparedness. A small survey the association conducted revealed that 85 percent of nurses across 25 states have not received the necessary training to properly deal with Ebola. More than 60 percent of the nurses did not believe their hospital was ready for the Ebola takeover.
In response to the original question, “Is America ready for the Ebola takeover?” According to the survey results, the answer is no. The recent incident in Texas confirmed the fears of many Americans when Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital sent home a man who entered their facility with the virus.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)