Ebola hysteria: CDC, Emory made right decision to bring patients here
August 06, 2014 11:55 PM | 3100 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Did U.S. public health officials make the right decision when they allowed to Americans stricken with the deadly Ebola virus to be flown into Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta en route from Africa to their final destination at Emory University Hospital?

Yes, without question.

Moreover, the episode reinforces the importance of Dobbins, and the need to keep it in operation in the face of congressional budget-cutters. It is not possible to land planes bearing such patients at Hartsfield or any other commercial airport.

Many have criticized the decision to fly the two home, saying that doing so put the population here at risk. But most of those making such comments know next to nothing about Ebola, other than that is deadly, which is true.

But the virus is not an airborne one, unlike the influenza. Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected or dead person — that is, their blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. That makes casual transmission all but impossible.

To his credit, U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) was one of the first prominent Georgians to publicly defend those who made the decision to return the two stricken Americans here (Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol).

“Emory is a great hospital, and (the) Centers for Disease Control has the world’s preeminent epidemiologists, so I think Dr. Frieden did the right thing, I think Emory did the right thing and I feel perfectly assured of that, and we’re watching everything very closely,” the senator said.

“They’re constantly trying to find out ways to stop a contagion or to stop a pandemic that takes off, so that’s their job around the world. They did it with the avian flu, they’ve done it with so many other things, so it was the logical place to bring them, and they’re doing a phenomenal job, and they’ve taken the utmost security, so I have every confidence that they’ve done the right thing and the results of it will be positive.”

There are some who have said it would have been better to leave Brantly and Writebol to fend for themselves, or to “send the treatment over there” to Africa, as if it were feasible or cost-effective to send the equivalent of one of the world’s premier hospitals and staff there.

Moreover, the current situation is akin to what happens when U.S. citizens overseas find themselves at risk from foreign revolutionaries or bandits: We send in the Marines or other forces to rescue them and bring them home. This is no different.

Brantly and Writebol, though still very sick, are both said to have turned the corner. We hope their recovery is a successful one –— and we’re confident it would not have come as quickly, or possibly at all, were they not back home.

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