New York City Doctor Tests Positive For Ebola

A new outbreak, or hopefully just an isolated case.

Ebola Virus And Caduceus

A New York City doctor who had recently returned from Guinea on a volunteer mission for Doctors Without Borders has tested positive for Ebola:

A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea tested positive for the Ebola virus Thursday, becoming the city’s first diagnosed case.

The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center on Thursday and placed in isolation while health care workers spread out across the city to trace anyone he might have come into contact with in recent days. A further test will be conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm the initial test.

While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges surrounding containment of the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis.

Even as the authorities worked to confirm that Mr. Spencer was infected with Ebola, it emerged that he traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn on the subway on Wednesday night, when he went to a bowling alley, and then took a taxi home.

The next morning, he reported having a temperature of 103 degrees, raising questions about his health while he was out in public.

People infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until they begin to display symptoms, and it cannot be spread through the air. As people become sicker, the viral load in the body builds, and they become more and more contagious.

Dr. Spencer’s travel history and the timing of the onset of his symptoms led health officials to dispatch disease detectives, who “immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” according to a statement released by the department.

It was unclear if the city was trying to find people who might have come into contact with Dr. Spencer on the subway. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority directed all questions to the health department, which did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the issue.

At Dr. Spencer’s apartment in Harlem, his home was sealed off and workers distributed informational fliers about the disease. It was not clear if anyone was being quarantined.

Health authorities declined to say how many people in total might have come into contact with Dr. Spencer while he was symptomatic.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a news conference Thursday evening before the diagnosis, said Dr. Spencer has given health workers a detailed accounting of his activities over the last few days.

“Our understanding is that very few people were in direct contact with him,” Mr. de Blasio said.

Dr. Spencer had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea, treating Ebola patients, before returning to New York City on Oct. 14, according to a city official.

He told the authorities that he did not believe the protective gear he wore while working with Ebola patients had been breached but had been monitoring his own health.

Doctors Without Borders, in a statement, said it provides guidelines for its staff members on their return from Ebola assignments, but did not elaborate on those protocols.

Dr. Spencer began to feel sluggish on Tuesday but did not develop a feveruntil Thursday morning, he told the authorities. At 11 a.m., the doctor found that he had a 103-degree temperature and alerted the staff of Doctors Without Borders, according to the official.

The staff of Doctors Without Borders called the city’s health department, which in turn called the Fire Department.

Emergency medical workers, wearing full personal protective gear, rushed to Dr. Spencer’s apartment, on West 147th Street. He was transported to Bellevue and arrived shortly after 1 p.m.

He was placed in a special isolation unit and is being seen by the pre-designated medical critical care team. They are in personal protective equipment with undergarment air ventilation systems.

Obviously, going forward the important questions going forward will be tracing the people that Dr. Spencer may have had direct contact with in the past several days at the very least and at least monitoring their behavior. Reports from the New York City media indicate that Spencer has a live-in girlfriend who has stayed in their apartment since he was taken to the hospital and is under some form of self-monitoring, and she will probably need to be placed under some sort of more direct monitoring for the next three weeks much like the people who had direct contact with Thomas Eric Duncan prior to his admission to Texas Presbyterian Hospital were under until just a few days ago. Given the fact that they all made it through their quarantine period without developing any symptoms at all is a good sign for her, but precaution is obviously warranted. Beyond that, there will need to be the same necessary contact tracing that was done for Duncan, Nina Pham, and Amber Ray Vinson. Obviously, this is potentially a far more extensive task in a teeming metropolis like New York City than it was in a place like Dallas or Northeeastern Ohio where Ms. Vinson had visited before being diagnosed with the disease two week ago. More importantly, the idea of a disease like Ebola in a city like New York, while not surprising given the number of people who pass through New York City and its airports on a daily basis, is something that isn’t entirely unexpected. On some level, then, I suppose it’s fortunate that our first experience with Ebola, when mistakes were obviously made, happened somewhere else and that health authorities in New York have, hopefully learned from those mistakes before dealing with this case. Fortunately

All that being said, the idea of a disease like Ebola in New York City is bound to raises concerns among the population and, more importantly, the national media that’s based there. We’re likely to see the calls for travel bans and such revived,  and we’re likely to see people up calls for both that and for quarantines of people such as Dr. Spencer who have returned from Ebola-stricken nations. At this point, though, the best thing we can say is that one hopes that Dr. Spencer gets the best care possible, that the people who had direct contact with him are advised of any potential risk and closely monitored, and that the spread of the disease is limited to an even greater extent than Mr. Duncan’s infection was. In any case, we’re likely in for at least another three weeks of intensive media coverage on this story, likely made even more intense by the fact that this is all unfolding in one of the most densely populated areas in the United States.

FILED UNDER: Health,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Mikey says:

    More fodder for the newsertainment complex and panic stokers. Just what we needed. Blargh.

  2. JKB says:

    @Mikey:

    It’ll be amusing to see Jon Stewart’s take on it being in NYC. Such a development is likely to wipe the smug right off his face.

  3. anjin-san says:

    @JKB:

    It’ll be amusing to see Jon Stewart’s take on it being in NYC. Such a development is likely to wipe the smug right off his face.

    So that’s what you take away from this story?

    Man, my cats litter box after a big workout smells a lot sweeter than whatever it is you have where soul should be.

  4. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    Hey, what’s to worry. I see the CDC has finally updated the PPE recommendations for US healthcare settings. So NYC nurses should have a better chance than the nurses in Dallas.

    Funny the new guidelines look a lot like what has been recommended for African settings since 1998.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    This it not a surprise. As long as the disease remains out of control in Africa this is going to happen.

  6. Dave says:

    Nothing to see here. Move along. Move along.

  7. bill says:

    well now, it’s at the center of the known universe for many- maybe they’ll take heed? hopefully this idiot didn’t spread it around in that mass of humanity.

  8. Dave says:

    @bill:” hopefully this idiot didn’t spread it around in that mass of humanity.”

    What a horrible sentiment, wanting New York City Democrats to be safe. I totally get why a couple of the douchebag Democrat regular trolls here would downgrade it.

  9. Gustopher says:

    @bill:

    hopefully this idiot didn’t spread it around in that mass of humanity

    Doctors Without Borders has been doing damn fine, and damn brave work over in Africa, while you have been crapping in your own pants and wetting your bed.

    This “idiot” has been doing the legwork, and taking the risks to help ensure that ebola is contained and that fine, upstanding persons such as yourself don’t die a horrible death. This “idiot” was monitoring himself, and when he detected a fever contacted Doctors Without Borders to make sure that he would be properly evacuated from his apartment (because Doctors Without Borders knows the protocols way, way better than New York City’s health department).

    Until there is any actual evidence that this “idiot” didn’t follow the proper protocols for self-monitoring, I think we should give him the benefit of the doubt, because, right now, by the evidence we do have, he’s a much better man than you (or me (but mostly you)).

    You schmuck.

  10. bill says:

    @Gustopher: yes they are and they do great work- but now they’ve brought it home with them to one of the most densely populated cites in on earth. by and large their own quarantine protocols were not taken seriously. what part of “have you traveled to west africa” did someone miss- let alone the fact that he’s a doctor who was treating ebola patients?
    hopefully his very high fever is an aberration and he didn’t pass it on to someone else. it’s not a partisan issue so get over it already.

  11. MikeSJ says:

    This could be very serious.

    If the Doctor experiences extreme vomiting and diarrhea and the nurses are only gowned for standard surgery the nurses could easily get infected.

    Oh wait.

    This is NYC, not Texas.

    We should be O.K.

  12. Eric Florack says:

    @Ron Beasley: I suggest that to be only one of the two conditions that must obtain.The other of course being allowing travel from the hot zone.

  13. lounsbury says:

    @bill: The fellow merely began running a fever, the earliest detectable stage of Ebola. Barring some massive cock-up, there is zero risk. Ignorant fear mongering is rather more dangerous than one Dr. ided early.

  14. humanoid.panda says:

    @anjin-san: Being a rational person, he will probably respond like all the people I know who live in NYC did: with a shrug, and mockery of cable news. Not everyone in the US is a coward.

  15. Tyrell says:

    CDC:”you are perfectly safe riding an airplane or public transportation”
    CDC: “we need to talk to anyone who was on the subway with this doctor”
    Which is it ?
    The logical procedure is for anyone coming to the US from one of ebola countries should go in quarantine before coming here, or to any other country for that matter.

  16. Ron Beasley says:

    @Eric Florack: So where did you get your degree in public health? I haven’t heard a single health official who didn’t think that was a bad idea!

  17. Todd says:

    I had an almost 200 comment discussion on my Facebook wall about Ebola back when the second Dallas nurse was hospitalized. Those of my friends who rely on “alternative” sources for their news insisted that Ebola is “airborne” and 100s, if not 1000s would surely be infected. Obviously that didn’t happen (as any sane person could have predicted). Now those same people are going to freak out again about the Dr. in NYC.

    I particularly love the people who call these doctors and nurses who voluntarily care for Ebola patients “selfish” because they are not locking themselves up in airtight rooms unless and until they are symptomatic.

    Nobody in Dallas got sick from casual contact. Nobody in NYC will either. But that won’t convince those who refuse to believe anything they don’t want to believe. I even saw one of my FB friends shared a story from infowars about how there have been 100s of Ebola cases in the U.S. but the government is hiding them.

    Sometimes it’s almost embarrassing to be a white middle aged American.

  18. C. Clavin says:
  19. C. Clavin says:
  20. Tony W says:

    @C. Clavin: That’s exactly the topic sir.

  21. humanoid.panda says:

    @Todd: Well, as I understand it, Drudge is now linking to Alex Jones stories about the government dissapearing hundreds of Ebola patients, so its only a matter of time that pops up in your Facebook debates, then on Glenn Beck, some of the crazier precincts of Fox, and then onwards to Bachmann/King/Gohmert!

  22. humanoid.panda says:

    @C. Clavin: This tweet is so fascinating for two reasons
    1. It shows that the top republicans are using what they are dealing. They had worked so hard to convinced themselves that Obamacare is a black hole of evil that is responsible for all the bad things that can or will or have ever happened since 2008, that they ended up believing in its this crap themselves.
    2. I said it before and I will say it again. I met a lot of idiots in my life-time, but only a current day Republican would look at news of a potential epidemic, and view this as a convincing argument we don’t need no stinking universal access to healthcare. After all, if it was not for Obamacare, American immune system can beat back any virus. Reagan scared Gorbachev into tearing down that wall- would a puny virus dare resist the men who worship his as God?

  23. beth says:

    @humanoid.panda: So that’s what the FEMA camps were for!

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @Gustopher:

    I hope you realize that more than 16 people who have been working for doctors without borders have developed ebola. Yes, they are doing good work but it is still very dangerous work and some of them are probably going to die because of it. So lets not pretend that Médecins Sans Frontières is perfect.

    http://www.jems.com/article/news/16-members-doctors-without-borders-infec

  25. C. Clavin says:
  26. superdestroyer says:

    @C. Clavin:

    When progressives claim that the biggest danger to young black men is law enforcement, it should be clear that progressives are just as susceptible to propaganda. Look at how progressives respond when they are buried under a pile of law enforcement data. The terms “hate fact” or “political correctness” were not invented to described conservatives.

  27. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    Jesus gawd, man…
    You keep repeating that as if it made sense. The two things are not in contradiction. It only makes sense to you.
    I know the wing-nuts have told you to be scared. You shouldn’t listen to people who have been so wrong about so much for so long.

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @superdestroyer:

    When progressives claim that the biggest danger to young black men is law enforcement, it should be clear that progressives are just as susceptible to propaganda.

    I’m pretty sure the biggest danger to young black men is the bigotry that people like you personify.

  29. Ron Beasley says:

    Let’s put this into perspective – probably close to 10,000 Americans will die as the result of the flu this season.

  30. Grumpy Realist says:

    If the CDC has any information about viral load vs. symptoms that might be a good thing to release. I’m sure all the pants-wetters will claim that they’re hiding the REAL data.

  31. Eric Florack says:

    @Ron Beasley: Ill bet you dont understand how Bush got elected because nobody *YOU* know voted for him.

    Meanwhile, move along, citizen. Nothing to worry about.
    pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

  32. Eric Florack says:

    @Grumpy Realist: meh. I doubt it is quite like that.
    More like they don’t know it all.

    and in reality, cant tthat be appllied to any government agency

  33. JKB says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Perhaps not, as NYers are masking up in fear of Ebola. Not really effective for the tiny risk of catching Ebola but should do wonders for reducing the transmission of flu on the mass transit, especially if the NYers also adopt frequent hand washing.

  34. JKB says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Sadly, their lack of knowledge in the US at the CDC, et al, is willful. Listen to those who’ve actually worked with patients in Africa and they’ll tell you to cover all skin. That it is skin transmissible.

    But not the CDC, well, up until yesterday when they finally came out with PPE guidelines that now call for covering all skin,double gloving and, at a minimum, the outside gloves having extended sleeves.

  35. C. Clavin says:

    One of the more brilliant Republicans, Ron Chaffetz, thinks the Surgeon General should be in chrage….doesn’t know that Republicans refuse to confirm the Surgeon General…
    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/22/rep-chaffetz-surgeon-general-should-be-heading-ebola-response/

  36. Ron Beasley says:

    The actually have addressed this and until you have symptoms the viral load is too small to detect.

  37. Todd says:

    @JKB:

    Not really effective for the tiny risk of catching Ebola but should do wonders for reducing the transmission of flu on the mass transit

    That may be the one silver lining in this mass over-reaction.

  38. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    @Eric Florack:
    @Tyrell:
    @bill:

    Just curious…what brand diapers do you guys use????

  39. grumpy realist says:

    @Ron Beasley: Yes, that’s what I thought. I wonder if the CDC has any data on transmissability vs. viral load?

    Considering that viruses reproduce like, well, viruses, this would seem to indicate that one’s chance of catching Ebola from someone infected also increases exponentially. Given the statistics we have at present about how many people catch Ebola from one sufferer (statistics seem to be 1.8-2.4 people per affected) one can take a look at the viral load over time, integrate in discrete time intervals under the curve, and have a good idea of the relative probability as to when the virus was passed on.

    It’s not at the very beginning, guys….maybe the pantswetters should pull out a math book?

  40. humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack: Dude, isn’t your major argument is that there exists a huge majority of Americans that don’t vote and therefore the Democrats never actually win real elections? The projection in this comment is really something to behold

  41. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. The healthier you are, the more likely you’ll be able to fight off an infection. So get a lot of sleep, eat your veggies and protein, chill out, and don’t obsess about catching Ebola. Honestly.

  42. stonetools says:

    Interesting take from Joshua Green. He thinks the Obama Administration’s approaxch to crisis management is too cool:

    Six years in, it’s clear that Obama’s presidency is largely about adhering to intellectual rigor—regardless of the public’s emotional needs. The virtues of this approach are often obscured in a crisis, because Obama disdains the performative aspects of his job. “There’s no doubt that there’s a theatrical nature to the presidency that he resists,” Axelrod says. “Sometimes he can be negligent in the symbolism.” Lately, this failing has been especially pronounced. Few things strike terror in people quite like the specter of Ebola. An Oct. 14 Washington Post-ABC News poll found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (65 percent) say they fear a widespread outbreak in the U.S. Cooler heads have noted that more Americans have been married to a Kardashian than have died from Ebola. But that fun fact misses the point: People fear what they can’t control, and when the government can’t control it either, the fear ratchets up to panic.

    The rationalist side of me applauds Obama’s approach. But the liberal politics side of me says make Obama should do the rah-rah, wrap-yourself-in-the-flag stuff-especially two weeks before a major election. Discuss.

  43. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: what do you recommend?

    i think a lot of you take this as an attack on the obama admin other that what it is-
    do you remember when W was dragged through the mud by the msm because of a flu vaccine shortage? seems trivial now.

  44. grumpy realist says:

    @bill: The worst thing to do in a crisis is panic. Period. If the pantswetters posting here had been in charge, the Apollo astronauts would have NEVER returned from space.

    And our responsibility, as citizens of the US, is to deal with risks as they really are and not as some hysterical fear-bot wants to hype up in order to sell us emergency rations/gold/anti-Ebola charms. Or simply to grab eyeballs, which is what a lot of the MSM seems to be doing.

    There are a lot of players out there that want to encourage fear, because they feed off it. And a lot of you seem to want to run around in panic screaming DOOOOM. I guess it’s entertaining. Just do in in the confines of your own house and don’t bother anyone else, mmmkay?

  45. JKB says:

    @stonetools:

    The “downplay” was a mistake. Especially when we repeatedly see what they say was, uhm, inaccurate. The way you put down “panic” is by facts, repeated, often, until those who speculate out their a– get shutdown by facts held at large.

    Here are wise words from Sen. Rand Paul regarding the error. By the way, the advisory now is to stay 6 feet away from someone with Ebola unless you are wearing full body PPE.

    Here is how people are handling it due to the poor information provided by those in positions of authority.

    It would be useful to know if they are finding Ebola on surfaces in the infecteds’ homes and whether Ebola can survive dehydration on a surface to be reconstituted when it finds a moist medium.

  46. grumpy realist says:

    P.S. Heck, this isn’t even a crisis yet in the US. Crisis in West Africa? Yes. Here in the US? No.

  47. beth says:

    @JKB: I don’t know about you but I don’t go to a lot of cocktail parties where people vomit or poop on me. I also don’t expect someone who is symptomatic with Ebola to be attending a lot of cocktail parties. Rand Paul knows better – this is out and out fearmongering and he should be ashamed.

  48. Nikki says:

    @bill:

    Considering that more people in the U.S. die EVERY YEAR from the flu than anyone has from Ebola, there is a very valid reason that the Bush admin was raked across the coals for the vaccine shortage.

    Exactly one person has died from Ebola and fewer people have caught it than I have fingers.

    Why is that so hard for you to comprehend?

    Have you gotten yourself and/or your family vaccinated against the flu? Why aren’t you panicking over possibly contracting and dying from that disease when that possibility/probability is MUCH higher than Ebola?

  49. JKB says:

    @beth:

    But the question not answered by the officials is whether the virus is transmissible before the vomit/diarrhea phase. It appears, perhaps not, but there has been no “official” word or opinion by Ebola researchers. On the other hand, the virus has been transmitted by contact with sweaty sheets after a patient died.

    Rand is not fear mongering, he’s pointing out the actual facts and how the “officials” are obfuscating them.

    What NYC should be doing is explaining why the bowling alley is closed but the subway is running. Did the bowling alley close on order of the health department or was it a private choice in hope of undoing the reputation damage done by this irresponsible doctor infected travels across the city. And yes, he was infected, the question is when did he become contagious.

  50. beth says:

    @JKB: I’m not sure what’s confusing you. Every single medical person I’ve seen says you can’t catch it until the person is symptomatic. That’s what the medical community accepts as valid right now. Will it change? Who knows? At one point the medical community thought leeches were the be all and end all of medical treatment. Life is uncertain. You have to go by the best information you have on hand right this very second with the implicit assumption that said information might change tomorrow. It’s called being a grown up and accepting life. Anyone who tries to say otherwise is fear mongering and should be ashamed.

    As far as the sheets, perhaps the patient bled, vomited or got some diarrhea on the sheets – it’s not inconceivable in an area where they don’t even have running water where they’re treating some of these patients. Then a new patient was put in the bed on the same sheets and got infected that way. What’s going on in Africa is very different from what goes on in the U.S.

  51. JKB says:

    It is interesting if we examine behavior.

    The African, who travelled here pretty much stayed isolated with close family, but didn’t venture out into the wider public except to request medical care.

    The nurses following the advice of “experts” did travel and engage in public activities but with consultation with the CDC over possible symptoms.

    Now we have a physician, who after the onset of the vague but defined early symptoms traversed a dense urban city using public transportation, engaged in public activities that utilize shared personal items (shoes) just hours before his symptoms grew so obvious he could no longer ignore them.

    Of course, no reason to panic. The doctor was theoretically the most knowledgeable and so his movements through 8 million people are no cause for alarm even if he did push it right to the edge of contagiousness.

  52. beth says:

    @JKB: I give up with you. You obviously want to be fearful and point fingers. Enjoy!

  53. wr says:

    @JKB: “Here are wise words from Sen. Rand Paul regarding the error. ”

    Would that be the same wise Rand Paul who wisely said that Ebola is actually far more contagious than every scientist in the world has found?

    Thanks, I’ll get my wisdom from someone who actually cares about truth.

  54. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    It’ll be amusing to see Jon Stewart’s take on it being in NYC. Such a development is likely to wipe the smug right off his face.

    Well, as you know, Dr Spencer was checked into Bellevue Hospital Center, the NYC hospital that has been designated as a center for Ebola treatment should it become necessary, as apparently it is now. Bellevue staff is trained and prepared, so why would anyone mock NYC for being prepared to handle this case? NYC set themselves up well for this occurrence, and Dallas did not – the outcome here should (hopefully) be good.

    Do you still feel that overall media coverage of the “Ebola Crisis” and the subsequent political comment and fear-mongering was in the public interest and accurately conveyed information concerning Ebola? Frankly, EBOLA coverage by the media, and pronouncements by a largely conservative commentariat was abysmal and irresponsible.

  55. stonetools says:

    From Twitter
    Mayor BeBlasio briefing from New York.

    Key points from de Blasio briefing on Ebola:
    – Patient is stable, talking
    – Two of the three venues he visited have been cleared

    Looks like the adults are in charge, and they’re handling things without freaking out like the right wing commenters here.

    Pres. Obama to meet w/ cured #Ebola patient #NinaPham in the Oval Office today.

    Courageous, cool, and science-based approach by the President, not hiding in a corner pissing his pants like bill, who would surely be wondering, “Is she really cured? Suppose she infects me?”

  56. C. Clavin says:

    @bill:
    If I remember that story Bush had been warned for years of an impending shortage…and did nothing besides try to immunize (pun intended) vaccine makers from lawsuits and punitive damages for contaminated vaccines.
    20-30,000 people die from the flu every year.
    So far 1 has died from Ebola.
    Once again the facts fail to align with your ideology.

  57. Grewgills says:

    @Tyrell:

    CDC:”you are perfectly safe riding an airplane or public transportation”
    CDC: “we need to talk to anyone who was on the subway with this doctor”
    Which is it ?

    It is an abundance of caution, which is what I would hope for.

  58. Mikey says:

    @Nikki:

    Considering that more people in the U.S. die EVERY YEAR HOUR from the flu than anyone has from Ebola

    One person has ever died in the US from Ebola. Approximately two die from flu every hour.

    Why aren’t you panicking over possibly contracting and dying from that disease when that possibility/probability is MUCH higher than Ebola?

    Because we “know” the flu. We don’t “know” Ebola as well, and fear of the unknown combined with politicized fearmongering and stoking of panic means people overreact.

  59. C. Clavin says:

    Sales for plastic panties are up in the FOX News Nation.

  60. anjin-san says:

    @stonetools:

    “Is she really cured? Suppose she infects me?”

    Dick Cheney freaked out when Sheryl Crow touched him lightly on the arm during a conversation at a cocktail party. I’m having a hard time seeing any of the lions of the right putting themselves in the same room with someone who had ebola.

  61. stonetools says:

    More Perspective:

    Ruthann‏@liberalandold·18 mins18 minutes ago
    Gun deaths in US so far in2014 in USA : 4, 723.
    Ebola deaths in USA so far in 2014 in USA : 1 .

    Oh yeah , two more:

    Piers Morgan‏@piersmorgan·9 mins9 minutes ago
    SCHOOL SHOOTING UPDATE: Multiple reports that 2 students incl shooter) dead, 3 more critical, others wounded. #Washington

    But let’s freak out about ebola!

  62. Todd says:

    @JKB:

    but there has been no “official” word or opinion by Ebola researchers.

    You know what, this really reminds me of the climate change “debate” … and not surprisingly the sides are generally the same. There is a fair amount of scientific consensus about when Ebola is contagious, and how it is spread. But like anything in science, there are still some things we don’t fully understand, and there are some scientists/doctors with theories outside the mainstream. Some people are predisposed to jump on any perceived contradiction as “proof” that the mainstream consensus must be “wrong” … or even worse, a “lie”.

  63. JKB says:

    @beth: Every single medical person I’ve seen says you can’t catch it until the person is symptomatic.

    Symptoms of Ebola include

    Fever
    Severe headache
    Muscle pain
    Weakness
    Diarrhea
    Vomiting
    Abdominal (stomach) pain
    Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

    So now, when can you catch it? See how useless the “medical person’s” statement is? If their statement was absolutely true, then the people who came into contact with the doctor during his traverse of NYC would be at risk of catching it. But, if we look at the nurses from Dallas and the others who did not test positive for Ebola that it seems that the risk of infection comes at some time after the vomiting and diarrhea starts.

    Perhaps the “medical persons” could elaborate on that? But it seems, based on the better to be safe reaction in sending in Hazmat to scrub bowling alleys and airplanes, the “experts” aren’t all that certain when Ebola becomes easily transmissible.

  64. Todd says:

    @JKB:

    But it seems, based on the better to be safe reaction in sending in Hazmat to scrub bowling alleys and airplanes, the “experts” aren’t all that certain when Ebola becomes easily transmissible.

    The people in Hazmat suits scrubbing airplanes and bowling alleys is pure theater. It has nothing to do with science, it has to do with assuaging the irrational public. It’s almost the same as explaining why we are conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq even though just about everybody knows it won’t help us achieve our stated goal … because it’s not politically tenable to do nothing. Same thing here … there’s no reason to disinfect the airplanes, the bowling alley, and especially the schools that were closed in Belton Texas. But the public wouldn’t stand for it not happening.

    Ironic (but not unusual) that it’s the “small government” types who are most vocal about the need for the government to “do something” anytime they themselves feel threatened by (real or imagined) events.

  65. JKB says:

    @Todd: Ironic (but not unusual) that it’s the “small government” types who are most vocal about the need for the government to “do something” anytime they themselves feel threatened by (real or imagined) events.

    Why is it ironic? Communicable disease is something that is best done as a group effort for the good of the community. Sugar in soda, low fat diets, etc., even tobacco are not issue for government beyond perhaps offering information.

    Small government doesn’t mean no government. It means government confined to those areas that take a group effort to manage for the good of all. Not nannying individuals over things that do not adversely affect others in a manner uncontrollable by those others. And no, “public health” expenditures do not make personal choice issues a matter for government. If lifestyle choices are driving the publicly provided healthcare, then the question is whether that publicly provided healthcare is a proper function of government. And no, increase in the cost of insurance due to others having poor health habit doesn’t justify it either. Adjust the risk pool, move risky behavior coverage off the general policy, etc.

    But taking action to confine a pathogen until it dies out of the population is a proper use of small government but only so far as the density of the group increases the risk.

    Well, their theater is backfiring. You can’t say there is no risk then go all sanitized for your protection on people when someone shows up positive. To calm a concerned population, you have to stay on the side of truth and your actions have to reflect that truth.

    The one way a leader can keep the calm is seemingly the one way Obama, et al, are unwilling to act. That is to become very informed about the realities so that the “leader” can talk intelligently off the cuff to send the message that they are on top of the issue. Instead we get platitudes that turn out to not be accurate. Credibility once lost is hard to recover.

  66. Todd says:

    @JKB:

    There’s no having a discussion with people who think in such a circular fashion. The “public” will throw a fit if extraordinary precautions are not taken (and that includes wearing suits, remember the uproar about “clipboard guy”). But then when these above and beyond steps are put into place, those same people just view it as “proof” that the disease must be much more easy to pass on than the authorities are saying.

    It’s a no win situation.

  67. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:

    Well, their theater is backfiring. You can’t say there is no risk then go all sanitized for your protection on people when someone shows up positive.

    You seem to be misunderstanding several very important things. Once someone is symptomatic, it is the most reasonable thing to ”go all sanitized for your protection”, before that the disease is not communicable.

  68. wr says:

    @JKB: “Credibility once lost is hard to recover.”

    Thank you for not just saying this, but for proving it time after time after time.

  69. mannning says:

    Here are some statements regarding Ebola that appear to be troubling:
    1. Incubation period is 21 days.
    2. A person is non-infectious before showing symptoms.
    3. A temperature test can be negative for 20 days, but positive on the 21st.
    4. We don’t know exactly when to predict when symptoms will occur within the 21 days.
    5. We are admitting about 150 travelers from the infected countries per day.
    6. These travellers are subjected to temperature screening.upom arrival.
    7. For all we kmow at that point the traveler may have from 1 or 2 days to 21 days before symptoms appear.
    8. Apparently these travelers are allowed into the country if they promise to report their symptoms promptly when they occur, that is, self monitoring.
    9. Some tracking has been talked about for these people arriving at the rate of ~4,500 per month.
    10.I trust we have sufficient trackers to do a good job.
    11.Some experience has shown that a traveler can be in contact with a large number of citizens per day, reaching an average of 10 to 40 per day.
    12. The disease is transmitted by body fluids, two types of which project droplets a good distance from the person: they are sneezes and coughs, possibly up to 3 feet in distance.
    13. We do not know the exact point at which the infection can be transmitted as the disease takes hold. Is it when the person feels sluggish as the Dr. did, or only when he shows temperature or other symptoms, a matter of two days, and possible contacts.with from 2 to 10 or more people in that time?
    14. It follows that some the 150 arrivals per day may have a one or two day infectious period that is not reportable or simply not reported. This is flu season and allergy season, which begins in a similar way. The question is how many, and how can they be found and controlled for 20-21 days? I am dubious about this control.
    15. What rate of infections in our population will that produce? No one knows!
    16. Quaranteeing all arrivals with visas from the affected countries for the 21 day period would require isolation of over a possible 2,000 people or more, given the 150 per day load.
    17. It seems better for us that we ban all people from the affected areas, yet allow charter and military flights to continue whith proper screening.

  70. lounsbury says:

    @JKB:
    You really are quite dim. The bowling alley is a private enterprise that rather evidently is taking action to ward off losing business. An underground is quite a different thing. In both instances the Dr. was non-symptomatic and reported his initial symptoms (contra your false statement supra) the very AM (at a quite mild level of fever).

    Stop your pants wetting and get a bloody spine. Bloody hell, people who lived with Duncan, the Liberian in Dallas, WHILE sick (but not yet vomiting) did not get the bloody disease.

    @mannning:
    An amazing list of misunderstanding.

    1. Incubation period is 21 days.

    Maximum incubation. Standard incubation is 7-12 days, mostly days 8-10.

    2. A person is non-infectious before showing symptoms.

    Yes.

    3. A temperature test can be negative for 20 days, but positive on the 21st.

    Not a “temperature test” – running a bloody fever – first sign.

    4. We don’t know exactly when to predict when symptoms will occur within the 21 days.

    False, the vast majority of patients are symptomatic in 7-12 days, and

    5. We are admitting about 150 travelers from the infected countries per day.

    Yuo are? That sounds rather unlikely indeed. Cite?

    7. For all we kmow at that point the traveler may have from 1 or 2 days to 21 days before symptoms appear.

    And?

    9. Some tracking has been talked about for these people arriving at the rate of ~4,500 per month.

    It strikes me as extremely doubtful you have ~4500 persons/month traveling from these three countries.

    11.Some experience has shown that a traveler can be in contact with a large number of citizens per day, reaching an average of 10 to 40 per day.

    Citizens? Persons one should think.

    So what?

    12. The disease is transmitted by body fluids, two types of which project droplets a good distance from the person: they are sneezes and coughs, possibly up to 3 feet in distance.

    There is zero evidence of Ebola being transmitted in such fashion, and in fact the body of the evidence indicates it is not at all. Nor does Ebola by itself produce coughing, expectoration.

    13. We do not know the exact point at which the infection can be transmitted as the disease takes hold. Is it when the person feels sluggish as the Dr. did, or only when he shows temperature or other symptoms, a matter of two days, and possible contacts.with from 2 to 10 or more people in that time?

    All evidence indicates clearly “feeling sluggish” is not symptomatic (an utterly undefined term). This is mere ignorant fear-mongering.

    Transmission (as one can observe in the Dallas incident) is essentially by exposure to bloody, copious body fluids (vomit, diarrhea, etc).

    15. What rate of infections in our population will that produce? No one knows!

    Because “Made Up Facts.”

    17. It seems better for us that we ban all people from the affected areas, yet allow charter and military flights to continue whith proper screening.

    Scare mongering, what are you going to do, ban flights from Europe? Sad pants wetting idiocy.

  71. mannning says:

    @lounsbury:

    Nice try, but no cigar. NYT:

    ‘There are no direct flights to the United States from the three countries. About 150 people typically fly to the United States from these places each day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, often arriving after transferring planes at European hubs such as Brussels or London. And federal officials say 94 percent of these travelers fly into one of five U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York; Washington Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C.; O’Hare International Airport in Chicago; Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta; and Newark Liberty International Airport near New York’.

    150 x 30 = 4,500 people flying in per month, so back off on your idea that the number is too high. So we will track this crowd?

    Yes, a temperature test is being given, which assesses the traveler’s temperature for possible fever. What a stupid caveat!

    I suggest that symptoms can appear over the entire 21 day period, possibly in a variant bell curve, centered on the current data. In any event, temperature testing is not very effective even if the onset of the transmission period is averaging 7 to 12 days, but no one can definitively say exactly when the person becomes infectious minus a few days before detectable symptoms occur. So the traveler is admitted to the US. There will be exposure during this period of several days to a number of people here before symptoms appear that can be detected.

    Of course sluggishness is not definitive, but then, no one has defined what the first low-level signs are, have they? The Dr had a sluggish feeling days before his fever. Perhaps others have had this symptom, but it is passed off as a usual sort of thing. I submit that you do not know this either.

    Any body fluid can carry the disease, including emissions from sneezing and coughing, even tears and sweat, which is rather prevalent at this time of year from colds, allergies, hay fever and flu. Obviously, other body fluids are more copious and hence more potent.

    The fact is we will have exposures under the current protocols with a significant likelihood. But, again, it is not easy to predict. We are taking the hit of coping in the US with a crowd.

    The ban I favor is via passports, visas, and ticket information, whether from Europe or other areas for travelers from affected areas for about a month or so. It will not be 100% effective, but it will affect the odds tremendously. Charter and military flights would not be banned so long as they take appropriate measures against infection.

    It is too bad that some people here feel the need to use such negative terms as you do. Don’t ever run for office!

  72. mannning says:

    the NYT Ebola Facts report states:

    How Does the Disease Progress?

    Symptoms usually begin about eight to 10 days after exposure to the virus, but can appear as late as 21 days after exposure, according to the C.D.C. At first, it seems much like the flu: a headache, fever and aches and pains. Sometimes there is also a rash. Diarrhea and vomiting follow.
    As late as 21 days!