Blog | Thursday, August 14, 2014

Medical fright: Ebola

Amidst the clatter of the Middle East, children fleeing danger to come across our borders, and lawsuits against the White House, there’s this: the Ebola virus.

Like a steady drumbeat getting slowly louder, we now know that the current outbreak of Ebola, which causes hemorrhagic fever and is highly fatal if contracted (some outbreaks kill 90% of those infected), is the largest ever.

If you haven’t been too frightened or bothered by it (“It’s only in Africa, after all …”), you should know that somehow 2 unfortunate Americans who’ve risked their lives to fight the outbreak have caught the dreaded pathogen. Very recently it’s “been decided” (note the use of passive voice) to evacuate them home to our shores for treatment. Ford Vox, a doctor and journalist, poignantly asks, “Who invited Ebola to Atlanta?”

Social media (Twitter, etc.) is alive with information and speculation about all of this. As scary as Ebola is, I found a compelling tweet that helps put things in perspective:

Let’s get those vaccines when they are available, recommended, and required. And let’s hope this Ebola outbreak peters out.

UPDATE: The first U.S. Ebola patient has already arrived at an Atlanta hospital.

This post by John H. Schumann, MD, FACP, originally appeared at GlassHospital. Dr. Schumann is a general internist. His blog, GlassHospital, seeks to bring transparency to medical practice and to improve the patient experience.