|Ebola Workers Removing Child|
The response of our government toward the Ebola threat is appalling. As a community doctor I think the measures taken by Washington are totally inadequate and unsafe. The lessons of the past (please see the book “Plagues and Peoples,” by William H. McNeill) show quarantine is the major role in dealing with plagues.
This must start with essentially no entry into the U.S. by individuals coming from areas of high disease burden. Stop the flights from West Africa. Quarantine people coming from that region for 21 days.
As to the hot spots of disease already here, health care providers should adhere to the CDC’s own guidelines of Biosafety Level 4 (BSL-4) procedures. This requires individuals coming into contact with sources of Ebola virus to use an air-supplied positive pressure suit and take a shower after exit. This is not possible at community hospitals. No amount of training of ordinary health care providers and use of equipment less than BSL-4 clothing standards will make handling this virus an acceptable risk. This virus does not allow for any errors.
It is obvious that “breaches of protocol” are not to be blamed on the nurses; it is a failure of the protocol itself. I suspect this protocol does not use BSL-4 methods. The CDC BSL-4 lab has been managed safely for a number of years. A weaker version of the protocol in Dallas did not work. Fix it!