Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Quarantine of people who have worked with Ebola patients

I am writing this post to offer a contrary opinion since I cannot agree with people who call the Doctors without Borders a whining progressive and other such epithets. First of all I read the story and I came to a different conclusion about her issues. I think she has a right to complain about how she was treated at the New Jersey air terminal.

First of all, Australia has had medical staff who have gone across to West Africa for the purpose of looking after Ebola patients. Doctors and nurses who take on this duty do so at a risk of their lives. Already 9 doctors associated with Medecin Sans Frontieres to give them their correct name have passed away because they came in contact with patients with the disease and they were not properly protected. The key issue here is proper procedure and protections for medical staff.

Australia has had one nurse who reported having a fever and she was placed into isolation. She had returned from West Africa where she had been tending Ebola patients. She has tested negative to Ebola. Her case more or less showed that the protocols put in place had not been sufficient and she was a possible risk. This particular nurse and at least 2 others have been in self-imposed isolation since their return from West Africa.

Now let me deal with the complaints made by the New Jersey nurse. You have to keep in mind that by going to West Africa she has already risked her life to help save the lives of others wherever possible. She did not have a fever when she returned to the USA. What took place at the air terminal caused her surface temperature to rise. Second, the kind of thermometer being used was not really the best method for taking an internal temperature.  This is why there was a discrepancy when she was checked at the hospital.

Second, and this is my point of writing a contrary opinion – I believe that the treatment dished out by the Homeland Security people at the airport, including the CDC people was absolutely appalling in this case. The nurse in her own words spoke of the smugness of the woman who was dealing with her, who pronounced “Now you do have a fever”.

Was this set up in a way that would see any attempt to isolate medical people returning from West Africa? The scenario as it was explained by the nurse stinks to high heaven, and it screams “SET UP”.  I am not blaming the unfortunate woman who was subjected to this treatment. I am blaming the Homeland Security staff who were tasked with checking on the health condition of the woman concerned. The treatment dished out to this woman is no different to the treatment dished out by the TSA when the single out the elderly, the disabled and childrent to receive a pat down and other indignities as they seek to catch a flight to some other part of the USA. The TSA seem to delight in making life uncomfortable for some people and I have read of many examples about how they have treated individuals at a variety of airports across the USA. (all they have to do is to check those with long flowing beards, wearing burquas or wearing garments that scream out Shahid – it is not all that hard to work out who might cause a risk on a given flight, they are easily identified)

I do think that there is a case for isolating anyone who returns from West Africa. If there is no fever when the person arrives back in the country, then surely that person could be put into self-imposed isolation for the 3 weeks. If there is a real measurable fever, and not the malarky that took place in New Jersey, then medical isolation is required. Otherwise, perhaps in Australia the Quarantine Station needs to be re-opened and in the USA, there might be a case for re-opening Ellis Island, but at least allowing such people to be isolated in some comfort, rather than what was described by this nurse.

Do I think that she is some whining progressive Democrat voter? NO!!  There is no proof that the woman is a Democrat voter……

Why I Support Vaccination

I know my comment will not appear at the Treehouse, but this post is one of the best ever from that group of people.

I am a fervent believer that vaccines are a necessary part of our lives. The post refers to the USA but the statistics are also relevant to the Australian experience when it comes to disease eradication.
My son’s partner has a son who is mildly autistic, and there is no way that vaccines were responsible for his condition. It is more likely that issues relating to her health during pregnancy had a role, and there is a possibility that there might have been brain damage within the womb, but I do not know that for certain (It is just a theory).

As a child I had German Measles, Chickenpox and Measles. I was too young to remember having German Measles and Chickenpox but I do remember having the Measles because I was 6 years old at the time. I was one of the lucky ones because I did not suffer any of the severe conditions that can follow from having these diseases. On the other hand, I have a diagnosis for Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and trending towards Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have often wondered if there is a connection between having those childhood diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. I do not know of any real research on the matter and it really is just an “inkling” on my part.

During the 19th century Australia had epidemics of polio, TB and whooping cough with large numbers being wiped out, especially Irish people who were sick prior to arriving in Australia. Looking at my own family history, I can see that in the case of one family perhaps at least one child died at an early age because of the prevalence of such diseases (this was within the most tragic Taylor family). The vaccination efforts of the 20th century have saved lots and lots of lives, and the anti-vaccination crowd simply have no understanding of the harm that is done via epidemics of such diseases.

What I have to say though, is well done Stella on presenting such good information in regard to the effectiveness of vaccination.