‘Ebola Jihad’: How Terrorists Could Sicken Thousands
by Lee Hieb, M.D.
Deadly diseases do not respect political correctness. Polio was once a disease of the rich, but after the vaccination program – before it was eliminated in the wild – it became a disease of the poor. Ebola is a deadly contagious disease that never got much attention in the past because it was confined to small villages in Subsaharan Africa. Ebola would break out, kill off a remote village and then disappear into some latent host, often for years or decades, only to break out again in another remote spot. Because Ebola is so deadly, it rarely was spread from village to village since no one survived long enough to make the journey.
Transportation has changed all that. Paving the Kinshasa Highway and other roads into the interior of Africa has allowed people infected with this disease to travel rapidly to coastal cities. In the current outbreak, Ebola has, for the first time in history, become worldwide due to air transportation of people who contracted the disease in areas of the outbreak, and then flew.
Several weeks ago, when asked to comment for a WND article on Ebola, I stated that the disease would not be a problem for America if we controlled transportation into the country. In other words, I suggested that we stop anyone from entering the United States whose travel originated in areas of Africa affected by the outbreak of Ebola. This seemed a simple and obvious measure given the nature of this deadly disease.
Simple transportation limitations would have prevented case zero in Dallas. But now the Ebola genie is out of the bottle and probably loose in America. And it almost could not have been a worse scenario – the patient was not just from an endemic area, but had actually carried a sick Ebola patient to a hospital in Liberia for treatment. That patient and her whole family died of the disease before or during the time case zero boarded an airplane. He changed planes several times through several major worldwide hubs before arriving in Dallas.
In Dallas he became deathly ill, exposing children and adults in his family – and who knows how many else in the area of his domicile. He vomited in the parking lot en route to the hospital, and an aerial photo of the family’s apartment complex shows a man without protective gear cleaning the patient’s vomit from the street using a broom and hose. At the hospital he probably sat in a waiting room, signed in with a clerk – did he nervously chew on the pen while filling out forms? – and after examination was sent home. He did tell the screener of his recent trip from Liberia, but that information did not make it to the medical care providers. (I cannot help but wonder if that was an effect of the Electronic Medical Record nightmare.) After his nephew contacted the CDC, the patient was isolated and treated, and now we are holding our collective breath to see how many others pop up with the disease. Because people become sick variably after exposure (by reports 2-10 days), who knows when or if he became infectious along his travel