American Ebola – Second Healthcare Worker Infected

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The world’s Ebola epidemic has touched American citizens for the second time, according to the Christian humanitarian group Serving in Mission. One of their aid workers, a woman named Nancy Writebol, has reportedly tested positive for the disease. Writebol is working in Liberia, helping to treat patients infected with Ebola in Monrovia. Writebol and her husband are residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, and they have been working in Liberia since August of last year. This is the second report of American infection; Saturday it was confirmed that Samaritan’s Purse doctor Kent Brantly had also tested positive for the disease.

Health officials have been hammering the point that the current West African Ebola outbreak is the deadliest the world has ever seen. The latest statistics – current up through the middle of July – have more than 1,000 people on the continent infected with Ebola in the last four months. Doctors and researchers say the biggest challenge in bringing down the rates of infection is spreading education throughout the region. There are currently fears that the deadly virus could spread to Nigeria, Africa’s most populated country.

Understanding Ebola
While Ebola has yet to hit American shores, health officials warn that a U.S. outbreak is not out of the question. In this age of global travel, even diseases from West Africa can find their ways into American cities. Education is key when it comes to avoiding the virus which is why it’s so important to understand exactly what it is we’re dealing with. The disease is spread through bodily fluids, and symptoms can lie dormant for a while before the virus becomes contagious. Many of the infected die within the first 10 days because their blood does not clot properly, leading to death by hemorrhage.

Are Americans Protected?
The question to ask at a time like this – a time before we face a nationwide Ebola epidemic – is if the government is doing enough to protect American citizens from the disease. Isolation and quarantine are the two most effective ways to keep the virus from spreading into the population, so one may wonder why the U.S. government is allowing American healthcare workers back into the country after treating these ill Africans. Certainly, implementing a period of observed quarantine is a fine way to thank doctors and nurses for their hefty sacrifice to help the less fortunate, but we must also do what is right for the ongoing health of the country.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration seems to be looking at the Ebola epidemic with a wait-and-see attitude, one which the country may pay for in the future.