As leaders in the U.S. State department continue to claim that Ebola is not a threat to the United States, yet another American has been diagnosed with the deadly virus. Yesterday, Rick Sacra, 51, a physician from Massachusetts, working for SIM USA in Liberia found out he was infected.
Interestingly, Dr. Sacra was not treating Ebola patients at the facility where he was working. He was treating pregnant women. It is not clear how he became infected.
Just hours ago, Director of the Centers for Disease Control, Tom Frieden issued a dire warning:
“The virus is spreading faster than anyone anticipated.”
Frieden is calling for a rapid escalation in the response from the world-wide health community and from leaders around the globe.
As of Aug. 14, the State Department had not issued travel restrictions for people coming out of the affected countries of Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Since that communique was released, at least one case of Ebola has been detected in Senegal. Somalia is bracing for the worst.
The virus appears to be spiraling out of control. New numbers in today indicate there have been 1,900 confirmed Ebola deaths; some experts say the victims could top 20,000 in the next few months.
At the moment there are no plans to fly Dr. Sacra back to the United States to be treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta where the two previous American Ebola patients, Dr. Brantly and Nancy Writebol were successfully treated and released.
This Examiner recently interviewed a Delta Airlines flight attendant, who wished to be identified only as “Susan.” She is concerned that health officials and state departments are not taking the Ebola threat seriously.
On a recent flight out of Nigeria, a small child was allowed by its parents to defecate on the seat. “Susan” said apparently it’s common for Western African babies not to wear diapers because the mother was traveling internationally with no diapers for the child.
An unidentified air marshal seated next to the mother and child asked for another seat assignment, since flight attendants refused (were not allowed) to touch the “mess.”
“Susan” and other members of the cabin crew reached out to a Muslim mother, also onboard with a small child, hoping she would spare a “nappy” for the soiled child. She refused to help. It was a long and ugly flight back to the United States.
Delta HazMat crews were called to clean up the poopy mess when the flight landed at JFK International.
The Delta flight attendant’s fear is that the Ebola virus will spread from incidents just like the one her crew was faced with leaving Nigeria; and that the State Department and WHO will fail to address these “everyday” issues.