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Are they insane to bring Ebola virus to Atlanta?

Staff in Nigeria suited up to deal with Ebola virus patients.
Staff in Nigeria suited up to deal with Ebola virus patients.
Photo courtesy of Wall Street Journal

Americans are in an uproar over two U.S. citizens with the Ebola virus being flown to the United States to receive “treatment” over a disease that has no cure thus far. The victims who were helping to treat infected patients in Africa have, however, have been approved to be flown in by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) facility in Atlanta and the danger of an outbreak is greatest, needless to say, in our metropolitan area! Which begs the question, was the CDC and US politicians, in general, irresponsible to expose us to such a dire threat?

One of the two infected, 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly from Texas who was working in Liberia, is already here and housed at a special isolation unit at Emory University Hospital since Saturday, August 2, merely a week after his first symptoms were reported. They were wise to act fast – though there is little known about the Ebola virus, it has a kill-rate of 50 to 90 percent!

The second victim, Nancy Writebol, a missionary from North Carolina left on a plane today August 4, flying in from Liberia and she too will stay at the same isolation unit. A recent television news broadcast in Atlanta stated that Ebola virus patients are only infectious for the first three weeks of having contracted the virus and that the disease was contracted through body fluids.

Today, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published that “the two Americans infected with Ebola are getting an experimental drug so novel it has never been tested for safety in humans.” While that sounds promising, the drug is still in its testing phase and not proven to work effectively in most cases, as any drug should…

Currently, there are no vaccines or treatments for the deadly hemorrhagic fever, which causes symptoms including fever, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting and punctured blood vessels, which can cause hemorrhaging or internal bleeding.

Though the study of how it is transmitted isn’t exactly conclusive as of yet, one of the researchers, Dr. Gary Kobinger, from the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada, told BBC News that he thinks the infection can be spread through large droplets that are suspended in the air.

Kobinger says, “What we suspect is happening is large droplets; they can stay in the air, but not long; they don't go far.” But he adds that they can be “absorbed in the airway, and this is how the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got in that way.” Which means that the Ebola virus is airborne and does not necessarily have to be passed on person-to-person to infect someone.

There is currently an Ebola epidemic in West Africa where it has spread to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and most recently, Nigeria, claiming the lives of at least 887 people. And they are now bringing it to the U.S. via Atlanta.

Most importantly, it is now being said that Ebola is an airborne virus that can be spread without close contact with an infected person. Bear in mind that there are no known cures for this lesser-known virus. And that could potentially spell disaster for Atlantans and the U.S. in general!