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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Good News on Ebola

Good news on the latest ebola virus outbreak.
You read me well. There is good news — I kid you not.
This is not a gimmick, an ill-thought-out stratagem of mine to have you click on my post and read it. As Spanish healthcare worker Teresa Romero has entered a 48-hour decisive period [at the end of which we may find what will happen to her] and as more attention is given to the presence of ebola in the United States, with details of the second confirmed case of transmission of the virus outside of Africa, there is, after all, good news.
It’s not necessarily breaking news.
I also believe that the significance of the developments I am listing here [I am kinda summarizing to account for brevity so it may very well be that there is other good news around the murderous virus] may have been lost in the din generated by the more pressing news.

Good News #1: People afflicted with ebola can be cured.
In fact, as you’ll read in the link provided, there are even more cases of survival to ebola than those of American Christian missionaries Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly, both subject of the hyperlinked exclusive NCB News story.
In an update to this post, the latest reports indicate that the Dallas nurse who caught the ebola virus while treating the Liberian tourist who died of the disease has received a plasma transfusion donated by Brantly.
Screenshot from the NBC News exclusive interview
People around the world prayed for him, says Kent Brantly

Good News #2: The public reaction to the news about ebola outside of Africa — that includes the reaction in Spain, where Romero’s case was the first known to the world — has been, so far, more expectant than alarmist.
In the United States, the recent event in Dallas generated widespread fear and concern that may have at times bordered on panic and, perhaps, hysteria. That’s Brantly’s evaluation, as you can read in this report about a forum in which he participated at his alma mater, Abilene Christian University.
Photo from SIM USA: Nancy Writebol and husband
Virus free: Nancy Writebol and husband, David [Photo SIM USA]
The concern remains high, more so especially after Nina Pham, the 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, became over the weekend the first known case of contagion or transmission of ebola in American soil.
Similar to the Romero case, the young nurse’s story in Dallas has generated controversy after health authorities suggested that a “breach in protocol” — code for “her mistake” — may have resulted in her becoming afflicted with the virus.
Whether either healthcare worker was in fact responsible for the mishap, or there is some other type of failure that nobody knows about — are protective garments in use in fact effective and efficient to prevent the contagion? — is yet to be established.
The point that should not be lost is this: As reiterated many times by health authorities, only by direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected people can the ebola virus be transmitted.
 Which brings me to…
Good News #3: If the present public reaction continues, we may be able to avoid a repetition of the AIDS-hysteria of the early 1980s.
Remember Ryan White? A hemophiliac, as you’ll read in the Wikipedia link, he contracted the HIV after getting contaminated blood during a transfusion.
If you don’t remember Ryan’s story or even knew about it, click on the link and get updated.
Even better: Click here to read the letter that British rocker Elton John wrote Ryan in 2010, on the 20th anniversary of Ryan’s death.
“Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it,” says John to his friend in the letter.
The musician is of course talking about the contemporary public reaction to AIDS but in a way, I think, he could be talking about how the news on ebola is being dealt with in the present.

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