TUCSON, Ariz., June 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- While public health officials are preoccupied with measles, hundreds of people are coming through our border from the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where thousands have Ebola, notes Physicians for Civil Defense.
In the entire U.S., there are about half a dozen hospital beds equipped for safe treatment of Ebola victims. We were very fortunate to escape a disastrous outbreak here during the epidemic in West Africa. There are two new vaccines that generate antibodies, but we don't know how protective they would be—if you are one of the few who could get a dose.
Then there's HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis, both highly prevalent in Africa.
All news outlets, public health officials, border-control agents, and physicians should be demanding immediate answers to these questions:
- How are Congolese entrants being screened for Ebola (or are they)? Are workers relying on checking for fever? A high percentage of Congolese Ebola victims do not have a fever. What precautions are being taken to protect workers? Double gloving? Masks and eye protection? Incineration of medical waste? How long are entrants quarantined? The incubation period can be longer than 21 days. What if there is a needle-stick injury? If a case of Ebola is suspected, what is being done to protect other migrants?
- How are entrants being tested for tuberculosis? The CDC expects the skin test antigen to be in short supply for up to 10 months. Are migrants tested for HIV/AIDS? A negative skin test for TB is unreliable in HIV-positive persons. Are chest x-rays taken?
- Who is in charge of the medical screening, and what are that person's qualifications?
Dispersing even a few persons with Ebola or drug-resistant TB across the U.S. would threaten thousands and overwhelm our public health resources and hospitals. It would be recklessly irresponsible to avoid confronting this problem at the source.
Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of war or other disaster.
Contact: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Physicians for Civil Defense