Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine

US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia 409

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mother-nature-wants-you-to-die dept.
acidradio (659704) writes American air charter specialist Phoenix Air has been contracted by the U.S. Army to haul an American physician afflicted with Ebola from Liberia to the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. This will be the first 'purposeful' transport of an Ebola victim to the U.S. The patient will be flown in a special Gulfstream III (formerly owned by the Danish Air Force) outfitted for very specialized medical transports such as this. I dunno. I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea? theodp (442580) writes with related news In response to the Ebola outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued Interim Guidance about Ebola Virus Infection for Airline Flight Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel. "Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact with a person who has symptoms of Ebola," the CDC explains. "Close contact is defined as having cared for or lived with a person with Ebola or having a high likelihood of direct contact with blood or body fluids of an Ebola patient. Examples of close contact include kissing or embracing, sharing eating or drinking utensils, close conversation (3 feet), physical examination, and any other direct physical contact between people. Close contact does not include walking by a person or briefly sitting across a room from a person."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US Army To Transport American Ebola Victim To Atlanta Hospital From Liberia

Comments Filter:
  • Vaccine is coming (Score:5, Informative)

    by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:07AM (#47582015)

    CNN had an article on this shortly before it popped up here. In their article, they said that an Ebola vaccine is well underway, with trials expected to begin in humans soon. It's apparently been proven effective in monkeys already. I was a little concerned before I read that, but if they've got a working vaccine, it's really not a big deal.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:13AM (#47582077)

    The Centers for Disease Control is in Atlanta.

    It's nice to see reason and logic flying out the window with most of these early posts, by the way. I think I'll invest in pitchfork futures, pronto!

  • by 3.5 stripes (578410) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:14AM (#47582095)

    The disease is not particularly communicable. It tends to externalize a lot of bodily fluids, which is why in places with poor sanitary conditions, it spreads pretty quickly. Hospitals which handle patients like these tend not to be considered poor sanitary conditions..

  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:18AM (#47582145)

    I know there are brilliant doctors and scientists in Atlanta who handle highly-communicable diseases, but is this such a brilliant idea?

    Ebola is hardly the only scary pathogen handled by the CDC. In fact I believe the CDC doesn't even consider this among the most dangerous of pathogens because of the relative difficulty in transmission [wikipedia.org] which requires direct contact and it evolves relatively slowly apparently. They know very well how to handle this. The main concern is that they actually follow proper procedures. If they do that then there is little to worry about.

    If you really want to study ebola to find a cure this is probably a very good idea provided they exercise appropriate caution. You want the experts at the CDC to be able to study this up close in a live patient. Of course one has to wonder why we had to wait for an american physician to get infected before deciding this was a good idea...

  • Try, try again? (Score:1, Informative)

    by iinventstuff (1888700) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:19AM (#47582155)
    If we can't contain the disease (** and keep doctors from contracting it **) in Liberia, who's bright idea is it to try to contain it in Atlanta?

    I propose sending containment & treatment equipment (trial vaccines, etc.), and medical personnel to Liberia. Staying put is probably easier on the patient that a transatlantic flight.

    Transporting a person with such a deadly disease doesn't seem like the best plan...

  • Re:Vaccine is coming (Score:5, Informative)

    by tiberus (258517) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:21AM (#47582179)
    I heard the same interview with Tom Frieden, Head of the CSC, that xylo36 did. In the interview he stated that Ebola has not really changed since it was first discovered, they have been monitoring the viruses DNA. It's just a nasty little bugger.
  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:24AM (#47582207)

    Let's bring all the diseases here. What could go wrong?

    In all likelihood, nothing. The CDC handles copies of pretty much every known pathogen on the planet. It is the premier pathogen research institution on the planet. They've already seen ebola. The only thing novel about this is that they are bringing in a live patient with the disease to a top tier hospital so they can bring the best tools to bear on researching the disease and hopefully treating this guy.

  • by Shortguy881 (2883333) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:25AM (#47582219)
    Emory University's Campus touches the CDC, so much so you can look out of some of the windows in Emory and see into the offices at the CDC. They also work together professionally. Essentially this person is being transferred to the CDC.
  • by sirwired (27582) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:52AM (#47582545)

    If you could catch Ebola by touching the sweat somebody left behind as they passed through a room, it would have spread a lot farther than it has. I'm pretty sure they'll be testing everybody that comes into contact with this guy for the virus, and even if the tests miss it, the symptoms are not subtle, it being a hemorrhagic fever and all...

    Not every virus acts like the flu or cold viruses. Ebola isn't particularly virulent, even if it is pretty nasty if you come down with it. Being able to perform tests on a live patient in a state-of-the-art facility (as opposed to a 3rd-world heap whose "hospitals" are about as sanitary as a mid-grade highway rest stop) is invaluable in researching treatments. Just like the movies, the CDC has on-site facilities specifically designed to treat people with scary diseases we don't want in the population at large; this seems like an excellent use for them.

  • by Solandri (704621) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:52AM (#47582553)

    The disease is not particularly communicable. It tends to externalize a lot of bodily fluids, which is why in places with poor sanitary conditions, it spreads pretty quickly. Hospitals which handle patients like these tend not to be considered poor sanitary conditions..

    The various strains of the flu which become pandemics don't start off as particularly communicable either. They usually develop in other animals (e.g. birds or pigs) and mutate into a form which can infect humans. Even then their outbreak is usually limited to farmers and people who work closely with animals because, like current Ebola strains, they can only be transmitted via direct contact.

    They become a pandemic when they mutate into a form which can be transmitted via the air. Not saying this will happen with Ebola. Just saying that just because it's not particularly communicable now doesn't mean it'll stay that way. Ebola is so deadly (50%-90% mortality rate, c.f. 10%-20% for the Spanish Flu) that it inhibits its own spread - killing its victims before they have a chance to mingle with other people and spread the disease. That's also why they haven't transported a patient out of Africa yet - they tend to die before the red tape is cleared. Given the deadly nature of the disease I think it's a good idea to be able to study a case in a modern hospital facility rather than some rural village in Africa. They just need to be super careful handling the case, which it sounds like they are.

    There's also something to be said for backing up the doctors who are working on this outbreak with the best possible care we can provide them should they become infected. These folks are casualties on the front lines of an inter-species war. Writing them off and treating them as pariahs if they become infected doesn't exactly bolster their confidence nor encourage other doctors to try to help contain similar outbreaks. Modern epidemiology has become a victim of its own success. People point to fizzled outbreaks like MERS, SARS, the Bird Flu, and criticize our disease control agencies of overreacting because those diseases didn't really spread that far, when the reason those diseases didn't spread that far was likely in large part due to the quick actions of those agencies. We need to be backing these people up. They need to know that should they become casualties, the world is going to provide them with the best possible care to help them recover, not treat them like lepers.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 01, 2014 @11:59AM (#47582649)

    Is there a research interest? Is supportive therapy that much better here and the CDC is the place with isolation expertise? What advantage is being sought?

    Probably yes there is a research interest. Otherwise there would be no reason to choose Atlanta (home of the CDC) of all possible treatment locations. There are plenty of places for treatment but only one place where the experts at the CDC can look at things up close. It's a lot harder to bring the CDC to the patient than the other way around.

  • Uneducated panic (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:15PM (#47582779)

    There's a reason animals (and humans) are paranoid about shit we don't understand. From a survival standpoint, it's an advantageous attitude to have. And right now, I'm pretty fucking paranoid about being anywhere near people with Ebola!

    Then you need to educate yourself because ebola is NOT even in the top 20 pathogens you should be worried about. Infectious disease doctors worry about diseases like Vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus [wikipedia.org] which is an example of a much more serious threat. You're worrying about a meteor strike when while living in Tornado Alley. Sure there is a tiny risk but it isn't what you should be concerned about. Ebola is scary but there are MUCH scarier and FAR more likely pathogens out there.

    Ebola is hard to transmit, easy to contain, evolves slowly and is very unlikely to come anywhere near you in the near future.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:35PM (#47582985)

    Let's bring all the diseases here. What could go wrong?

    They are all, already here. If you think they aren't, you're rather foolish. The difference here is this case got the media's attention. You literally have to get the carriers bodily fluids in your mouth to catch this. That's only happening in areas with sanitation so poor that hardly exist in this country, or if you're in healthcare and taking care of the victims. Which, btw, is what both these people were doing. They're heros, and should be treated as such.

  • by bugs2squash (1132591) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:45PM (#47583107)
    More of the usual right wing BS...

    from: http://www.cbpp.org/files/esta... [cbpp.org]

    Today, 99.86 percent of estates owe no estate tax at all, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (TPC).4 Among the 3,780 estates that owe any tax, the “effective” tax rate — that is, the percentage of the estate’s value that is paid in taxes — is 16.6 percent, on average

    ...

    Only the wealthiest estates in the country pay the tax because it is levied only on the portion of an estate’s value that exceeds a specified exemption level, currently $5.25 million per person (effectively $10.5 million per married couple).

  • Re:More NIMBY (Score:5, Informative)

    by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:46PM (#47583115)

    Sierra Leone's only expert on Ebola died from Ebola a couple of days ago, despite being an expert and therefore following all the safety procedures to the best of his ability.

    I'm not going to bother confirming what you said but let's assume it is true. Do you have any idea what sort of conditions this person was working under? If it is anything like much of West Africa then you've probably been in highway rest stops that are cleaner than some of the hospitals. Per capita GDP in Sierra Leone is under $1000/year so I'm pretty sure any doctors working there are working without adequate supplies which equals unsafe working conditions. The CDC on the other hand has access to literally every medical technology known to man and the money to utilize them.

    So what exactly is your point? That a doctor, heroically working to save people, died due to a lack of adequate medical supplies to do his job properly? Yeah, happens all the time in places like that. It's a tragedy but nothing new or shocking.

  • by GiganticLyingMouth (1691940) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:49PM (#47583149)
    Ebola is only contagious when the symptoms are present , NOT during the incubation period. The symptoms of Ebola are pretty pronounced, so if you see someone projectile vomiting and bleeding from their eyeballs, steer clear, but otherwise you should be alright. From the WHO Ebola FAQ [who.int]:

    The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.

  • Re:Vaccine is coming (Score:5, Informative)

    by AnOnyxMouseCoward (3693517) on Friday August 01, 2014 @12:50PM (#47583159)
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Friday August 01, 2014 @02:50PM (#47584143) Journal

    It's not like there is some magical cure awaiting them upon arrival at Emory, there is no cure for Ebola. About the best they can hope for is palliative care, so why not just send a team to West Africa to do the same.

    Actually there ARE some experimental treatments and antivirals, both general and specific to Ebola, being worked on. At Emory, in particular. (It's their business.)

    In fact, according to previous reports, THIS GUY was working on them. And he had ONE dose of one of them WITH him.

    Unfortunately, when he and a colleague both started showing symptoms, THIS GUY gave the ONE DOSE to the OTHER GUY.

    Has he had other treatments already that might have made him more resistant than J. Random Villager? Haven't heard yet, but it sure wouldn't surprise me.

    Bring this partiular guy back to the US, to the CDC facilities, shove him in a best-of-its-class isolab, and give him the best supportive care available (including more experimental stuff)? This might make sense, big time, despite the risks in transit.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Friday August 01, 2014 @05:39PM (#47585575) Homepage Journal

    Actually there ARE some experimental treatments and antivirals, both general and specific to Ebola, being worked on. At Emory, in particular. (It's their business.)

    In fact, according to previous reports, THIS GUY was working on them. And he had ONE dose of one of them WITH him.

    Unfortunately, when he and a colleague both started showing symptoms, THIS GUY gave the ONE DOSE to the OTHER GUY.

    Actually, the infected doctor, Kent Brantly, gave the treatment to another missionary, Nancy Writebol, and she's also being evacuated on that plane. http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com] They haven't announced what the treatment is, but it might have been IgG blood serum http://www.livescience.com/471... [livescience.com] separated from the blood of one of the other victims. Or it might have been a new untested adenovirus vaccine, which works (on monkeys) even after they're infected. Or it might have been a monoclonal antibody. Or it might have been an experimental RNA virus. http://www.nature.com/news/ebo... [nature.com] I can't understand why they're keeping it a secret.

    These untested treatments are all desperate measures. From what I've read in the New England Journal of Medicine clinical cases, these are the kind of treatments that they use when everything else fails, the patient is dying, they don't know what else to do, and there's nothing to lose.

    As I understand it, the odds are against it, but they're the best doctors in the world, and I hope it works.

    I also don't understand why they're bringing them to the U.S. The only treatment is supportive care. I think they also have planes that are set up with a transportable ICU, so they should be able to treat them on site.

    There is a risk of the virus getting out, no matter how careful they are. They're doing this all for the first time. One problem is that handling a case like this is so complicated, and you only have to make one mistake. An ICU is full of equipment. Since ebola can't be treated, an epidemic spreads until it kills off so many of its victims that there's nobody left to infect, and it burns itself out.

    With SARS, a lot of medical workers, particularly nurses, got infected, and they were a large number of the fatalities.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

Working...