Ebola Comes to the States…Sort of
The first case of Ebola on US soil has emerged, but it’s not exactly what you may think. Dr. Kent Brantly, a US-based doctor who had been in West Africa helping with the Ebola outbreak, came down with the disease himself and has been transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia where he will be treated in the hospital’s infectious disease unit.
Brantly is the first US citizen to be treated in the States for the disease during this most recent outbreak, which has a climbing death toll after sickening thousands in the African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. He is not the lone US citizen to be infected, however. US aid worker Nancy Writebol was also struck with the disease, and is said to begin the extradition process so she too can be treated at Emory University Hospital.
Bringing Brantly back to the homeland for treatment has been met with mixed reactions from the general public. Many feel it is our civic duty to bring home our sick and wounded, whether they were fighting in a war or helping against a major world health crisis. Others argue — rather irrationally considering the disease cannot spread without coming into contact with a symptomatic person’s body fluids — that bringing Brantly home puts the rest of the country at risk.
What the latter group does not understand is the much higher difficulty the disease would have of spreading in a first world country like America. Because of the nature of spreading the infection, as well as a much more advanced health care system than those found in African countries, bringing Brantly and Writebol home for treatment poses almost no risk to anyone on US soil.
This Ebola outbreak is certainly scary, and the world anxiously hopes for an end to the suffering so many have gone through already. By treating our patients here, not only are we giving our own citizens the best care possible, we are also able to learn more about the disease, which gives the world a better chance at surviving the next outbreak.