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October 16, 2014

#EbolaCare: CDC Has New Protocol For Screening Sick Travelers Before They Get On To Planes: Ask Them If They've Recently Traveled to West Africa

Here's your hot new protocol -- added yesterday, October 15th.

Interim Guidance about Ebola Infection for Airline Crews, Cleaning Personnel, and Cargo Personnel

Updated October 15, 2014

CDC requests airline crews to ask sick travelers if they were in Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone in the last 21 days.

If YES, AND they have any of these Ebola symptoms--fever, severe headache, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding--report immediately to CDC.

If NO, follow routine procedures.

The protocol of asking if an already-identified "sick" airplane traveler has been to West Africa was just instituted yesterday.

Before yesterday, this was not part of the "multilayered screening" (as Josh Earnest called it) to keep out ebola carriers.

There's more, too. We learned yesterday that the CDC told the second infected nurse, Amber Vinson, it was okay to fly, because her first ebola symptom -- a fever -- was only 99.5. Apparently it's the CDC's protocol that only fevers of 100.4 count as suggesting "high risk."

That means this "multilayered screening" at airports around the world is letting travelers from West Africa board planes into the United States even if they have a fever. The CDC's protocol is that only some fevers (100.4 or above) count as raising red flags.

Meanwhile, a nurse at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital (which treated Duncan) now says she can no longer defend her hospital's performance. She describes a hospital in chaos, with personnel who had no idea what the hell they were doing.

Her list of complaints against Dallas Presbyterian's performance is long. Among them, she charges that medical personnel were permitted to treat Duncan -- highly infectious, ebola-carrier Duncan -- and then move to the next room to treat that patient without disinfecting oneself before doing so.

She says that, pace Thomas Frieden, the hospital was not ready for ebola.

Administrators never discussed with staff how the hospital would handle an Ebola case prior to Duncan’s arrival, Aguirre alleged.

"We never talked about Ebola and we probably should have," she said. Instead, "they gave us an optional seminar to go to. Just informational, not hands on. It wasn't even suggested we go ... We were never told what to look for."

Dallas Presbyterian denied similar charges when they responded to the anonymous complaints announced by a nurses union.

Assuming what she says is true -- and with two infected nurses, it's hard to come to any conclusion except that the staff did not properly contain the disease -- this is an indictment of the hospital's administrators and the Texas Department of Health, first of all.

But it's also an indictment of the CDC. These hospital workers clearly did not know what the hell to do with Thomas Eric Duncan, and yet the CDC seemed content to let untrained staff at a general hospital blunder along, both infecting themselves and possibly infecting other patients.

I always assumed that when a highly-infectious disease like ebola presented itself at a hospital, the CDC would send some experts to either advise the hospital on containment and protocols, or would send actual doctors and nurses, experienced in ebola, to treat the patient properly.

As of yesterday, Obama now says that such ebola threat response teams will be sent to hospitals (after a diagnosed case of ebola).

Again: As of yesterday. Before yesterday, Obama and the CDC were content to let the barely-trained locals figure it out on the fly.

You probably also know that Amber Vinson has now been flown by private medical charter to the CDC's infectious diseases specialist hospital at Emory.

Again, this is what I assumed would happen from the outset. We are paying billions for the CDC. And yet when Duncan presented himself with full-blown ebola, the CDC did not jump up to take the lead on his treatment, or transfer him to their state-of-the-art containment wing.

Instead, they let untrained personnel out in a local Dallas hospital deal with it.

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posted by Ace at 10:02 AM

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