Out of Africa with Ebola: Take a pill and Tell a Lie

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Africans are leaving their homeland knowing they are sick, heading to the U.S. and abroad. They mask their symptoms deliberately. That sounds like a conspiracy.

Louis Farrakhan has proposed a most outlandish conspiracy theory. He has accused Caucasions, specifically American whites, of intentionally spreading deadly disease to kill off their enemies. He has a wild imagination, a propensity to exaggerate in the most dramatic fashion, quote scripture out of context, and stir up emotions in his followers, members of his organization, the Nation of Islam.

How, though, would he explain the  irresponsibility of African nations regarding the pitiful screening of travelers leaving their countries knowingly carrying the ebola virus? Americans, all Americans–white, black, Latino, Native, Asian–have reason to cry a thunderous ‘foul’ and expect our government to force effective screening, not relying on existing protocol going forward.

Better yet, insist on a strict moratorium on departures from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and all other countries having known cases of infection–a widespread quarantine, if you will, until the danger has ended.

There’s no telling how many of Farrakhan’s 300,000 followers believe his conspiracy theory. But there’s no doubt he is widening the divide between the races with his bombastic description of conspiracies perpetrated by whites against blacks. He must shudder when the Cheerios commercial comes on TV depicting a content bi-racial American family, happily enjoying breakfast.

“There is a weapon that can be put in a room where there are black and white people, and it will kill only the black and spare the white, because it is a genotype weapon that is designed for your genes, for your race, for your kind,” Farrakhan wrote.

Farrakhan said the same thing about AIDS, which has stricken African countries more savagely than elsewhere. AIDS and ebola are two viruses spread by exchange of bodily fluids: semen, saliva, urine, blood. Experts in the field of viruses have no data to suggest one race is more susceptible than any other. Since the morality rate is high (50 to 90 percent), it is imperative that the disease be eradicated. Until then, it must be contained.

It will not be contained if infected travelers are able to mask symptoms, and then lie their way off the continent. It will not be contained if personnel at the airports are using defective equipment and are incompetent to boot. It’s appalling to read of such serious failings. But here you go.

h/t: NBC News:

People who contract Ebola in West Africa can get through airport screenings and onto a plane with a lie and a lot of ibuprofen, according to healthcare experts who believe more must be done to identify infected travelers. At the very least, they said, travelers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries should be screened for fever, which is currently done on departure from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. But such safeguards are not foolproof.

“The fever-screening instruments run low and aren’t that accurate,” said infection control specialist Sean Kaufman, president of Behavioral-Based Improvement Solutions, a biosafety company based in Atlanta. “And people can take ibuprofen to reduce their fever enough to pass screening, and why wouldn’t they? If it will get them on a plane so they can come to the United States and get effective treatment after they’re exposed to Ebola, wouldn’t you do that to save your life?”

On Thursday, Liberia said the first Ebola patient to be diagnosed in the United States had lied on a questionnaire at Monrovia’s airport about his exposure to an Ebola patient. Thomas Eric Duncan’s arrival and hospitalization in Dallas have underscored how much U.S. authorities are relying on their counterparts in West African countries to screen passengers and contain the worst Ebola outbreak on record.

Virologist Heinz Feldmann of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has studied Ebola for years and helped develop an experimental Ebola vaccine. He told Science magazine in September that airport screeners in Monrovia, where he spent three weeks, “Don’t really know how to use the devices.” He said he saw screeners record temperatures of 32 degrees C (90 F), which is so low it “is impossible for a living person.” Feldmann said in an email that according to his colleagues who have returned from Liberia in the last few days procedures for taking temperatures and doing clinical checks have improved.

Traveling the world has gotten to be a life threatening adventure–not because of inherent risks on safari in Africa. No, it’s not what you hunt. It’s what you catch. If you believe Farrakhan, blame the white man and  your genes.

by T.M. Burroughs

 
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