Multiple media sources are reporting on the case of a man who was placed in isolation at Sarasota Memorial Hospital on Friday, October 3rd. ABC Action News Channel 7, in the below video, reports, “Doctors say a patient who arrived Friday at Sarasota Memorial Hospital [and who recently returned from a trip to West Africa] with symptoms similar to Ebola is ‘highly unlikely’ to have the deadly virus, according to a statement from the hospital.”
Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) states “[H]e does not meet the CDC criteria for Ebola testing.”
Question: Why wasn’t this patient tested for the Ebola virus?
None of the media has asked this simple but important question. Is it not better to be safe than sorry? Just because the patient does not meet the CDC criteria for Ebola testing does not mean that the test shouldn’t be given so both the patient and community can know for sure the results.
According to the Washington Post, “Since July, hospitals around the country have reported more than 100 cases involving Ebola-like symptoms to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials there said. Only one patient so far — Thomas Duncan in Dallas — has been diagnosed with Ebola.” Reuters reports, “Ten people deemed to have been at the highest risk of exposure to an Ebola patient in Dallas are now under isolation while they are being closely monitored, local officials said on Friday.”
We spoke with a former emergency room doctor and he said that “the CDC criteria are merely guidelines.” He belives the doctors at SMH can, and in his opinion, “should have immediately tested the man for Ebola.” The doctor said that “Ebola is airborne and that the public is being misinformed about the threat of the Ebola virus pandemic.” He points out that the Ebola case is Texas was badly mishandled with the patient initially not diagnosed with the virus. That patient subsequently was released by the local hospital and later returned and confirmed to have the Ebola virus.
The doctor also noted that U. S. hospitals are seeing other diseases, like tuberculosis and polio, which have been previously eradicated. He attributes this rise of infected people to the lack of a proper screening of all illegals coming into the country particularly those from areas such as the Middle East and Africa.
The results of the test would have been back by now and if negative no further action is needed. But we don’t know what we don’t know. Not doing the test raises questions that do not need to be raised. If the test is positive then major issues need addressing such as: what flight was this man on, who did he come in contact with after his arrival and who may have been exposed while the man was at the SMH emergency room.
ABC News further reports:
As a precaution, officials say the hospital activated the appropriate infection control protocols, including placing the patient in isolation and reporting the case to Florida Department of Health officials. Supervisors at the health department confirmed the patient did not meet the risk criteria for Ebola testing.
The CDC website states the following about testing for Ebola:
Diagnosing Ebola in an person who has been infected for only a few days is difficult, because the early symptoms, such as fever, are nonspecific to Ebola infection and are seen often in patients with more commonly occurring diseases, such as malaria and typhoid fever.
However, if a person has the early symptoms of Ebola and has had contact with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, contact with objects that have been contaminated with the blood or body fluids of a person sick with Ebola, or contact with infected animals, they should be isolated and public health professionals notified. Samples from the patient can then be collected and tested to confirm infection. [Emphasis added]
Governor Scott released the following statement today announcing further state preparedness actions while the Department of Health works with the CDC to test a patient for Ebola in Miami:
“Florida’s Department of Health is working with the federal CDC to test a patient at a local Miami hospital who was screened today for Ebola. It’s important to point out that this patient did not meet the CDC case definition for Ebola, but the test is being conducted out of an abundance of caution and health officials expect the test to rule out Ebola. We are in close communication with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, and other local officials and health leaders in Miami-Dade.
“As we announced after our health briefing yesterday, Florida still does not have any confirmed cases of Ebola, and we hope we never do, but we are taking every preparedness step possible to keep our citizens and our visitors safe.
“We know from our experience in responding to hurricanes that we must prepare for the worst even as we hope for the best. As part of those preparedness efforts, Florida’s Department of Health today requested 30 additional Ebola testing kits from the CDC. This number of kits ensures that all of Florida’s 30 public hospitals have the ability to test patients who county health officials and the CDC believe need to be tested for Ebola. Additionally, the Department of Health requested 100 units of additional high-level personal protective equipment to ensure the state is ready to backfill any county whose medical personnel develop a future need for these supplies.
“We know Florida’s hospitals and county health offices are prepared to identify and treat patients who may have Ebola. While they are prepared on the local level, the state is requesting increased federal resources out of an abundance of caution for the unlikely event that we may have an extended response that warrants additional resources.
“In order to keep Floridians best informed about the Miami patient and any future developments, I have also asked the Division of Emergency Management to activate the state’s Joint Information Center tomorrow, Monday, at 9AM. Our first priority is to keep Florida’s residents and visitors safe and a big part of this effort will be to share accurate, timely information with the public.”
EDITORS NOTE: The featured video is courtesy of ABC 7 News.