Feeling Sick?...You Do Not Have Ebola
You developed a fever today or last night.
You may have nausea and vomiting.
You may have diarrhea.
You may have a cough.
You may have stomach pains.
I have news for you.
Unless you have recently traveled to or returned from countries or regions affected by the Ebola outbreak...you do not have Ebola.
Unless you live with someone, who has recently traveled to or returned from countries or regions affected by the Ebola outbreak and had direct, prolonged contact with them, AND they have the symptoms listed above...you do not have Ebola.
AMA Morning Rounds excerpt follows:
Misinformed patients with Ebola-like symptoms can take up time, resources in busy EDs.
The AP (10/30, Tanner) reported that patients with symptoms are more likely to have the flu than Ebola. The article added that “misinformed patients with Ebola-like symptoms can take up time and resources in busy emergency rooms, and doctors fear the problem may worsen when flu season ramps up.” Dr. Kristi Koenig said during a break at the American College of Emergency Physicians’ annual meeting, “The whole system gets bogged down, even if it’s a false alarm.”
Louisiana medical conference impacted by Ebola fears. The AP (10/31, Marchione, McConnaughey) reports, “Louisiana state health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an Ebola patient in the last 21 days.” Because of the order, “several doctors, including some from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, now may not be able to attend or present studies at the meeting, which runs Sunday through Wednesday.” Meanwhile, “in contrast to the Louisiana situation, there were no such restrictions placed on doctors attending the American College of Emergency Physicians’ annual meeting in Chicago this week.” NPR (10/31, Beaubien) also covers the story in its “Shots” blog and on its “All Things Considered” program.
Nurse, Maine governor square off over Ebola quarantine. Kaci Hickox, who left involuntary quarantine in New Jersey earlier this week, returned to Maine in a firestorm of controversy over her quarantine status, which she vehemently opposes. On Thursday, Hickox left her home for a bike ride, an event covered by several news outlets. Don Dahler of the CBS Evening News (10/30, story 2, 2:35, Pelley) reported that Hickox went out for an hour-long bike ride on Thursday, defying quarantine for the second time. Dahler also reported that Main Gov. Paul LePage “is threatening legal action.” LePage said in an announcement on Thursday that Hickox is “pushing my patience.” ABC World News (10/30, story 3, 1:55, Muir) added that a state trooper followed Hickox’s bike ride. ABC also covered LePage’s announcement in which he reportedly said the town she lives in is “scared to death.” NBC Nightly News(10/30, story 2, 2:55, Williams) also reported the event, covering LePage saying, “As long as she is not touching other people or, you know, staying a distance from other people, then I don’t see the harm.”
The AP (10/31, Bukaty) adds that the bike ride was taken “on a dirt path to avoid coming into contact with people.” The AP quotes her boyfriend as saying, “We’re not trying to push any limits here. We’re members of this community, too, and we want to make people comfortable.”
The Washington Post (10/31, Berman, Dennis) reports the event, writing that efforts to come to a compromise between Hickox’s lawyers and state officials “had broken down.” The Post also reported a statement from Maine Gov. Paul LePage that said he intends to pursue the matter in court because Hickox “has been unwilling to follow the protocols.”
In “Post Nation,” the Washington Post (10/30, Berman) calls Hickox the “central figure in an ongoing debate over how the government will deal with healthcare workers who return to the United States after working in the Ebola-ravaged part of West Africa.”
The New York Times (10/31, Bidgood, Zernike, Subscription Publication) reports that LePage said his attempts to reach an agreement with Hickox included a provision that she would be allowed to leave her house as long as she stayed three feet away from others and agreed to monitoring by health officials. The American Nursing Association said on Thursday in a statement that it supports Hickox and does not agree that she should be quarantined.
The Wall Street Journal (10/31, Levitz, Subscription Publication) adds that though LePage has threatened legal action, he has not detailed how he would get the courts involved.
Military preps hospitals for Ebola. USA Today (10/31, Zoroya) reports that Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey’s spokesman, Col. Edward Thomas, said that the military is preparing its US hospitals, including Walter Reed, to handle Ebola cases. Thomas said a team with members from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the office of the Secretary of Defense, and the Defense Health Agency are determining the number of beds needed to treat potential Ebola cases.
USA Today (10/30, Brook) reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel defended his decision to quarantine military personnel returning from the Ebola zone on Thursday. Dempsey explained the measure was wise because troops are in the region for a much longer than most healthcare workers. The AP (10/31, Kuhnhenn, Burns) also reports the statements.
Professors: Military will not spread Ebola. The Wall Street Journal (10/31, Subscription Publication) publishes an op-ed by Jonathan D. Moreno, professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and Stephen N. Xenakis, adjunct professor at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. The two professors, supporting the military’s presence in the Ebola zone, argue that the fear that military personnel will catch Ebola is not unusual, as all missions carry some degree of danger. The professors also state that the public should not fear that the military will bring the disease back to the US because of its strict monitoring policy.
Visit the AMA Ebola Resource Center (10/30) for expert resources for physicians and the public.