Tuesday, July 29, 2014

First do no harm...


In this video, the doctors in Zaire in 1995, in desperation, transfused untreated blood to get the Ebola antibodies into a new case who was one of the nurses they worked with - patients generally last up to 10 days after first manifesting the symptoms. The Virus is more hardy that the HIV/AIDS virus and can be spread by skin contact and even indirectly by an object touched by an secretions from an infected person, making it doubly hard on the victim to not have any human contact when sick as those treating them have to be clothed in plastic clothes which are destroyed immediately after use and then they have to be doused down liberally in bleach/chlorine solution.

I was struck how in the 21st Century a country with poor resources had to resort to 18th Century means -- it reminded me of how Jenner 'discovered' vaccines and the initial reaction against compulsory smallpox vaccinations arose because other diseases were transmitted due to the initial untreated transfer of bodily fluids.
I mused that the foreign scientists there, mainly from the (American) CDC,  bent on researching the origin of the virus (they think transmitted by bats) disapproved but did not offer to provide a sterilizing unit although the initial response to the transfusions - 7 out of the 8 suspected cases - did not die. It was reported that 1 patient out of 20 survives, but because they have the virus in their system-- presumably have to live a quarantined existence -- maybe we ought to take lessons from Cuba- in building habitable isolation/quarantine units where people don't mind living an isolated existence, until a cure can be found? Totally taken from my History in Health assignment!

(McNeil Jr, D. G., 2012. Cuba’s Fortresses Against a Viral Foe. New York: New York Times.)

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