There was a run on grocery stores last night as word spread that an Ebola patient was being flown from Liberia to Emory Hospital in Atlanta for treatment. Atlantans stocked up on the basic staples: water, milk and bread as concern grew to panic.
But the scientist who first discovered Ebola says there is no need for concern. Professor Peter Piot discovered Ebola when he was 27 in 1976. The scientist now lives in Britain where he is director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Piot urged doctors to test vaccines on people who are already stricken with Ebola.
That may be why Emory has chosen to airlift at least one, maybe two American Ebola patients from West Africa, where over 700 people have died of Ebola since March.
An American doctor, Kent Brantly, 33, and a female Christian aid worker were infected with Ebola in Liberia where they were treating patients. It isn’t clear which one of them will be flown to Atlanta.
Piot said he was not concerned about Ebola spreading among the population in America.
“I wouldn’t be worried to sit next to someone with Ebola virus on [London's subway] as long as they don’t vomit on you or something,” Piot said. “This is an infection that requires very close contact.”
The Ebola virus is spread by infected bats. Animals eat the bat droppings, and humans consume the infected animals.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with an infected patient’s blood, stool and other body fluids such as vomit. The mortality rate is very high, and there is no cure. The gruesome symptoms include profuse bleeding from every open orifice including the eyes. The Ebola patient (or patients) will be treated at Emory in a specially built isolation unit that is separate from the main hospital. According to the AJC, the unit was built to the specifications of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
This is the same CDC that temporarily closed its labs after a series of embarrassing back-to-back lab accidents last month.
The news that the CDC exposed its own workers to deadly anthrax did nothing to diminish the anxiety and fears of Atlantans who worry about the Ebola virus escaping into the surrounding neighborhoods.