Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's not just Ebola

On Monday December 22 after returning from recent trips to West Africa, both Senator Chris Coons and CDC Director Tom Frieden spoke with reporters about their trips. (you can listen here to some of Senator Coons' comments upon returning starting at around 23 minutes in, from the C-SPAN podcast Washington Today, where I first found both briefings with reporters).

Here is the audio and here is the transcript for the CDC Telebriefing: Update on the CDC Response to the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa - December 22, 2014

I'm just making a quick point, just like here flu and Enterovirus (**and car crashes, guns and police) will kill more people than Ebola, Africa is also suffering from Malaria and flu (and violence and civil wars) as well.

(Added emphasis is mine except for original bold identifying speakers)

OPERATOR: The next question is from Tony Pugh from McClatchy Newspapers. 
TONY PUGH: Thank you. I was hoping you could tell us a little bit about the situation in America in terms of how many travelers from West Africa are being monitored for possible Ebola nationwide? Do you have any numbers on that? 
TOM FRIEDEN: We see somewhere between 70 and 100 people come in each day. They are followed for 21 days. I am now one of them. I and around 1700 other people. The number changes on any given day. There have been more than 5,000 people monitored since we began the process and have been through that system. Every one of them receives a care kit, check and report Ebola, that includes a thermometer and is contacted, as I was contacted by my local health department Sunday afternoon, asking what my temperature was, telling me what to do if I have fever or other symptoms and making sure that I was linked up with medical care. That's done all over the country. We have monitored each of those people as they have come into the country and identified 11 people who were referred for medical evaluation. None of them had Ebola. More importantly, for the whole 21 days, each of those people knows who to call, what to do if they get sick. 

We have seen quite a few people as we expect, with illnesses. A lot of Malaria. A lot of Influenza. In those cases, they use the information they are given to call the health department to be safely transported to and cared for in a hospital that is prepared to care for them. 

We worked with hospitals throughout the country to strengthen their ability to assess and if necessary, treat a patient with Ebola. We have established laboratory response networks all over the country to do rapid testing for Ebola and we have trained tens of thousands of health care workers in how to do that safely. 

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