U.S. Ebola Case Spurs Preparedness, Policy Questions
Although Congress gave the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention an emergency boost of $30 million last month, the agency has been hit hard by budget cuts. Texas media also question the preparedness of state and local public health agencies. Meanwhile, The Dallas Morning News reports that Texas Health Presbyterian -- which initially released the Liberian man who turned out to have the virus -- scored significantly worse than state and national averages for emergency care.
Politico: Ebola Highlights CDC Fund Crunch
Congress gave the CDC an emergency injection of $30 million to combat Ebola right before it left town last month. Lawmakers will still have to confront what the agency needs to keep fighting this disaster — and to get ready for the next one, and the one after that. More than many agencies, the CDC has been hit hard during the last four years of pervasive austerity, with hundreds of millions of dollars stripped from its budget. State and local preparedness has also suffered (Norman, 10/2).
The Texas Tribune: Is Texas Prepared For A Public Health Emergency?
A man who may have had contact with 100 other people is in isolation at a Dallas hospital after being diagnosed with Ebola, a deadly virus that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa. Two weeks ago, El Paso officials said more than 700 infants may have been exposed to a hospital aide with tuberculosis. And in July, the first case of chikungunya, a virus spread by mosquitoes, arrived in Texas. State officials say Texas' response teams are well-equipped to handle these cases and other potential public health crises. But the surge of recent threats here is raising questions from public health experts, who say they are worried about the state’s capacity to deal with more contagious diseases as they arise (Walters and Ura, 10/2).
Politico: CDC Chief On Ebola: We Can’t Shut The Border
Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on Friday said restricting travel between the U.S. and West Africa would likely “backfire” and put Americans more at risk of contracting Ebola. Appearing on MSNBC, Frieden was asked about potentially prohibiting air travel between the U.S. and West Africa, where the Ebola outbreak is most widespread. He said that such a restriction would likely be ineffective and would make it harder for health officials to root out the virus (Topaz, 10/3).
Dallas Morning News: Before Ebola Failure, Dallas Hospital Saw Long Emergency Waits
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital — under fire for releasing a Liberian man who later turned out to have the Ebola virus — has lagged behind its peers on emergency room care and lost some federal funds the past three years because it had high discharge rates of patients who later had to return for treatment. The hospital scored significantly worse than the state and national averages in five of six emergency care indicators, with emergency room wait times twice as long as the averages, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Hunt, Dunklin and Moffeit, 10/2).
The Huffington Post: Travel Information Wasn't Communicated In Dallas Ebola Case Due To Electronic Health Record Flaw
Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan did tell a hospital nurse that he had been in Africa when he first visited the hospital with a fever and other symptoms, but due to a flaw in the hospital’s electronic health record workflows, that travel history was not communicated to physicians at the hospital, according to newly released information (Chan, 10/2).
The New York Times: Understanding The Risks Of Ebola, And What ‘Direct Contact’ Mean
Can you catch Ebola on a crowded bus or train if you are standing next to someone who is infected? What if that person sneezes or coughs on you? If the person has symptoms, the answer could be yes. Questions that may have seemed theoretical a few days ago have taken on a troubling reality since a traveler from Liberia, Thomas E. Duncan, carried the virus to Texas (Grady, 10/2).
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Ebola Screening Grows
The number of people in Texas who are being screened for potential exposure to Ebola expanded Thursday to roughly 100, as health officials cast a wide net to try to prevent the one confirmed case of the disease from sparking an outbreak. Four members of a family close to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with the virus, were ordered to remain in their Dallas home and not receive any visitors until at least Oct. 19, to pass the 21-day maximum incubation period for the often-deadly disease (Campoy, Hinshaw and Frosch, 10/2).
Politico: Up To 100 People Being Monitored In Dallas For Ebola
Up to 100 people in Texas are now being screened for potential exposure to Ebola, with four relatives of the first U.S. patient quarantined in their Dallas home until at least Oct. 19, local and state health officials said Thursday. Most of the 100 people did not have direct contact with the patient, a Liberian national named Thomas Eric Duncan, but are being assessed as a precaution, officials said. None is showing symptoms of the disease (Levine, 10/2).
Politico: Rand Paul Stokes Ebola Fears
Sen. Rand Paul is warning that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention might be downplaying the threat from the Ebola virus. The Kentucky Republican, appearing on “The Laura Ingraham Show” on Wednesday, said the CDC and the Obama administration are giving off a false sense of security. “This could get beyond our control,” said Paul, an ophthalmologist (Topaz, 10/2).
The Wall Street Journal: FDA Cracks Down On Sellers Touting Ebola Treatments
The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on sellers of so-called essential oils who are claiming on social media sites that their products prevent or cure Ebola. The actions are part of a broader effort by the regulatory agency to stop false claims that spread quickly via online social networks (Andrews, 10/2).