American #Ebola survivor calls the outbreak ’a fire straight from the pit of hell’ - Vox
Kent Brantly has a unique perspective on the Ebola epidemic: he has both worked as a doctor to treat the virus in patients and he is a victim of the disease, having contracted Ebola in July while working as a medical missionary in Liberia.
Today, he testified in DC before a senate senate committee on the West African outbreak. Here are highlights from his speech:
On the horror of having Ebola
On July 23, I started to feel ill. Three days later, I learned that I had tested positive for Ebola Virus Disease. I became a patient, and I came to understand firsthand what my own patients had suffered. I was isolated from my family, and I was unsure if I would ever see them again. Even though I knew most of my caretakers, I could see nothing but their eyes through their protective goggles when they came to treat me. I experienced the humiliation of losing control of my bodily functions and faced the horror of vomiting blood-a sign of the internal bleeding that could have eventually led to my death.
How the world woke up to Ebola after he was infected
(...) The response, however, is still unacceptably out-of-step with the size and scope of the problem now before us.
What it’s like to treat Ebola patients
Treating Ebola patients is not like caring for other patients. It is grueling work. The personal protective equipment (PPE) we wore in the Ebola Treatment Unit becomes excruciatingly hot, with temperatures inside the suit reaching up to 115 degrees. It cannot be worn for more than an hour and a half. Because of the elaborate safety protocols involved in treating an Ebola patient, each one takes an average of 30 minutes of time from a team of three to five people. It is easy to see that a significant influx of medical personnel will be needed to adequately care for the thousands of people that epidemiologists now are predicting will fall victim to the disease in the coming weeks.
On using military to respond to the Ebola virus
The use of our military is a legitimate and defensible request because if we do not do something to stop this outbreak now, it quickly could become a matter of U.S. national security-whether that means a regional war that gives terrorist groups like Boko Haram a foothold in West Africa or the spread of the disease into America. Fighting those kinds of threats would require more from the Department of Defense than what I am asking for today.
Why the outbreak got out of control in Liberia
The laboratory we used to confirm Ebola Virus Disease in patients was 45 minutes away and inadequately staffed. A patient would arrive at our center in the afternoon, and their blood specimen would not be collected until the following morning. We would receive results later that night at the earliest. This means that the turn-around time to positively identify Ebola cases was anywhere from 12 to 36 hours after the blood was drawn. If a patient is not infected with the virus, that can be a life-threatening delay...
These laboratory delays can have an even greater-and deadlier- consequence. The longer it takes to confirm a positive result, the longer an Ebola- infected patient is left in the “suspected” side of the isolation unit. Every precaution is taken to protect people in that part of the facility from cross-contamination, but there is always the potential that those without the disease can become infected if they are in close proximity to an Ebola-positive person.
[et sur l’#OMS:]
The World Health Organization (...) are so bound up by bureaucracy that they have been painfully slow and ineffective (...) I am not aware of any significant progress (...) It is imperative that the U.S. take the lead instead of relying on other agencies...