Threat of wanton selfishness next pandemic scare?


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Spreading through political circles and fanning outward through social media networks, Ms. Kaci Hickox is once again the focus of national debate. This time, the expiration of her incubation period, the time that it takes for a person infected with the Ebola virus to become symptomatic, has become the latest occasion for Ms. Hickox to demand the science behind several attempts to quarantine her. Hickox maintains that self monitoring is preferable to a medical quarantine causing many in the US to question the science behind the more subjective approach to tracking persons exposed to the Ebola virus and who are at risk for a potential infection.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die from Ebola in the US entered a Texas community and was permitted to visit relatives, having been given the freedom to move through public places without restriction or monitoring. It was later discovered that Mr. Duncan was aware of his own symptoms leading to the discovery of his Ebola infection. Duncan had been exposed to persons known to be infected by the deadly virus contributing to a growing perception in the US that self reporting as a means of preventing the spread of Ebola is an ineffectual approach to disease prevention. A massive movement in America demands more objective measurements and tracking of those at risk for an infection the kind of which is only available in a more controlled environment and that would be managed by medically trained staff.

An unintended consequence following her protestations, some in America are questioning the true motives behind Ms. Hickox’s decision to travel to East Africa with some judging her public status as a heroic humanitarian as being somewhat in-genuine.

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