Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our Founder's Recent Trip to Sierra Leone and Our Response to the Ebola Crisis

We know there is a lot of fear about the threat of Ebola within our country right now. Fear is a natural response, especially when one feels their personal health may be at risk. Recognizing how confusing it may be, we want to help the general public to better grasp the scientific understanding of Ebola, how it spreads and where the risk really is. We are 100% committed to the health and wellbeing of our local community. To learn more about precautions that we are taking at JRCHC and review some resources and factsheets from the CDC, visit our website.

We appreciated the honest exploration of Ebola and the public’s concerns on @WBBZ-TV’s #PoliticalBuzz last week, with Host Phil Arno and our founder Dr. Myron Glick. To hear his response firsthand, we encourage you to watch and listen to this program that was taped last week.

Here are some highlights from the program:Because there are so many mixed messages and speculation out there as the to risks of Ebola, the host asks Dr. Glick definitely how the disease is transmitted. “What we know is that Ebola is spread by physical contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has Ebola, who is sick, or their dead bodies. So while the virus is highly infectious, …it’s not the kind of virus, like the flu virus, that is spread by respiratory contact that can sweep through a general population very quickly.” Glick further affirms, “There is no scientist that would say that we think this is respiratory spread.”

The program highlights that Dr. Glick was in Sierra Leone recently. His ten days there were highly cautious and monitored. He was there helping to prepare our primary care clinic to operationalize in early 2015 (to address the inadequate primary care infrastructure in the Kono District, not to provide Ebola relief – that will be left to those with the appropriate expertise, and we support their efforts). While there, Dr. Glick had no known exposure, did not provide any patient care, never even visited an Ebola treatment center, and spent his time with a small group of Sierra Leonians, including Phebian, who were in good health and exhibited no Ebola symptoms. Therefore, as a matter of precaution, he is following CDC guidelines, monitoring his temperature twice daily for 21 days and reporting it to the Dept of Health, despite his low risk status.

“Even a doctor who was in an Ebola treatment center who is not symptomatic, cannot spread the disease,” says Glick. “What we know about this virus is that in the asymptomatic stages, even if someone has the virus inside of them, that they are not contagious, that if we did a blood test, it would not show positive for Ebola. In fact, even the case with Mr. Duncan [Texas, first US case], it wasn’t his family who was around him before he got sick or even initially when he got sick that got the disease – it was the nurses who were taking care of him when he was really sick.” This simple fact draws a really important distinction in where there is risk or not.

The host reiterates, “So if you don’t have symptoms, and you don’t in fact know that you have the sickness, you’re not going to be able to spread the disease?” “Exactly,” Glick confirms.

“I don’t have question in my mind that Ebola will just be episodic in this country, I don’t think its something that we need to fear at all, here. Because we are a global community, there will be these cases that pop up here and there, but it will never sweep through our communities; we have a good health care system here.”

“We need the world to come around West Africa in ways that it is reluctant to do, and we need to try to avoid the fear that we have in this county that is not substantiated.” Dr. Glick encourages focusing energy on channeling relief efforts to alleviating the suffering of those in West Africa.

The host closes the program by affirming, “The bottom line is, the average person out there in WNY and in our country shouldn’t be too concerned.”

Instead, let’s lift up the people of West Africa in our prayers, generously funnel resources there, trust the facts, and work toward putting a stop to the crisis. The more aid that is channeled to West Africa, the more quickly Ebola can be wiped out and the global threat contained.

To stay connected to our efforts and our ongoing work in Sierra Leone, subscribe to this blog. To support our global relief work monetarily, donate at our website.

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