18 2 mins 8 yrs

I have often considered the medical staff, the doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff of Medecin Sans Frontieres to be the bravest of the brave; going as they do, to the places where medical help is both urgently needed, and in very short supply.  They go to the typhoon-shattered beaches and towns, they arrive at the epicentres of earthquakes, always there to minister to the wounded, the crushed and the mute survivors, dazed and catatonic.

However, when MSF staff decide on a certain protocol, or a manner of behaviour which is entirely contrary to received wisdom, when engaged in the treatment of a viral disease such as Ebola, I am forced to revise my earlier opinion of MSF, and instead categorise them as a bunch of deadly fools.

They state, on their updated website regarding the Ebola outbreak that “Any regulation not based on scientific medical grounds, which would isolate healthy aid workers, will very likely serve as a disincentive to others to combat the epidemic at its source, in West Africa.”

What, I wonder, would their considered response be to the poor bloody people who sat either beside or near to this woman who had told the Health Department people at Heathrow that, although she had no temperature, she felt unwell; but was told, BY THOSE SAME EXPERTS, that she was okay to fly to Glasgow. That same woman, who is now in the grip of Ebola, in an isolation ward in London.



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18 thoughts on “Answer the question. Why no ‘quarantine’?

  1. Because quarantine is not required – it is a political decision not based on science.

    Read the article you refer to!

  2. What possible basis in sense could such a political decision have?

    We are told that ebola has up to 21 days incubation in an infected person. It therefore makes complete medical sense for quarantine to be 21 days for people returning to or travelling to countries unaffected such as those of Europe and the Americas. Any medical personnel would understand this immediately and acquiesce – why would they not?

  3. As Ebola is not transmitted by droplet infection, there is no need to quarantine medical personnel who know what to do if they become ill, i.e. refer themselves for isolation and investigation.

    The same goes for non-medical personnel however can they be relied upon to refer themselves appropriately? It certainly would make sense to isolate an individual who is a flight risk.

    Politicians like to do things that are perceived to be popular and quarantine is popular with the ignorant.

    “Any medical personnel would understand this immediately and acquiesce – why would they not?”

    Nice little sneery comment Allan! The perceived wisdom amongst the world experts in communicable disease is that quarantine, for medical reasons is unnecessary but of course they also advocate vaccination for influenza so clearly (to you) they will have ulterior motives.

  4. Matt

    What precautions would you recommend for those traveling from the disease zone?

    If they don’t have symptoms on the day of travel should they be allowed to travel freely like any other person?

  5. Ebola is a Level 4 disease.

    It also mutates several times during the host infection. It is primarily NOT airborne but has been documented to go from non-airborne to airborne in a single hosts infection.

    It has a mortality rate over 75% and what happens is the walls of the cells of your internal organs dissolve. You bleed from your eyes, ears, nose, privates and then your pours.

    This is one of the most dangerous “things” man has ever encountered. They do not even know what it originates from.

    The other fun characteristic of this “thing” is when sweated, sneezed, or coughed, out by an infected host this thing is not a germ it does not die. It can sit on the surface of something forever and be just as deadly and contagious as if it had been just spit out.

    The only way to safely handle this thing is in a spacesuit. The reason we are seeing so many trained professionals catching it because the WHO and the CDC refuse to implement full protocols.

  6. That is insane – it is de facto putting a burden of care onto the receiving country in the West when a local from say Sierra Leone or Liberia travels to the west and subsequently develops symptoms.

    Nearly none of those people would have any insurance, so the huge cost of care would be borne by the country where they find themselves when the disease is manifested

    Canada and Australia have imposed travel restrictions, based on the science – a foreign traveler should have to prove that they have been without symptoms -and- outside of the infected zone for at least the entire incubation period.

  7. Reasonable precautions, including the limited quarantine, to scientifically insure no spread of the disease are simple common sense.

  8. Nice little sneery comment Allan! The perceived wisdom amongst the world experts in communicable disease is that quarantine, for medical reasons is unnecessary but of course they also advocate vaccination for influenza so clearly (to you) they will have ulterior motives.

    Strangely enough, a nurse who would have taken all precautions available to medical personnel – but not to the wider public – contracted the disease and is now reported as being in a terrible condition. It looks as though the perceived wisdom should change in line with the evidence. And, given that she has the disease, exposure to those with whom she shared the flights is now a real risk.

  9. The only reasonable precaution to dealing with this thing is a total quarantine of the breakout areas, and Level 4 containment of anyone that gets out.

    The reason the nurse contracted the disease was because she was NOT following Level 4 Containment Protocols.

    The politicians refuse to acknowledge what this thing is and are refusing to enact the proper protocols.

    They are playing Russian Ruelette.

  10. Can I ask where quarantine is supposed to (i.e. should) happen?

    In Africa? Say Sierra Leone? But a quarantine period would still end with a wait, and possible infection, in the departure lounge of Bongo Bongo Airport.

  11. Pete Moore, on January 3rd, 2015 at 8:24 PM Said:

    Can I ask where quarantine is supposed to (i.e. should) happen?

    Pete – for those medics who have volunteered their services and a 21-day quarantine is in the program, it should be an international medical zone at the airport of departure. It would be easily implemented if intended.

    I am however surprised that a virus which has a symptomatic incubation period of 21 days cannot be detected within that period. After all, the virus is in the body. Perhaps our site medic can explain?

  12. While the initial details are sketchy it appears the US diplomats – accompanied by a security team – had been in the area after being invited by Palestinian farmers from the village of Turmus Aya, north-east of Ramallah, to examine olive saplings that had been uprooted overnight on Thursday by settlers.

    I think that is good enough reason, some of the pallies hold US citizenship, with the current administration in the WH it was smart for them to try and get the consul involved.

    and as good Americans instead of shooting the jewish settlers they just drew their weapons and withdrew.

  13. Allan@Aberdeen –

    Seems fair. I’m sure the international charity crowd has enough cash to cover the cost, if forced into doing it.

    Troll –

    So US citizens lured US diplomats into an ambush, encouraged by the White House regime? You’re completely nuts, though full marks for an imaginative response in a few minutes.

    The bottom line is that Jewish settlers physically attacked Americans. If they were raghead attackers then McCain, Graham and the rest of the nutters (like you) would call it an act of war.

  14. Aren’t diseases from Africa so enriching? Peter believes that disease such as ebola shouldn’t be affecting Africans only because, well, it’s just not fair. Here’s some enrichment entering America:


    Chikungunya (pronunciation: \chik-en-gun-ye) virus is transmitted to people by mosquitoes. The most common symptoms of chikungunya virus infection are fever and joint pain. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash. Outbreaks have occurred in countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In late 2013, chikungunya virus was found for the first time in the Americas on islands in the Caribbean. There is a risk that the virus will be imported to new areas by infected travelers.


  15. Actually Allan unless your referring to something Peter said on another thread, I don’t see him commenting on this one.

    If he was I would ask him if he would categorize himself as an environmentalist.

    Environmentalists are directly responsible for more human death and suffering than the worst pollution has ever caused. I’d love to have that conversation with him one day.

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