“The United States’ months-long effort to stop the deadly Ebola outbreak is reaching a “pivot point, but Americans should expect more domestic cases”, White House Ebola czar Ron Klain said Sunday.
“We will see (cases) from time to time,” Klain told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “There’s still work to be done in Sierra Leone and Guinea. But we’re nearing a pivot point.”
American health officials handling Ebola cases in the country are reaching critical stage. They are doing a fine job at containing the Ebola virus, despite a lapse at the start which could have led to widespread infection in the country. There will be more cases, but the health officials will be on top of it.
The case involved Thomas Eric Duncan who died last October 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas of Ebola infection. He was the first person to die in the United States due to the Ebola virus.
After assisting Liberia, upon his return to his home country he went to a hospital to seek treatment suspecting he had symptoms similar to those of an Ebola infection. He was treated and was later released. The two attending nurses of Duncan were also examined and the specter of a more massive Ebola infection was feared in the country due to the inconsistencies in the handling of his case.
There are around 19,340 confirmed cases of Ebola infection according to the World Health Organization. Sierra Leone tops all the other countries with 8,939 cases, Liberia is a close second with 7,830, and distant third is Guinea with 2,571. They are neighboring West African countries.
President Obama sent a contingent of 3,000 American military personnel to these countries last September in an effort to provide logistical support to the otherwise overworked health personnel and broken health system.
A long-time Democratic Party member and one time chief of staff to Vice President Biden, Klain, in his interview with CBS said that Ebola cases in the region are now fast declining. With consistent handling, cases are now down to five to ten daily from what used to be fifty to one hundred a day.
“But this won’t be over until we get to zero,” he said.
It was on October 23 when another case was reported here in the US involving a medical aid worker who had served with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea. This case was reported by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The patient was treated, has recovered, and was discharged from Bellevue Hospital Center on Nov. 11 which was reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Klain commented on the recent mishandling of the Ebola virus specimen by CDC as “unacceptable.” It was fortunate that the technician may have escaped being infected. There have been no signs of virus infection up until now with the incubation period being twenty one days.
He also commented on the use of an Ebola blood test at the “point of care” a “very significant step” in containing the outbreak in West Africa.
Klain said, “The Ebola vaccine recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration is scheduled for release in three to four weeks and will help “tens of thousands of people.”