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The hysteria continues regarding  Ebola.  We continue to face a variety of right wing conspiracy theories. Ebola. At least we have now had some good news regarding Kaci Hickox’s fight against the unconstitutional restrictions on her civil liberties when she returned from West Africa, and I’ve heard a doctor who is returning from West Africa also plans to resist the unscientific quarantine requirements. A Maine judge has ruled against the quarantine which the governor of Maine attempted to impose.

There are many unintended consequences of imposing restrictions on those involved in treating Ebola. NPR reports on yet another counterproductive action arising from the current hysteria–preventing scientists from participating in a conference, which could interfere with the development of a disease or cure for Ebola:

Louisiana health officials say that anyone who’s been in an Ebola-affected country over the last three weeks will be quarantined in their hotel rooms.

The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is telling researchers who’ve recently traveled to Ebola-affected parts of West Africa that they can’t come to the society’s annual meeting. That wasn’t the medical group’s idea.

The convention opens this weekend at the New Orleans Sheraton, but the specialists with the most current experience with Ebola in the field aren’t expected to be there.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals just ruled that anyone who’s been in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the past three weeks “should NOT travel to New Orleans to attend the conference.” (That big “NOT” is in the original letter.)

“While the state of Louisiana’s policies are outside of the scientific understanding of Ebola transmission — and acknowledged by the state health officials’ own admission — we recognize that the state has determined its policy in this matter,” the society said in a statement. “ASTMH does not agree with the policy as outlined by the Louisiana DHH…

Dr. Piero Olliaro had big plans for the conference.

“This is the place to be,” says Olliaro, a researcher at Oxford University who specializes in setting up clinical trials to test drugs in the developing world. “It’s once a year. This is where you get to meet all the others.”

Olliaro was going to present several papers on his recent work involving treatments for malaria and river blindness. But two weeks ago he was in Guinea for the World Health Organization scouting a site to test an experimental Ebola medication.

Yesterday Olliaro got a letter from the Louisiana health department saying that anyone who’d been in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the past 21 days would be quarantined…

Olliaro, who’s in England, says the decision is unfair, unwarranted and not based on medical science. But he’ll abide by it…

Olliaro says the problem is much larger than just this one convention. The world’s leading tropical disease researchers often fly back and forth from Africa to their labs in the United States.

The new patchwork of Ebola-related travel bans and quarantine policies, he says, make it unclear whether they’ll be able to continue to do that. And that could ultimately undermine research into a vaccine or cure for this terrifying viral disease.

Update from a post at Liberal Values

Update: More on the Maine judge’s decision opposing the quarantine, and on the precautions already in effect which protect the public from Ebola without ignoring the science.

graphig via shutterstock.co

Ron Chusid
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Copyright 2014 The Moderate Voice
  • ken_lov

    The conservative blog comments threads are fascinating. Nurse Hickox has been turned into another Sandra Fluke: a greedy narcissist who selfishly expects her personal interests to take priority over the wellbeing of the community WHICH IS JUST WHAT YOU’D EXPECT FROM AN OBAMABOT. There is literally nothing these people can’t transform into an attack on the president; one has to admire their ingenuity.

  • Brownies girl

    “The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals just ruled that anyone who’s been in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the past three weeks “should NOT travel to New Orleans to attend the conference.” (That big “NOT” is in the original letter.)

    “While the state of Louisiana’s policies are outside of the scientific understanding of Ebola transmission — and acknowledged by the state health officials’ own admission — we recognize that the state has determined its policy in this matter,”

    Yet open carry is legal there and in 2011 (latest stats) over 400 murders. Will gun carriers be turned back at the conference? Probably not. Wonder how many die of the flu each year in Louisiana? Sometimes I just gotta shake my head.

  • sheknows

    LOL. what part of “not contagious unless symptomatic” do people not understand? Even if these docs treated patients, they themselves are not symptomatic. Apparently no one buys the “mularky” that this virus is not airborne. Then on the other hand, they complain because the CDC isn’t/didn’t do enough and blame Obama. Well, it DID enough. It researched the illness and made these findings but you don’t listen to them anyway!!

  • dduck12

    I wonder how Cuba is handling the 165 heath care workers they sent to SL?

    • Slamfu

      Probably far more intelligently than we are, if I had to guess. Sigh…