The number of Ebola patients in the United States is rapidly dwindling. Despite fears stoked by some media outlets and politicians, everything that medical professionals have been saying about Ebola is proving to be true. The disease is very hard to catch, and, thanks to advanced medical care, American Ebola patients are recovering.
As previously reported in the Inquisitr, there has not been a large number of Ebola patients in the U.S., and only one has died, Thomas Eric Duncan, who caught the disease in Africa then traveled to the United States. Yahoo News reports that Duncan may have also had a different outcome had he not been misdiagnosed when he first arrived at a Dallas hospital. Three days elapsed between the time Duncan first went to the emergency room, and was sent home, until he came back. When he returned, a doctor quickly flagged him as a possible Ebola patient.
Forty three people who had contact with Duncan were declared to be free of Ebola after 21 days had passed since their contact. As reported by CBS News, both Amber Vinson and Nina Pham, the nurses who became Ebola patients themselves after caring for Duncan, have been released from the hospital. Dr. Kent Brantly, the first American Ebola patient, and Nancy Writebol, who also contracted the disease while working in west Africa, were cleared in August.
American Ebola patients are beating the odds.
So why are American Ebola patients recovering, making the disease something other than the guaranteed death sentence that some politicians and media outlets want you to believe it is? CNN lists several possible reasons offered by medical professionals.
First, doctors say that, based on data coming from Africa, younger patients are better than older ones at fighting Ebola. Vinson is 29, Pham is 26, and Brantly is 33.
Out of the nine Ebola patients treated at U.S. hospitals, eight were treated at facilities that had been preparing to fight outbreaks of infectious diseases for a number of years. Thomas Eric Duncan, the one patient who was not treated at such a facility, was also the one Ebola fatality on American soil.
As with any disease, how rapidly treatment is started often determines the outcome. American Ebola patients, again with the exception of Duncan, have been diagnosed quickly, with treatment rapidly following diagnosis.
Doctors believe that the blood and plasma transfusions that patients received from Ebola survivors may have contained antibodies that aided their survival and recovery. Dr. Brantly donated plasma to at least three patients.
Experimental drugs may have helped some of the patients. Duncan was given experimental medications, but not until six days after he was admitted to the hospital for treatment. Other patients got experimental treatments soon after being diagnosed.
Wearing protective clothing may have helped Amber Vinson and Nina Pham. Although some nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, where Vinson and Pham cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, complained that the protective equipment was inadequate, they did have protective garments on. That gear helped limit both nurses’ exposure to the Ebola virus. Doctors say that the greater the exposure to Ebola or any virus, the poorer the outcome.
As the number of Ebola patients in the United States declines to almost none, will the discussion continue about how to best keep more Ebola cases from appearing? Or, when the election is over and the last American Ebola patient has been cleared of the disease, will politicians and media just move on to the next “crisis?”
[Photo via WFAA]