Imminent Disaster; Ebola Scare in the United States

In two close calls threatening to spread the deadly Ebola virus to the United States, WSOC TV in Charlotte, NC tells us that a large portion of the main emergency room at the Carolinas Medical Center was roped off to house a patient who recently had traveled from Africa. Additionally, the Los Angeles Times tells us that American, Patrick Sawyer, died of the Ebola virus on July 25th in Lagos, Nigeria. He had plans to visit Minnesota in early August.

The incident in Charlotte, NC occurred at 11:30PM when a man arrived at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) who had just returned from traveling from Africa. WSOC TV informs us that at 3:00AM, security precautions were put in place at the hospital to quarantine the man in a separate corridor of the main emergency room. At 4:00PM, Katie Passaretti, an infectious disease specialist with CMC, released the following statement during a press conference:

“Late last evening, a patient arrived at Carolinas Medical Center Emergency Department after visiting a country known for high risk of infectious diseases. We took all appropriate infection control measures to protect patients, staff, and visitors. After consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and NC Department of Health and Human Services, it appears the risk for communicable disease is low. No further testing is needed and the patient will be sent home. The Emergency Department at Carolinas Medical Center remains open and operating normally.

Passaretti further went on to say that the patient did not have the Ebola virus and that there have been no cases of the Ebola virus in the United States.

In a separate incident reported by the Los Angeles Times, Patrick Sawyer, a 40 year old consultant with the Liberian Ministry of Finance, was traveling to a conference when he collapsed in Lagos, Nigeria. The World Health Organization told the Los Angeles Times that Sawyer had displayed symptoms of the Ebola Virus when he arrived in Lagos on July 20th. Sawyer was quarantined immediately upon his arrival in Lagos and died five days later. The World Health Organization is trying to contact dozens of people who may have had contact with Sawyer across three international airports in West Africa. The Los Angeles Times goes on to tell us that Patrick Sawyer’s wife and three young daughters live in Minnesota. Sawyer’s wife, Decontee Sawyer, told the Los Angeles Times that he had plans to be in the United States in early August to celebrate the birthdays of two of his three young daughters. In a phone interview with the Los Angeles Times, Decontee Sawyer said that she believes that her husband was probably in denial about having contracted the Ebola virus. She went on to say in the same interview about her husband and her potentially close call with the Ebola virus that, “It’s Patrick, but it’s scary that it came this close. It already got my husband, and it could have gotten my kids and me and everyone.”

The Daily Beast tells us that typically, Ebola victims become sick too quickly to travel anywhere, even by plane. The article goes on to say that the particularly alarming part in the case of Patrick Sawyer is that he was able to make a 1,000 mile flight from Liberia to Lagos, Nigeria and reportedly became very sick on-board the plane. The Inquisitr also informs us that another American, 33 year old Dr. Kent Brantly of Fort Worth, TX, has contracted the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia and is currently being treated at a hospital in Monrovia.

The Ebola virus is classified by the World Health Organization as one of the world’s deadliest diseases because, as the Inquisitr informs us, between 50 to 90 percent of the people who contract the Ebola virus do not survive. In the past, geographical distance has been one of the United State’s greatest defenses against the disease. However, in an increasingly interconnected world, how long will it be until the Ebola virus makes landfall in the United States?