With Ebola fears surging at the same time global markets plunge, you have reasons to worry. If you heard there was an Ebola vaccine available you might decide now is the time to get it. If you live in Dallas or Cleveland, (with a combined population of over 6 million people) you might be wondering if you have had some type of contact. This is serious.
The most important front line caregivers, our nurses, are more than frustrated, too. Today’s headlines have the nurses union citing no protocols in place for this emerging battle with Ebola. You can be sure that is rapidly changing. Today you are learning about infection prevention- and you should too. We all should. For years, underappreciated epidemiologist (huh? who is that?) have counted, traced, and warned us about dangerous pathogens such as MRSA, VRE, Flu, and now Ebola. We need to listen to them, and unfortunately they are still learning about Ebola too.
Today these epidemiological heros are moving from obscurity to front page battles with an invisible super virus. It will be a long battle. One of my previous companies, MedMined (acquired and part of CareFusion now), built an incredible business helping to prevent infections. CareFusion was recently acquired by Becton Dickson, another company with deep expertise in this area.
Ebola is a newcomer with force and was first described after the 1976 South Sudan outbreak. You can understand the fear when you see thousands of cases in a few short months and almost a 50% mortality rate among those who contracted it. Yes Ebola is serious. Please please follow all the recommendations and let’s hope the smartest minds find good weapons in the battle against it.
As they continue to battle Ebola, there are things you can do to protect yourself and those you love from the much more common, and equally serious, ordinary Flu. New York Times headline calls it “Scarier than Ebola”. The symptoms of human influenza were clearly described by Hippocrates roughly 2,400 years ago. And yes, we have been battling these pathogens for thousands of years and will continue to battle them for years to come too.
Although flu is common, there is nothing ordinary about something that kills from 3,349 to 48,614 annually (historically from 1976 to 2007). We should do everything possible to protect those that we love and number one on that list is the simple annual flu shot. I bet you have almost forgotten to get your flu shot over the last few years, but don’t forget this year! Fight the bigger threat that might not be the #1 headline.