90 Miles From Tyranny : Europe’s Hidden Ebola Cases

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Europe’s Hidden Ebola Cases

The Continent prepares for the virus to spread, but for many, it’s already here.

ROME, Italy — If you were surprised to hear the news that a Sudanese United Nations worker died of the deadly Ebola virus in a Berlin hospital on Tuesday, you might be even more surprised to learn just how many Ebola patients there are elsewhere in Europe.

The World Health Organization maintains that there are eight confirmed cases of the deadly virus in Europe tied to the current outbreak: two dead missionaries in Spain, one dead doctor in Germany, one cured man and one doctor in treatment in Germany, two tropical disease doctors in treatment in Holland and a Spanish nurse, Teresa Romero Ramos, under treatment in Spain.  Romero Ramos contracted the virus from one of the dead Spanish missionaries.  There are also at least a dozen or more suspect cases scattered around European hospitals that may or may not evolve into the full-blown virus.

Spain was the first country to accept important patients in Europe; it was also the first country to report a transmission outside of West Africa.  There is at least one nurse under quarantine in Germany who treated the deceased doctor there.  If she is infected, she will now be the fourth health worker outside of West Africa who contracted the disease in a sterile hospital after Romero and Nina Pham, an American nurse who contracted the disease from Thomas Eric Duncan, who died in Dallas, Texas last week.  On Wednesday another health worker who treated Duncan tested positive for the deadly virus.

Perhaps less surprising than the number of Ebola patients scattered around Europe is the number of false alarms and suspected cases in Europe’s capital cities.  As of Wednesday, there were suspected Ebola patients in hospitals in Cyprus, Rome, Brussels, Paris and London.  The corpse of a British man who died in Macedonia is being flown to Frankfurt for Ebola testing.  More than 100 people who were in contact with the Spanish nurse are under surveillance, being asked to take their temperatures twice a day; 16 people are under quarantine, including her beautician and housekeeper.

There are also cases of blatant racism tied to the virus.  Ghanaian soccer player Michael Essien, who plays for AC Milan, has been the subject of what borders on fear mongering.  An Italian sports newspaper reported the rumor that he was Ebola-positive, backed up by quotes from players who said they were nervous to play on the field with him. He took to Twitter and Instagram to shoot the rumors down.  “The Ebola virus is a very serious issue and people shouldn’t joke about it,” he wrote.

In Rome, in the Portuense neighborhood where the city’s main infectious disease hospital called Spallanzani is located, residents are wary.  “I’m sure they have everything they need inside the hospital,” Maria Cristina Gallo told The Daily Beast as she pushed her two-year-old granddaughter in a stroller.  Gallo, who lives down the street from the hospital, feels vulnerable.   “What if a person with Ebola asked me for directions to find the hospital? What about what happens before they get into the ‘safe’ environment? We are all at risk.”

The corpse of a British man who died in Macedonia is being flown to Frankfurt for Ebola testing.
Gallo’s concerns are multiplied by daily news reports. In the last 48 hours in Italy alone it would appear there have been at least five “suspect” cases of Ebola: people who had been in West Africa within the last two weeks who ...

1 comment:

  1. Europe? Look much closer to home for many more hidden cases. Eventually people will realize that their government and their media have conspired to murder them.


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