Woods: Iowa does its part to prevent Ebola

Zoë Woods

The new big thing on minds today is the deadly Ebola virus rearing its ugly head in West Africa. And this outbreak is by far the worst the world has seen since its existence was made known back in 1976.

This makes the risk to contract the disease here in America a lot higher. On Sept. 30 of this year, the Center for Disease Control confirmed the first travel-associated case of Ebola diagnosed in Texas.

According to the CDC, “Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients.”

Now all of the panicking can start, it’s only a matter of time before more and more people come down with the virus right? Especially after the family of the recent victim of Ebola had to be quarantined after their refusal to remain indoors. No disrespect to the deceased by any means, however, it was just a plain thoughtless to risk getting others sick with the incurable disease.

With all of the ruckus occurring on home soil action must be taken. And luckily Iowa is doing its part. I mean, it is the smartest thing to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to something as serious as Ebola. Especially when the disease lurks on our western border only three hours away from campus.

Ashoka Mukpo an American journalist is receiving an experiment drug to hopefully curb the inevitable outcome. Mukpo is being cared for in an Omaha hospital, that is at risk of being infected. Even with sanitary precautions there is still that slight change of someone getting infected with it and spreading it unknowingly.

Dozens of Iowan officials, seeing the potential danger, gathered on Wednesday at the Polk County Emergency Operations Center. It was discussed what would have to be done if a suspected Ebola case appeared within the state.

“We have the luxury to have this conversation, because it’s not in real time,” said Rick Kozin, director of the Polk County Health Department, in an article in the Des Moines Register.

Medical officials from different areas of the state stated they were prepared to isolate, test and treat patients with the virus. Specific steps are being taken if such an event were to occur.

Unlike many diseases, such as the flu, Ebola cannot be transmitted via the air, experts say. It can only be caught by people who touch fluids from a person who is actively ill with Ebola or has died from it. So that means we can lay the masks to rest, just until the strain mutates and infects the air around us.

This disease became an epidemic in the African countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone because their public health systems were unprepared to isolate and care for patients, experts have said.

It was announced on Wednesday Federal officials will start screening some visitors from West Africa at five international airports, in hopes to stop the disease in its tracks.

As for people coming into the Des Moines National Airport, you can put your minds at ease because the airport doesn’t get passenger flights from other countries including Liberia. Even the connecting flights are accounted for because those airports are being screened.

U.S. officials have expressed confidence to assure Americans that they could prevent any such outbreak of Ebola in the U.S.

Their methods would be to closely watch for cases and immediately step in to treat anyone who is ill and isolate anyone who might be infected. Hopefully the words “TO LATE,” don’t flash as headlines on the evening news, and nothing comes from this terrible outbreak that has taken many lives.