Hiller Instinct: The Ebola question with no answer

Start with some history: Ebola has been around since 1976, but it’s still a question mark to the world’s medical community.

There’s no vaccine to fight it, and the blame for that is being put on politics, budget cuts, plus the fact that past outbreaks have all been in Africa, and didn’t reach the United States.

But, now of course, it’s here…  with a death, a confirmed case in Texas, as well as uncertainty about how to contain it.
CDC Director Tom Frieden said, “If this one individual was infected and we don’t know how, within the isolation unit, then it’s possible that other individuals could have been infected as well.”

What we’ve seen in Boston is how the virus has already changed our lives.

This weekend,  a man with Ebola-like symptoms was put in isolation.  Fortunately he was found to be virus-free.

Then, just yesterday, we watched people in disease protection suits clear a plane at Logan that had passengers with flu-like symptoms aboard.  Again, Ebola was ultimately ruled out.

“I want to make clear, there have been no confirmed cases of Ebola in Massachusetts,” the governor said.  

Of course we’re all glad to hear the governor say that…But–Ebola is much bigger than Massachusetts and, nationally, Americans are worried.

In a new poll 65 percent said they’re concerned about the possibility of a widespread Ebola epidemic in the United States.

And 64 percent believe the United States  should do more to prevent further cases.

But–if the U.N.’s Ebola envoy is right–we’re in better shape than many of us think:               

“Our estimate,” Dr. David Nabarro, the UN envoy said, “is that we should be able to bend the epidemic down and start to see the outbreak coming under control by the end of the year.”

Put it all together, and do you think you know enough to make an intelligent decision about how to deal with Ebola?

I don’t.

Not yet.