Thursday, October 2, 2014

Veterinarians and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

You have probably heard in the news lately (unless you're Amish, or live off grid in Alaska) that there is a bit of an infectious disease problem in West Africa. And that this disease made an appearance in Dallas, Texas a couple of days ago in the person of one Thomas Eric Duncan.

What you might not have heard is that veterinarians know, or certainly should know, a great deal about Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) since this is yet another deadly zoonotic disease whose origins are probably in a number of African bat species.

Under the concept of One Health, it is the responsibility of both physicians and veterinarians to be cognizant of and preferably conversant in any diseases which can be spread from animals to humans or vice versa. It is also, or should be, our responsibility to reach out to clients in order to educate them about these diseases, particularly when they might affect our own community.

So here are some links to sound, factual scientific information about this disease. If you want the panicky rumor mill type stuff, you'll need to go to Alex Jones' horrifyingly irresponsible website or elsewhere on the intertubes.

CDC's Ebola page is pretty much the sine qua non of EVD resources.

WHO's web page is also good, but is more geared toward international public health considerations and not personal health.

Texas Department of State Health Services has limited information pertaining to this particular case, apparently in keeping with their beliefs in small government. This doesn't seem like it serves the interests of Texans very well, just between you and me.

The New York Times has an excellent Ebola page

NBC news has gathered all their Ebola coverage together in one place to make things easier.

As far as what I am doing or not doing, and thinking or not thinking about this new public health threat in the US - I have spent some time mulling over what steps I can personally take to ensure that, should EVD appear in SoCal, I am part of the solution and not part of the problem. So I am reading up on appropriate hygiene and how one applies that to the home, the workplace, and going out in public places. We might need to change our behavior and habits if it comes to that. I want to be ready.