Monday, 13 October 2014

Ebola watch 001.

One of the curses of being part of a scientifically trained team with a memory, longer than the Party’s is, who recalls previous scare stories like AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease Syndrome) which was the gay plague of San Francisco with homosexuals having sex with 8 lovers a day every day that was followed by the isolation of the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and the fact that it then became a sub Saharan African problem which then became a worldwide problem is the fact that no-one gets a handle on any disease in its early stages.

And Governments and media assume that by panic and large pieces of rock they can solve the problem.

More recently think about the Party’s half-hearted and laughable attempts to control the swine flu panicdemic using the science of the Great Plague. In the same way the Party is now repeating the process and can you guess who will bear the brunt of the forthcoming panic as we did with swine flu?

This week we are informed that airports (but only one) will be “screening” for Ebola although the details are sketchy. We very much doubt it will be by healthcare professionals with any experience of the disease more like a jobsworth.

Taking the patients temperature at an airport to screen for Ebola is like asking NHS 111 to determine if a patient is ill by a telephone call. A guess at best a waste of time most of the time. The case of Ebola that entered the USA thus far was asymptomatic when they left the country where they acquired their infection and so would not have been picked up by “screening” or NHS dumb, dumb, dumb who would always insist that any patient calling them is seen by a GP within insert random number of hours. 

But dear reader what has the Party done? It has employed NHS dumb, dumb, dumb who admittedly will have had 6 weeks training in contrast to those on the swine flu panic line who only had 2 weeks training to screen those with high temperatures and respiratory symptoms. High temperatures and respiratory symptoms account for about half of those attending same day appointments in general practice at present. It is after the "flu doc" not a minor very common viral upper respiratory tract infection. 

Still the addition of an “enhanced” question like have you been to the West coast somewhere like Morecambe or Blackpool will enable the panic line to dispatch fewer ambulances or demand less see GP within X hours than usual (not). 

This is no different to the Great Plague mentality of schools in the UK who immediately isolate any child with a rash called chickenpox to avoid infecting other children completely oblivious to the fact that the child has been infectious for days before the spots appear and what’s more with no or minimal symptoms whatsoever. 

But we would like to reassure the Public that the NHS is still the best prepared country in the world to deal with Ebola in the same way that it was for the swine flu panicdemic. The NHS is also probably the best lager in the world and after discussing this with some consultants over the past few days not one of us has yet received a MOPP suit. 

So once again Britain’s best defense against a viral infection is luck, a pair of rubber gloves, some antiseptic hand gel and a paint sprayer’s mask from the last flu panicdemic 5 years ago and of course don’t panic Mr. Hunt. 

And did we mention this poster (slow to load)? 

That will keep Johnny Ebola away from our shores and surgeries if nothing else will won’t it?

Praise be to the Party for once again saying that the NHS is probably the best prepared country to combat Ebola and crossing its fingers while doing so for it has done nothing more than send a few emails to prepare those in primary care thus far.

Wonderful to be this prepared so early in the game. Now where is great granddad’s tin hat and Somme gas mask . . .?

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