Ebola is a scary topic; there’s no doubt about that. With the onslaught of media coverage that has no end in sight, it’s likely that older children have already heard of the Ebola outbreak or will hear about it in the near future. The question is, what can we do to help our kids work through the confusing and frightening messages they see on television? Here are some suggestions to help ...

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Whats the right way to think about Ebola? Ebola has riveted our attention: It’s a deadly disease with no known cure, and as is true of most infectious diseases, it’s easy to imagine how it could become a global pandemic and threaten us directly. For what it’s worth, though, here is what the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us about Ebola: 1. The Ebola virus is not spread through:

In June, a man became very ill during a flight into Lagos, Nigeria. On the plane, he developed vomiting and diarrhea, and he collapsed in the very busy airport. Contacts on the plane and on the ground had no idea that he had Ebola -- initially, he was treated for malaria -- and many health care workers and bystanders on the plane and in the airport were exposed to his ...

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Ebola virus has grabbed headlines since the epidemic started in West Africa nearly a year ago. The death toll is estimated at 4,500 people, and the epidemic continues to spread. One person infected in Liberia returned to Texas with the disease and died, infecting maybe 2 health care workers. Ebola is a nasty virus, surely, with a case fatality rate of 80 percent. Overall health and nutrition as well as living ...

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Among reams of coverage on the Ebola outbreak, Politico just published a characteristic story with the headline, “In the world of Ebola, no room for error.” The only problem is that is as soon as you introduce a human element to any system, there will be error. That’s the reality that health care leaders across the United States are grappling with now in a simultaneous effort both to tighten the health ...

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A few weeks ago an emergency room doctor called our infectious disease physician group concerning a patient who had returned from Liberia and was having nausea and vomiting. Several of the patient’s family members had died of Ebola. As panic struck us, our decisive question was: When did he return from Liberia? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for screening and isolating patients for possible Ebola infection are clear: ...

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Instead of being hysterical about Ebola, respect it Some years ago I was in Australia’s Northern Territory. The intrepid explorer that I was, I was croc-spotting from the comfortable heights of a bridge over the East Alligator River. The river derives its name because it is east of something. And because it’s croc-infested. I was reading a story about a German tourist (it’s usually a German) who was attacked by ...

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Oft expectation fails, and most oft there. Where most it promises. - Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well It may seem a strange thing to say, but I believe the U.S. suffers from unrealistic expectations. We expect government, health, and hospital officials to get things right the first time around. This is unrealistic. People, and believe it or not, including politicians, are never perfectly competent in things they are never experienced before. Disease ...

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A month ago I published a post predicting that paramedics, emergency nurses, and emergency physicians would be exposed to patients with Ebola and have difficulty picking out these patients from the many other patients who present to the ED with similar symptoms. In light of the events in Dallas, Texas, this seems prophetic, but it is really not so difficult to explain ...

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Although I never disclosed this in my medical school interviews for fear of being just another cliche ("Hollywood sparks interest in medicine story"), I decided to become a doctor in 1997 at the age of 11 when I first saw the movie, Outbreak. For years and years, this was my favorite movie. The scene where they showed the electron micrograph image of the Ebola virus had me captivated. I was staring at ...

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