Louisiana health officials deserve a Darwin Award for catastrophic stupidity

Friday, October 31, 2014

Good morning:

I nominate Louisiana health officials for a Darwin Award. In what has to be one of the most insanely stupid, anti-science and fear driven decisions ever made, Louisiana health officials have decided to sabotage the world’s best hope for the discovery of a cure for Ebola and other hemorrhagic and tropical diseases as well as the development and implementation of practical and effective policies for dealing with outbreaks of those diseases.

Yes, I kid you not. The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is scheduled to have its annual conference at the Sheraton New Orleans this weekend, but the researchers who have spent time in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone studying the outbreak recently will not be attending the conference because, if they do, the Louisiana health officials are going to quarantine them in their rooms for 21 days.

NPR reports,

Dr. Piero Olliaro had big plans for the conference.

“This is the place to be,” says Olliaro, a researcher at Oxford University who specializes in setting up clinical trials to test drugs in the developing world. “It’s once a year. This is where you get to meet all the others.”

Olliaro was going to present several papers on his recent work involving treatments for malaria and river blindness. But two weeks ago he was in Guinea for the World Health Organization scouting a site to test an experimental Ebola medication.

Yesterday Olliaro got a letter from the Louisiana health department saying that anyone who’d been in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the past 21 days would be quarantined.

The letter goes on to say, “We see no utility in you traveling to New Orleans simply to be confined to your room.”

Fear is the mind killer.

We will never know, but the inspiration for a cure to Ebola that might have come from the cross-fertilization of ideas that occurs at meetings like this one will not happen for another year.

Meanwhile, the catastrophic suffering and loss of life will continue to increase exponentially.

18 Responses to Louisiana health officials deserve a Darwin Award for catastrophic stupidity

  1. sadlyyes says:

    hate to sing my dads praises all the time,however,he interned at Bellvue hospital (where NY doc is) he had experience in communicable diseases,when he went to France,WW2,he save many villages curing their Typhoid fever,and Typhus epidemics…the peeps loved him like Pasteur,dad was fluent in French,i miss him

    ps I hate stooopit

  2. a2nite says:

    The hospital in Dallas deserves runner up.

    They are responsible for that man’s death & for the 2 nurses getting sick.

  3. Sophia33 says:

    Last night on PBS, they had a special about Orson Welles and “The War of the Worlds” broadcast on October 30, 1938. And one the commentators make comment about how that broadcast showed how Americans are so prone to fear and hysteria. It made me immediately think of the hysteria with Ebola. They don’t want to learn anything about the virus, they just want to be hysterical. It’s easier to control people when you keep them fearful.

    • Malisha says:

      There might not have even BEEN an ebola epidemic in Africa if there were sufficient research on these serious viruses. But American drug companies, with more resources than anybody else in the world, spent more on male pattern baldness. Yet we sing these “we are the world” songs and send “world peace” Xmas cards and want beauty queens to care about the planet.

  4. girlp says:

    If people would educate themselves through government websites such as the CDC they would understand that unless someone has symptoms you are not in danger of the viral infection. In addition they would have to be very close to you and somehow get their body fluids on you. Thomas Duncan’s family took care of him before he was admitted to the hospital,they used their bare hands to clean his room, put his clothing into plastic bags and did not get the virus. I don’t suggest using your bare hands, I don’t suggest handling the clothing and bedsheets at all but their was poor communication between the family and the field operator from the CDC in Dallas. My point is this virus is not that easy to catch.

    • Yes, I agree.

      I also believe that properly trained medical people have the requisite knowledge and strong incentives for self-preservation and service to others to be trusted to take appropriate precautions not to catch or spread the virus, if they should become symptomatic.

      I don’t think they need to be imprisoned in solitary confinement for 21 days after treating patients with Ebola or leaving a country where Ebola is active.

      • girlp says:

        Big bully Christie…I could not believe they kidnapped the woman and put her into some tent somewher with no running water, a portable potty and no heat. Tried to take her i-Phone away from her as well while the bullyannounced that she was a very sick woman even though she did not have a fever and tested negative for Ebola. Totally irresponsible and unnecessary.

        • Malisha says:

          Shows what people will do to try to curry favor with politicals.

          I hope she sues their asses off.

        • roderick2012 says:

          Malisha: I hope she sues their asses off.

          My guess is that is why Christie allowed her to return to Maine after someone tapped him on the shoulder and told him that he had no legal right to quarantine her and my guess is that Christie never consulted one health care expert before he imprisoned her.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Surreal – my catchword for so many things going on in the world lately. : /

      I think perhaps the medical community needs to be a little more cautious about travel after they’ve treated people with ebola, but full confinement is ridiculous.

      The reactions to ebola around the world and especially among conservatives remind me of all the hysteria toward gays when HIV began to spread. Of course there are certain people who will shun certain other people no matter where they’re from and just because. Sad situation and unnecessary.

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