Thursday, October 9, 2014

CDC Concerned About African Investment

Dr. Tom Frieden of the Centers for Disease Control threw a nod to private equity underwriters (PEU's) targeting Africa when he expressed concern over cancelled investments.

“I’ve spoken with business leaders who’ve emphasized to me that there’s so many misconceptions about Ebola that they’re already seeing things like a reduction in investment in parts of Africa that are not in any way, shape or form involved in the Ebola outbreak.”

I found interesting his dodge on the question about care delays for the Dallas patient, also referred to as the Index patient.  Frieden said he could not comment on any individual patient.  The CDC is charged with evaluating every aspect of care for an index patient, as it could impact care down the line for later patients.  That includes their care in the emergency room or days later in the hospital.

As for Texas public health system it has been gutted the last fifteen years. It dropped access to primary care in the new millennium.  Our local health department shed its pediatric clinic, AIDS clinic, and social services.  It drastically reduced immunizations and sexually transmitted disease testing and treatment, which are the only services left.  If our community was overwhelmed by a syphilis outbreak, I shudder to think what would happen with a deadly virus spread in airborne fashion. 

Investment in West Texas is strong due to the oil boom.  So we don't have Africa's worries, unless imported workers are building new hotels, apartment complexes or working in the oil field.  Then we might share the same worries. 

PEU's should not worry about their planned African investments. Dr. Frieden said everything is going to be alright.

Update 10-12-14:  A Texas hospital worker contracted Ebola from the Index patient. The news report states:  There was no word yet how the health worker was infected, but the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it indicated a professional lapse that may have caused other health workers at the hospital to be infected as well.  "We don't know what occurred in the care of the index patient, the original patient, in Dallas, but at some point there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection," CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden told a news conference.
Hospital officials said the worker had been wearing CDC-recommended protective gear during treatment, including gowns, gloves, masks and shields.  "We are evaluating other potential healthcare worker exposures because if this individual was exposed, which they were, it is possible that other individuals were exposed," Frieden said.

Update 10-15-14:  A second Texas hospital worker has Ebola.  Texas' depleted public health system combined with CDC incompetency (staff told the infected patient she could fly with a low grade fever) gives a Keystone Cops or Three Stooges impression to the general public.   Financial markets fell substantially, in part to the new Ebola case. 

Update 10-17-14:   The CDC's Keystone Cops routine continues.