If there is one Ebola case in the U.S. that Americans should follow closely it is the one involving Louise Troh and others living in her apartment in Dallas late last month. This case of “Apartment-Zero” should tell Americans just how contagious this strain of Ebola actually is.
Troh was the Dallas girlfriend of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first human in the U.S. to die of the disease. She resided in an apartment with Duncan as his infectious symptoms emerged on September 25. Also staying in the apartment at the same time were Troh’s 13-year-old son, her nephew and a friend. At least five others lived in the apartment or had contact with Duncan during the critical period. None of course wore protective gear.
Probably none had more exposure to Duncan than Troh’s daughter, Youngor Jallah, a nurse. After Duncan was amazingly sent back to the apartment after appearing with symptoms at Presbyterian Hospital, it was Jallah who took care of Duncan as his condition worsened and was the one who finally called 911 to transport the victim back to the hospital on September 28. By then, Duncan had suffered from fever and diarrhea in the apartment for three days. He received an Ebola diagnosis two days later.
It is all good news so far after 18 days.
None of the exposed has come down with symptoms. All are in quarantine at another residence in Dallas as Ebola’s 21-day incubation period approaches. Under current CDC guidelines, Troh will be considered Ebola-free on Monday, the 20th, and supposedly her quarantine would be lifted immediately. Since most of the disease’s symptoms appear within 8-10 days, this is good news. Here, you have a wide sample of exposures involving different age groups and genders.
So far, the only cases within the U.S. involving transmission of Ebola have been two high-risk nurses who treated Duncan during the most contagious period. Should Ebola ever get into the general population via casual contact, then, and only then, do we have something serious to talk about.
It is almost mind-boggling how the media has hyped the bad news about Ebola in the U.S. and has lost their way in covering the tell-tale Apartment Zero. It would be fully mind-boggling if it didn’t happen so often. In the meantime, Americans continue to show a propensity to panic before knowing the facts, thanks in part to the ineptitude of the CDC and Dallas hospital where the U.S. outbreak has occurred and hyping the dangers, particularly by CNN and Fox News.