Friday, September 26, 2014

We Need A Quick And Cheap Screening Method To Control The Spread Of Ebola

Ebola is a disease that can take between 2 to 21 days to present symptoms.  When it does, the infected person looks to be suffering from some respiratory illness like the flu. However, when a person does display symptoms, they are already contagious to anyone who comes in contact with their bodily fluids.  So, while a cure is the ultimate goal, what is really needed is early detection.

Currently, there are efforts to screen people who are outbound from Ebola hotspots like Sierra Leone.  But, unfortunately, not everybody can be tested.  The focus, both because of cost and time, is limited to air travelers who, at the very least, present a fever.  This means that someone who is still in the incubation period, may not be detected, and could travel anywhere in the world.

When President Obama announced the U.S.'s efforts to fight Ebola, the one thing I think was missing was the funding to find a quick, cheap, and portable means to detect the disease before it shows symptoms.  Only then can the world be safe from travelers who may be infected but not yet presenting this deadly disease, and only then, can field workers contain it through extensive screenings.  Also, I am quite sure the survival rates would increase with early detection as well.

As a leader in a high tech world, our government should -- for the protection of it's people and all  people of the world -- fund the development of a cost effective (less than a dollar each) mobile screening test. Cost is of particular concern in third world countries.


Obama: U.S. ready to take the lead in Ebola fight:

Researchers Race to Develop Field Tests to Confirm Ebola:

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