Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CDC: Inept. Stupid. Deadly.

Want to learn the newest on screening and managing Ebola?  Screening for Ebola is not an easy task, since many other diseases can look very much like Ebola. But CDC is here to help doctors and other medical professionals with this very challenging, subtle differentiation.
CDC has offered up a video featuring Dr. Knust to give us this important information.  But wait--Dr. Knust is a veterinarian. Huh?  Ebola is not an animal disease.  And Dr. Knust has never (legally) treated a human. Is this the best CDC can do?  Is this a joke or what?  
If you listen to the video, you will find that it acknowledges, but remarkably minimizes, the problem of persisting Ebola virus in patients after recovery.  Dr. Knust mentions there were only "two" documented patients in whom recrudescence of Ebola occurred.  She fails to mention that these "two" were among only a handful of Ebola patients treated in the West: a British nurse (whose recurrence presented as meningitis) and a US-Zimbabwean doctor (whose recurrence presented as an eye infection).  Many African survivors had persisting infections, as evidenced by Ebola virus in semen up to nine months after apparent recovery. We have no reliable data on recrudescence in Africa.  It could have affected hundreds or thousands there.  

Infections have been sexually transmitted following Ebola recovery in Africa.  Minimizing persistent and recurring infections, and failing to screen for them, are shortsighted and make the appearance of a repeat African Ebola epidemic more likely.  
CDC is either criminally misleading or criminally incompetent, giving dangerous, incorrect guidance that doctors are intended to rely on to assess and treat possible Ebola cases.  And, consistent with its horrible record on safety and general incompetence, CDC issues its Ebola guidance through a veterinarian, a profession that cannot legally provide medical advice to humans.
The best thing that could happen to public health in the US would be to shut CDC down and tell its band of merry pranksters to go get a real job.

UPDATE: From USAToday on May 11, after years of CDC keeping it hidden, we learn that CDC has one of the worst regulatory histories in the US, receiving secret sanctions 6 times for safety violations:
"The CDC's own labs also have been referred for additional secret federal enforcement actions six times because of serious or repeated violations in how they've handled certain viruses, bacteria and toxins that are heavily regulated because of their potential use as bioweapons, the CDC admitted for the first time on Tuesday. Before USA TODAY won access to records of the lab suspension, the CDC had repeatedly refused to answer questions about its own labs' enforcement histories.
The revelations show the CDC's facilities are among a small group of biolab operators that have the worst regulatory histories in the country, receiving repeated sanctions under federal regulations..."

Barbara Knust, DVM, MPH
Hello. I am Dr Barbara Knust from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Viral Special Pathogens Branch. I am here today to talk to US clinicians about screening patients with possible Ebola virus disease (EVD) and clinical care for patients who have recovered from EVD (also known as EVD survivors)...

Then she fails to tell us anything about how to do this.  What a sick joke.