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New Ebola Guidelines Might Not Have Stopped NYC Tour, States Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)

TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 29, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- After a doctor returning from West Africa was admitted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City with Ebola, the CDC issued updated guidance for monitoring of exposed persons.

Adherence to these guidelines might not have stopped Dr. Craig Spencer, who had been treating Ebola patients as a volunteer for Doctors without Borders in Africa, from taking the subway, jogging, or summoning a taxicab, stated the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.

According to the guidance, Dr. Spencer would have been considered at "some risk" because he had been in direct contact with Ebola patients, using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), but was arguably "asymptomatic (no fever or other symptoms consistent with Ebola)"—if fatigue is discounted, notes AAPS.

According to the CDC, such an individual needs "direct active monitoring," which means "a public health authority directly observes the individual at least once daily to review symptom status and monitor temperature; a second follow-up per day may be conducted by telephone in lieu of a second direct observation." Also, the individual might be excluded from public transportation—at the discretion of the public health authority. He might be allowed to engage in "non-congregate public activities while maintaining a 3-foot distance from others…" (e.g., jogging in a park).

"The guidance is complex, and errors are costly," stated AAPS executive director Jane M. Orient, M.D. "As a result of allowing an Ebola-infected nurse who was at 'some risk' to board a commercial airliner, 800 contacts had to be traced."

Perhaps the guidance, if followed, would have spared the bowling alley and the restaurant much anxiety and financial loss resulting from Spencer's tour. But even if followed exactly, will these rules protect Americans from a deadly epidemic?

"The lack of additional cases so far might just be good luck. As exposures (and the virus) multiply, that could change," Orient warned.

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a national organization representing physicians in all specialties, founded in 1943 to preserve private medicine and the patient-physician relationship.

CONTACT: Jane M. Orient, M.D., (520) 323-3110, janeorientmd@gmail.com, or Richard Amerling, M.D., (646) 637-8546Source:Association of American Physicians and Surgeons

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