Ebola Response In N.H.: Facts, Fears, And Policy

Nov 13, 2014

Since a handful of Ebola cases have made their way to the U.S., officials have mobilized to deal with the threat, sometimes seeming to add to confusion around this illness. And while the risk of contracting Ebola in New Hampshire remains extremely low, the state has issued a set of guidelines, ranging from symptom monitoring, to, more controversially, quarantine. We’re sorting out the facts, fears, and policies.

Ebola training response
Credit Army Medicine / Flickr/CC

GUESTS:

  • Dr. Jose Montero - director of the Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services.

CALLOUTS:

  • Dr. Lindsey Baden - director of clinical research in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
  • Dr. Ed Merrens, Chief Medical Officer for Dartmouth-Hitchcock; he oversees Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Ebola preparedness efforts.  
  • Patty Wight, reporter for Maine Public Broadcasting Network.  She covered the case of Kaci Hickox, a nurse who attracted international attention after objecting to her treatment in the U.S. upon returning from working with Ebola patients in West Africa.

LINKS:

  • A report on N.H.'s Ebola protocol: "The state has outlined different rules for people who fall into one of four categories in its most recent updates: high risk exposure, some risk exposure and two degrees of low-negligible risk exposure. The isolation and quarantine policy as a whole is subject to change and its application could vary depending on the nature of a given case, according to the public health division."
  • An editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine that argues against mandatory quarantines: "We understand their motivation for this policy — to protect the citizens of their states from contracting this often-fatal illness. This approach, however, is not scientifically based, is unfair and unwise, and will impede essential efforts to stop these awful outbreaks of Ebola disease at their source, which is the only satisfactory goal. The governors' action is like driving a carpet tack with a sledgehammer: it gets the job done but overall is more destructive than beneficial."
  • An On The Media segment about the hype around Ebola
  • An update on the strategy to fight Ebola in Liberia: "As the rate of new Ebola infections in Liberia has slowed, American and Liberian officials are debating whether to build all 17 planned Ebola treatment centers in the country or to shift money from the Obama administration that was planned for the centers into other programs to combat future outbreaks."