In an apparent attempt to avoid hysteria, U.S. health authorities are withholding details about a number of suspected Ebola victims from the public.
During a segment concerning the admission of a potential Ebola victim at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta revealed that there have been at least six cases at the hospital which prompted doctors to test for Ebola but that the details were not divulged publicly.
“There have been about a half a dozen patients who have had their blood tested because of concern, those particular patients their stories were not made public,” said Gupta, adding, “I’m not sure if that’s because of heightened concern by the hospital or what that means exactly.”
Gupta also appeared to suggest that patients being tested for the Ebola virus were not being kept in isolation when he stated, “This isn’t the kind of thing that they worry about spreading to other patients in the hospital, spreading to people who are walking around the hospital. This is not an airborne virus.”
However, at least in the case of the patient who was made public yesterday, hospital officials said the individual was immediately put into isolation as a precaution.
As we reported yesterday, despite health authorities downplaying the likelihood of Ebola going airborne, studies by Canadian scientists suggest that this is in fact likely, at least to a limited degree.
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s official website also states that “airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated.”
The CDC has urged airline staff to take steps to prevent the airborne spread of the virus, including giving suspected Ebola victims surgical masks as well as directing staff to “not use compressed air, which might spread infectious material through the air.”