Friday, October 10, 2014

Politics: Dr. Tim Hulsey on Protection over Correctness

When I was young, there was a building in this county known as the TB Hospital, located on TB Hospital Road. It had been used for housing of patients diagnosed with tuberculosis, at one time a serious public health threat. There were many such hospitals across the country in the era before effective antibiotic treatment for TB.

TB has been largely controlled in the US with the discovery of Streptomycin in 1962. Prior to that, mandatory institutional confinement was the law since confinement was the most effective way to control spread of the disease. and assure that patients took their medications.

Why such drastic measures? “If effective treatment is not given, the death rate for active TB cases is up to 66%.”

There has been some outcry because of the quarantine of family members of the deceased Dallas Ebola patient, Eric Duncan. A three week isolation is obviously an inconvenience, but the Ebola death rate has been as high as 90% in some outbreaks.

While prejudice has already been raised as a objection to quarantine, the law does permit it when warranted.

Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC director said of Ebola. “the only thing like this has been AIDS…”

There has been a pandemic of AIDS since its recognition in 1981, though the disease was present perhaps 100 years ago. “An estimated 15,529 people (US) with an AIDS diagnosis died in 2010, and approximately 636,000 people in the United States with an AIDS diagnosis have overall”

Public Health principles were trumped by politics with regard to AIDS. Political correctness smothered common sense and science and has allowed AIDS to remain a pandemic.

The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 killed 3-5% of the world’s population. Microbes could become our worst threat.

So, let’s be tolerant of our well-established public health measures!

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