Friday, October 10, 2014

A Blogger’s Dilemma – What To Do About `Suspect’ Ebola Cases



# 9173


Over the past 48 hours I’m aware of perhaps a dozen suspected Ebola `scares’ around the world (outside of Western Africa) where one or more persons has displayed symptoms consistent with the disease – resulting in hospitalization and/or testing.


Recent locations have included Paris, Macedonia, Texas,  Brazil, and  Prague.


I’ve not blogged any of these cases because:

  • Most, I believe, will turn out to be false alarms
  • They are already well covered  by the media and Flublogia (Crofsblog, FluTrackers, the Flu Wiki)
  • And realistically, there is little of value I can add beyond saying `We’ll have to wait to see’.


As I written before, whenever surveillance (whether for Ebola, Avian Flu, or MERS) works – we tend to see a lot of `suspect cases’ – although the vast majority will turn out to have something far less concerning – like seasonal flu, rhinovirus, or malaria.  


This fall and winter  – we’ve not only Ebola to screen for, it’s a fair bet we’ll see the return of MERS and avian flu – meaning that the number of `suspect cases’  in the news only likely to rise even further. 


If I tried to blog on each one of these reports, soon I’d have time for little else. None of this is a pledge that I won’t cover suspect cases – only that I feel I need more of a reason than `it has been reported somewhere in the world that . . . – before I’ll  write about it. 


If it is an extraordinarily unusual or potentially high-impact report, then yes, I may blog it.  And If I can add context, or additional value – then once again, I’ll probably include it. 


It’s a personal choice, but I’ll leave the reporting of individual suspect cases to those who do that sort of thing much better than I, and try to concentrate on more macro infectious disease and preparedness issues, to which I can hopefully add some value.

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