CNN reported that medical experts have several theories on why, just one patient, Thomas Eric Duncan has died with the Ebola virus in the United States with all 8 other patients treated in U.S hospitals either recovering or still alive, regardless of Ebola’s distressing body count in West Africa.
Possible reasons include:
- The two Dallas nurses, Amber Vinson and Nina Pham, who cared for Duncan, were 29 and 26, respectively. Bruce Ribner, M.D., of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, who treated Vinson, told CNN “We know from a lot of data coming out Africa that younger patients do much better than patients who are older.”
- Duncan was not treated in one of the 4 hospitals that made special preparations for diseases like Ebola over a period of years.
- As compared to 4 other U.S. patients who received the medication immediately, Duncan did not receive it until 6 days after his admission to the hospital. Robert Murphy, director of the Center for Global Health at Northwestern University in Chicago, told USA Today, “Mr. Duncan had an unfortunate delay in diagnosis and did not receive an experimental therapy until just before he died. That’s why we did not help his case.”
In addition to Duncan and the two Dallas nurses, U.S. Ebola patients include a New York City doctor and American missionaries who helped care for Ebola patients in West Africa.
According to NBC News, containing the outbreak in Africa is vitally important to prevent its spread. Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told NBC News, “In spite of the good news for U.S. patients, “if … this disease spreads, then we’re all in trouble.” Liberia has been hardest-hit by the outbreak.