Influenza became a pandemic during World War I in part because troops with different immune systems (i.e. recruits from Kansas) were exposed to a whole new viral stew in Europe. For years Ebola outbreaks have been curtailed in Africa because those "Back water" 3rd world folks applied practical measures of containment to curtail further outbreak. They did this without bio hazard suits, respirators, etc.
In this outbreak, the NGOs flooded in to Liberia to offer help, introducing new players without any natural immunity to Ebola. This influx of care, even using the most sophisticated modern protection methods, resulted in higher incidence of healthcare workers getting sick. Locals depended on others to save them rather than use traditional containment practices.
As the outbreak grows in the US, perhaps we could apply some of the old lessons (common Sense) from west Africa with a bit of modern thinking:
- If someone is exposed, insist they stay home for the period of incubation - no questions asked. Track their cell phone.
- If someone feels sick, don't go to the hospital, call a central national health line or answer an online computer assessment form. Been to Liberia recently? We will connect you with a trained nurse.
- If they appear sick, dispatch a trained and protected team to their home. Take blood sample, drop off gowns and some MREs. Insist they stay in place. Wait for test results.
- If test is positive, bring them to a central health facility properly setup to deal with Ebola.
- Bring in care workers from Africa that already have had Ebola/carry the anti-body