Doctor: Ebola virus cases may be underreported by as much ‘double or triple’


September 2014 – AFRICA – Despite knowing that he had symptoms of the Ebola virus, a Nigerian diplomat boards a plane in Liberia and flies from that small country to his nation’s capital city of Lagos, a city with 21 million people. The man was fleeing a quarantine meant to contain the Ebola virus. Instead, his body — now a host for the disease — was transporting the highly contagious and deadly, single-strand virus to Nigeria’s largest city. It sounds like a plot from a medical sci-fi thriller, but it is not fiction. This is quite real. The diplomat was treated by a doctor and appears to have survived. However, the doctor was not so fortunate. He died less than three weeks after the encounter. The Nigerian doctor who visited the diplomat in his hotel room and became infected with Ebola also saw hundreds of patients — operating on at least two of them before he ultimately passed away from the disease. Nigeria’s government acted quickly to try to stop the outbreak from engulfing the region. However, with hundreds of people who had close contact with the now-deceased doctor and several others who were infected, it may be a losing battle. According to a recent ABC News report, the World Health Organization (WHO) claims this latest Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria has killed nearly 2,000 people and infected just over 3,600.


With the possibility of the Ebola outbreak widening in the region and eventually spanning the globe, this writer reached out to Board Certified Internal Medicine specialist Dr. Jorge Rodriguez for more information. During an interview on Saturday’s “Pure Opelka” radio program, Rodriguez, the show’s frequent medical contributor, shared some of his concerns about the latest news in the Ebola story. “What’s scary is, it’s now in Nigeria, a country whose capital city has over ten million people,” he said. “And this was all caused by a person that landed there from Liberia.” In the brief discussion about the mysterious disease, Rodriguez shared some startling information, including, ” This thing is a lot more contagious than we’re being given…or we’re being told about. What scares me the most, and I think I mentioned this before, doctors and nurses are the ones getting this, dying from it and transmitting it,” Rodriguez added. “So, I think there’s a lot more about Ebola and how it’s transmitted that we don’t know.” When Opelka asked “Dr. Jorge” about the numbers of patients who have contracted Ebola, his response could easily be cause for alarm. “The head of the CDC said, ‘It’s much worse than what’s being reported.’” He clarified his statement by adding, “The countries there have very poor medical facilities and reporting facilities. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s double or triple what we’re told.” Dr. Jorge’s segment starts at the 10:30 mark of the recording.

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