An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin

Autumn has arrived and our thoughts turn to the holiday season preparations, but our attention is brought to the news of the first case of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) diagnosed in the United States on Tuesday September 30,2014. Many of us are already aware of the danger of this virus and we all must become more informed, educated and thereby more apt to understand its implications.

Ebola virus (named after a river in Zaire) is a zoonosis, a disease transmitted from animals to man. Other common examples of zoonoses are rabies, from wild animal bites, and influenza originating in birds and pigs. Ebola is thought to be transmitted to humans through animals such as rodents or primates. The fruit bat, although not infected, may cause transmission to man as well. These observations are not new. The transmission from affected human to other humans is of our greatest importance.

The AIDS virus is a good example of a zoonosis, having made its transmission from other primates to man at some time in our past through various associations. http://www.bbc.com/news/health-29442642 (1) The Ebola virus was first identified in 1976 in Zaire and there have been several outbreaks over the years, all of which have been contained. Its containment is the result of public health measures many of which are lacking in source countries, such as in West Africa. Immediate case identification, tracing of contacts, isolation and quarantine of suspected cases has created the ability to break the chain of transmission of the virus from person to person. Development of vaccines and therapy directed specifically at the Ebola species has been ongoing. I encourage you to read the attached articles by Anthony Fauci MD, the champion of the AIDS epidemic in 1982. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1409494 (2) and the other, by Margaret Chan MD, Director General of the World Health Organization. http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1409859 (3).

The current arrival on our shores of Ebola Virus Disease requires us to be informed and intelligent in our daily life.

  1. Do Not Panic, as it confounds reason and appropriate action
  2. Get and stay informed. A good place to start is www.cdc.gov
  3. Be alert to travel and travel histories of your personal contacts.
  4. Maintain excellent hygiene. Wash your hands.
  5. Maintain good personal health habits through lifestyle choices.

Staying well is a full time job and more and more people are following good health practices. Staying physically active, relative to your personal limitations, has been shown to be protective in most maladies from heart and lung conditions to memory disorder. Eating correctly and monitoring your total caloric intake keeps from burdening the body too much. Controlling stress and learning how to deal with the ups and downs of daily life helps us to avoid illness.

PLEASE get your flu vaccinations this Fall. If you are my patient, contact my office at the earliest date in order to set up your flu vaccination. October is primetime. If you are not my patient you are invited to contact Judi, my concierge coordinator, for information on how to become a patient in my office, please visit http://www.priorityconciergemd.com.

Be Well, and be careful, it’s a jungle out there.

Rick Levine, MD

Journey…Observation…Knowledge