Monday, October 12, 2015

Scottish Nurse's Contacts Offered Merck's Experimental Ebola Vaccine

As is often true with epidemiology -- it is two steps forward, one back. At the end of last week, a Scotttish nurse who was last year infected with Ebola in Sierra Leone -- but then later deemed cured (and returned to regular life, in her home town) -- presented with a fever, and other signs, which might be associated with a resurgence of the virus, in her body.

In an exercise of entirely appropriate caution, she was transferred to an isolation unit at the [Scottish] Royal Free hospital. All of her family and close contacts have been alerted, and offered Merck's experimental Ebola vaccine. Of the 40 people so notified, 25 have elected to take the vaccine, so far -- even if (based on trial data thus far, roughly) one in four may develop a low grade fever, and some joint stiffness. I think that a wise move, even if one believes the risk of transmission is/was slight -- the consequences of being wrong about that assessment would be. . . pretty high. And so, I applaud the vaccination decision. Here's a bit from The Courier UK Edition:

. . . .A total of 58 close contacts have been confirmed, believed to be a mixture of healthcare workers and Ms Cafferkey’s friends, family and community contacts, and an expert group managing Ms Cafferkey’s case agreed that anybody who has had direct contact with any bodily fluids would be offered vaccination as a precautionary measure.

Forty of the 58 close contacts were offered the vaccine in line with criteria set out by the expert group, with 25 of them accepting the vaccine.

NHS Scotland said the other 15 had either declined the vaccine or were unable to receive it due to existing medical conditions.

A spokesperson said: "The rVSV-ZEBOV vaccine offered is currently being trialled in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and has been tested in over 7,000 people during the recent outbreak of Ebola virus infection in Guinea. . . ."

Onward -- and. . . forward, with hope. Now, dare I chant it? Go Cubs GO! Arrieta's stuff is likely to be. . . Card-suffocating.

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