Testing negative for Ebola is meaningless; the virus is not detectable for up to six weeks
(NaturalNews) It’s too bad that many of the people debating the Ebola quarantine issue don’t know anything about virology. So far, the focus on New York’s reversal of its Ebola quarantine rule has centered on a single repeated claim: “The nurse tested NEGATIVE for Ebola!” Therefore she should be released, the logic goes.
Unfortunately, Ebola doesn’t work that way. A person who is carrying Ebola and replicating Ebola inside their own blood will test negative for Ebola for up to six weeks. The test won’t show a positive result until the virus has replicated to a sufficient quantity to be detectable.
This is the whole point behind the current 21-day observations periods and self-quarantine measures. If a person’s Ebola status could be instantly determined by one test administered at any time, then everyone could be either diagnosed or cleared on day one and there would be no reason to observe anyone for 21 days (or 42 days) in the first place.
But Ebola can’t be detected in a person’s blood in its early stages. Thus, the entire claim that “She tested NEGATIVE for Ebola!” is meaningless. And people who keep repeating this claim only highlight their own medical ignorance while underscoring the very reason why public pressure should never be relied upon to make medical decisions during a pandemic.
The fact that Ebola can be replicating inside your body while you still test negative should be obvious, in fact. Let’s say you’re a nurse who is treating Ebola patients in Liberia. You get a droplet of saliva on your hand and you accidentally touch the corner of your eye with that hand. Now you are infected with Ebola but of course a blood test will show a negative result.
Repeated blood tests will continue to show negative results until the Ebola virus has managed to replicate through many generations, spreading from the eye to the blood and then eventually saturating the blood with enough virus to be detectable. The timing of this varies tremendously, sometimes taking as little as two days and other times taking as long as six weeks.
Remember: Even the people who have died from Ebola would have initially tested negative for Ebola. A negative test is not any assurance that the results won’t become positive 24 hours later. Testing for Ebola during the early days of infection is just as useless as conducting a pregnancy test immediately after having sex.
Does the state have the right to quarantine people against their will?
The far more important point in all this, however, has nothing to do with the nurse in particular. It’s about the existence of the quarantine policy itself. Should future travelers who are at high risk of Ebola be placed into a 21-day quarantine by the State of New York?
That’s the real question here. It’s not a question about this one nurse being quarantined. It’s a question about the very right of a state government to place people in quarantine when there’s a global pandemic spreading.
As much as I am a critical about states encroaching upon individual liberties, I would personally have no problem with enduring a 21-day quarantine if I returned from treating Ebola patients in West Africa. In my mind, it would be my duty to place the safety of the public ahead of my own priorities. But America today is a nation of self-centered people who don’t give a damn about anyone else, and they want to be able to claim they are under “self quarantine” while they’re really riding the subway, eating at restaurants and visiting bowling alleys. Such is the reality of a culture where selfishness trumps responsibility to others.
Although there is always concern that governments might abuse medical quarantines for political purposes — i.e. rounding up Obama critics by claiming they all showed symptoms of infectious disease — there’s little question that quarantines substantially reduce the risk of Ebola carriers infecting the general public. In fact, President Obama signed an executive order in July of this year that codified the conditions under which the federal government could quarantine anyone against their will.
One of the rules described in that executive order is that people can only be quarantined when they are symptomatic. But when it comes to Ebola, by the time you’re symptomatic, you’re already highly contagious and may have spread the disease to others. So by backing down on the quarantine policy, New York Gov. Cuomo is actually saying, “We won’t quarantine people until they might have already infected other people.”
That is now official policy in the USA, and it’s a policy that can only be described as a medical time bomb waiting to explode.
When politics drives the medical decisions in a global pandemic, the virus will only laugh at the stupidity of humans who create the perfect conditions for its rapid replication. Any species that plays politics with a level-4 biohazard is a species that clearly isn’t qualified to protect itself from a devastating viral outbreak.