A Tucson Pastor, Michael Petzer, who returned from Zambia in early September, was awakened by two Tucson police officers pounding on his door at 2 AM. They wanted to know if he had Ebola.
It turns out that a woman from his congregation went to the hospital with self-described “possible Ebola symptoms” and she shared with doctors that her Pastor had been to Africa.
The hospital called the cops, and TPD sent out two officers to check it out.
The officers did a welfare check on Petzer after a request from UAMC, said Sgt. Chris Widmer, a Tucson Police Department spokesman. Officials with UAMC confirmed that was true, and said they followed protocol. The hospital did not contact the Pima County Health Department.“The only way we could figure out if it was a real contact to be concerned about was to find out the travel history. That is why the police were sent out,” said Dr. Andreas Theodorou, chief medical officer at UA Medical Center. “The health department doesn’t have the capacity to do that.”……
Theodorou agrees there is a lack of understanding about Africa’s geography. But he added that there is a risk beyond the three affected West African countries. Citing patient privacy, Theodorou would not say anything specific about the patient who said she had Ebola.
“When a patient comes to the ER and has a fever and West African contact, it triggers the process, and we have to take it seriously,” he said.
Well, of course Zambia is not near the infected areas of Africa, and the good pastor was well beyond the 21 day period.
“I think this is hysteria, and a zero understanding of geography,” said Petzer, explaining that Zambia is in south-central Africa, about 2,500 miles away from the affected areas in West Africa.
Final words from the Pastor:
“I am now in a country that has had Ebola. I traveled from a noninfected country to one (United States) where there are people in quarantine,” Petzer said. “I think this is an issue of public ignorance and not an issue of public health. People hear Africa, and everyone thinks ‘Ebola.’ Most Americans do not have a clue that Africa is a large continent and not a country. People have to stop the hysteria of it all.”