Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Imagine if Ebola Spread in America

 
What if there were an Ebola epidemic in America?

In the aftermath of the spread of Ebola in America, would we have Congressional hearings like this?
 


 

 

Dr. Oz – My show is about hope.[1]

 

Translation – Hope sells.

You can rape people who are desperate, but as long as you give them hope, it is OK.[2]
 

A traditional healer, practicing naturopathy in Sierra Leone, appears to be the main reason for the spread of Ebola from Guinea into Sierra Leone.
 

“She was claiming to have powers to heal Ebola. Cases from Guinea were crossing into Sierra Leone for treatment,” Mohamed Vandi, the top medical official in the hard-hit district of Kenema, told AFP.[3]

 

It is a mistake to state that Ebola never would have spread, but this was just another alternative medicine practitioner selling hope, fortunately with a much smaller audience than Dr. Oz.
 

“It is a disease that spreads very fast, without regard for academic or economic status, political affiliation, age, ethnic grouping, gender or religion.”[3]

 

Ebola also doesn’t care about hope. Hope helped to spread Ebola.
 

The other end of the alternative medicine market is fear. People preach that there are government conspiracies so evil that the conspirators kill anyone who might expose the conspiracy, but can’t manage to keep Mike Adams[4] from spreading paranoia.

Blame the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) for everything.
 

Alternative medicine and conspiracy theories are all fun and games, until someone spreads a deadly epidemic.

They assume that we are supposed to be healthy, and they sell empowerment to be healthy, but they blame the victim when the quackery does not work.
 

Based on what is known to date, I do not worry overmuch about the spread of Ebola in the US. Direct contact is not a very efficient way to transmit infections, especially infections that are rapidly fatal.[5]

 

Ebola requires more than good health to prevent transmission, but the people promising hope and trying to scare us away from real doctors do not seem to understand that.

Is it easy to become infected with Ebola?

Only if we do not know what we are doing and do not have appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Quacks believe in magic, because they do not understand science.
 

Thirty year of following infection control procedures and I have yet to catch an infection from a patient. I remember at the start of the AIDS epidemic there were those who refused to care for AIDS patients due to worries of catching the disease. It never worried me since I knew the modes of transmission and I did not partake of those behaviors.[5]

 

We should ignore the quacks and listen to people who understand what they are doing, but it is difficult to resist the temptation to believe in magic – Naturopathy, herbalism, homeopathy, Reiki, acupuncture, . . . .

It is also difficult to resist the temptation of an easy explanation. Conspiracy theories provide simple explanations for complex problems. As with the belief in magic, this is not a new problem.

Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong. H.L. Mencken.

We continue to enrich those who promote hope. We continue to enrich those who spread fear. We continue to ignore those who try to understand, because understanding requires work, and that is asking too much. We need to ask for evidence, examine the evidence critically, and not fall for things because they appeal to our biases.
 

For a more information from Science-Based Medicine read – Ebola outbreaks: Science versus fear mongering and quackery

Footnotes:

[1] Weight-Loss Product Advertising – Witnesses testified on ways to protect consumers from false and deceptive advertising of weight-loss products.
June 17, 2014
C-SPAN
Page with embedded video.

[2] Dr. Oz Shows How He Lies with Bad Research
Tue, 17 Jun 2014
Rogue Medic
Article

[3] Sierra Leone’s 365 Ebola deaths traced back to traditional healer
AFP | 20 August, 2014 08:26
Times LIVE
Article

[4] Mike Adams is a Dangerous Loon
Steven Novella
July 25, 2014
Neurologica
Article

[5] Yet another plague panic
by Mark Crislip
August 8, 2014
Science-Based Medicine
Article

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Comments

  1. The reason some “medicine” is called alternative is because it is unproven. That is the definition. Great article.

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