Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Forced Quarantine

Yesterday several news sources reported on a man (Robert Daniels) who has a particularly nasty antibiotic-resistant strain of tuberculosis, and was jailed because he continued to expose the public to the disease. Since the man had been ordered to wear a mask in public, but had opted not to, he has been confined to a sickroom equipped to handle his disease and keep him in isolation.

From the report, it appears that he is not getting optimal treatment. He has to clean himself with wet wipes, and has no access to computer or TV. Let's try to work up some sympathy for this man: ...Try not to strain yourself.

What? You can't feel much sympathy? Me either! Since Daniels was hell-bent on being an "individual" with no regard to his fellow man, his fellow man should have no further regard for HIM. We're just lucky he didn't infect an innocent bystander.

This is merely a prelude of things to come.

As diseases become more virulent, we will need to take more drastic measures. We haven't seen a serious flu since the Pandemic of 1918. And since that was almost a century ago, there aren't many people that remember it at all. We have forgotten what it is like to see our loved ones die in front of us, within hours or days. Because we have forgotten this, we may be doomed to repeat it if we don't prepare ourselves for the worst.

In the 80s, people clamored for AIDS patients to be isolated, too (just as Typhoid Mary was). The only reason it didn't happen is that it wasn't politically correct, and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) was PRETTY sure it was only sexually transmitted (which is how it remains for now, until it mutates again).

However, with the Ebola virus, the Bird Flu, and Smallpox waiting in the wings (along with a variety of other diseases), it's only a matter of time before we are in the same situation that we were in during the Pandemic of 1918.

This time, we COULD be better prepared, but I am very concerned because I believe that we are not. We are so hampered by worrying over individual freedoms that we will be too busy wringing our hands in indecision while the disease overtakes our nation.

Robert Daniels is preparing to petition the courts to let him go. I assume he's going to promise to do the right thing THIS time, and wear a mask when he's out in public. Are we going to take his word for it? Do people who are walking death merchants deserve a second chance? And, more importantly, do they even deserve a FIRST one? Remember, these are our lives, and the lives of our families, at stake.


Jessica said...

Teachers in CA are all required to keep updated TB tests on file. This reminds me why.

Anonymous said...

I definitely don't feel sorry for the guy, he deserves to be put away from everyone and I don't think he deserves to be let out, if he infects someone else because he is being careless then that may as well be the same as mudering someone. I also don't think anyone is really going to do anything to prevent an epidemic until something really bad does happen, such as the reaction to 9/11. 9/11 probably could have been prevented but nothing was done until after the fact, the same with global warming. Once the end is here, then there will be action, but until then, no major changes will be made.


Saur said...

Ange, truer words were never spoken. Sadly, I agree with you on all of it. Many of us KNEW 9/11 was coming, not because we were super-smart or somehow privy to secret info. It was OBVIOUS it was coming, but the government just kept their heads buried in the sand with the hopes that it wouldn't happen during THEIR administration. Here are the following things that I can guarantee will happen in the next 10 years:

1. Smallpox will occur again. This time it's very likely that it will be a strain that is worse than it ever was, since we know that there are scientists that have been working on developing it. Even if it's simply natural smallpox, many people will die because our government was stupid enough to declare it eradicated and desist all vaccines.

2. Bird flu will mutate and kill a great many people.

3. A new STD will be discovered.

4. Tuberculosis will spread throughout the world, but will be highly toxic and there will be no treating it. This has been predicted since the 1980s, when the first TB drug-resistant strains were showing up in the gay population in Miami.

Jessica, oh yes! ;o)

Lee Ann said...

We are so hampered by worrying over individual freedoms that we will be too busy wringing our hands in indecision while the disease overtakes our nation.
Amen to that in almost ALL situations of this day and age!
...and a month after this guy gets released he will become complacent and not worry about the protection of others (just my opinion).
So sorry sweetie about the link. Yours is the 3rd one. I messed up when converting my blog. I lost Heather and Blake too (maybe more).
I am going to fix it, but I may have to do it from home.
Have a great Wednesday!

Christy said...

I agree that we are heading for a crisis situation. If the next serious outbreak hit us tomorrow we'd all be in big trouble. We aren't even close to being prepared for such an event. It's actually quite scary.

Senor Caiman said...


This is an honest inquiry, did you delete my comment or did my comment get lost?

It's all good.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Gator, I didn't delete any comments of yours in this post. ;o) But if they're racist or porno, I have to.

Christy, thanks for popping over! I enjoy your blog.

Lee Ann, no prob, hon. And you're right; this is really symptomatic of much that's wrong in our society today.

Senor Caiman said...

Thanks, now I'm wondering where it went.

The Lazy Iguana said...

Saur - for the record AIDS was never, and can never become, airborne. It does not live outside of blood or other body fluids that are not spit or pee.

TB is pretty nasty stuff. So was this guy ever in a hospital? Why is he not in one now? No insurance? He checked himself out against the advice of doctors even if he was never going to get a bill? These are important questions.

Oh yea, and if he checks into a hospital does he have a job that provides for sick leave, or does he fall behind on his rent/mortgage and get evicted/foreclosed on?

and come on. His sickroom CAN at least have a shower. This is America after all. Showers are not exactly an uncommon luxury reserved only for the rich.

If we the public expect this guy to check into a hospital for however long it takes to make him not contagious anymore - would it not also be in our best interest to give him a room with a shower? And while we are at it, see to it that he does not loose his job (if he has one) and get evicted / foreclosed on. This way, he might be more inclined to stay.

daveawayfromhome said...

This is not an issue of "individual freedoms". Think of it this way: Your right to swing your contagious disease ends at the tip of my nasel passages.
Whatever happened to quarantine, that quaint old practice of putting people who were infected with highly contagious and untreatable diseases in isolation so they couldnt inadvertently pass the disease on to others?

Saur♥Kraut said...

Daveawayfromhome, exactly!

Lazy Iguana, actually, there are scientists that disagree with you. Simply because a disease is currently not airborne doesn't meant that it will remain that way. Diseases have a way of mutating in order to infect larger numbers of people. However, there is more concern that AIDS will mutate to be able to be transferred by mosquitoes. It is believed that this is a distinct possibility in the future.

And yes, he certainly should have a shower. However, it was his choice to live a careless lifestyle with no respect to his fellow man. And he will never recover from his TB. He will eventually die from it, or from complications brought about by it. TB is not something you get over if antibiotics aren't available to stop it.

Senor, Into blogger limbo?