The Arizona Department of Health Services Public Health Laboratory “has been authorized by the CDC to begin testing blood samples for the Ebola Virus as needed,” according to Director Will Humble. Humble reports that there “have been 3 initial reports of suspect Ebola Virus Disease in Arizona, none of which met the risk assessment criteria for testing.”
Writing on his blog, Humble advises that ADHS “received an Ebola test kit on Tuesday, completed our proficiency testing Wednesday, and were approved yesterday (Thursday, October 9 ). The kit can test up to 9 clinical samples for the Ebola Virus. We used a few of the tests for our quality control proficiency tests this week, but we still have the capacity to test 4 samples with the remaining materials from the initial kit.”
According to Humble, because ADHS received the kit and successfully passed proficiency testing, the Department will no longer need to send suspect samples to the CDC. “Our test uses a technology called polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which amplifies viral RNA by several orders of magnitude, allowing our scientists to make a definitive determination in a matter of hours,” notes Humble.
ADHS has also created an Ebola Virus Disease website, which according to Humble “provides guidance and logistics for clearing and submitting samples for analysis. Our Lab website includes the risk assessment criteria for testing, describes how to contact our ADHS Epidemiology program for specimen testing clearance, specimen collection criteria, laboratory personal protective equipment recommendations, packaging, shipping and transportation requirements, the clinical specimen submission form, and additional resources for laboratory personnel.”
ASU associate professor Gerardo Chowell, in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, claims in his new research published Oct. 9 in the scientific journal Eurosurveillance, that the only way to avoid the spread of Ebola and far worse scenarios, is through “quick and forceful implementation of control interventions.”
“Rapid and forceful control measures are necessary, as is demonstrated by the Nigerian success story,” said Chowell, senior author of the paper. “This is critically important for countries in the West African region that are not yet affected by the Ebola epidemic, as well as for countries in other regions of the world that risk importation of the disease.”
The Obama administration failed to protect residents of the United States when he refused to ban travel from West Africa. This weekend, a second person in Texas tested positive for the disease.