The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more safeguards against secondhand smoke than it does regarding Ebola, Dr. Jane Orient, director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said on Thursday.
"If you look at the precautions against secondhand smoke,
they are absurd," Orient told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"The hazard from secondhand smoke, unless you're just sensitive to it and it bothers you, are really nonexistent.
"And yet, we have all these … expensive restrictions against these non-hazards — and a pathogenic, lethal organism that can infect you with one to 10 particles, we're so cavalier about?" Orient asked. "This just really does not make sense."
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She told Malzberg that CDC Chief Dr. Thomas Frieden skated around answering key questions about the crisis as he was grilled by Congress on Thursday.
"Frieden evaded a lot of very important questions or pretended not to know," Orient said.
"Certainly, he evaded, despite really intense questioning, whether the White House was telling him they were not going to do a ban, whether he was in communication with the White House or whether the CDC was going to recommend a restriction in travel.
"The CDC claims not to know how those two nurses [at a Dallas hospital] got infected, despite their protective gear, because if the nurses did not breach the protocol, there's something wrong with the protocol," Orient said.
She disputed Frieden's claims that Ebola could not become airborne. It could, Orient said, through germs via "aerosols" that are created by sneezing or coughing.
"Your body fluids have to go through the air, unless you touch somebody," she told Malzberg. "You generate an aerosol if you cough or sneeze or vomit or have explosive diarrhea — and it makes droplets of different sizes.
"The ones that are really, really tiny can get through your mask, around your mask, down into your lungs," Orient said, adding that these droplets could infect "target cells down in your lungs."
The physician surmised that Frieden's thinking is based on a premise that the Ebola virus "does not survive being dried down to a particle of that size, but there's experimental evidence that it can survive for as long as 90 minutes on one of those drops down there."
When asked by Malzberg whether Ebola could, as such, is transmittable by air, Orient responded: "Theoretically, it certainly is. We cannot rule it out."
Orient is author of the book, "Sapira's Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis,"
published by LWW.
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