ATLANTA, GA – Yesterday, the CDC finally established a link explaining a frightening and puzzling Ebola case. A patient with no known Ebola exposures in Raleigh, NC fell ill with the virus last week and had investigators scrambling to explain how it was contracted. Despite exhaustive and painstaking steps to connect the dots, the investigators found no promising leads until they turned to an unlikely source: the mail.
Charles Hankford, 57, of Raleigh, is seriously ill and battling the Ebola virus at a North Carolina hospital. While he had visited Dallas and made a trip to Texas Presbyterian in early September, there were no cases of Ebola at the hospital until weeks later, making an exposure impossible.
In Mid-October, however, Hankford was mailed a patient satisfaction survey from Texas Presbyterian asking him to rate the care provided during his ER visit. Little did he know that the outgoing mail had been contaminated with Ebola. He filled out the survey and mailed it back.
About 8-10 days after returning the survey, Hankford quickly became ill and presented to a local ER. He was ultimately diagnosed with Ebola, and is being treated in an isolation room.
Kristen Katzmann, MD, Ph. D, MPH, JD, MS, the CDC’s Ebola Emperor, was reached for comments regarding the case and its transmission.
“We are urging that no citizen open up or even touch these patient satisfaction surveys until further notice. Build a small fire outdoors, pick up the survey with a pair of kitchen tongs, then incinerate the survey and tongs. As far as email surveys are concerned, we recommend that you delete them immediately without opening. Our concern is that the virus could mutate to a computer-borne strain, and it isn’t worth taking the chance. I mean, everyone knows this patient satisfaction data is meaningless, anyway. If you were happy with the care you received in a particular hospital, just voice your satisfaction by going there again when you need medical care.”
Katzmann was asked why the virus almost seemed to “choose” to travel via healthcare satisfaction surveys instead of other forms of mail.
“My best explanation is that viruses are obligate parasites, and somehow the virus could sense that the multi-million dollar side industry of satisfaction data collection is just an obligate parasite on healthcare in America. Birds of a feather flock together, and all.”