Louise Troh is fine but Nina Pham is sick. What Ebola shenanigans?

Well, I don’t claim to be any great forensic, medical investigator. In fact, I don’t claim to be one at all.

I suppose that would be a cool gig, though, but my emetophobia might be a hindrance if success was dependent on my ability to wade through pathogenic detritus and traces of randomized and splattered bodily fluids. It would be interesting stuff and it’s why I wonder, when reading about the raging Ebola wildfire (now that is hyperbole, but if the news and every other talking head with our ear can do it, why not I?), about something curious as the medical saga has unfolded before our eyes.

I wonder about something, and I don’t believe I’ve seen it voiced publicly, especially in the wake of the news that the first American-born case of Ebola transmission was confirmed infamously belonging to Nina Pham, a cute 26-year-old nurse who had the misfortune of having to treat Thomas Eric Duncan, America’s first immigrant-born Ebola case at Dallas Presbyterian Hospital before his death last week.

Despite following various safety protocols, Pham still developed a suspicious fever on Friday night. She promptly “turned herself” in to hospital examination at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, and her gloomy Ebola-positive results were revealed on Sunday morning. There have been a plethora of syringe-sharp arrows of public debate and finger-pointing about how and why she was infected. Essentially, no one knows, so all theories are pure conjecture. The hospital reflexively placed the “blame” on Pham with the assertion that she didn’t follow protocols diligently, and the predictable uproar from Nurses Associations and a tremulous American public has ensued with the collective inference that perhaps the protocols are not thorough enough to repel the Ebola contagion.

Who knows. That is not my point, and I don’t care how Pham contracted the virus. All that matters is that she did. Somewhere in her disinfectant/sterility personal chain of interactions with Duncan, viral particles found their way through institutionally demarcated barriers, as laid out by “health professionals,” and found their way into her bloodstream. Despite a full-body robe, a face hood, a chlorine bath, these procedures were compromised.

Regardless of how it happened, the fact remains she was infected in spite of generalized precautions that usually protect health care workers against most pathogens. One can thus scarily conclude that, at the very least, Ebola represents quite a virulent germ with efficient channels of infectious nature. Pham, by all accounts, is a vigorous and careful nurse, traits that I must imagine are greatly enhanced when treating a high-profile death-reservoir like Duncan.

But how is it that Louise Troh, Duncan’s estranged baby-mama from years ago, has not fallen ill following his arrival at her apartment from Liberia on September 20? They had fallen in love 20 years ago, and coincidentally, just days before he fell ill from Ebola, he flew to America for the first time to marry Troh (according to most accounts) after a lengthy long-distance rekindled courtship.

Pictured below are Louise Troh and her nephew, Jeffrey Cole (courtesy, UK’s Daily Mail).

Louise Troh and Jeffrey Cole

In the week after his arrival (and presumably, cohabitation with) at Troh’s, he was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital as the celebrated first confirmed case of immigrant American Ebola. Troh and Duncan, engaged to be married, reunited after a long separation, spent days together after he became symptomatic with the virus, the period of greatest infectiousness. Anybody in their right mind would quickly conclude this couple represented the highest percentage probability for human to human transmission imaginable. Duncan, infected, feverish, suffering from abdominal pains, spent hours in close proximity with Troh, probably doing what couples do. Everything from kissing to sharing cups and utensils to sexual intercourse…if there is a surefire way to contract a virus, it would be to engage in the intimacies inherent to all couples.

Yet, Troh is asymptomatic. Pham, “protected” beneath layers of rubber and plastic and disinfectant suds, is ill with Duncan’s virus. Troh, his soon-to-be bride, seems to be fine.

What gives?

My question, simply, is: what does Louis Troh know? Has she been interrogated? That is a term I do not use lightly, for this should be a criminal investigation. If she does not fall ill, I can only presume she had no contact with her long-separated fiance/boyfriend who she welcomed happily back into her life.

He said: ‘I can tell you that Louise just began to thank God and broke out in praise when she heard that they were giving Eric the experimental drug.
‘She was so deeply relieved that they could begin that. It has cheered her tremendously.’
Earlier Pastor Mason told MailOnline of the family’s relief at having been moved from the Ivy Apartments – which Ms Troh describes as an ‘apartment of sickness’ – to a secret location within city limits.
Ms Troh, who has a 19-year-old son by Mr Duncan, left Liberia more than a decade ago after a falling out saw the couple split.
It has been reported that they renewed their relationship following a visit by Ms Troh to Monrovia earlier this year.
But, although they spoke of marriage Pastor Mason said that they had only actually reconnected recently over the telephone.

Why would she avoid contact her with fiance?

If Troh does not become ill, I believe it speaks not of the mysterious elusiveness of the Ebola virus; it speaks tons of the mysterious elusiveness of human conscience.