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Orange Line stops, Mass. Ave. shut when woman gets very sick on platform

Around 11:20 a.m., police shut the Mass. Ave. Orange Line stop, stopped train service and blocked traffic on Mass. Ave. after somebody started vomiting on the platform.

The station and street were re-opened about 15 minutes later - and the person transported to a local hospital - after first responders determined she did not have Ebola.

Boston EMS Incidents reports EMTs rushed to the station on a report of "an external hemorrhage."

Boston Magazine has more: The situation started when somebody called 911 to report "a Liberian woman" with Ebola. In fact, she was a Haitian woman.

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person on a platform justify suspending train service between Back Bay and Ruggles? I could see bypassing Mass Ave temporarily, but total suspension is idiotic.

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An abundance of caution, maybe.

But still. 15 minutes.

Hardly the end of the world.

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Let's assume the highly unlikely possibility that the platform was, in fact, contaminated with some deadly disease.

Now, 'splain how it is that stopping service on the entire line (rather than having trains simply pass through the station without stopping, makes anyone any safer?

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That the patient did in fact have ebola.

You would probably be the first person in line to sue the MBTA for driving a train thru an unsafe environment and you would probably be calling for the head of the MBTA, the head of the CDC, the Governor, the President and anyone else you think is to blame.

Thats why.

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I probably would be about the last person to do any of those things, but thanks for the vote of confidence anyhow.

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You do know that unless you were in contact with that vomit, and not just skin contact but mucous membrane or wound contact, you wouldn't get it, right?

Funny how this well-characterized strain of a well-characterized disease with well-characterized transmission characteristics has been transformed into something entirely different in the minds of the media through the magic of willful ignorance and mindless panic.

Someone with untreated HIV or Hepatitis A, B, or C would be similarly infectious. Those have been prevalent in our population for decades now.

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I don't know---someone looked at me the other day and I'm pretty sure he gave me Hepatitis C. I could feel it.

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Eyes, nose or mouth. So if you catch any of the splatter from the vomit you could still get it.

I would prefer the MBTA to be safe than sorry. Shoot, the trains are always on a 15 minute delay anyway, what's the difference?

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Spatter not only on you, but in specific places - and enough to matter?

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So maybe that's why the only words of your post that I understood were:

"contact with vomit"
"disease...transmission"
"panic"

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It can in fact be spread airborne but its life span is only a few minutes before the air is no longer contaminated. But the chances of contracting ebola are slim and i agree that it is completely over hyped and there are indeed worse things to worry about.

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Simply put: Ebola does not spread like influenza and "cold" viruses do.

Airborne splashing of bodily fluids which then land on mucous membranes is a theoretical possibility, but an unlikely one if you are not in direct physical contact with the infected person. Ebola is not spread through inhalation of virons in an aerosolized state inhaled into the respiratory system.

More information on how it is and is not spread here, here, and (most of all), here.

We know quite a bit about how Ebola is and is not spread. It hasn't magically changed when it got to the US or started infecting people in a developed country.

Sorry, but I've published in the scientific literature on the airborne spread of viruses, and I am going to correct misinformation whenever I find it. (I had a Marshal McLuhan moment the other day when, in a facebook discussion, somebody showed me a paper about the airborne spread of viruses - and it was one of mine.) It has been fun to watch my stats on ResearchGate this week, even though I moved on to another area of inquiry nearly a decade ago.

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Not having the air pressure from a moving train or the HVAC units disturbing anything on the platform?

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If I were on the train, I'd love for it to be suspended until they cleaned the vomit, even if there was no such thing as Ebola.

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for a 15 minute suspension then? How many people unnecessarily changed their route or plans because they saw "service suspended" and over-reacted?

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Maybe because they were sick enough to start bleeding externally? I've never been sick in that way and hope I never am. If someone else is I would appreciate any help in not being exposed to that person

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Perhaps the person bled into the track pit, or perhaps they were right near the platform edge and the T wanted to make sure EMTs had room to get to her without worrying about trains coming by. Or perhaps if a medical emergency is called in it is SOP to hold trains until the operations center can ascertain what exactly happened - which could very well take 15 minutes.

Also, I've waited more than 15 minutes for an orange line train during regular service countless times.

They held at most one or two trains, based on the midday frequencies. That was a short enough interruption that it is reasonable to just expect people to wait an extra 15 minutes.

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Can we just get this epidemic started already? At least it will get the damn media trucks out of the limo stand at Terminal E.

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This is only going to get worse. No, not the actual virus coming here. But the media, just wait for Mid January when everyone has a cold or the flu.. it'll be a nightmare.

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So we better get this plague started!

(/totalsnark)

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was the person actually bleeding? what causes random external bleeding??? what condition?

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And, yes, there was apparently some blood in her vomit.

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Five to six bloody Marys

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She could have TB ya know.. that's a sign of TB. And TB is pretty rampant in Haiti.

Yet we're concerned about ebola still... *smh*

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She probably had a condition that was already Diagnosed. How else do you determine there's no Ebola in 15 minutes unless the lady said, "I'm hatian, not Liberian, and I have an ulcer.

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If every time someone sneezes we go into panic mode. The MBTA won't be able to operate on weekends if throwing up is a cause for shutting the whole system down.

Get your darned flu shots, everyone!

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So I have been pretty good about not ranting about how ridiculous this is even though I have read so much misinformation on the Internet, have read various Facebook posts from friends who think that "viri" (or viruses as the rest of the English speaking world forms the plural of "virus") mutate at will in order to kill more efficiently and clearly have no scientific knowledge other than what they learned in middle school from watching the movie Outbreak, and listen every day to a coworker ramble on about how we're all about to die of Ebola. Here is my rant to any Uhub readers who would like to become more informed:

My first comment is how racist! A black woman throws up and suddenly it must mean she is Liberian and has Ebola?

Next--the average person in any of the three West African countries affected by Ebola is not catching a plane to Boston. Do you know what GDP PPP per capita is in Liberia? About $670 USD. More than 60% of the people in Liberia, for example, live in poverty. They aren't catching connecting flights to Boston. If anything, people should be more worried about US citizens traveling to West Africa for business than they should be about "Liberians" (or Haitians, they're all the same right?) flooding the country and infecting everyone.

Then let's imagine this Haitian woman had Ebola and threw up--as long as you aren't the one cleaning up her vomit and aren't stepping through it and then wiping your shoes all over yourself, you will probably not get Ebola. Ebola is not airborne, you cannot get it from being near or next to someone with Ebola. Don't touch her blood or her feces. But I think the average person probably wouldn't do this anyway. No need for a panic to set in. This is why people who were living with the one man to die of Ebola in the US are ALL FINE. None has Ebola. The people who did get Ebola? Healthcare workers who WERE cleaning up his vomit and diarrhea and were not adequately protected or trained in how to deal with Ebola, protective gear and how to remove it.

Finally--Ebola as an epidemic is just not going to happen in a developed country like it has in West Africa. Why? Because if you are told: Boston is contaminated--stay in your homes and quarantine yourselves for 21 days--people will probably listen. While yes, there is obviously some distrust of the government it is not on the massive scale that it is in Liberia for example, where people think the government is corrupt, that Ebola is a conspiracy and that medics are really kidnapping people to harvest their organs (and then try and break them out of clinics where they are quarantined). We also do not hand wash infected bodies as part of funeral rituals and we actually have first rate medical care as opposed to Liberia, which is still recovering from a civil war which left its infrastructure in ruins.

All in all, if you are worried, be worried about the flu and make sure you get your flu shot. You are much more likely to die of the influenza virus than Ebola.

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That was a very good rant.

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*bows*

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Thank you for this dose of sanity!

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Thank you. If you don't mind, I'd like to share your comment.

In addition to folks all being Junior Virologists and Compliance Officers nowadays, we've a few avocational Ethnographers in our midst.

Seriously: Black + Sick = Liberian?

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Obviously--just like Spanish speaking= Mexican.

But seriously, does it not upset anyone else that a woman is sick and instead of asking "Are you ok?" people nearby saw she was black and vomiting and automatically called 911 to report a Liberian woman with Ebola on the T? It makes me a little bit sad that this is the world we live in.

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So once they decided it was not Ebola, did they just leave the heap of vomit on the platform? Because apart from Ebola, heaps of vomit in public places are hygienic and delightful?

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As bad as your life might be, just be grateful you're not one of the T employees who has to regularly clean up vomit and other things.

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I hope the T provides personal protection for the workers to use, even when hosing it off the platform.

Not because of Ebola risk, but because of far more common pathogens?

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