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‘Reasoned action’


April 8, 2016 Letters to the Editor

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Instead of engaging in a debate over the veracity of my recommendations regarding the control of MRSA in institutional settings, Butler County Community College’s Judith Wadding, in her letter to the editor, engaged in an ad hominem attack on what she imagines as my motives and offers support for the temporary closure of the campus — an action taken in defiance of unequivocal science regarding MRSA transmission as well as CDC guidance.

In contrast to the community college’s actions, the Freeport School District adhered to science and did not shutter its doors when faced with the almost identical situation days later.

The purpose of my comments on this — and any other infectious disease matter — is to emphasize that there are correct evidence-based actions and there are actions taken because of a mistaken notion of what is “safe”.

What is thought to be “safe” isn’t necessarily synonymous with what is correct. At one time it was erroneously thought “safe” to exclude the HIV-infected Ryan White from school, quarantine Ebola nurse Kaci Hickox, and exile those with leprosy to a remote island.

Infectious diseases, spread by invisible microorganisms, understandably evoke fear of the unknown and calls for swift action. However, that fear must give way to meet the challenges posed.

Nothing short of reasoned action, supported by the existing evidence base and devoid of extraneous considerations (no matter how good intentioned), is what is required and is the standard by which to evaluate any such response.

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