WASHINGTON, D.C., October 6, 2014 – With the first diagnosis of an Ebola case occurring in Dallas, TX this past week, many Americans are calling for a ban on travel between the U.S. and Ebola ravished countries. Proponents of enacting a travel ban argue the action would protect Americans and prevent the deadly disease from further spreading across America.
However, top government health officials have opposed the measure claiming that shutting down our borders could be counterproductive to the fight against the disease globally, a statement that most have found to be non-sensical.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal states, “The Obama administration keeps saying they won’t shut down flights. They instead say we should listen to ‘the experts. In fact, they said it would be counterproductive to stop these flights. That statement defies logic.”
The current travel policy requires travelers to answer a questionnaire regarding their exposure to Ebola, a policy that proved insufficient in the case of Thomas Duncan, the first patient to become ill with the disease in the United States.
Duncan lied about his exposure to Ebola while traveling to the States and had stated “no” in response to questions about whether he had cared for an Ebola patient or touched the body of someone who had died in an area affected by Ebola. Duncan had cared for a pregnant woman suffering from Ebola merely days before he departed for America.
Representative Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania) leads the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and plans to conduct hearings on the travel policy this coming week.
Murphy stated, “Asking travelers to report their own activities at airports “has been a demonstrated failure, and it is nearly impossible to retrace steps to try and track down everyone who has been in contact with a carrier taking multiple international flights across the globe.”
The lack of border security within the United States coupled with the negligence of officials to ban travel between the U.S. and heavily infected areas of Africa has left many fearful of an increase in diseased individuals entering the country, a phenomenon that would surely spread the disease in the States and over-burden our healthcare infrastructure.
The United States could be seen as a haven to many citizens of countries hardest hit by the outbreak who have seen their own healthcare systems over-run, and availability of care diminish. Ebola has killed over 3,ooo people so far.