On Tuesday, the Center for Disease Control announced it would increase Ebola screening measures for airline passengers coming into the U.S., echoing President Obama's pledge for extra airline precaution in American and West African airports on Monday. In a statement, Agency Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden provided no immediate specifics about what the new measures would look like, but promised more information in upcoming days.
We recognize that whatever we do, until the disease is controlled in Africa, we can’t get the risk to zero here. We may be able to reduce it and we’ll look at every opportunity to do that.
Frieden shed no more light on the increased measures than the president did on Monday while meeting with top advisers about Ebola. The Washington Post reported that some of the measures being considered include taking passengers' temperatures and closely inspecting travel histories to find people who may have traveled from outside of the United States. The source spoke anonymously because the plans have not been finalized.
Both Obama and Frieden emphasized that banning travel to countries with an Ebola outbreak would exacerbate the problem. International aid workers, who are helping to contain the virus, would be barred from traveling to help those who most need it. Infectious disease specialist Dr. Barry R. Bloom told The New York Times:
Given the fragmented and broken health care systems in these countries, controlling the disease means getting people from the outside to fly in and to come out again. A travel ban on those countries would probably be counterproductive. It would take away the expertise that is needed.
Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., is currently in currently being treated in Dallas. His temperature and blood pressure are back to normal, but he remains in critical condition. Duncan had come into contact with an estimated 80 people before he was hospitalized and put into isolation.
Currently, Duncan is the only person to have been diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. Liberia plans on prosecuting Duncan for lying on health forms as he left the country. It's still unclear if Duncan knew that he had been exposed to Ebola before he came to the U.S.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz are leading the Republican campaign against Ebola, calling for essentially the same measures that the president and his team of experts have already concluded that they will put in place.
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