The international Ebola outbreak has generated great concern in the country. President Obama defined it as a “top national security priority,” although he correctly pointed out that “the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States are extremely low.”
The case of Thomas Eric Duncan, who remains hospitalized in critical condition after arriving from Liberia infected with the virus, illustrates the problem. When he entered the country, he neglected to mention that he had been in contact with an Ebola patient. He was allowed to get in. It’s also alarming that at least one person – a nurse in Spain – has already contracted Ebola outside of Africa.
But in its place of origin, West Africa, the number of confirmed cases and deaths are in the thousands. This is the calamity’s epicenter.
It’s a terrible illness for which there is no known cure, and it’s fatal in 50% to 90% of cases.
Therefore, it’s an issue of paramount importance and urgency for the population.
However, we must avoid acting out of panic and ignorance, which could lead to the wrong ideas.
It should be mentioned that Ebola is not transmitted by air, only via bodily secretions of a declared sick person. The current medical measures, if correctly applied, should suffice.
Some suggest we should shut down the borders of those countries affected by the disease. On the contrary, the best way to contain Ebola is to control it wherever it is present, locating those who are sick, isolating them and taking care of them. What is needed, therefore, is a large-scale international effort.
But the biggest mistake would be to treat Ebola as an election issue and to undermine the confidence of health providers.
It sends a worrying signal when influential politicians publicly demand their own action plans, with the sole purpose of gaining media exposure and exacerbate existing worries about the government.
The fight against Ebola should remain outside the partisan fray.
We should let medical and scientific considerations lead us in the worldwide fight against this formidable threat, and prevent the politics of the moment from interfering in the process