When New York doctor Craig Spencer was released from the hospital on November 11th, it was publicly declared that there are currently no known cases of Ebola in the United States. Two thumbs up to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After many scares and a few actual cases, U.S. citizens can rest a little easier. But for how long?
Unfortunately, it seems that the United States borders are wide open to anyone coming from anywhere in the world. While this is usually a concern to those studying illegal immigration or international terrorism, it applies equally well to the question of the spread of infectious disease. The cargo that infected passengers bring with them may not be labeled a “weapon of mass destruction”, but perhaps it should be, given the potential for widespread harm from Ebola.
In order for the declaration of “no known cases” to remain true, our country needs to do more about preventing people who have traveled to suspected regions from entering the country. A comprehensive screening needs to be done before potentially-infected people are standing in a U.S. airport or are interacting with otherwise healthy individuals in our communities. Sadly, that doesn’t seem to be happening.
Once in the country, there’s only so much health care professionals can do if a possibly-infected person enters the emergency room. That is something Jared Haftel is a little bit worried about. They can’t find everyone that might have been in contact with that person according to him. Rather, our government must take proactive steps toward preventing these contagious people from entering the country in the first place. This is the best prevention from future outbreaks on our soil.