Ebola: The Threat To The US Explained

Over the last few weeks, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has accelerated. Modern technology has allowed us to witness the virus’s spread in real time, yet for most of us the disaster remains abstract because it’s far away.

 

However, with four cases of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the United States, it’s no longer abstract. It has crossed from overseas to over here, and is now directly and personally relevant.

Before we begin to worry however, it’s important to remind ourselves of the facts:

• Ebola isn’t spread through casual contact. It is spread by direct contact with the bodily fluids of people who have been infected and showing symptoms.

• It is not airborne.

• The risk of an outbreak in the United States is extremely remote.

• There is no need for people in the US, even in cities where someone is being treated for Ebola, to take any special precautions whatsoever.

If you have more questions, please check our Ebola FAQs page.

 

On The New Mandatory Quarantine 

 

Doctors of the World is part of the Mèdecins du Monde international network, which is fighting Ebola in Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is also working to prevent Ebola’s spread to other African countries.

We salute the courage and professionalism of all health care workers and other professionals responding to the current outbreak. The new mandatory quarantine imposed by New York and New Jersey lacks detail and serves little medical purpose; current protocols of self-monitoring and swift referral fully protect the public.

We too live in New York, as well as other US cities. We absolutely want the American public to be fully protected; careful self-management protocols by returning humanitarian workers, plus a top-quality US public health system, will work extremely effectively to do so.

We are deeply concerned these quarantine requirements serve no medical purpose in the United States, but will hamper the humanitarian community’s willingness and ability to participate in the Ebola response in West Africa. By slowing the response, they may potentially worsen the epidemic in the long term.

We urge the states of New York and New Jersey to reconsider quarantine measures and work with the competent federal authorities, including the CDC, to ensure revised, meaningful measures are put in place.