Monday, October 27, 2014

Medical treatment of Ebola victim Thomas Duncan takes on racial overtones, and Liberian citizens living in America are very anger

Patrick Sawyer, 40, a naturalized citizen of the United States, died of Ebola July 20. He was a top government official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance.  A father of three, Sawyer was planning on returning to the U.S. to celebrate the birthday of one of his daughters. But first he had to stop in Lagos, Nigeria for a conference.
Patrick Sawyer

Deboarding the plane in Nigeria, Sawyer collapsed. He was whisked off to a Nigerian hospital. The Ebola virus disease (EVD) that he contracted in Liberia was quickly taking toll on his body. He was not aware that he had contracted Ebola. He died in Dallas, Texas hospital. He contracted the virus while taking care of his sister in Liberia. His wife said he did not know his sister had Ebola.

Decontee Sawyer
Patrick Sawyer’s death was barely a blip in the American media. There were a few news stories, and interviews with his wife Decontee Sawyer, but the attention was nowhere close to the attention that Thomas Eric Duncan’s death received. His death quickly evolved into a referendum against President Barack Obama. Republicans and faultfinding critics hastily proclaimed that the President did not “act fast enough” to stop the “invasion” of an Ebola epidemic in this country.

At the time the only individuals to have symptoms of the Ebola virus in America was Duncan, and the nurses who took care of him. The doctors and nurses that contracted the virus in West Africa were quarantined in another state before Duncan was hospitalized in Dallas. They came to the United States for medical treatment. They hardly constituted an “Ebola invasion”. Not one case originated in America. Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders, is the latest victim to return to America from West Africa, infected with the virus. He is in quarantine at Bellevue Hospital in New York.

A native of Liberia, Duncan, 42, died October 8 in a Dallas, Texas at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. Sawyer died in Nigeria, the reason his death did not cause a Duncan-like panic in America. Duncan’s death initiated a wave of fearmongering that was, and is still being bolstered and perpetrated by campaigning Republicans and a complicit media.

There as some controversy in Duncan's story when he traveled to Dallas. He had been in contact with someone in Liberia who had Ebola but he did not know the pregnant woman was infected with the virus. "Duncan's story to his US caregivers contradicts the real story in his community in Liberia a little because in the 72nd community where he lived before traveling the the US many saw him as this humanitarian who went to give help to a neighbor whose daughter was pregnant and sick. Mathaline Williams was six months pregnant and her parents were Duncan's neighbors who owned the apartment that Duncan lived in.

"Irene Senyou, lives in the apartment right next to where Duncan lived before his travel. Senyou told FrontPageAfrica that her next-door neighbor Duncan helped their landlord when his (landlord) pregnant daughter who later died was sick. She said, 'When the girl got sick, he helped to carry the girl. He helped to put the girl in the car to take her to the hospital,' she says. 

"When they brought her back, he helped to put her in the house. He was not looking sick and he never knew the girl had Ebola." Duncan was 42 years old and travelled to the US from Liberia. He flew to Dallas to visit family, became sick a few days later, and then made his first visit to the Dallas hospital."

Liberians living in “Little Liberia” in Staten Island, New York, as well as those living in Texas, are angry that Duncan did not get adequate medical care. They likened his medical treatment to that of the nurses and doctors quarantined at the one of the four hospitals, where treatment is specialized to suit Ebola victims, none of whom have died. They question why Duncan was the only one to die.

Allen Tarty, communications director for the Liberian Community Association of Dallas-Ft Worth, Texas said, “Duncan was given second-rate treatment in a country with one of the world’s best health care systems. There are so many things happening that are making the Liberian community angry.”

Tarty, who has been in the U.S. for 12 years, said Duncan was mistreated by the hospital staff to discourage other Liberians from traveling to the U. S. to seek treatment. (

Thomas Eric Duncan
An article in The Guardian (October 16) traveled farther down the road, declaring that racism and having no insurance played a pivotal role in the medical care that Duncan received September 25. The article compared Duncan to Nina Pham, one of the nurses who contracted Ebola from Duncan. 

"Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola in the United States, was not the right kind of victim for the west: he wasn't a pretty young woman smiling in sunglasses as a Cavalier King Charles spaniel named Bentley licks her cheeks; he didn't have a young, benevolent doctor's face that looks "appropriate" plastered on newspapers; he wasn't a kindly older nurse who told reporters how God had spared her. He wasn’t the kind of person to whom primetime news specials would dedicate 20 minutes and glorify with quotes from loved ones about his kind spirit or ceaseless determination to overcome an unfair affliction.

“Thomas Eric Duncan was black, he was poor, and he was African. A Dallas hospital turned away the uninsured Liberian immigrant after an initial exam concluded he suffered only from a "low-grade viral disease", and the media turned him into the unsympathetic, undeserving face of a contagion with which the west is frantically grappling."

Annan is not pleased with the complacency of wealthy countries are displaying

Long as the Ebola virus was contained in West Africa there was no concern among politicians and the media about the virus making its way to America. It was that lackadaisical attitude that’s frustrating former UN Secretary Kofi Annan. During an interview with Britain’s BBC Newsnight he said: "I am bitterly disappointed by the response... I am disappointed in the international community for not moving faster.

"If the crisis had hit some other region it probably would have been handled very differently.
Kofi Annan
In fact when you look at the evolution of the crisis, the international community really woke up when the disease got to America and Europe.

“I point the finger of blame at the governments with capacity... I think there's enough blame to go around. The African countries in the region could have done a bit more they could have asked for help much faster and the international community could have organized ourselves in a much better way to offer assistance. We didn't need to take months to do what we are doing today."

Annan does not blame the World Health Organization (WHO) for its slowness to ask for help. Nevertheless, the organization is getting some criticism. “By the time the Ebola outbreak was declared an international emergency, Liberia had less than 250 doctors. Scientists could not have devised a more nurturing environment for a deadly virus if they had designed it in a laboratory.

“But if local conditions created the opening for the epidemic, it was global inaction that helped it to flourish. For months, organizations like Doctors Without Borders begged the World Health Organization to begin marshaling resources to fight the crisis. But after years of budget cuts and the gutting of its epidemic-response unit, WHO failed to act with anything approaching the necessary speed and competence. 

"Nor was it alone: governments around the world have stalled, unwilling to recognize this outbreak as the global humanitarian crisis it is. Even now, far too few have stepped up to provide the medical resources and technical expertise that are so desperately needed.” (The Nation, October 8)

Health care systems and facilities in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, three of the poorest countries in the world, have been decimated by protracted civil wars. Healthcare workers and doctors to fled these countries in fear for their lives, and contracting the deadly virus. Not enough doctors and healthcare workers are available to take care the Ebola stricken victims in these countries.

This outbreak of Ebola is the worst in history, according to CDC and healthcare professionals. Liberia is the hardest hit and has the highest number of Ebola deaths, which are climbing daily. Sierra Leona and Guinea are almost tied in their death tolls. 

Where the Ebola virus finds its hosts

“It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.

“Ebola then spreads through human-to-human transmission via direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes) with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected people, and with surfaces and materials (e.g. bedding, clothing) contaminated with these fluids.

“Health-care workers have frequently been infected while treating patients with suspected or confirmed EVD. This has occurred through close contact with patients when infection control precautions are not strictly practiced.

“Burial ceremonies in which mourners have direct contact with the body of the deceased person can also play a role in the transmission of Ebola. People remain infectious as long as their blood and body fluids, including semen and breast milk, contain the virus. Men who have recovered from the disease can still transmit the virus through their semen for up to 7 weeks after recovery from illness.” (World Health Organization)

First notice of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD)

Ebola first appeared in Sudan and Zaire in 1976. Its name is derived from the Ebola River located Zaire, later renamed the Northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.  The first outbreak was called the Sudan virus (SUDV). Within months a new strain of the virus appeared Zaire (Yambuku) and surrounding areas, infecting 318 Africans, killing 280 in the month of August. The Ebola virus (EBOV) was spread through one-on-one contact, reuse of contaminated needles and syringes in hospital and clinics. In 1977 Zaire had one Ebola case and one death. Sudan had 34 cases, resulting in 22 deaths.

“The first identified case of Ebola virus disease (EVD) caused by Ebola virus was on 26 August 1976, in this rural village 60 miles (96 km) south of the Ebola River, following a June 1976 outbreak of EVD in South Sudan caused by Sudan virfus. The index case (first case) was the headmaster of the local school, Mabalo Lokela.

“Lokela had toured an area near the border with the Central African Republic, along the Ebola River, with a small group from the Yambuku mission from August 12–22, 1976. On August 26, Lokela fell ill and was initially diagnosed with a relapse of malaria. By September 5, Lokela was in a critical condition with profuse bleeding from all orifices and on September 8 he died. As was the local custom, Lokela's mother, his wife Mbunzu's mother and sister, and other women friends helped prepare Lokela's body for burial. Within days most of them were seriously ill and many died shortly thereafter. The mission hospital's reuse of unsterilized needles also helped spread the infection.” (Wikipedia)

In 2013 to the present, the Ebola virus death count has spiraled upwards in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. America had one victim from Liberia to die in Texas, and seven American doctors and nurses who contracted the virus in West Africa. Five have been rendered Ebola free and the two of the nurses—Nina Pham and Amber Vinson. Pham is now Ebola free, and has visited the White House to meet with President Obama. Vinson is still quarantined but is expected to recover.

5 known species of the Ebola virus

Doctors, nurses, healthcare workers dress in hazmat suits to ensure their safety while tending Ebola patients in West Africa and now in America
The virus family Filoviridae includes 3 genera: Cuevavirus, Marburgvirus, and Ebolavirus. There are 5 species that have been identified: Zaire, Bundibugyo, Sudan, Reston and Taï Forest. The first 3, Bundibugyo ebolavirus, Zaire ebolavirus, and Sudan ebolavirus have been associated with large outbreaks in Africa. The virus causing the 2014 West African outbreak belongs to the Zaire species.

(A) There are only two known outbreaks of Ebola-Bundibugyo, but both have occurred within the last seven years. There have been 226 reported cases to date, with 73 resulting in death, which is a 32 percent fatality rate resulting in death, which is a 32 percent fatality rate. The first outbreak occurred from 2007-2008 in Uganda. The second and last outbreak occurred in 2012 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (

(B) Reston (RESTV) causes Ebola virus disease in nonhuman primates . . . it is not known to cause disease in humans, but has caused asymptomatic infections. Reston was first discovered in 1990 as a new “strain” of the Ebola virus. Reston is named after Reston, Virginia where it was discovered. Seven known cases occurred in the United States. (Wikipedia)

(C) The Ebola-Sudan strain was first discovered in 1976. Of its five reported outbreaks to date, there have been a total of 784 infections, resulting in 421 deaths, which is a 53 percent fatality rate. The highest fatality rate ever recorded from an Ebola-Sudan outbreak 71 percent, which occurred in 2012, the last known Ebola-Sudan outbreak to date. The lowest fatality rate ever recorded is 41 percent, which occurred in 2004. Fatality rates from the other three Ebola-Sudan outbreaks are 53 percent in 1976, 65 percent in 1979 and 53 percent in 2000 and 2001. All five reported outbreaks have occurred in Sudan or Uganda. (

(D) Taï Forest virus (TAFV) causes severe disease in primates. TAFV was first introduced as a new “strain” of Ebola in 1995. The ecology of TAFV is currently unclear and no reservoir host has yet been identified. (Wikipedia)

There is only one known case of Ebola-Tai Forest, which occurred in 1994 when a scientist fell ill after reportedly conducting a necropsy on a chimpanzee. She flew to Switzerland, where she was treated and made a full recovery. (

(E) The first known outbreak of Ebola-Zaire occurred in 1976. Along with Ebola-Sudan, it is thought to be the oldest strain of Ebola. With 13 reported outbreaks since then, not including lab accidents where only one person was infected, it is the most common strain of Ebola. Unfortunately, it is also considered the most deadly. Even compared to the other two lethal strains of Ebola, the numbers for Ebola-Zaire are staggering. This strain has killed a total 2033 out of 3115 of its victims since its first outbreak in 1976, which is about a 65 percent fatality rate. (

Symptoms of the Ebola Virus Disease

According the World Health Organization (WHO) symptoms of Ebola virus disease are a sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat are typical signs and symptoms. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding.

Laboratory findings include low white blood cell and platelet counts, and elevated liver enzymes. The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. Ebola victims become contagious when they commence manifesting visible symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period. Ebola infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.  

“If a person recovers from Ebola, they also will develop certain antibodies to the disease in their blood that confirm the disease was Ebola. In addition to blood tests, a doctor will also consider the person’s activities and whether they have come in contact with anyone who could have Ebola. ( 

Ebnola victim is helped by healthcare worker in Liberia. He is at the full stage of the virus
“The Ebola virus does not have a cure or vaccine at this time. Instead, measures are taken to keep the person as comfortable as possible. Supportive care measures include:

(A) giving medications to maintain blood pressure; (B) managing electrolyte balances; (C) providing extra oxygen, if needed; (D) providing intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration; (E) treating co-existing infections and preventing other infections from occurring. People’s immune systems can respond differently to Ebola. While some may recover from the virus without complication, others can have residual effects like joint problems.” 

With the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, blame took the lead, and pointed fingers at the staff in Dallas, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Republicans, using Ebola to score political points in the upcoming mid-term elections, have successfully convinced a host of gullible citizens that President Obama and the CDC cannot be trusted to tell the truth about how the Ebola virus is contracted. Politicians and none medical pundits have decided that the virus is viral. Forget body fluids! 

Never mind that hospitals in America were not prepared to handle one case of Ebola, let alone a rush of cases. The CDC, nurses and doctors were caught flat-footed. The nurse at the front desk dropped the ball when Duncan entered the emergency room at the Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital. No one at the hospital had been sufficiently trained to administer medical care to an Ebola victim. The nurses were not adequately prepared to read the signs or symptoms of the virus. 

Duncan was in the emergency room for four hours with other people. He had a 100 degrees temperature. By the time he and his companion were dismissed, his temperature had elevated to 103, which did not alarm the staff. He was given some antibiotics and sent home. Duncan returned to the hospital three days later in full contagious mode, and a danger to anyone who was not properly dressed or prepared to approach him. He died of the virus. Because the Ebola virus is still contagious after death, Duncan was cremated. His ashes had to be handled with caution. His family could not have a funeral right away. They held a memorial service.

Lessons have since been learned from this experience. The Center for Disease and Control have created protocols for all hospital staff to follow. Nurses and doctors will now be properly dressed to avoid contact with body fluids when tending an individual infected with the Ebola virus. 

October 15 President Obama, in a meeting at the White House with top healthcare officials, told the group: “As soon as someone is diagnosed with Ebola, we want a rapid response team, a SWAT team, essentially from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so they are taking the local hospital step-by-step through exactly what needs to be done.  

Cured victims and nonvictims of Ebola bear the burden of stigmatization  

Unfortunately, if a cure for the Ebola virus disease was discovered tomorrow it would not cure the stigma that healed victims have to fight. In Africa individuals who have been rendered Ebola-free are treated like they are still infected, and capable of spreading the virus. They are ostracized by friends, family and neighbors.

Oretha Bestman-Yates, a resident of “Little Liberia” in Staten Island, New York, and president of the Staten Island Liberian Community, is stigmatized because she is from Liberia. She does not have, nor have she ever been infected with the Ebola virus. In July Bestman-Yates traveled to Liberia to see family, and when she returned to America her employer would let her return to work immediately. She was told to quarantine herself for 21 days. 

“But even after the 21-day period elapsed on 5 August, she says she has still not been allowed to return to work.

"People try to avoid you, pull away from you. I've had people tell me, 'We brought Ebola to the United States,'" she says. Many of the Staten Island Liberians are employed in hospitals and nursing homes and are being told not to touch patients. "Parents are telling their children to stay away from our children at school," she said. 

“Now there seems a growing perception that anyone of African descent may be carrying Ebola. And whether that person visited any of the affected countries recently appears to be of little relevance.

“Two Nigerian students were refused admission to Navarro College in Texas, because of a new college policy denying entry to students from countries affected by Ebola - even though Nigeria successfully brought its small outbreak under control. An airplane bound for Nigeria was grounded at JFK yesterday because staff refused to clean it.

“Furthermore, parents from a school in Jackson, Mississippi, withdrew their children from school when it was revealed that the principal had recently travelled to Zambia - in southern Africa.” (

President Obama speaks at United Nations about epidemic in West Africa 

President Barack Obama
On September 25 President Obama said in a speech to the United Nations: “Ebola is a horrific disease.  It’s wiping out entire families.  It has turned simple acts of love and comfort and kindness -- like holding a sick friend’s hand, or embracing a dying child -- into potentially fatal acts.  If ever there were a public health emergency deserving an urgent, strong and coordinated international response, this is it. 

“But this is also more than a health crisis.  This is a growing threat to regional and global security.  In Liberia, in Guinea, in Sierra Leone, public health systems have collapsed.  Economic growth is slowing dramatically.  If this epidemic is not stopped, this disease could cause a humanitarian catastrophe across the region.  And in an era where regional crises can quickly become global threats, stopping Ebola is in the interest of all of us.

“Stopping Ebola is a priority for the United States.  I've said that this is as important a national security priority for my team as anything else that's out there.  We'll do our part.  We will continue to lead, but this has to be a priority for everybody else.  We cannot do this alone.  We don't have the capacity to do all of this by ourselves.  We don't have enough health workers by ourselves.  We can build the infrastructure and the architecture to get help in, but we're going to need others to contribute.”

Some countries have committed to helping financially to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, but the checks are slow to come in. President Obama has committed $100 million, and the Pentagon is trying to find another half million dollars. The World Bank is forecasting that it will take $32.6 billion to curtail the epidemic in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea by 2015. The United Nation has set a budget of $1 billion to train local medical staff, build portable hospitals, furnishing them with beds, staff and equipment.

President Obama has sent 3,000 troops to West Africa to train healthcare workers, build 17 treatment centers and to establish a Military Central Center. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will need three to four times the medical and public healthcare workers as are currently working with Ebola victims today. There is a need for 600 more doctors, and 1,000 workers to track and test contacts.

Americans who contracted the Ebola virus while volunteering to fight the epidemic in West Africa

1. March 25, 2014 – The CDC issues its initial announcement on an outbreak in Guinea, and reports of cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone. “In Guinea, a total of 86 suspected cases, including 59 deaths (case fatality ratio: 68.5%), had been reported as of March 24, 2014. Preliminary results from the Pasteur Institute in Lyon, France suggest Zaire ebolavirus as the causative agent.”

2. April 16, 2014 – The New England Journal of Medicine publishes a report, speculating that the current outbreak’s Patient Zero was a two-year-old from Guinea. The child died on December 6, 2013, followed by his mother, sister and grandmother over the next month.

3. July 2014 – Patrick Sawyer, a top government official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance, dies at a local Nigerian hospital. He is the first American to die in what officials are calling “deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.”

4. July 2014 – Nancy Writebol, an American aid worker in Liberia, tests positive for Ebola. According to Samaritan’s Purse, Writebol is infected while treating Ebola patients in Liberia.

Dr. Kent Brantly attends patient in Liberia
5. July 26, 2014 – Kent Brantly, medical director for Samaritan Purse’s Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Liberia, is infected with the virus. According to Samaritan’s Purse, Brantly is infected while treating Ebola patients.

6. July 29, 2014 – According to Doctors Without Borders, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan who was overseeing Ebola treatment at Kenema Government Hospital in Sierra Leone dies from complications of the disease.

7. July 30, 2014 – The Peace Corps announces it is removing its volunteers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

8. July 31, 2014 – CDC raises its warning to Level 3. It warns U.S. residents to avoid “nonessential travel” to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia.

9. August 2, 2014 – A specially equipped medical plane carrying Ebola patient Dr. Kent Brantly lands at Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Georgia. He is then driven by ambulance to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

10. August 4, 2014 – CNN reports that three top secret, experimental vials of the drug, “ZMapp,” were flown into Liberia last week in a last-ditch effort to save Brantly and Writebol, according to a source familiar with details of the treatment. Doctors report “significant improvement.”

11. August 6, 2014 – Nancy Writebol arrives at Emory in Atlanta for treatment.

12. August 8, 2014 – Experts at the World Health Organization declare the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa an international health emergency that requires a coordinated global approach, describing it as the worst outbreak in the four-decade history of tracking the disease.

13. August 19, 2014 – Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declares a nationwide curfew beginning August 20 and orders two communities to be completely quarantined, with no movement in or out of the areas.

14. August 21, 2014 – Dr. Kent Brantly is discharged from Emory University Hospital. It is also announced that Nancy Writebol had been released on Tuesday, August 19. The releases come after Emory staff are confident Brantly and Writebol pose “no public health threat.”

15. September 6, 2014 – The government of Sierra Leone announces plans for a nationwide lockdown from September 19-21, in order to stop the spread of Ebola. The lockdown is being billed as a predominantly social campaign rather than a medical one, in which volunteers will go door-to-door to talk to people.

16. September 16, 2014 – President Barack Obama calls the efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak centered in West Africa “the largest international response in the history of the CDC.” Speaking from the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Obama adds that “faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to” the United States to lead international efforts to combat the virus. He says the United States is ready to take on that leadership role.

17. September 30, 2014 – Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, announces the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The person has been hospitalized and isolated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, since September 28.

18. October 1, 2014 – Liberian government officials release the name of the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States: Thomas Eric Duncan.

19. October 6, 2014 – A nurse’s assistant in Spain becomes the first person known to have contracted Ebola outside Africa in the current outbreak. The woman helped treat two Spanish missionaries, both of whom had contracted Ebola in West Africa, one in Liberia and the other in Sierra Leone. Both died after returning to Spain. On October 19, Spain’s Special Ebola Committee says that nurse’s aide Teresa Romero Ramos is considered free of the Ebola virus.

20. October 6, 2014 – NBC freelance cameraman Ashoka Mukpo arrives at Nebraska Medical Center for treatment after contracting Ebola in Liberia. On October 21, the hospital says that Mukpo no longer has the Ebola virus in his bloodstream and will be allowed to leave.
Nina Pham
21. October 8, 2014 – Thomas Eric Duncan dies of Ebola in Dallas.

22. October 11, 2014 – Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse who cared for the now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, tests positive for Ebola during a preliminary blood test. She is the first person to contract Ebola on American soil.

23. October 15, 2014 – Amber Vinson, a second Dallas nurse who also cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, is diagnosed with Ebola. Authorities say Vinson flew on a commercial jet from Cleveland to Dallas days before testing positive for Ebola.

24. October 20, 2014 – Under fire in the wake of Ebola cases
Amber Vinson
involving two Dallas nurses, the CDC issues updated Ebola guidelines that stress the importance of more training and supervision, and recommend that no skin be exposed when workers are wearing personal protective equipment, or PPE. (CNN News)

October 23, 2014—Dr. Craig Spencer of New York City was a volunteer with Doctors Without Borders and had just returned from West Africa where he worked with Ebola victims in Guinea. He monitored his temperature twice a day since his return. After a couple of day he developed a fever and called the Bellevue Hospital. He was picked up in a special ambulance, taken to the hospital where he was put in quarantine. He tested positive for Ebola. 

Dr. Craig Spencer
During his October 25 weekly address President Obama reminded Americans once again how Ebola is contracted. “New travel measures are now directing all travelers from the three affected countries in West Africa into five U.S. airports where we’re conducting additional screening. Starting this week, these travelers will be required to report their temperatures and any symptoms on a daily basis—for 21 days until we’re confident they don’t have Ebola.

“Here at the White House, my new Ebola response coordinator is working to ensure a seamless response across the federal government. And we have been examining the protocols for protecting our brave health care workers, and, guided by the science, we’ll continue to work with state and local officials to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and health of the American people.

“In closing, I want to leave you with some basic facts. First, you cannot get Ebola easily. You can’t get it through casual contact with someone. Remember, down in Dallas, even Mr. Duncan’s family—who lived with him and helped care for him—even they did not get Ebola. The only way you can get this disease is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone with symptoms. That’s the science. Those are the facts.”

***Update: Dr. Craig Spencer is now free of the Ebola virus, and was released from a New York hospital November 11.
Ready to go to West Africa, American National Guard practice putting on hazmat suits