Tags: America's Forum | Ebola Outbreak | Exclusive Interviews | Ebola | Travel | West Africa | Marsha Blackburn

Newsmax Panel: Many Variables to be Considered to Combat Ebola

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 11:11 AM

There are many variables — including travel restrictions, waste disposal and experimental drugs — that need to be taken into account to ensure the United States is prepared to adequately keep the Ebola virus from invading its borders, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, said Tuesday on Newsmax TV's "America's Forum."

Blackburn said she favors travel restrictions for non-essential travel into and out of West Africa, the regions where Ebola is a medical crisis, in addition to increased safety precautions at U.S. airports.

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"We're relying on individuals to self-report their activities, to fill out the forms correctly," she said. "We know that Mr. [Thomas] Duncan did not do that. We know that people have their temperature checked before they get on the plane, but what happens during these long-haul, 15-, 18-hour flights? Someone can become ill during that. So I said, why don't we have some quarantine and protections in place when people come to immigration services?"

Blackburn joined Tevi Troy, former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to discuss the wide-ranging issues surrounding Ebola precautions. She met with the CDC director recently and while the CDC is convinced there will not be an outbreak in the U.S., Blackburn said that will depend on the work done at home and in Africa.

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It's premature to begin enforcing travel bans, though U.S. officials do have a plan in place if necessary, Troy said.

"We definitely should be increasing our screening protocols and taking a careful look at it as the congresswoman said," Troy added. "The internal plans for banning travel from certain countries, is premature to do and the disadvantages outweigh the advantages at this point, but it's something that we should have on the table. I don't think we should say that it's something that we're not going to consider."

The situation with Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with Ebola in Dallas after initially being released from the hospital, is sufficient warning that it could happen elsewhere, according to Blackburn.

"My hope is that the execution of [the CDC's] plans and their research and the work they're doing in the lab will keep pace with the disease and also that the vaccine production will be — the pace on that will be picked up," Blackburn said.

A meeting with lawmakers and the CDC will take place in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 16 to discuss waste disposal concerns in the wake of Ebola.

"Part of the problem is how do you not only handle the waste but how do you handle the blood samples?" she explained. "This is something that I discussed with the CDC. Of course they have the BSL, the bio-safety level lab one, two, three, four and Ebola would be tested in a BSL 4 lab, the highest protections that are there for workers and for the samples. My concern was that you would have that patient's blood and the samples, the fluid samples, being tested in the lab, in the hospital in Dallas and then there would be contamination of equipment or there would not be appropriate transfer of those."

Duncan, whose condition went from serious to critical, has recently been given an experimental drug. According to Troy, there was a delay in getting the medication to Duncan. Because of its experimental nature, supplies are low.

"There's no known cure for Ebola, but there is treatment," he said. "You hydrate people, you keep them isolated and that can work in some circumstances. Obviously, it wasn't working in this case and they needed to take that next step and make a riskier treatment."

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There are many variables - including travel restrictions, waste disposal and experimental drugs - that need to be taken into account to ensure the United States is prepared to adequately keep the Ebola virus from invading its borders, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee...
Ebola, Travel, West Africa, Marsha Blackburn, Tevi Troy
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2014-11-07
Tuesday, 07 Oct 2014 11:11 AM
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