Americans are starting to pay attention to the latest outbreak of Ebola that has rapidly spread throughout parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, after news emerged that health worker was being examined in the United States for possible exposure to the deadly virus.
On Saturday, the American, described in some news accounts as a physician, was evacuated to a secure area at the Nebraska Medical Center for monitoring, according to the Washington Post.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control says the evacuation presents no domestic health risk, since the medical worker so far has shown no symptoms of the illness. If signs of Ebola emerge, the health worker will be placed in quarantine at a hospital with experience treating Ebola patients, The Post reported. The virus cannot spread when a person shows no signs of symptoms, according to the CDC.
Still, the latest news could spark widespread alarm. Americans went into a frenzy following the previous outbreak in West Africa, which by April 2016 had spread to 28,616 people and killed 11,310, according to the CDC.
Since August, when the public learned of the latest Ebola outbreak in the DRC’s North Kivu province, there have been 543 confirmed cases of the virus, including 357 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. The situation is complicated by ongoing violence in the region and protests surrounding the country’s presidential election being held on Sunday, according to The Post.
But given President Trump’s previous reactions to the virus, news of a potential Ebola patient being moved to the U.S. could set-off unfounded fears.
During the last outbreak, cable news channels devoted wall-to-wall coverage about its spread to the United States, where a total 11 people were treated for the disease, according to the CDC.
Pre-presidential candidate Trump helped feed the frenzy by tweeting obsessively about the outbreak during the summer of 2014. Among his 100 tweets about Ebola in 2014, he called for a travel ban for people from the region, a move scientists and health researchers said would make the situation worse.
The U.S. must immediately stop all flights from EBOLA infected countries or the plague will start and spread inside our "borders." Act fast!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2014
Trump also repeatedly criticized Obama’s response to the outbreak, slamming the former president for playing golf during the crisis and allowing patients to be moved to the U.S. — calling on his resignation.
If this doctor, who so recklessly flew into New York from West Africa,has Ebola,then Obama should apologize to the American people & resign!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2014
Meanwhile, the president has been critical of the National Institutes of Health, the very government agency that is trying to come up with a cure for the disease.