To the Editor:
The Madison County Medical Society is calling on President Barack Obama to impose a temporary travel ban on persons from Ebola-epidemic countries in West Africa.
Ebola is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease with no well-established therapy or immunization protection. Trial medications and vaccines are under development which may or may not be effective. Community hospitals are not well equipped to handle this complicated disease. Current screening procedures are only partially effective.
Over 4,500 patients have died in recent months in West Africa from Ebola. One hundred and fifty individuals are entering the United States every day from West Africa.
During a special meeting of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight Committee on the administration's chaotic response to the cases of Ebola in Texas held on Oct. 16. U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner stated that over 2,000 people from West Africa had entered the U.S. with no Ebola screening. A majority of congressmen speaking at this meeting supported a travel ban.
Air France and British Airways have suspended flights into the area until the epidemic is over. South American and Caribbean countries are imposing travel bans including Jamaica and Columbia. We believe the U.S. should not have a lax and permissive admission policy regarding travel from the epidemic area.
Caution and great care should govern our travel policies. Special charter flights and military fligths could handle humanitarian efforts. A travel ban on other flights would be a big step in preventing Ebola from entering the U.S.
On another important issue, we urge all individuals over the age of six months to receive yearly flu shots to greatly reduce the incidence of flu. Please see your primary care physician or other provider for your flu shot.
Ryan Diederich, M.D., President
Madison County Medical Sociey
Edward Ragsdale, M.D., Delegate