Ebola in the United States: Leonard Lance calls on Obama administration to do more

October 6, 2014 news
Ebola in the United States: Leonard Lance calls on Obama administration to do more

Ebola in the United States: Leonard Lance calls on Obama administration to do more

U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance wants to see more done to stop ebola from spreading domestically, following the announcement earlier this week of the first confirmed case in the United States.

"News of Ebola in the United States is a ringing alarm for a comprehensive prevention plan against this deadly virus," said Lance. "The Obama administration must be more responsive in taking the necessary steps to contain the deadly virus, protect citizens and medical professionals and aggressively treat those who may be infected."

The White House today held a briefing on efforts to contain the disease following the announcement Tuesday of a case in Dallas, Texas. Federal health officials say they are confident they can keep it in check.

Lance, a Republican whose 7th Congressional District in New Jersey covers Hunterdon and parts of Warren counties, said he is concerned that federal health and homeland security agencies are not putting in place a plan in a timely fashion. The World Health Organization recently recommended that unaffected countries with an international transportation hub should establish a process to manage travelers who have unexplained fever and are traveling from an Ebola-infected region, Lance noted in a statement Friday.

"Recent events in Dallas clearly highlight the need for elevated levels of screening at U.S. ports of entry nationwide," Lance stated. "Yet it's unclear where federal health and homeland security agencies are working hand-in-hand on securing our nation's borders and screening travelers arriving from Ebola-stricken areas abroad."

In Dallas, a hazardous-materials crew on Friday decontaminated the Texas apartment where an Ebola patient stayed.

The family living in the apartment has been confined to their home under armed guard while public-health officials monitor them — part of an intense effort to contain the deadly disease before it can get a foothold in the United States.

The virus that causes Ebola is not airborne and can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids — blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen — of an infected person who is showing symptoms. Those fluids must also have an entry point.

The diagnosis in the U.S. has raised concerns about whether the disease that has killed 3,400 people in West Africa could spread domestically.

Elsewhere, NBC News reported that an American freelance cameraman working for the network in Liberia has tested positive for the virus and will be flown back to the United States, along with the rest of the news crew.