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Saturday, October 18, 2014
Ebola: President Obama and Minister Farrakhan--which one is right?
The Administration's Response to Ebola
THE WHITE HOUSE
An Ebola update from President Obama
Today, President Obama spoke to the nation about Ebola -- how the Administration is responding, and what you should know.
The Ebola virus is a public health and national security priority, and the President has directed the Administration to continue to take aggressive measures at every level of government.
President Obama reiterated that, while Ebola is a serious disease, Americans need to understand the facts and be guided by the science: Ebola is not easily transmitted. And we know how to fight it.
President Obama: What You Need to Know About Ebola
"I want people to understand that the dangers of you contracting Ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low. But we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government. We are going to be able to manage this particular situation, but we have to look towards the future. And if we are not responding internationally in an effective way, and if we do not set up the kind of preparedness and training in our public health infrastructure here in the United States, not just for this outbreak, but for future outbreaks, then we could have problems."
– President Obama, October 15, 2014
Ebola continues to be a public health and national security priority, and President Obama and his administration continue to take aggressive measures to respond.
The United States continues to help lead the global response to stop the Ebola outbreak at its source in West Africa, while enhancing our preparedness here at home.
It’s not transmitted through the air like the flu.
According to public health authorities, the only way a person can get Ebola is by coming into direct contact with the body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk and semen) of someone who is already showing symptoms.
If the person does not have symptoms, they are not contagious.
In response to frequently asked questions about Ebola, here's what our public health officials are saying.
Q: What is Ebola, and what are the symptoms? A: Ebola virus is the cause of a Ebola virus disease. Symptoms include:
Joint and muscle aches
Lack of appetite
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2 to 21 days after exposure to Ebola virus though 8-10 days is most common.
Q: How is Ebola transmitted? A: Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of an infected symptomatic person or though exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions.
Q: Can I get Ebola from a person who is infected but doesn’t have any symptoms? A: No. Individuals who are not symptomatic are not contagious. In order for the virus to be transmitted, an individual would have to have direct contact with an individual who is experiencing symptoms or has died of the disease.
In March 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported an outbreak of Ebola virus disease in the West African country of Guinea. Additional cases have since been reported in the countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as Nigeria and Senegal. The cases reported in Nigeria and Senegal are considered to be contained, with no further spread in these countries, but new cases continue to be reported from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. To date, there have been more than 9,200 reported Ebola cases in West Africa, with more than 4,500 deaths.
In September 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the first laboratory-confirmed case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States, in a person who had traveled from Liberia to Dallas, Texas. The patient passed away on October 8, 2014. Two health care workers at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the patient has also tested positive for Ebola, and have since been isolated and are receiving care.
What We’re Doing at Home
Clinicians in the United States have been key to our safety here at home by:
Identifying patients with both a history of travel from West Africa or contact with someone with a confirmed case of Ebola and symptoms indicating they might have Ebola
Immediately isolating these patients
Consulting their local or state health departments
Getting these patients tested as needed
We have also been responding to new information to adapt and enhance our response. The following five U.S. airports — which receive more than 94 percent of travelers coming to the United States from countries affected by the Ebola outbreak — are also implementing new Ebola screening measures to help stop the spread of the disease:
John F. Kennedy International Airport - New York, NY
Washington Dulles International Airport - Washington, D.C.
Newark Liberty International Airport - Newark, NJ
Chicago O'Hare International Airport - Chicago, IL
Jackson Atlanta International Airport - Atlanta, GA
The U.S. strategy to combat the Ebola outbreak abroad consists of four key goals:
Controlling the epidemic at its source in West Africa
Minimizing the secondary impacts of the epidemic that aren't directly caused by the disease
Leading a coordinated international response
Building a robust global health security infrastructure so we're prepared over the long run to confront epidemics such as the Ebola epidemic
CDC, USAID, and other U.S. officials have been deployed to the West Africa region to assist with response efforts — including surveillance, contact tracing, data management, laboratory testing, and health education — and CDC experts have been deployed to non-affected border countries, including Cote d'Ivoire, to conduct assessments of Ebola preparedness in those countries. This deployment constituted CDC’s largest overseas mission to date.
The President announced in September a scaled-up response that calls upon the unique capabilities of the U.S. military to support the civilian-led response. The United States already has committed more than $350 million toward fighting the epidemic in West Africa, including more than $111 million in humanitarian aid, and the Department of Defense (DoD) is prepared to devote more than $1 billion to the whole-of-government Ebola response effort. As a further indication of our prioritization of this response, the United States convened a special U.N. Security Council session on the epidemic, and President Obama called the world to action during a subsequent U.N. session called by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. These U.S. actions have galvanized millions of dollars in international funding and in-kind support.
A Coordinated Effort
CDC is assisting with exit screening and communication efforts in West Africa to prevent sick travelers from getting on planes, and is working with airlines to address crew and airline staff concerns while ensuring the ability of humanitarian and public health organizations to transport assistance into the affected countries.
In addition to implementing new Ebola screening measures in the five U.S. airports that receive more than 94 percent of travelers coming to the United States from countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, CDC is also working closely with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and other partners at ports of entry (primarily international airports) to use routine processes to identify travelers who show signs of infectious disease. If a sick traveler is identified during or after a flight, CDC will conduct an investigation of exposed travelers and work with the airline, federal partners, and state and local health departments to notify them and take any necessary public health action.
Firebrand Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s latest racially-charged claim is that Ebola – the deadly disease ravaging parts of Africa and now diagnosed on American soil – was designed by white scientists specifically to kill off blacks.
The 81-year-old leveled the charge in his organization’s newspaper, The Final Call,insisting the disease is man-made and cooked up in a laboratory as a means of population control. He underscored the claim on his Twitter page, which has 308,000 followers.
“There is a weapon that can be put in a room where there are black and white people, and it will kill only the black and spare the white, because it is a genotype weapon that is designed for your genes, for your race, for your kind,” Farrakhan wrote.
Farrakhan has previously made similar claims about AIDS. This time, he cited a 2000 research paper by the now-defunct think tank Project for the New American Century which predicted “advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes, may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”
The first known case of Ebola dates back to 1976, but outbreaks have occurred, mostly in Africa, in the decades since. The current outbreak began in Guinea last December and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal and is now responsible for more than 3,300 deaths. The disease, which has a mortality rate of between 50 and 90 percent, is spread by contact with body fluids and no credible medical authority believes it affects races differently.
The first diagnosis on U.S. soil associated with the current outbreak came on Wednesday and involved a Sierra Leone man who flew to Dallas.
But Farrakhan is not alone in his suspicions about Ebola. Villagers in remote areas of Africa have alleged the disease is a Western plot and has even killed aid workers. And in the U.S., Delaware State University agriculture professor Cyril Broderick wrote a letter to a Liberian newspaper charging Ebola was created by the U.S. military and pharmaceutical companies who are intentionally spreading the deadly disease in Africa.
“The U. S., Canada, France, and the U.K. are all implicated in the detestable and devilish deeds that these Ebola tests are,” wrote Broderick.