Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Dr. Nicole Lurie contradicted President Barack Obama’s claim that the Ebola virus couldn’t be contracted by sitting next to an Ebola victim on a bus during testimony in front of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
During questioning by Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie, Lurie acknowledged that the Ebola virus “can survive” on inert surfaces and that methods of transmission “include perspiration.”
International Medical Corps. official Rabih Torbay also said that transmission via close proximity on a bus “could be possible” through perspiration, while Marine Corps Major General James Lariviere remarked that the virus, “can be transmitted through sweat.”
Lurie’s remarks contradict advice given by President Barack Obama earlier this month when he told residents of West African countries, “You cannot get it through casual contact like sitting next to someone on a bus.”
Obama repeated the claim during an October 18 video message to Americans when he stated, “You cannot get it [Ebola] from just riding on a plane or a bus.” The President made the remarks one day after a bus that had departed from the Pentagon was quarantined after a passenger became sick.
The Centers for Disease Control’s official guidelines for anyone who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus include, “avoiding public transportation” and all other travel.
Meanwhile, Congressman Peter King caused controversy when he questioned the notion, repeatedly asserted by the likes of the CDC, that the Ebola virus had not gone airborne.
“You know my attitude was, it’s important not to create a panic and it’s important not to overreact and the doctors were absolutely certain that this cannot be transmitted and it was not airborne, and yet we find out the people who have contracted it were wearing all protective gear,” said King, adding that he would be concerned about being in close proximity to a potential victim in a supermarket or a dentist’s office.