Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, asked Rabih Torbay, the Vice President of International Operations for International Medical Corps., if somebody on a bus could catch Ebola from an infected passenger.
The exchange occurred on Friday during a House hearing on the federal government’s response to the disease. Massie also asked Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Dr. Nicole Lurie about the transmissibility of Ebola.
Torbay said he is not a medical professional and tried to skirt the issue. Dr. Lurie said Ebola is present in perspiration but did not concede it may be spread on a bus. She also conceded that Ebola can live outside the body on inert surfaces.
Rep. Massie’s questions and the answers by Torbay, Lurie and Maj. Gen. James Lariviere indicate Ebola can be passed on in a bus or other public transport – for instance, the subway car used by a Doctors Without Borders physician hours before checking into a hospital where he was diagnosed with Ebola.
The question is, then: Is the government simply inept and incapable of handling a national health care issue, or are they hiding the truth from the American people for other, more nefarious reasons?
If Torbay and Lurie know Ebola can be passed on to others through sweat – and who in a crowded bus has not touched a pole or straphanger where sweat from an ill person may be present? – and they are hiding or avoiding telling people about the dangers, they should not only be fired, but brought up on charges of endangering public health.