After U.S. officials disclosed another potential case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas, this morning, the question remains whether the Obama administration will finally stop flights from Ebola-stricken countries as multiple nations did over a month ago.
In mid-August, Korean Air and Kenya Airways announced they were halting flights to the West African countries ravaged by Ebola, and British Airways and Air France also decided to suspend service to the Ebola hot zone a few weeks later.
“France is recommending that its citizens leave Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the countries hardest hit by the worst ever outbreak of the disease,” Jessica Plautz reported for Mashable. “The government said the increasing spread of the disease prompted its request that the airline to suspend flights.”
Yet the Obama administration made no such request to U.S. airlines and government flights, despite the Center of Disease Control advising Americans to avoid “non-essential travel” to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea several weeks ago.
“CDC urges all US residents to avoid non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone because of unprecedented outbreaks of Ebola in those countries,” the CDC travel health advisory states. “CDC recommends that travelers to these countries protect themselves by avoiding contact with the blood and body fluids of people who are sick with Ebola.”
The patient in Dallas, Texas, who the CDC confirmed as the first case of Ebola virus diagnosed in the United States, flew into the U.S. on Sept. 20 after contracting the disease in Liberia.
This morning, Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said officials are currently monitoring another person who they fear may have Ebola after coming into contact with the patient currently being treated in Dallas.
“Let me be real frank to the Dallas County residents: the fact that we have one confirmed case, there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient,” Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Zachary Thompson said Wednesday in an interview with local ABC affiliate WFAA. “So this is real.”
So far, the White House has done little to prevent the spread of Ebola in the U.S. and may have in fact encouraged an outbreak by sending thousands of U.S. troops into West Africa earlier this month who could potentially contract the disease.