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  1. #1
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    Default Ebola: Why Lack of Travel Ban?

    Does anybody understand the reasoning behind the lack of travel ban to/from - esp from - the countries with the epidemic? It wouldn't have to be a total ban, could allow healthcare workers and supplies (with screening/training on both ends).

    To me, it seems like a no-brainer, limit the vectors of disease until things are under control.

    I feel like I must be missing some aspect here.
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    is indra's Avatar
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    You would have to section off very large lanes of traffic to accomplish this task. Most people in the worst afflicted areas of ebola enter through bustling travel hubs. It would become chaos. We have standards to maintain, denying immigration in a swathe of legislation is not very judicious.

    My first thought when I heard of travel restrictions was justifiable xenophobia. Maybe when it's blockbuster-film worthy.

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    I was more surprised that they had two days in Texas caring for a projectile vomiting patient without proper garb / protective clothing, yet didn't put that staff under quarantine to wait out the incubation period. It's clear the second nurse even thought of that, and called the CDC herself when she was running a fever before she boarded her plane home when she would become contagious... yet because her fever was under 100 degrees, they didn't prohibit her from flying.

    Now the plane itself is being stripped out to remove any possible contamination, the passengers are being interviewed, etc. I mean, really -- it's ebola. It kind of sucks for the health care workers, but wouldn't it make sense to restrict and monitor the actions of a handful of people until the incubation period expires, simply due to the risk factor IF one of them happened to be infected, and they were known to be interacting for two days with someone who was toxically contagious? Heck, have them stay in a care facility and buy them decent meals, etc., to make it more endurable for them. Now they can't lock anything down, the cost is probably hundreds of thousands to clean up, etc.
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  4. #4
    Freaking Ratchet Rail Tracer's Avatar
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    Not ban, but at least some greater scrutiny. The known strains of Ebola isn't as contagious, as say, Smallpox (when it was running rampart in the past,) even though it is still highly contagious. So the possibility of a widespread epidemic is a lot smaller than other known diseases. But that doesn't mean that we should not give greater scrutiny for those traveling or living in said countries and coming back.

    What exasperate giving greater scrutiny besides creating a travel ban is that the incubation period can fly by undetected until it becomes a problem. Unless the government wants to find a way to detect this incubation period on a large scale before allowing passengers in flights and banning people who've been sick in said countries (until it is know that their sickness is not from Ebola)....

    It does sound a bit extreme though @sunyata but Ebola is a Biological Hazard Level 4 in the same category as Smallpox (even though we have contained Smallpox to two research facilities, one in the US.) That is saying a lot about the severity of this type of infection, if it ever occurs in a wide scale, or worse, mutates. Like I said, Ebola doesn't spread like Smallpox when it becomes contagious, but there is currently no known effective cure or vaccine...yet.

    What I've seen so far (I haven't been keeping up with the news lately) is that nurses and people working overseas are using level 3 bio-safety gear, which isn't enough when it comes to Ebola. If you are going to be working with patients with Ebola, you need better facilities and safety gear.

    EDIT: Wow... spelling mistakes.

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    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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  6. #6
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    not even getting into rights arguments about it all... Restriction of flying isn't necessary. Screening people diligently should be a measure for those coming into the united states. It's easy to lie on customs forms, if people knew they were being restricted they'd just lie more and evade it all.

    Instead, developing a strict screening process and offering free care in exchange for compliance with quarantines and such would be a much more effective measure.

    The main problem with this virus is we don't really understand it nearly as well as we do others. It's not a casual touch spread like the cold, and it isn't as 'if you don't have sex you're okay' as HIV, so finding that sweet spot is difficult. Restricting flying wouldn't do nearly as much as providing adequate care and testing to determine who has it and getting them better so it doesn't spread.


    I could rant all day long about how people don't really care much about preventing disease.. But that's a personal opinion entirely. This is a fad-like scare because it's all new and sexy, but the reality is we have tons of diseases in the US already that are deadly and can be spread that we have preventions for and people argue that those measures aren't good enough and opt out of them. People don't take those sort of health issues seriously, and it's been a long long track record to let diseases get out of control before people listen. Just look at how many people say, "Eh, I don't need a flu shot." and the flu has had well known worldwide historical epidemics. It's just the way of the world, I don't see why people are surprised that Ebola isn't getting drastic measures as if it's a Z-virus.

    The nurses broke protocol and inoculated themselves; it sucks but it happens all the time. Nurses end up with TB treating TB patients and stuff like that all the time--and that disease is a painful year-long process.

    It's a deadly virus, no need to take it lightly, but hospitals are the best equipped to deal with this... On top of that, people have no idea until symptoms appear if they've even been exposed, it's so non-specific, so they can accurately say "No, I haven't had exposure, and I don't have symptoms" and yet boom, 2 days later there it is... Some specialized teams at airports doing very specific screening measures, medical personnel standing by for those who have questions and facilities set up to provide good health care and sterilization of homes, and making at-risk planes route through a few major airports where these teams are would be a pain in the ass--but would also help tremendously until the virus is under control more, and would save money in the long run of things if we can adequately screen and process people as they come in.
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  7. #7
    As Long As It Takes.... Redbone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post

    I could rant all day long about how people don't really care much about preventing disease.. But that's a personal opinion entirely. This is a fad-like scare because it's all new and sexy, but the reality is we have tons of diseases in the US already that are deadly and can be spread that we have preventions for and people argue that those measures aren't good enough and opt out of them. People don't take those sort of health issues seriously, and it's been a long long track record to let diseases get out of control before people listen. Just look at how many people say, "Eh, I don't need a flu shot." and the flu has had well known worldwide historical epidemics. It's just the way of the world, I don't see why people are surprised that Ebola isn't getting drastic measures as if it's a Z-virus.

    The nurses broke protocol and inoculated themselves; it sucks but it happens all the time. Nurses end up with TB treating TB patients and stuff like that all the time--and that disease is a painful year-long process.
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    I haven't heard a good argument against a travel ban either.

    It is undesirable for Ebola to spread to America. We got enough disease that we don't need one more. A travel ban would limit the ability for people to bring Ebola here. People would still come, but it seems like it'd be less, which is better than more. I don't see how this reasoning is flawed. I just don't.

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    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theDarkSide View Post
    I haven't heard a good argument against a travel ban either.

    It is undesirable for Ebola to spread to America. We got enough disease that we don't need one more. A travel ban would limit the ability for people to bring Ebola here. People would still come, but it seems like it'd be less, which is better than more. I don't see how this reasoning is flawed. I just don't.
    So where do you draw the line when you initiate that? There's a lot of gray in the areas of personal rights, confidentiality with medical conditions, genuine unknowns in the world of disease, and protecting citizens. Should we tell someone who lives in the US they cannot return home because they might have a disease? There's an incubation period--meaning it's hidden, you can test negative, go home, and then boom--you have it. If you quarantine suspected personnel before or immediately after they get to the US, you're squishing people into ill-constructed spaces for days at a time... and if someone DOES have it, and several do not, they could spread it to those people through the quarantine itself.

    It doesn't make as much sense as being aggressively proactive as a government to treat those coming in that DO have the disease and manifest symptoms--as well as to provide aide and support to the countries spreading it like crazy.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theDarkSide View Post
    I haven't heard a good argument against a travel ban either.

    It is undesirable for Ebola to spread to America. We got enough disease that we don't need one more. A travel ban would limit the ability for people to bring Ebola here. People would still come, but it seems like it'd be less, which is better than more. I don't see how this reasoning is flawed. I just don't.
    If you ban all air travel in Liberia, people are just going to travel to another country to fly. The result is it makes the disease more likely to spread to surrounding nations which makes it more likely to affect Americans, not less. Nigeria has done an incredible job of limiting the spread of Ebola and a travel ban in Liberia would make things much, much worse for Nigeria.
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