Could We See an Ebola Travel Ban?

travel ban

Background

Ebola was first identified in 1976 near the Ebola River in Africa. At the time, it infected only a handful of people, then disappeared. It reemerged in 2014 in Africa and since January, has caused nearly 8,400 cases and just over 4,000 deaths.

At first, the illness was isolated to the Western Africa in the areas of Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria, however, cases have since been confirmed in Senegal, Spain, and the U.S.

Symptoms & Transmission

While not highly contagious, Ebola is highly infectious – the smallest amount could cause the illness. It can only be transmitted, however, through contact with bodily fluids like blood, vomit, semen, urine, sweat, or feces.

Once a person gets Ebola, they could experience fever, headache, joint pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Other symptoms include throat soreness, chest pain, difficulty breathing, rashes, difficulty swallowing, and internal bleeding.

Travel Ban

According to a poll by The Washington Post and ABC News, 67% of those surveyed said they would favor a policy that restricts “entry to the United States by people who’ve been in affected countries.” In addition, 91% say that they would favor “stricter screening of people entering the United States who have been in African countries affected by the outbreak.”

Each year, around 190,000 people visit the U.S. from 16 of the countries affected by the outbreak, according to The Daily Caller. Around 40,000 of those people are given green cards.

While President Obama has been against entry restrictions of apparently healthy Africans, other politicians oppose his view. Senator Mark Warner believes that the U.S. should consider some restrictions on countries like Liberia (where the majority of the Ebola cases have been), while Senate candidate Tom Cotton says, “We’ve got an Ebola outbreak, we have bad actors that can come across the border; we need to seal the border and secure it.”

However, a travel ban may not be the best solution. According to members of the CDC, closing off borders won’t keep the illness from spreading and it would make it even harder to keep track of.

What are your thoughts?