Hudson on Ebola: No reason to panic, must stay alert

In the last few weeks, the tragic Ebola epidemic in West Africa has hit home as we’ve witnessed the first death and transmissions in America.

Additionally, news that the second health care worker to contract the disease was able to board a commercial airplane

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson This Week in Washington

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson
This Week in Washington

while being monitored for signs of infection is deeply troubling. I know that everyone is concerned and I want to assure you that I share your concerns.

It is important to know, though, that there is absolutely no reason to panic and the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low. That being said, we must be vigilant and take every commonsense precaution to help prevent the spread of this horrific disease and protect the health and security of the American people.

So far I have been extremely disappointed with the president and his administration’s response to this situation. Despite repeated assurances and expressions of utmost confidence that we were prepared to deal with this threat, we have seen inexcusable breaches of protocol that call into question the competency of those tasked with this effort. Given the potential threat this deadly virus poses to our national security, it is absolutely critical that we proactively examine our procedures and utilize every layer of security to prevent a tragic situation from becoming worse.

This past week, in light of all these developments, I took several steps as chairman of the Transportation Security Subcommittee to urge the administration to ramp up security measures to better protect public health. First, I joined Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and my fellow subcommittee chairs to call on the Departments of Homeland Security and State to impose enhanced travel restrictions and temporarily suspend the visas of all individuals from the affected West African nations until the outbreak is under control.

Second, I urged Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Thomas Frieden to update the CDC’s “Do Not Board” list which is enforced by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Reports that the second Dallas health care worker to test positive for Ebola notified CDC personnel of an elevated temperature and was not advised to avoid travel are deeply troubling. Therefore, I urged the CDC to eliminate that potential for error and temporarily restrict the travel of anyone being monitored or under quarantine by placing them on the “Do Not Board” list.

Again, I know everyone is rightfully concerned, but I also want to reassure everyone that there is no reason to panic or interrupt your daily lives. These are commonsense precautions that the administration should have taken months ago to prevent this tragic situation from ever occurring. The good news is our health care professionals in North Carolina and all over the country are the best in the world and we have the ability to stop this situation from becoming worse.

As your representative, I will continue to closely monitor the federal government’s response to this threat and will continue to urge the administration to take a more proactive and assertive leadership role in containing the spread of this virus.

Richard Hudson, a Republican, represents the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. The district includes a small part of Mecklenburg County and takes in all or parts of the counties of Cabarrus, Union, Randolph, Rowan, Davidson, Stanly, Anson, Montgomery, Richmond, Scotland and Robeson.

Filed in: Latest Headlines, Opinion

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