Rep. Grayson Leads Bipartisan Letter Urging Action on Ebola

October 9, 2014




(WASHINGTON D.C.) – In a bipartisan effort, Reps. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Steve Stivers (R-OH), Ted Yoho (R-FL), Robert Pittenger (R-NC), and 22 other Members of Congress, are urging the federal government to take immediate action to help prevent American citizens from further exposure to the Ebola Virus. The Representatives requested travel restrictions, enhanced airport screenings, and possible quarantining of individuals who have traveled to, or from, the West African countries already impacted by Ebola.

The first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. was treated in Dallas, Texas. Sadly, that patient has since passed away. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is currently monitoring an estimated 50 people who came in contact with the infected individual for symptoms of Ebola. In addition, an American cameraman has tested positive for the virus, and is receiving medical treatment in Nebraska.

The letter reads, in part: “According to the CDC, individuals who have been exposed to Ebola likely will show signs of the disease within 21 days of exposure, but not necessarily before then. Hence not only are we at risk from travelers showing symptoms of the disease, but also asymptomatic travelers who harbor the disease and become symptomatic and contagious after arrival.”

“We urge you to direct the CDC, in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, to order our customs and border agents to begin more active screening of travelers to and from affected countries in West Africa, to prevent further exposure to Ebola in the United States.”

“Furthermore, these agencies should also consider a possible quarantine for any individual who has traveled to or from affected countries in West Africa within the dormancy period, aside from responsible health and military personnel sent there to fight the disease, to ensure that they have not contracted Ebola and are not contagious.”

“Lastly, we ask the State Department to impose a travel ban and restrict travel visas issued to citizens of the West African countries experiencing this epidemic, until such countries have defeated the epidemic. Such a ban should be instituted by suspending earlier-issued visas until further notice, halting the issuance of such visas, and denying entry to the nationals of such counties upon presentation of a passport from those countries at our ports of entry.”

“We note that Congressman Grayson made this request to your administration in July, and that 27 African countries already have taken such action to protect their own citizens, but the United States inexplicably has not.”