AFRICANGLOBE – President Obama announced Friday that African leaders attending a summit in Washington, D.C., next week will be screened for Ebola.
At least 729 people have died and more than 1,300 people have fallen ill from the viral disease in the worst outbreak ever, primarily affecting Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone just three out of the 50 nations invited.
“We’re making sure we’re doing screening as [they leave from their home airports] and some additional screening here,” Obama said. Attendees who had “even a marginal risk … of having been exposed” to Ebola could be screened after arriving in the U.S, he added.
The U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, held from Aug. 4 – 6, will welcome about 50 representatives from nations across Africa to Washington, D.C.
The summit is intended to “build on the progress made since the President’s trip to Africa last summer, advance the Administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people,”according to the White House. It is the largest event any U.S. president has held to welcome African leaders.
Attendees will visit the White House, the State Department, the World Bank and Capitol Hill.
The Ebola outbreak is keeping leaders from Liberia and Sierra Leone from attending.
“If all of the infectious individuals come from the same geographic region, passenger screening and quarantine procedures are usually the first measures implemented to prevent against the spread of infectious diseases,” said Nicholas Yager, a biochemist who has studied disease propagation through airport networks.
The risk of spreading the pathogen at airports is low, and with proper precautions, health officials are not concerned about the disease spreading in the U.S. A medically-outfitted private jet will bring two American aid workers who are ill with the disease from West Africa to Atlanta in the next week. The aid workers will receive treatment at Emory University Hospital, which has one of the best isolation units for highly infectious diseases in the U.S.
Would Obama have treated European leaders like that, and screen them for swine flu? Share your comments below.
By: Jessica Plautz
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