The CDC has issued a new directive requiring passengers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries to provide contact information on arrival.
This applies to anyone who has been in either Guinea or the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the past 21 days, and applies to arrivals at New York JFK, Newark, Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles and Washington Dulles. This covers roughly 60 passengers per day on average. The CDC imposed and bungled similar rules at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ebola virus disease was first identified in 1976 and takes its name from a village in Democratic Republic of the Congo near the Ebola River. The 1995 film Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, Morgan Freeman, Donald Sutherland, Cuba Gooding Jr., Kevin Spacey and Patrick Dempsey brought Ebola to widespread awareness.
Symptoms generally begin with fever, muscle pain, headaches and sore throat and are followed by vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration causes reduced liver and kidney function, and fluid loss is a primary reason it has a death rate of around 50% in sub-Saharan Africa where the virus is most prevalent.
The virus is believed to transmit through bodily fluids, and occasionally large respiratory droplets from the very sick, but is not aerosolized. However, fluids on surfaces can live for hours or days. It is important that airlines continue their intensive Covid-19 cleaning regimens for non-Covid reasons. It is also believed possible to transmit Ebola sexually.
The good news is that if Ebola did begin to spread in the U.S., Merck has an already-approved vaccine. It uses attenuated live virus and gained FDA authorization just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. There are also effective antibody treatments (Regeneron’s Inmazeb monoclonal antibody cocktail was approved by the FDA in October).
In hindsight though, Holiday Inn may not have wanted to treat it as a joking matter.