Host: I am talking to you about you and your businesses, and certainly your business to be concerned about the Ebola situation, not only in Africa but the potential of it spreading right here in the United States of America, and I know that sounds a little farfetched. Of course, there’s a lot of resistance from the mainstream media, most of which aren’t discussed at all, but I am interested in the topic. To me it seems very plausible. Containment is really difficult, especially with how fluid our borders have become globally with mass movements of populations over the last decade. I have Jane Orient. She is here with us today. She is with Physicians for Civil Defense and Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. She’s a medical doctor. She has been on the program before, and we want to talk to her, but before we get into that whole question of how dangerous this could be for the United States, kind of give us a real quick overview of Ebola, what Ebola can do, and welcome to the show.
Ebola is a viral disease that is extremely contagious and highly lethal. We had an outbreak in West Africa back in 2014 and there was a lot of concern, a lot of media coverage back then because of a patient who showed up in Dallas who had Ebola, wasn’t at first recognized, and exposed a number of people. We discovered then that there may be only about six hospital beds in the whole United States that had the ability to treat such patients safely without the risk to workers and other patients. But then concern died down, and with great difficulty the epidemic was contained in West Africa. Now it has broken out in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is also war torn, and it has been very difficult to bring under control there, and so one has to wonder exactly what is going on. We know there have been more than 1000 deaths in that area from Ebola and we know that hundreds of people who come from that region, from the DRC, are crossing our borders. And we don’t really know how they got there. We don’t know whether they were brought by air, we don’t know who paid for their trip, and we don’t know what the United States authorities are doing to identify and quarantine these people and make sure that they are not infected and able to spread the disease wherever they are being brought in the U.S., by bus or airplanes.
So how many did you say are on our border?
Well, reportedly hundreds have crossed the border that have been apprehended and that we know about. How many have crossed the border that we don’t know about, of course, is a good question.
Yeah, and we don’t even know how they’re getting there. A conspiratorial personality could think it’s part of biological warfare against a country like this. The imagined effects could really get scary on this.
Well, why are we having to ask this question? One reason is that the authorities are asking for French-speaking people who can communicate with these migrants. This would suggest that nobody has communicated with them. A French-speaking Swiss reporter who was on the Laura Ingraham Show said he did try to speak to the people and found that they were extremely evasive. They seemed to have rolls of cash, but they wouldn’t tell how they got here. We don’t know whether they flew across the Atlantic. Or did they come by boat?
Are any of them being tested for health issues? Of course, Ebola is not the only one. TB is a global problem, particularly in impoverished nations. You know, so there’s some of the things they probably should be tested for. What’s being done as far as that?
It’s impossible to find out exactly. We hear that some Border Patrol agents, or medical workers, are not allowed to speak openly to the press under threat that they will lose their jobs, suggesting that some people really don’t want the Americans to be aware of the hazard because they would demand a border wall and better screening protocols. Drug-resistant TB may be the most serious likely problem. It is said that maybe 20% of the Somalis who were resettled in Minnesota have latent TB. They are not contagious right now, but any time during their whole life the TB could break down and become active and could be spread on the bus, or in the delivery room, or while visiting a hospital. We just don’t know. I don’t think people are getting chest x-rays. We are very low on the skin testing material, so I don’t know if it’s all been used up testing these entrants, or whether we just don’t have any to test them with. We could have a problem of enormous proportion and just the numbers alone can overwhelm our public health resources. Just one person with active TB can overwhelm the whole public health department because of the number of people who need to be traced and followed.
I’m talking to Dr. Jane Orient. She is with Physicians for Civil Defense and Doctors for Disaster Preparedness. Her website is physiciansforcivildefense.org. So what do you think that we should be doing about this? What seems logical from a public policy perspective?
Well, I think we need to do what Hungary has done and that is to build a wall so that the people who are coming into the country can be identified, traced, and properly screened–before they are put in a bus station somewhere like San Antonio. Just testing for fever is probably not adequate because maybe 15% of people who are incubating Ebola or are in the early stages of Ebola do not have a fever. Reassuring statements such as, “Well, it can’t be spread by aerosol,” are probably not true, or at least they’re not true 100% of the time. Just having one unidentified case of Ebola infecting, or potentially exposing hundreds of people, is a terrible disaster. There is no excuse whatsoever for not knowing who’s in charge of this and what measures are being taken to protect Americans.
Interesting. Again, the website is hysiciansforcivildefense.org. I’m afraid this is not being covered by the mainstream media. I hear about the measles crisis, but I don’t hear at all about this kind of existential threat, if you will, coming across the border. Dr. Orient, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.