A well-known former Johns Hopkins University neurosurgeon recently criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for bringing two Ebola infected missionaries to the United States for treatment, arguing that bringing such a highly infectious disease to the country is "too risky."
Dr. Benjamin Carson, a possible 2016 presidential hopeful, made his comments in an interview with Newsmax TV:
"Why would we bring that into our country? Why would we expose ourselves when we already know that there are problems that can occur and have occurred," asked Carson.
"Ebola is a terrifying disease. If you don't treat it, close to 90 percent of the people will die," he continued.
Carson's comments were made in reference to two missionaries, Dr. Ken Brantly, 33, who works with Samaritan's Purse and Nancy Writebol, 59, an aid worker with SIM, who are both being treated in an isolation unit set up at Emory University Hospital in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, after being infected with the deadly virus while working in Liberia. Several days later, both were flown to the United States after receiving doses of an emergency trial serum called ZMapp and are reportedly improving.
However, Dr. Carson believes it was foolish to treat the two missionaries in the United States.
"I'm a little concerned that we're bringing it back here. I think we have the ability to treat it in other places," said Carson.
"The reason I would be concerned about bringing it back here is because it is transmitted primarily through bodily fluids. And it can actually survive outside of the host, outside of the body for several days at least. Which means that, let's say a container or urine or vomit or whatever for whatever reason, gets disseminated into the public, you got a big problem," he noted.
"Why do we even risk such a thing when we can send experts elsewhere? We can send a plane equipped to handle this somewhere to land. We can create parts of a hospital somewhere. We have lots of options," explained Carson.
Dr. Carson noted that he would have treated both patients in Liberia, and not risked bringing the disease to the United States: "I certainly would treat it where it is and then once we have cured the individuals, bring them back with open arms."
"It is a highly contagious disease and all it requires is infractions in some procedures and all of a sudden you got more spread, and that's what I am afraid of," said Carson.