Yesterday we explained why travel restrictions were part of a plausibly effective strategy to reduce the risk of Ebola infections in the US, notwithstanding well-publicized opposition from senior government officials including President Obama. Like every other public health intervention, their effectiveness would depend on how well they were designed and implemented. But they are a critical component of the successful strategy employed by Nigeria and Senegal, and they are equally critical to how US authorities actually respond once an Ebola case has been detected. Yet for some unexplained reason, US officials refuse to apply the same logic they use to manage infection to the prevention of infected travelers from entering the country.
Today’s news is that the first Ebola case has been confirmed in New York City. The case shows why travel restrictions would be much more effective at preventing the introduction of Ebola into the US than the airport-based screening strategy adopted by the US government, which in this case failed.