On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Allergy and Infectious Diseases Institutes and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dismissed Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) concerns that U.S. troops being sent to West African nations with Ebola outbreaks could be in danger of contracting the disease.
On CBS’s Face the Nation, Fauci was asked about Paul’s comments last week in which he expressed concerns about Ebola spreading on ships like the “diarrhea viruses” that have ravaged cruise ships.
“I’m sorry, but that’s really not a concern,” Fauci said. “First of all, the troops that are going over there are gonna be fundamentally for logistic purposes–command, control, engineering, setting up the hospitals. They’re well trained. They will not be in direct risk in the sense of contact with individuals.”
He said that “even if they are” in contact with West Africans with Ebola, “the protocols are in place to prevent spread from there.”
Fauci said, as a result, “I don’t, and the army does not, have any real concern that those 3,000 to 4,000 are going to be in danger.”
Fauci then proceeded to discuss the many instances of “human error” at all levels that have already been discovered in the case of Thomas Duncan, the Liberian immigrant who became the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola on American soil.
After dismissing Paul’s concerns, Fauci conceded, “Certainly no one is perfect, and there will always be missteps.”
On The Laura Ingraham Show last week, Paul said the federal government may not be “making sound, rational, scientific decisions” because of political correctness.
“We also have to be concerned about 3,000 soldiers getting back on a ship. Where is disease most transmittable? When you’re at very close confines on a ship,” Paul said, adding:
We all know about cruises and how they get these diarrhea viruses that are transmitted very easily, and the whole ship gets sick. Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers gets Ebola? So I am concerned about it, and it’s a big mistake to downplay it and act as if it’s not a big deal. … This could get beyond our control.
After Paul’s remarks, an NBC cameraman was infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa, and his NBC crew decided to quarantine themselves for 21 days.