Concern about the administration’s handing of the global Ebola crisis was a contributing factor in the Republican success across the country in Tuesday’s election; polls indicated Americans were more worried about the lack of a comprehensive response than they were about immigration and same-sex marriage.

It is likely this concern will remain for quite some time, especially as Americans returning from Africa are still being impacted by this pathogen.

The Iowa Department of Public Health said Thursday that 13 travelers who were in West African countries are being monitored in Iowa for Ebola.

The travelers were in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the last 21 days and are now in Iowa.

Twelve had low risk of having been exposed to Ebola in those countries health officials said, so they are being allowed to resume normal activities.

IDPH has ordered them to take their temperature twice a day and report their health status to public health.

One person had some risk of being exposed to Ebola, and has been quarantined. The person was told to stay at home and take their temperature twice daily, including at least once with a public health official observing.

Let’s hope the quarantined Iowan takes the situation more seriously than the Maine nurse who fought against restrictions based on public health concerns.

Meanwhile, one of the nurses who contracted the deadly virus while treating America’s patient zero, Thomas Duncan, is mystified as to how she became infected and resents being thrown under the bus after she boarded a flight to Ohio:

Amber Vinson says she followed all the rules when caring for an Ebola patient. So how did the Texas nurse contract the deadly virus?

“I have no idea,” she told CNN. “I go through it almost daily in my mind: what happened, what went wrong. Because I was covered completely every time. I followed the CDC protocol. … I never strayed. It is a mystery to me.”

..Shortly after Vinson’s diagnosis, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden told reporters that she shouldn’t have taken the flights.

Vinson said she felt like Frieden blamed her without any basis.

“I did what I was supposed to do, and now you’re saying I should not have flown,” she said. “You know, I checked multiple times before I even left Dallas to see if it was OK to go.”

As officials review the flawed response, questions are being raised about millions that have already been spent for epidemic prevention.

In 2006 alone, Congress gave the Department of Homeland Security an extra $47 million dollars for pandemic readiness. But a new audit by Inspector General John Roth found the agency didn’t know what equipment it had, where it was stored or if it even worked.

Nearly all of the Transportation Security Administration’s 200,000 respirators are expired.

“In fact, the department believes their entire stockpile of personal protective equipment will not be usable after 2015,” says Roth.

The current toll in Africa stands at over 13,000 cases and over 4,000 deaths. Additionally, because of the number of infections, health professionals are able to follow-up on recoveries…discovering a condition now referred to as “post-Ebola syndrome,” characterized by vision loss and long-term poor health.

It looks like the the Democrats are suffering from their own version of post-Ebola syndrome. Given the continuing crisis, response to infectious diseases may remain an important issue for the next election cycle.

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.