PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dom Giordano talked to Congressman Chris Smith from New Jersey’s Fourth District about the Ebola crisis and why it is a threat Americans need to worry about.
Smith said this outbreak is different from other Ebola breakouts in Africa over the last 40 years, and taking action is critical.
“These kinds of epidemics need to be aggressively fought against. This is not the first time Ebola has manifested itself in Africa. The first, at least that we know of, was in 1976. But the number of deaths and cases exceeds all the outbreaks, years to date, combined, and the fear that somebody might bring it in to the United States by way of a flight coming in from those areas is huge,” he stated.
He responded to criticism from conservatives who oppose sending additional money to African nations to help them combat the outbreak.
“Disease knows no boundaries or borders. Pandemics, whether they be highly contagious — Bush did yeoman’s work on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis, and still people die from those terrible diseases –but these infectious diseases that can catch like wildfire, like what we’re seeing in California with the fires ablaze, they need to be stopped immediately and aggressively, or else by a cough or some other contact, it spreads,” Smith said.
Smith was emphatic that the United States cannot lock the disease out.
“With trade being what it is, even if an American didn’t go to Monrovia tomorrow — and of course, there are thousands of Americans in Monrovia — Europeans might, others might, Africans who are part of the diaspora, visiting family, and it only takes one to bring it here…To seek cuts in pandemic funding that came out of this administration is not just worrisome. If we’re going to spend money, do it on things that are going to make a difference,” he said.