Headline News: Ebola Comes to the U.S.
Here are the facts: in all, a total of 11 patients were treated for Ebola in the United States. Four of these patients were diagnosed in the U.S., and seven were diagnosed with Ebola in West Africa and transported to the U.S. for treatment. Two patients died, and nine patients survived.
It was always clear to public health professionals that a widespread Ebola epidemic would not occur in this country: our advanced healthcare and laboratory systems, our infection controls, and our public health infrastructure guaranteed that even if Ebola were imported to the U.S., it would be “stopped in its tracks.” There was no absolute guarantee, however, that some Ebola cases would not be imported to or transmitted on our shores.
In summer 2014, the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was a top international story. Media attention in the U.S. increased exponentially in August when two American healthcare workers who had been treating patients in Liberia were admitted to Emory University Hospital—walking distance from CDC headquarters. These events, followed by the death of a Liberian citizen from Ebola in Dallas, Texas, marked the start of intense scrutiny of CDC’s role in protecting the American public from threats such as Ebola, along with public fear, political theater, and constant and sometimes sensationalized media coverage.
Ebola in America: Epidemic of Fear
To understand the atmosphere in the U.S. during that time, watch Ebola in America: Epidemic of Fear, a 33-minute documentary produced by the CSIS Global Health Policy Center. It was released on April 22, 2016, by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a bipartisan, nonprofit policy research organization based in Washington, DC.