I always wanted to be a globetrotter, maybe even a renowned world traveler. I’d wonder what it would be like to be aboard the Starship Enterprise and travel between galaxies and planets. Geez, I can recall feeling empowered by accepting a college education from a midwest university – it was akin to a foreign land to this East Coast sista of color! And, at the top of my wish list of travel destinations was the “Mother Land”, if for no other reason than to get a sense of my barely known ancestral roots. So, trust me when I say the notions of jet-setting around the globe has taken on new meaning for me and our steadily shrinking “wide” world. I watch in horror and dread with the new age of dangerous consequences that comes from unrestricted traveling.
A couple of weeks ago, I was watching the news and the lead story was regarding a visitor to the USA. A visitor who happened to land in my damn neighborhood at Dulles Airport and then hopped on a connecting flight to my favorite football state to hate – Texas. At the time, health officials claimed this traveler, Thomas Eric Duncan, was being closely monitored because he was infected with Ebola. Sad to say, he has since died.
My question is, “Are you kidding me?” Why isn’t the world closely monitoring international travel especially with Mr. Duncan’s port of origin being from where this epidemic is raging out of control? Yep, my Mother Land.
I am not being an alarmist, hell I fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic. I am coming not only from a passionate heart but with a generous heap of the mother-wit I’ve been blessed with, along with the experience of knowing that panic nor ignorance of facts is any good to effectively fight against a global health threat.
That being understood, for the world’s sake until we can get ahead of the Ebola crisis in the disease-ravaged West African nations struggling with this massive outbreak, all international health agencies & traveling industries must take stronger and instill more effective procedures to check into someone’s travel history. Port of call destinations while forming some type of quarantine allows for a reasonable period of time to determine if the traveler has been exposed or worst yet caring the Ebola infection.
Why? Because, Thomas Eric Duncan, showed no symptoms while flying internationally. However once state side, he became ill – which resulted in the lives of over eighty families in this country shaken to their respective cores. All for the mere fact they came in contact with “The Traveler”. And, let’s not forget the medical ambulance crew who came in connect with him while doing their JOB.
Keeping things in prospective even that eighty is a guess! So, with proverbial fingers crossed at best, these were the ONLY folks in this country who came into direct contact with the now-deceased infected man!
Using common sense (aka my good old-fashioned mother-wit), why not closely examine Duncan’s (and anyone else’s) travel history, play close attention to anybody coming from or originating from the infected countries and sequester them for a period of time so that health officials can make a reasonable determination if it’s safe for the world for this person to travel on to other countries? You know, like New York and New Jersey just did?
Now, I say to the international health agencies and tourist/travel industries, it’s time.
DO YOUR DAMN J-O-B.