While the CDC has assured us that we don’t need to worry about Ebola here in the United States, at the same time, it seems that the government is quietly hiring people to screen for the disease at an American airport. It’s certainly not impossible that Ebola could spread to the United States. After all, the World Health Organization did declare the DRC Ebola outbreak an international emergency.
Although they are no longer taking applications, three weeks ago Caduceus Healthcare posted the following ad seeking “entry-level” employees for Dulles International Airport, just outside of Washington, DC.
To screen passengers that have traveled back from Ebola affected nations. This will include checking vital signs, temperature and having passengers fill out questionnaires. This will include tracking and reporting all recovered results.
Have a current and unrestricted EMT License
Must be a US citizen or Green Card holder
Here’s a screenshot of the advertisement just in case it gets memory-holed, because we all know how that goes.
It’s important to understand how viruses like Ebola can turn into pandemics. Here’s a hypothetical example.
Is this for real?
The Epoch Times contacted Caduceus Healthcare and spoke to an official at the company.
“We’re a contractor with the federal government; we saw a proposal that came out looking for MPs, PAs, and public health advisers to be at a couple of main hubs at airports,” Jared Beuther, an official at Caduceus Healthcare, told The Epoch Times.
“The federal government put out a proposal bid because our company has worked closely with the CDC before and then emergency response, being able to provide them physicians.”
“The proposal went out last week, before that they were just reaching out to see if any companies were interested in that position,” Beuther noted. (source)
You know, just casually checking travelers for a deadly hemorrhagic disease. No biggie.
It isn’t just isolated to Washington DC, either.
In the Epoch Times’ very thorough report, they discovered that the Los Angeles Public Department of Health is also looking for someone to handle a potential Ebola outbreak.
The Program Specialist (PS), Public Health Nurse (PHN) in the Hospital Outbreak and Biothreat Response Unit, under the direction of the ACDC physician, will be responsible for leading all components of outbreak investigations that occur in the acute care hospital setting, providing recommendations for outbreak control, and follow-up of infection prevention measures implemented to prevent further disease transmission.
Essential Job Functions
Oversee all aspects of outbreak investigations that occur in the acute care hospital setting.
Coordinate, direct and manage activities for outbreak investigations, including collecting, organizing, and interpreting clinical and laboratory data, leading site visits, and coordinating laboratory specimens and environmental sampling.
Develop and write recommendations, letters, and comprehensive investigation reports for outbreak control to facilities.
Prepare reports summarizing investigations, surveillance trends within Los Angeles County, and other correspondence as needed.
Lead meetings with facilities and provide technical expertise on communicable disease issues such as healthcare-associated infections (HAI), infection control, multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs), medical device-associated infections, contaminated products, and emerging infectious diseases to healthcare personnel.
Collaborate and consult with professional organizations and local, state and federal government agencies, such as the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), Health Facilities Licensing and Certification, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Develop and update hospital outbreak investigation policies and procedures and infection prevention and control guidelines based on healthcare community standards of practice, established outbreak investigation activities and the Public Health Nursing Practice Model.
Participate in local, state and national committees that support control and prevention of hospital outbreaks.
Support outbreak prevention and control activities in acute care facilities
Directly supervise an Assistant Program Specialist (APS) and provide cross-coverage for biothreat responses (e.g. Ebola, anthrax, botulism, smallpox).
Must currently be a permanent Los Angeles County employee who holds the payroll item of Program Specialist, Public Health Nurse. (source)
And of course, here’s another screenshot for the inevitable moment when they take down the post and a bunch of people start screaming in the comments that I made this up.
New York City is likewise concerned.
The Epoch Times reports:
New York City and state health departments carried out a full Ebola drill on April 30 with a mock Ebola patient, noting in a press release, “Given the current outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history with over 1,100 confirmed cases and 700 deaths, it is critical that the healthcare system is prepared to handle an actual case of Ebola or other infectious disease threat. Despite this critical need for readiness, federal funding for Ebola preparedness is set to expire in 2020, placing the future of these emergency response capabilities in jeopardy.”
New York carried out its drill a full month before 13 African migrant families that crossed the U.S. southern border moved permanently to New York City. (source)
And there seems to be a trend of drills happening right before the real thing happens, doesn’t there?
How worried should we be?
Honestly, I’m surprised they haven’t done this sooner. Ever since the last Ebola scare, I’ve been troubled by the apparent lack of concern about these types of deadly diseases being passed on by travelers.
At this time, there are no active cases of Ebola in the United States of which we know. There have been some concerning stories about migrant families from Ebola-prone regions crossing our Southern border without much in the way of medical assessment, however, and at this time, I’ve only seen evidence of Dulles International looking for medical professionals to assess travelers for potential Ebola.
But before you panic and go into lockdown, you should understand that at this point, right now, today as I am writing this article, the current Ebola outbreak has been found mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo with a small handful of cases in Uganda.
This doesn’t mean it could never happen here but it means, for now, things are okay. It would be wise to compare your preps to this article about pandemic readiness and invest in this excellent book, Prepping for a Pandemic. As well, check out my book, Be Ready For Anything, which has some specific pandemic recommendations as well as general preparedness advice. This is one of those things that could happen suddenly but may never happen at all.
However, when the government becomes publicly concerned, I always pay a little more attention and wonder what they know that we do not.