Volume 92, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



There is an unprecedented epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in west Africa. There has been a strong response from dedicated health professionals. However, there have also been irrational and fear-based responses that have contributed to misallocation of resources, stigma, and deincentivizing volunteers to combat Ebola at its source. Recently, the State of Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued a ban on those coming from affected countries wishing to attend the annual meetings of American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and the American Public Health Association, both of which were held in New Orleans. We argue against such policies, question evidence and motivations, and discuss their practical and ethical implications in hampering effective responses to EVD by the scientific community. We aim to shed light on this issue and its implications for the future of public health interventions, reflect on the responsibility of health providers and professional societies as advocates for patients and the public health, and call for health professionals and societies to work to challenge inappropriate political responses to public health crises.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Department of Health and Hospitals, State of Louisiana, 2014. ASTMH Conference Attendees. Available at: http://sherwood-astmh.informz.net/InformzDataService/OnlineVersion/Public?mailingInstanceId=4362069. Accessed November 19, 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. WHO Ebola Response Team, 2014. Ebola virus disease in West Africa–the first 9 months of the epidemic and forward projections. N Engl J Med 371: 14811495.[Crossref]
    [Google Scholar]
  3. WHO, 2014. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan's Remarks to the Security Council Meeting on Ebola. Available at: http://www.un.org/ebolaresponse/pdf/WHO.pdf. Accessed November 19, 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Medecins Sans Frontieres, 2014. Ebola: Quarantine Can Undermine Efforts to Curb Epidemic. Available at: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/article/ebola-quarantine-can-undermine-efforts-curb-epidemic. Accessed October 27, 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Hagan E, 2014. My Name Is Not Ebola: African Children Bullied at School. Available at: http://nypost.com/2014/10/27/my-name-is-not-ebola-african-children-bullied-at-school/. Accessed October 27, 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014. Interim US Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Potential Ebola Virus Exposure. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/exposure/monitoring-and-movement-of-persons-with-exposure.html. Accessed November 19, 2014.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Received : 14 Dec 2014
  • Accepted : 18 Dec 2014
  • Published online : 04 Feb 2015
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error