DENVER | Sen Mark Udall on Saturday called for a flight ban on all people being monitored by exposure to the Ebola virus. But he continued to resist calls for an end to all travel from the three West African countries where the outbreak started.
Udall, a Democrat, is locked in a tough re-election campaign against U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, who like many other Republicans has called for a ban on travel to the United States from West Africa. President Barack Obama has opposed that idea, but some Democrats competing in this election — like Sen Kay Hagan of North Carolina or Michelle Nunn, who is running for an open Senate seat in Georgia — have supported a broad ban.
Udall has argued that politicians should not get involved in the crisis and opposes a ban on African travel unless public health authorities support it.
On Saturday morning, though, Udall issued a more domestically oriented proposal. He called for the Transportation Security Administration and the Centers for Disease Control to prevent anyone being monitored for Ebola exposure by the CDC from boarding a plane. A nurse who had treated an African immigrant who died at a Dallas hospital had flown to Cleveland while being monitored by the CDC. She had a minor fever at the time, but she is now under quarantine with a full-fledged version of the virus.
Ebola patients are only contagious when they are exhibiting symptoms.
“If you’re being monitored for exposure to Ebola, it’s for a reason — and it’s the same reason you shouldn’t be on an airline flight,” Udall said in a statement.
Udall also called for ramped-up production of an experimental drug that has been used to treat Ebola.