Ebola policies that hinder epidemic response by limiting scientific discourse

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene








Copyright © 2015 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 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.