Gov. Andrew Cuomo told radio listeners today that New Yorkers have no cause to fear an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus that is ravaging west Africa, even after a man in Dallas has been diagnosed with the disease.
Speaking on the Capitol Pressroom program, Mr. Cuomo said that his administration had held meetings with federal health officials to prepare for the contingency of an Ebola infection in New York City. He added, however, that there is no immediate cause for New Yorkers to break out in sweats and shakes.
“There is no reason whatsoever any New Yorker should have any concern, beyond a general concern,” Mr. Cuomo said.
The governor suggested the greatest chance for contamination with the virus–which can be transmitted in bodily fluids ranging from sweat to feces, and causes breakdown of the internal organs and bleeding from orifices–would be through an infected person passing through one of New York City’s airports.
“We are New York, and people travel through New York and through New York’s airports. We are an international center,” Mr. Cuomo said, adding that his administration has already taken pre-emptive steps to prevent an epidemic from breaking out.
The governor, however, did not provide any details as to what those steps are.
The governor’s assurances came almost simultaneously with the announcement that an individual is receiving treatment for a possible Ebola infection in Washington, D.C. The Dallas case, where the patient has been confirmed to have Ebola, involves a Liberian-born man who traveled through Washington to visit family in Texas — officials in that state warn that he may have had contact with as many as 100 people before being quarantined.
An American freelancing as a cameraman for NBC News in Liberia, meanwhile, has also been confirmed to have Ebola — and the network will be flying him to the U.S. for treatment, as well as evacuating and quarantining its entire crew in the country, including Chief Medical Editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman.
The virus has killed more than 3,300 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Guinea and Nigeria–the worst outbreak of the illness in history.
There was a brief scare in New York early in August, after a man who had recently visited west Africa was admitted to Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital exhibiting some symptoms of the disease. It, however, turned out to be a false alarm and the man tested negative for the virus.