As the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s Annual Meeting was set to begin in New Orleans last week, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals issued a notice to travelers asking those who had been in West Africa during the previous 21 days to cancel their plans and not come to Louisiana.
Together, the deans of both the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the School of Medicine issued a statement in response, posted to each school’s website, expressing their concern and disagreement with the state’s advisory.
“The city and state should be proud to welcome those that can and are fighting this epidemic,” their statement read. “Doctors working in the affected countries have the greatest need for the Ebola disease training and education provided at the Annual Meeting, which could lead to stopping the outbreak at its source, truly protecting Louisiana residents.”
“We all felt it was important to respond to the state’s advisory, which was not based on the facts of Ebola transmission,” said Dr. Pierre Buekens, dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
So far, the advisory has remained in place and likely will impact some attendees to the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting, which begins November 16.