Murphy: Ebola doctors should be quarantined after arriving in US

Murphy: Ebola doctors should be quarantined after arriving in US
© Greg Nash

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) is renewing calls for a mandatory three-week quarantine for any health worker who treats Ebola and then returns to the United States.

Murphy’s statement came hours after an American doctor was diagnosed with the disease in New York City. Craig Spencer, 33, had treated Ebola patients in Guinea with the global nonprofit Doctors Without Borders.

He said the U.S. must "take every necessary precaution to prevent the spread of Ebola virus here in the United States by implementing a mandatory 21-day quarantine period for returning healthcare workers who have had direct exposure to patients."

City officials said Spencer had spent "most of his time" self-isolating himself in his apartment in Harlem. Still, he had been with three friends, taken an Uber, rode the subway and visited a bowling alley.

The issue of healthcare workers exposed to Ebola first became an issue earlier this month, after two nurses unexpectedly became infected with the disease. One of those nurses had flown on a commercial flight hours before she reported symptoms.

One of her colleagues, who did not ultimately become infected, also raised alarm after she boarded an international cruise ship.

Murphy, who has a degree in clinical psychology, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration's response to Ebola. 

He has repeatedly called for stricter guidelines for people who have had exposure to Ebola, such as doctors and nurses overseas. Murphy pitched the idea of a quarantine in an op-ed published Thursday by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In addition to the 21-day quarantine, Murphy also called for travel restrictions, "stepped-up training and protection for health-care workers," vaccine development and a "more aggressive" response from federal agencies when tackling the disease.

He was also one of nearly two dozen GOP doctors who have urged Obama to create travel bans and have demanded more details about the president's plan to contain Ebola worldwide.