The Huffington Post ran an Associated Press story attacking Sen. Rand Paul under the headline, “Rand Paul Contradicts Experts, Says Ebola Is ‘Incredibly’ Contagious.”
The story starts:
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky told a group of college students Wednesday the deadly virus Ebola can spread from a person who has the disease to someone standing three feet away and said the White House should be honest about that.
His comments directly conflict with statements from world health authorities who have dealt with Ebola outbreaks since 1976. (Emphasis added.)
This, unfortunately for HuffPo and the AP, is not true.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has “Interim Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Ebola Virus Disease Exposure,” listed on their website. Under the heading, “Definitions used in this document,” the CDC lists “Close contact.”
The official definition of “close contact” from the CDC read:
Close contact is defined as
a) being within approximately 3 feet (1 meter) of an EVD patient or within the patient’s room or care area for a prolonged period of time (e.g., health care personnel, household members) while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment (i.e., standard, droplet, and contact precautions; see Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations); or
b) having direct brief contact (e.g., shaking hands) with an EVD patient while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment.
Brief interactions, such as walking by a person or moving through a hospital, do not constitute close contact.
What Paul said was, “You’re not going to get AIDS at a cocktail party. No one’s going to cough on you and you’re going to get AIDS. Everybody knows that. That’s what they make it sound exactly like. But then you listen to them closely, they say you have to have direct contact. But you know how they define direct contact? Being within three feet of someone.”
Paul, by the CDC’s own guidelines, was speaking the truth.
HuffPo/AP reported, “World health authorities have been clear that Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with bodily fluids, and that blood, vomit and feces carry the most virus.” That is in direct contradiction to the CDC.