Ebola: Dallas Airport Worker Says He Was Ordered To Remove Protective Gear To Avoid Public Panic

Ebola concerns prompted Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport worker Pablo Medina to wear protective gloves and a mask to work on Wednesday. According to the Dallas airport worker, a supervisor “forced” him to remove the physical barriers because such gear could incite panic by the passengers.

“One of the supervisors told me I wasn’t allowed to wear that because it’ll cause a panic for people and they’ll start tripping out and stuff,” Pablo Medina told CBS News. “It makes me mad, it makes me terrified that they’re denying me to wear safety precautions. And they told me that if I go out, they’ll let me go – and that just makes me more mad.”

Pablo Medina told the media that he became concerned about contracting Ebola after learning that Dallas nurse Amber Vinson walked through the airport exit where he was working. Medina was tasked with helping to direct passengers to their respective gates the evening Vinson flew from Dallas to Ohio. Most of the ticket agents at Frontier Airlines were also reportedly wearing latex gloves on Wednesday.

If the Dallas airport worker’s claims are accurate, a supervisor at the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) International Airport threatened to fire him for “being out of uniform” if he did not remove the protective mask and rubber gloves. DFW Airport representative David Magana confirmed to CBS News that a contractor had inquired about wearing personal protection gear while working at the airport. However, Magana stated that all contractors were told that neither the local public health officials nor the CDC had deemed such barrier items as either “appropriate or effective.”

The CDC is monitoring 125 people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for possible Ebola exposure, according to the Star-Telegram. When reporters asked CDC Director Thomas Frieden if the 125 individuals should be prevented from using public transit and boarding airplanes, Frieden reportedly stated that such decision would be left up to local and state authorities. Frieden did state that individuals possibly exposed to Ebola are permitted to travel by private vehicle.

Public transmit vehicle-cleaning procedures are currently being reviewed in North Texas.

“As for our customers and employees, we continue reinforcing the same messages since the first case was reported. The risk of contracting the Ebola virus in a transit setting, compared with cold and flu viruses, is comparatively low,” Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) spokesman Morgan Lyons said. “The virus doesn’t travel through the air, like the cold and flu,” he added.

As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a CIDRAP report from the University of Minnesota appears to disagree with the airborne Ebola beliefs expressed by some experts. The researchers noted that Ebola transmission via spray from sneezing, coughing, vomiting, or blood droplets could occur.

Do you think airport workers should be allowed to wear personal protection gear? Should Ebola travel restrictions be enacted?

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