ON SUNDAY scientists and physicians from around the world will be descending on New Orleans for the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), the world's leading convention on tropical diseases. The auspiciously timed gathering will include a number of high-profile sessions about Ebola, which promise to aid efforts to contain the disease. So it seems rather odd that an e-mail sent to participants only days before the event warned that anyone who has travelled to Ebola-affected countries within the last 21 days should best stay away. "We see no utility in you travelling to New Orleans to simply be confined to your room," said an e-mail from representatives of the state of Louisiana.
This restriction will affect scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO). They include Piero Olliaro, a tropical-disease expert from WHO, who had been scouting in Guinea for sites to run clinical trials of Ebola drugs. He was supposed to be co-chairing a session, giving two talks and presenting six posters. He is now racing to find someone to replace him.
This is only the latest—and perhaps most egregious—example of...Continue reading