UPDATE 1-Fears grow in United States over Ebola's spread outside West Africa

Thu Oct 9, 2014 5:11pm EDT
 
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(Adds U.S. security secretary on international airport screening, Hazmat suit maker shares surge, Texas deputy tests negative, Wisconsin jail incident, paragraphs 5-16)

By Laila Kearney and Patricia Zengerle

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON Oct 9 (Reuters) - Fears are growing in the United States about Ebola with about 200 airline cabin cleaners walking off the job in New York and some lawmakers demanding the government ban travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by the virus.

"The nation is frightened, and people are frightened of this disease," the U.S. cabinet secretary for health, Sylvia Burwell, said on Thursday, a day after the death in Texas of the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell told a news conference that people were frightened because Ebola "has a very high mortality rate. They're frightened because they need to learn and understand what the facts are about that disease."

As the government prepares to start screening passengers from West Africa for fever at five major airports over the next week, cleaners at New York's LaGuardia Airport staged a one-day work stoppage over what they say is insufficient protection for workers whose jobs include cleaning up vomit and bathrooms. The cleaners will return to work Thursday night.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said the goal was to expand airport screenings for Ebola internationally to "as many different checkpoints as possible."

The Ebola virus causes hemorrhagic fever and is spread through direct contact with body fluids from an infected person, who would suffer severe bouts of vomiting and diarrhea.

"We are always with feces and near garbage," Sharekul Islam, 20, whose job cleaning airplane cabins at New York's John F. Kennedy airport regularly exposes him to the type of waste and fluids that can transmit Ebola.   Continued...