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Kelly File

Ebola survivor says quarantine has negative consequences

This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," October 29, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: In August of this year, Dr. Rick Sacra was a medical missionary working in Liberia when he contracted Ebola. He was flown to the United States, he recovered, and he is now criticizing these calls to quarantine exposed health care workers.

Dr. Rick Sacra joins me tonight from Boston.  Doctor, thank you very much for being here with us.

And so, you know, we've got Kaci Hickox who is saying, she does not deserve to be quarantined, that she finds it's appalling, she says she is the one who is suffering, that self-monitoring works and that this quarantine is an overreaction. Do you agree?

DR. RICK SACRA, SURVIVED EBOLA: You know, she's not ill. She's not sick. She doesn't have a fever. She doesn't have other symptoms. And the science suggests that she's really not a risk to anyone at this time. So in that sense, yes, I support her contention. She's not a risk.  

KELLY: OK.

SACRA: The reason you confine someone is because they're a risk.  She's not a risk.  

KELLY: Here's why people are concerned about her and other workers, I think. Because, first of all in 13 percent of an Ebola cases, you have no fever. So not having a fever isn't the end-all tell-all about whether you have Ebola, right?

SACRA: I think, you know, you can't take a statistic like that in the absence of context. Sometimes people with Ebola at the end of their lives will no longer be able to mount a fever because they're so weak. So when someone arrives at the tent for treatment in West Africa and they're about to die, they may not be having a fever.

Generally, healthy people like Miss Hickox, when they develop Ebola, they will have a fever. I think they will look behind those kinds of statistics.

KELLY: OK. Understood.

Here's my next question. One of the reasons why people think these people need to be quarantined is, for example, the case of Dr. Spencer who came to the United States, who was running around New York, who claimed to authorities according to a report in the New York Post today that he had self-quarantined but then his metro card according to these officials proved that he had been running around the city and at that point, he told them, "As it turns out, I went to Brooklyn, I rode the A-train, I rode the L-train and I rode the number 1-train and I took an Uber car and by the way I went to not one, but two bowling alleys and I went out to a restaurant. And I did all of that 11 hours before I had to go into a hospital room where people couldn't get anywhere near me unless they were wearing full hazmat gear."

So people think, how could it be that you wanted to approach him at 11:00 on a Thursday morning, you had to put the protective gear on, but 11 hours earlier it was fine to bowl next to him, eat next to him and ride next to him on the subway car.  

SACRA: I think the -- you know, let's remember the case of Mr. Duncan in Texas. He lived in an apartment with multiple other family members for two and a half days while he was ill, sharing the same furniture, being in an apartment together. None of those other people --

KELLY: I know. But then that same guy gave Ebola to two medical workers who were covered head to toe.  

SACRA: Right, when he was much sicker and they were dealing with his blood and bodily fluids. I don't think anyone was dealing with Dr. Spencer's blood and bodily fluids, nobody was starting an IV on him, no one was drawing blood from him --

KELLY: Well, then how did the cameraman from NBC News get it when he wasn't dealing, you know, hand-to-hand with Ebola patients?  

SACRA: No. He was directly filming and sometimes assisting people who were doing -- dealing with burials, and that is -- let me finish. Wait now. Let me finish.  

KELLY: Listen. I'm just saying, these are the stories that get people concerned.

SACRA: At the end of life when people are dying of Ebola, that is when they are most contagious. Mr. Mukpo was filming and documenting the activities of a burial team --

KELLY: When they were most contagious. OK. Here's my other question.  

SACRA: So, that's the time when bodies are most contagious.  

KELLY: I'm not taking a position on this. I'm just telling you what people, you know, what our viewers tell me and what has them concerned and why they think, OK, the quarantine is good and they don't much care about the nurse's inconvenience.

Here's what Dr. Frieden said about the nurse -- remember Amber Vincent, the second nurse down in Dallas, the one who we found out flew from Dallas to Ohio and back to Dallas. When he was asked about whether that was appropriate -- and keep in mind she was not showing the symptoms, she was starting to feel ill, but the CDC had given her permission to fly back initially because the fever was there but lower than the standard -- this is what he said in retrospect about her travel. Listen.  

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, OCT. 15)

DR. TOM FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: The second health care worker reported no symptoms and no fever, however because at that point she was in a group of individuals known to have exposure to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airliner.  

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KELLY: Isn't that an admission that putting yourself in a crowded field whether it's a commercial airline or a subway train or a restaurant is potentially dangerous and should not be allowed and therefore supports a quarantine of the type imposed?

SACRA: Again, I don't feel there's any science to back this up. I don't know how many people on the flight have become ill now. Do you know how many? From the plane?

KELLY: I'm questioning you with what Dr. Frieden -- I'm not a medical doctor. He is the head of the CDC. He's saying she had no business on a commercial airplane.  

SACRA: That's because she did not have a normal temperature. She was 99.5.

KELLY: He didn't say that. He said she had no fever. He said she shouldn't have been doing it because she had been exposed to Ebola patients.  

SACRA: Right, because she was part of a group of people -- because we already knew one of those nurses had become sick. So, we know that there was not just potential exposure or of someone in a hazmat suit doing everything properly, but we know that somehow there was an exposure with that patient.  

KELLY: OK, understood.

SACRA: So she goes into a higher risk group.  

KELLY: Listen, Dr. Sacra, thank you for all of our efforts and it takes a lot of guts to go over there and helps such very sick people, we're sorry that you contracted the disease. We're glad you're well tonight.  And thanks for being here with us.  

SACRA: Well, thank you.

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