Nurse Kaci Hickox: GOP governors exploited Ebola panic for political gain
A health worker, wearing Personal Protective Equipment, stands inside the high-risk area at Elwa hospital in Monrovia on September 7, 2014 (AFP Photo/Dominique Faget)

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who found herself in the middle of a political storm when she was quarantined on her return from west Africa despite testing negative for Ebola, has launched a blistering attack on two “overzealous” state governors, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Paul LePage of Maine, whom she accused of seeking to advance their careers at her expense.


Of the former, who is widely seen as a possible Republican nomination for president in 2016, she said: “Politicians who tell lies ... will hopefully never make it to the White House.”

Writing for the Guardian , Hickox said: “I was quarantined against my will by overzealous politicians.”

“My liberty, my interests and consequently my civil rights were ignored because some ambitious governors saw an opportunity to use an age-old political tactic: fear. Christie and my governor in Maine, Paul LePage, decided to disregard medical science and the constitution in hopes of advancing their careers.”

Hickox, who worked in Sierra Leone for Doctors without Borders, was detained at Newark Liberty international airport last month , under tough quarantine measures introduced by Christie in coordination with Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.

Held for three days in a tent with a portable toilet but no shower, she spoke out against her treatment even while in isolation .

On being released , she publicly defied an order from the state of Maine, where she lives, to remain isolated until 10 November, the end of a 21-day incubation period for a disease she did not have. Having remained a vocal critic of government policy on Ebola, she has said she plans to leave Maine.

In her piece for the Guardian, Hickox writes that Christie and LePage “bet that, by multiplying the existing fear and misinformation about Ebola – a disease most Americans know little about – they could ultimately manipulate everyone and proclaim themselves the protectors of the people by ‘protecting’ the public from a disease that hasn’t killed a single American.”

Ten people have been treated for Ebola in the US. One, Thomas Duncan, a Liberian, died. On Sunday the 10th such patient, Dr Martin Salia, from Sierra Leone but a permanent resident in Maryland, was described as “extremely ill” at a Nebraska hospital .

The disease has killed more than 5,000 people in west Africa, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“I never had Ebola,” Hickox wrote. “I tested negative for Ebola the first night I stayed in New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s private prison in Newark. I am now past the incubation period – meaning that I will not develop symptoms of Ebola.”

“I never had Ebola, so please stop calling me ‘the Ebola Nurse’ – now!”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2014