Ebola sampling
Health workers take blood samples for Ebola virus testing at a screening tent in the local government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone. Reuters

As the Ebola virus spreads through West Africa, some conservative Americans are making eyebrow-raising comments, while doctors question whether patients are getting inadequate care just because they happen to be black Africans. In her latest column, conservative author-pundit Ann Coulter called Africa a “disease-ridden cesspool.” On Twitter, builder, reality TV figure and sometime politician Donald Trump slammed the decision to bring two American missionaries infected with Ebola home for treatment (“KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!” he railed.) Meanwhile, Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., a retired physician who says he’s “well aware of the dangers infectious diseases pose,” raised concerns last month that unaccompanied minor migrants from Central America -- where exactly zero cases have been reported -- may bring the Ebola virus to the United States.

The latest update from the World Health Organization on Wednesday reported 932 deaths and 1,711 cases in the Ebola crisis overwhelming Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Between Saturday and Monday, 108 new cases and 45 deaths were reported, according to the WHO.

Three doctors who wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday strongly hinted that the there’s no eagerness to treat West Africa’s Ebola patients with experimental drugs because they happen to live in Africa. Jeremy Farrar, David Heymann and Peter Piot wrote about how such a vaccine was quickly used five years ago in Germany on a virologist who nicked her finger with a syringe containing the same strand of Ebola spreading now through West Africa.

“It is highly likely that if Ebola were now spreading in Western countries, public-health authorities would give at-risk patients access to experimental drugs or vaccines,” they wrote, adding that experimental treatments are being given to Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, the American doctor and nurse infected with Ebola.

Brantly’s family said in a statement Tuesday that his condition has improved since being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

“I have been able to see Kent every day, and he continues to improve. I am thankful for the professionalism and kindness of Dr. [Bruce] Ribner and his team at Emory University Hospital. I know that Kent is receiving the very best medical treatment available,” said Brantly’s wife, Amber. “I am also thrilled to see that Nancy arrived safely in Atlanta today. Our families are united in our faith in Jesus, and we will walk through this recovery time together.”

But Coulter wasn’t thrilled. In her latest column, titled “Ebola Doc’s Condition Downgraded to ‘Idiotic,’” she said Brantly’s good deeds in serving West Africa’s Ebola patients were erased by the costs incurred by the two Christian charities that paid to fly him back to America. She said Brantly “would have done more good” if he practiced in an American hospital and “turned one single Hollywood power-broker to Christ.”

“Whatever good Dr. Kent Brantly did in Liberia has now been overwhelmed by the more than $2 million already paid by the Christian charities Samaritan's Purse and SIM USA just to fly him and his nurse home in separate Gulfstream jets, specially equipped with medical tents, and to care for them at one of America's premier hospitals,” she wrote.

And that’s just the “toned-down version” of Coulter’s thoughts, according to a response she wrote to a Twitter user about the column.

The conservative pundit also took a swipe at all of Africa, saying the continent was one of the “disease-ridden cesspools” that American Christians go to on mission trips to avoid fighting “the culture war” in the U.S.

Coulter is not alone in her criticism of the treatment for Brantly and Writebol. Trump took to Twitter to say that the patients shouldn’t be in the U.S., presumably over fears that they could spread the virus.

Last month, as the Ebola outbreak gained more attention, Gingrey expressed concern about the tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America possibly bringing the virus to the U.S., despite there being no cases of the disease in the Western Hemisphere. The comment registered a “Pants on Fire” rating from PolitiFact.com, the fact-checking site run by the Tampa Bay Times.

"As a physician for over 30 years, I am well aware of the dangers infectious diseases pose. In fact, infectious diseases remain in the top 10 causes of death in the United States. … Reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote July 7 to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Experts told PolitiFact that it’s highly improbable for any of the children to have Ebola.

"It’s very, very, highly unlikely if you are talking about someone from Central America who has not traveled to Africa," said Ebola expert, microbiologist and immunologist Thomas W. Geisbert of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Even if an infected African attempted to illegally enter the United States, he would most likely be too sick to make the journey or would die along the way.

"The incubation period is two to 21 days, so theoretically, an African could fly from an infected area, land in a Mexican airport, take a bus toward the border, hire a coyote to take him across and then ‘present’ with Ebola," said Thomas Fekete, section chief for infectious diseases at the Temple University School of Medicine. “But this presupposed a suicidal person who also has the resources for this kind of travel.”