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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul. (Reuters/Joe Skipper)

Concern over the spread of the Ebola virus in the United States is “way overblown” right now thanks to panic induced by mainstream media and the federal government, according to former Republican congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Paul, known for his conservative libertarian stances against many forms of government intervention, said during an interview with Larry King’s ‘Politicking,’ which airs on RT America, that while Ebola is serious, he is “concerned about the hysterical reaction we’re getting.”

“I think it’s important, but I think it’s way overblown. In comparison to other things, I think there are some other medical things that we ought to worry about,” Paul said, adding that Tuberculosis and HIV, to name two examples, are still very serious illnesses that are much more common than Ebola.

Asked to speak on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head Thomas Frieden’s comment that Ebola is the worst public health crisis since AIDs, Paul said any comparison between the two is “premature.”

“If he thinks [the latest Ebola outbreak] is as serious as AIDS, maybe, maybe someday we might look back and see it,” he said. “But right now, I don’t think it comes anywhere close. [AIDS] is a pandemic. [The US is] still losing 15,000 a year [to AIDS], and it’s really controllable if people understand the way AIDS is spread.”

Paul said the Obama’s administration’s decision to send thousands of US military troops to West Africa, the epicenter of the Ebola outbreak, was an odd but typical way for the US to address a medical crisis.

“We’re such a militant country. We get ourselves into all kinds of troubles economically and on foreign policy. And always the answer is military, military, and drop some bombs,” he said. “If anything, it could increase the chance of [Ebola] being spread.”

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U.S. President Barack Obama (Reuters / Kevin Lamarque)

Paul lamented the hysteria over Ebola especially prevalent on cable news networks in the US.

“Right now, I think the panic is much more dangerous and will cause more harm than the disease itself.”

The former congressman added that government regulatory structures in the US have impeded the pharmaceutical industry’s progress in developing drugs to combat Ebola.

“In many ways, the government obstructs and prevents these things from happening, and I resent that somebody who is dying from cancer or an infection has to get bureaucratic permission from the government to say, ‘Yeah, I want to take a risk,’” he said. “That should be between the doctor and patient.”

Read more at RT News

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