Pastor gets Ebola check at 2 a.m. by Tucson police

Nov 5, 2014, 7:30 PM | Updated: 7:30 pm

A Tucson pastor was woken up at 2 a.m. Sunday by two Tucson police officers who asked if he had Ebola.

“I feel like I might have been punked,” said 50-year-old Michael Petzer, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The police came to his door as a welfare check request from the University of Arizona Medical Center after a member of Petzer’s church visited the hospital with “possible Ebola symptoms” and told the hospital staff that Petzer had recently returned from Africa, according to police.

The officers then gave him a phone number, asking him to call a nurse there because a patient had told the hospital staff he had the virus.

Petzer had been in Zambia for about 10 days to train missionaries, and then returned on Sept. 6. He was past the 21-day incubation period and showed no symptoms.

According to the Arizona Daily Star, the pastor was not pleased with the ordeal, though he recognized the officers were just doing their job.

“I think this is hysteria, and zero understanding of geography,” he told the Daily Star. Located in south-central Africa, Zambia is about 2,500 miles away from the affected areas in West Africa.

Dr. Andreas Theodorou, chief medical officer at UAMC, said he agree with Petzer’s opinion but also told the Daily Star, “When a patient comes to the ER and has a fever and West African contact, it triggers the process, and we have to take it seriously.”

Still, the process was frustrating to Petzer.

“I am now in a country that has had Ebola. I traveled from a noninfected country to one (United States) where there are people in quarantine,” Petzer told the Daily Star. “I think this is an issue of public ignorance and not an issue of public health. People hear Africa, and everyone thinks ‘Ebola.’ Most Americans do not have a clue that Africa is a large continent and not a country. People have to stop the hysteria of it all.”

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Pastor gets Ebola check at 2 a.m. by Tucson police