Date
20 November 2017
US Centers for Disease Control director Thomas Frieden (left) speaks with Guinean President Alpha Conde during a meeting on the Ebola crisis. Photo: Reuters
US Centers for Disease Control director Thomas Frieden (left) speaks with Guinean President Alpha Conde during a meeting on the Ebola crisis. Photo: Reuters

US vows rapid response to Ebola as WHO issues dire warning

United States health authorities will help hospitals respond within two hours whenever there is an Ebola case.

The move is part of plans to field rapid-response teams to hospitals and clinics dealing with suspected infections, the report said, citing the head of a government agency leading the fight against the deadly virus.

The announcement came as the World Health Organization predicted that three impoverished countries in West Africa — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea — could see as many as 10,000 new cases per week by early December, according to Reuters.

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged lapses in the treatment for Liberian man in Dallas in late September and stressed th importance of a rapid reaction team. 

“I wish we had put a team like this on the ground the day the first patient was diagnosed … but we will do that from today onward with any case in the US,” he said.

“We will be there, hands on, within hours, helping hospitals with the situation if there is another case.”

A nurse who contracted Ebola from the Liberian patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, in a Dallas hospital said on Tuesday she was doing well.

Frieden said 76 people were still being monitored in the Dallas area. The nurse, Nina Pham, 26, is “in good condition”, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said in a statement.

President Barack Obama, addressing defense chiefs from about 20 countries, said “the world as a whole is not doing enough” to combat the hemorrhagic fever and must stop it at its source.

Health authorities say the outbreak in West Africa is the worst on record with at least 4,447 dead. An unrelated outbreak has killed more than 40 people in Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Ebola, which can cause fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea, spreads through contact with bodily fluids such as blood or saliva.

The Dallas nurse, Pham, became the first person infected by Ebola in the United States while caring for Duncan for much of his 11 days in the hospital. He died on Oct. 8.

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RC/RA

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