U.S. 'Surging" In Efforts To Fight Ebola

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the United States is "surging" in its efforts to combat the spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

Tom Frieden, in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation" said the epidemic could be controlled where it is in order to best prevent it from spreading.

"We can stop it from spreading in hospitals and we can stop it in Africa [which] is really the source of the epidemic, " Frieden said. "What we do know is that we know how to stop Ebola. It's not easy but it can be done, and even in Africa. In fact, we have stopped every previous outbreak, and I'm confident we can stop this one."

The U.S. response to the crisis will be to send at least 50 experts in public health to the area affected to combat the spread of the virus, the BBC reported Sunday.

Frieden also said he was encouraged by the progress of Kent Brantly, an American doctor who contracted the virus while in Liberia and arrived in the U.S. for treatment on Saturday.

"They both gave up and dropped dead on the ground on the street of Clara Town," said resident Nema Red, referring to a district of Monrovia. Both men had shown symptoms of Ebola such as bleeding and vomiting before they died but scared locals had refused to take them to the hospital, she added.

So far, 729 people have died and over 1,300 have been infected in what is now the largest outbreak of Ebola in history. The outbreak is centered in the west African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. And U.S. officials have urged Americans not to travel to the region.

The CDC says it is highly unlikely there would be an outbreak in the U.S., even though Frieden said it's possible there could be additional cases. He said the disease spreads so quickly in Africa because there isn't good infection control and because people often touch the bodies of Ebola victims during the burial process.

"It's not going to spread widely in the U.S. Could we have another person here, could we have a case or two? Not impossible. We say in medicine never say never. But we know how to stop it here," he said.

Meanwhile, Nancy Writebol, a missionary nurse who had been treating Ebola patients in a Liberian hospital is expected to arrive in the U.S. early Tuesday.

On Sunday, leaders began arriving in the U.S. for an Africa summit with President Obama, reports CBS News correspondent Vicente Arenas. The presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone cancelled their trips.

Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Obama, said precautions are being taken.

"We are working very closely, with the CDC," Jarrett said. "We're making sure that we're going to observe any necessary protocols for screening."

Posted by: Lindsay Sax


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