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US takes Ebola outbreak in Africa seriously: Obama

PTI | Last Updated: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 08:57

Washington: Expressing concern over deadly Ebola virus outbreak in west African nations, US President Barack Obama has said leaders and participants of US-Africa Summit travelling to Washington next week would be screened as part of measures to stop the disease spreading in America.

"This is something that we take very seriously. As soon as there`s an outbreak anywhere in the world of any disease that could have significant effects, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is in communication with the World Health Organization and other multilateral agencies to try to make sure that we`ve got an appropriate response," Obama told reporters yesterday at a White House news conference.
Obama said this outbreak is more aggressive than seen in the past. "It is still affecting parts of three countries, and we`ve got some 50 countries represented at this summit. We are doing two things with respect to the summit itself. We`re taking the appropriate precautions," he said referring to the US-Africa Summit in Washington next week.

Folks who are coming from these countries that have even a marginal risk or an infinitesimal risk of having been exposed in some fashion, we`re making sure we`re doing screening on that end -- as they leave the country. We`ll do additional screening when they`re here. We feel confident that the procedures that we`ve put in place are appropriate," Obama said.

The CDC and various health agencies, he said, are going to be working very intently with the World Health Organization and some of the partner countries to make sure that they can surge some resources down there and organization to these countries that are pretty poor and don`t have a strong public health infrastructure so that they can start containing the problem.

Noting that Ebola is not something that is easily transmitted, he said, that is why outbreaks dissipate. "The key is identifying, quarantining, isolating those who contract it and making sure that practices are in place that avoid transmission. It can be done, but it`s got to be done in an organised, systematic way, and that means that we`re going to have to help these countries accomplish that," Obama said.
Meanwhile, the State Department, together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is facilitating a medical evacuation for two US citizens who have been infected by Ebola in West Africa. The two US citizens would be arriving through a charted plane at Dobbins Air Base in Georgia, from where the patients will be transported the medical facility for treatment.

First Published: Saturday, August 2, 2014 - 08:57
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