calls its Ebola response the right strategy at home, abroad
Send a link to a friend
[November 13, 2014]
By David Morgan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama
administration tried to assure skeptical members of the U.S. Senate on
Wednesday that its efforts to combat Ebola were showing progress and
urged lawmakers to approve $6.2 billion in new emergency funds to
contain the deadly virus.
"We believe we have the right strategy in place, both at home and
abroad," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell
told the Senate Appropriations Committee.
She said a $1 billion-plus U.S. response in West Africa has already
begun to show "fragile and fluid" progress to contain infection and
assured senators that "we are confident that we can limit the number
of cases in the United States."
The administration's funding request, which includes $1.2 billion to
protect Americans from Ebola at home, won support from Democrats,
while Republicans claimed that the public and state governments had
lost confidence in federal authorities after a series of missteps by
U.S. health officials.
"What we have witnessed these past few months from various agencies
has been confusing and at times contradictory," said Senator Richard
Shelby, the committee's top Republican.
The hearing began just after the World Health Organization announced
the death toll from the largest ever Ebola outbreak had topped 5,000
cases, nearly all in West Africa. The deadly virus has now infected
more than 14,000 people.
In the United States, Ebola has spawned a debate over preparedness,
including whether to restrict the movements of people returning from
the West Africa hot zone.
Thomas Eric Duncan of Liberia, the first Ebola case on U.S. soil,
died last month in a Dallas hospital while two of his nurses became
infected. The nurses both survived, as did Dr. Craig Spencer, who
returned to New York City from treating Ebola patients in Guinea
before developing symptoms. He has since been declared Ebola free.
[to top of second column]
Duncan's family said on Wednesday it had reached a settlement with
the hospital that treated him. The settlement includes financial
support for the family, but the amount was not revealed.
Thousands of nurses across the United States also staged protest
rallies and strikes over what they say is insufficient protection
for health workers dealing with patients possibly stricken with
The committee's Democratic chair, Senator Barbara Mikulski, asked
Burwell if she was confident doctors and nurses have been given
"That is what we are working to do," Burwell said, adding a
quarter-million health workers have participated in federally
sponsored Ebola events.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by John Whitesides, Lisa
Shumaker and Cynthia Osterman)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.