US President Barack Obama has described the West Africa Ebola outbreak as spiraling out of control.
Following a meeting with top US public health officials the president announced several measures to help contain the epidemic including ordering 3,000 troops to the region and the building of new healthcare facilities.
Obama said the deadly virus which has killed nearly two and a half thousand people was a threat to global security:
“Now here’s the hard truth. In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the like we have not seen before. IT is spiraling out of control, it is getting worse, it’s spreading faster and exponentially.”
The US Senate has held a special hearing on how to respond to Ebola outbreak. Lawmakers said ‘war’ should be declared on the deadly virus following criticism from an Ebola survivor.
Dr. Kent Brantly was infected with the virus while working in West Africa. He was brought back to the US and treated with an experimental serum for the disease soon after he was diagnosed. But he told the hearing there was no time to wait for a vaccine – the problem was here and now.
“There has been intense media attention and increased awareness of the situation on the ground in West Africa. The response to date, however, has remained sluggish and unacceptably out of step with the scope and the size of the problem now before us,” Dr Kent Brantly said before a Senate panel.
The ramping up of the US response to the worst Ebola outbreak on record comes after repeated calls for governments to step in and help West African countries whose healthcare systems have been overwhelmed by the epidemic.
China has also stepped up its assistance to Sierra Leone sending a 59-member laboratory team. Their presence adds to the 115 medical experts China has already sent to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.