President Barack Obama appointed former White House official Ron Klain his "Ebola czar" to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) oversee the federal government's response to the deadly virus in the United States, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.
In recent weeks CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D., has been the public face of the outbreak.
"It may be appropriate for me to appoint an additional person, not because they haven't been doing an outstanding job, really working hard on this issue, but they are also responsible for a whole bunch of other stuff," Obama told The New York Times during a press conference earlier this week.
Meanwhile, a second nurse who contracted the virus from Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., may have developed symptoms earlier than previously believed, according to CNN. Amber Vinson flew from Cleveland to Dallas Monday, but public health officials said she had not yet developed a high enough fever to be contagious.
However, Chris Braden, M.D., of the CDC told reporters yesterday, "we have started to look at the possibility that she had symptoms going back as far as Saturday...We can't rule out [that] she might have had the start of her illness on Friday." The CDC is expanding its screening to passengers who were on Vinson's original flight to Cleveland last Friday, according to the article. Another healthcare worker who may have had contact with Duncan but displays no symptoms is isolated on a cruise ship, according to Yahoo News.
A House panel this week grilled government officials, including Frieden, on how to contain the virus, according to another CNN article. Republicans on the panel called for travel restrictions on West African nations affected by the outbreak.
Frieden warned that a travel ban could exacerbate the problem by driving people in affected countries to use West Africa's porous borders to find alternate ways of getting to the U.S., which could disrupt the screening process.
Vinson and Nina Pham, the first Dallas nurse infected with the virus, have both been transferred to hospitals with special bio-containment units, indicating a policy shift in response to concerns over a potential outbreak in the U.S., according to the Los Angeles Times. Such units only have 11 beds collectively, according to ABC News.
However, 73 percent of Americans remain confident the CDC can stem the spread of the virus, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll.
To learn more:
- read the Businessweek article
- here's the Times article
- read the first CNN article
- read the second CNN article
- here's the LA Times article
- check out the ABC News article
- read the Kaiser poll
- here's the Yahoo article