The White House administration has requested more than $6 billion in additional funding to prevent the spread of Ebola, in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
The request, submitted on Wednesday, includes $4.5 billion for the federal government's immediate response and a $1.5 billion contingency fund. President Barack Obama said the funds are necessary to target and contain the virus within West Africa as well as speed the development of treatments and vaccinations. Speedier diagnostic methods could be key to stopping the spread of the virus, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"My foremost priority is to protect the health and safety of Americans, and this request supports all necessary steps to fortify our domestic health system and prevent any outbreaks at home," Obama wrote. "Over the longer term, my Administration recognizes that the best way to prevent additional cases at home will be to contain and eliminate the epidemic at its source in Africa."
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has updated its numbers on the West Africa outbreak, putting the confirmed, probable and suspected cases at 13,042 and deaths at 4,818.
In New York, where last month a doctor returning from Africa tested positive for Ebola, city health officials are monitoring 357 asymptomatic people for signs of the deadly virus, most of whom arrived in the city from affected nations in the last 21 days, according to the Los Angeles Times. The announcement comes as Ohio health officials pronounce the state Ebola-free and Texas, where the first Ebola patient in the U.S. was diagnosed, prepares to end the last group of healthcare workers' observation period, according to the article.
Philanthropist Bill Gates says there are many lessons to be learned from the Ebola crisis, according to another Wall Street Journal article. Past crises have prompted only minor reforms, Gates said at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in New Orleans.