The House Foreign Affairs Committee is now holding a special subcommittee hearing on the ongoing Ebola outbreak in Africa. Members of the committee interrupted their August recess to hold a hearing on the critical issue hearing important testimony from disease experts.
The hearing is chaired by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).
Reported by Caroline May, 5:00 PM: After the hearing Ken Isaacs, Vice President of Program and Government Relations for Samaritan’s Purse elaborated on his testimony.
Isaacs was complementary of the Obama administration’s participation in helping to get his organizations’ workers out of the region.
He added they are “deeply grateful.”
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 4:33 PM: Isaacs ended the hearing with a somber tone, warning members of Congress to take the Ebola threat seriously.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 4:28 PM: Dr. Frank Glover, a missionary from from the SIM International Mission Organization told members of Congress that there was a serious risk among health workers who were not properly protected from the disease.
Reported by Caroline May, 4:27 PM: The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden brushed off concerns that the Ebola virus could come through the United States’ southern border, Thursday after testifying about the threat of Ebola before a House panel.
Frieden, during the press conference, also avoided answering Breitbart News’ questions about the U.S. cities in which there have been patients tested for Ebola.
When asked again by Breitbart News to name the cities, Frieden responded, “I would have to get back to you.”
In his testimony before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa Wednesday, Frieden said that the five patients that were tested for Ebola turned out to have other ailments including malaria and the flu.
Frieden added that the U.S. has enough supplies to treat potential victims in the U.S.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 4:13 PM: Isaacs said that the Drudge Report drives “panic” about the disease.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 4:03 PM: Isaacs said that part of the problem was the customary burial practices in the African countries.
Isaacs said that his workers had experienced violence after they tried to sanitize the dead corpses before the burial ceremonies.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 3:59 PM: Ken Isaacs, the Program and Government Relations Vice President of Samaritans Purse, one of the first organizations on the scene of the epidemic, was highly critical of the world response to the threat.
Isaacs is also the former director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 3:39 PM: During the hearing, Williams admitted that she did not have the exact date of diplomatic cables from embassies in Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia about the ebola crisis.
Williams awkwardly checked her notes for the dates, but ended up having to take the question.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 3:25 PM: Frieden said that if a patient was not sick with Ebola they could not infect other people.
He added that all of the airlines had been provided detailed advice on what to do should they discover that one of their passengers had been infected.
Reported by Caroline May, 3:24 PM: Frieden addressed five of the suspected Ebola cases in the U.S. that turned out to be health issues other than the feared virus. According to the CDC director, two of the cases were malaria diagnoses, one was influenza and the other two were “something else.”
There is “no way to diagnose Ebola without a laboratory test,” he explained.
Reported by Caroline May, 3:17 PM: Of new experimental drugs to combat Ebola, Freiden said the “U.S. government is looking at this very carefully” but that he doesn’t want “any false hope out there.”
He added that the new drugs are difficult to use and that basic supportive care should be in place before any new drugs are considered.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 3:10 PM: Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Bureau of African Affairs Bisa Williams explained during the that its difficult to stop the virus from spreading beyond some African countries, especially since some were faced with growing security problems.
Reported by Jonathan Strong, 3:09 PM: Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) is appearing in the hearing despite not being a member of the subcommittee, a sign of how importantly he is treating the issue.
According to his spokesman, Dan Scandling, Wolf was asked by the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), to appear, in part because of his expertise and position on the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.
The origin of the rare August hearing came from conversations between Wolf, Smith and Ken Isaacs, who oversees all international relief projects for Samaritan’s Purse, Scandling said.
Wolf and Smith are also close friends.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 3:02 PM: CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden explained that the United States is preparing to deal with the Ebola threat on American soil.
Reported by Caroline May, 2:58 PM: Ebola can be stopped, but the fight will not be easy the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden testified before a House panel Thursday.
Frieden continued that if the disease is confronted with strategies that work it can be stopped but that it “won’t be quick and it won’t be easy” due to the need to pay attention to detail.
According Frieden the current outbreak is “unprecedented” because it is the largest to date, multinational, the first outbreak in West Africa, harder to control and it is the first time the United States has dealt with the disease in country.
He also noted that the CDC is at its highest level of response to stop the outbreak and will increase personnel to take on the outbreak. And explained that while there is not sure cure to date, there are ways to cope with the disease.
Reported by Charlie Spiering, 2:44 PM: Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) criticized the Obama administration underestimating the Ebola outbreak in Africa.
Wolf said that he spent a great deal of time contacting the White House, the State Department, the Center for Disease Control, the Department of Health and Human Services, to make sure that the threat was being properly addressed.