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Lawmakers to HHS: Why Are Ebola Warnings Getting More Dire?

Lawmakers to HHS: Why Are Ebola Warnings Getting More Dire?

Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are calling on the Department of Health and Human Services for more information about administration’s assertion that the Ebola outbreak is worsening and what is being done to protect the U.S. from the outbreak.

“While U.S. public health officials have offered assurances — both publicly and during briefings with committee staff — that the Ebola outbreak can be controlled, they are expressing increasingly dire warnings about its growth and the need for quick, decisive action,” the six House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, including committee chair Fred Upton (R-MI) wrote in a letter to HHS Sec. Sylvia Burwell Friday.

What is being called the worst Ebola outbreak ever has claimed more than 2,200 lives in West Africa and lawmakers say they want to be certain the U.S. is prepared to protect against the epidemic. 

“In recent days, officials have warned that the emergency response thus far has not contained the outbreak and must be ‘vastly increased and accelerated’ immediately to avoid missing a closing ‘window of opportunity’ to control the deadly virus,” they wrote. 

“Last week, Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warned that the Ebola virus is ‘spiraling out of control’ and ‘moving faster than anyone anticipated,'” the letter continued. 

The committee members requested HHS tell them by Sept. 26, why the administration’s warnings have become more dire, the problems to date with containment, the protocols to respond to Ebola in the U.S., how federal funding have been spend to combat Ebola, the current risk the diseases posses to the U.S., assessments of hospitals to respond to an outbreak, as well as the status of medicine. 

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