Following news Tuesday of the first confirmed Ebola case in the United States, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, issued a statement calling for the mobilization and amplification of efforts from the United States and the international community to aid West Africa in order to prevent the spread of the deadly hemorrhagic virus:
Communicable diseases do not stop at borders. While the likelihood of a major outbreak in the United States is still very unlikely, with this case, it is more clear than ever that the rapid spread of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone presents a clear and present danger not only to West Africa, but to the broader international community.
This is why I have been seeking to advance an urgent, effective, international response to the Ebola crisis. The United States must work with the African governments at ground zero, other donors, the private sector, and competent nongovernmental and international organizations to detect cases, get infected persons into isolation, and trace contacts. With every day that goes by without effective detection and isolation, the number of cases will expand exponentially. We cannot stand by as this deadly disease spreads.
A male, whose identity has not been released, arrived in Dallas, Texas from Liberia on September 20. He started showing symptoms of the virus several days later and was admitted to the Dallas-based Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on September 28. Doctors and the Center for Disease Control confirmed the patient was infected with Ebola on Tuesday.
This weekend, the West African nation of Sierra Leone placed up to 2 million people under quarantine in an effort to stop Ebola’s spread.
This month, the World Bank issued a report warning against the looming “catastrophic” economic impact the potentially-deadly Ebola virus could have on West Africa by the end of 2015 if it is not stopped. Ebola has reportedly claimed over 2,600 lives since December of 2013, an estimate the World Health Organization has said is grossly underestimated.
One Ebola expert has predicted that up to 5 million people could die.