White House commits to fighting Ebola in GuineaFebruary 17, 2021
The White House said Tuesday it will do “everything in its power” to ensure a new Ebola outbreak in West Africa doesn’t spread within the region or world at large.
Guinea, where the devastating West African Ebola outbreak of 2014-2016 began, declared an outbreak over the weekend that includes at least seven cases and three deaths.
President Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, spoke to ambassadors from Guinea and nearby Liberia and Sierra Leone, which were slammed by the last outbreak of the highly lethal disease.
“Mr. Sullivan emphasized President Biden’s commitment to provide U.S. leadership to strengthen health security and create better systems for preventing, detecting, and responding to health emergencies,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Initial investigations show a nurse in Guinea died on Jan. 28. Six people who attended her funeral reported Ebola symptoms; two of them died, and the four others were hospitalized.
Ms. Psaki said the U.S. will be a leader in the global fight and cooperate with African countries and the World Health Organization — the public health arm of the U.N. that was criticized for its response to the last West African outbreak and the COVID-19 crisis.
“We cannot afford to take our foot off the gas — even as we battle COVID, we must ensure capacity and financing for health security worldwide,” Ms. Psaki said. “The United States stands ready to do everything in its power to ensure a robust global response and to stop these outbreaks.”
Ebola is a serious disease that has popped up sporadically in Africa since its discovery in the late 1970s. It is deadlier than COVID-19 but does not spread as easily.
The last West African crisis killed over 11,000 people and some cases leaked into countries across the world, including the U.S.
“The world cannot afford to turn the other way. We must do everything in our power to respond quickly, effectively, and with commensurate resources to stop these outbreaks before they become large-scale epidemics,” Ms. Psaki said.