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CDC High Alert: Ebola Response Level Increases as Disease Spreads

Image: CDC High Alert: Ebola Response Level Increases as Disease Spreads
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director shows an awareness poster as he testifies before Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee hearing on 'Combating the Ebola Threat' at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 02:13 PM

The CDC moved to high alert for the ongoing Ebola outbreak on Wednesday, officially known as a "level 1 activation."

The organization moved to its highest response level after the disease began spreading in a new country, Nigeria, and the government of Liberia declared a state of emergency.

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According to Reuters, five people are being treated for Ebola in an isolation ward in Lagos, Nigeria, this week, the continent's fifth-largest city. Infected U.S. citizen Patrick Sawyer died there last month, as did a Nigerian nurse who treated him. Sawyer had traveled there from Liberia, one of the three countries hardest-hit by the disease.

Since February, more than 1,700 people have been infected in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. Nearly 1,000 have died.

On Wednesday, Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf said in an official statement that the country was in a state of emergency for at least the next 90 days.

"The government and people of Liberia require extraordinary measures for the very survival of our state and for the protection of the lives of our people," he said. On Thursday, Liberian health officials said anyone with a fever will not be allowed in or out of the country.

In Sierra Leone, the military has announced "Operation Octopus" to similarly prevent "the unauthorized movement of Ebola-infected persons."

Dr. David Heymann, professor at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said health organizations and state governments must be careful in striking a balance between inspiring fear and hope. Self-reporting among those who believe themselves to be infected is dependent on trust, he said.

"Nothing replaces that sense of community trust. So if you come in with brute force, things might appear to be working but it could be pushing people out where they can't control the borders and the disease gets out," he told The Associated Press.

Liberian President Sirleaf seemed to embody this sensitivity with his pronouncement, acknowledging that, "Ignorance, poverty, as well as entrenched religious and cultural practices continue to exacerbate the spread of the disease especially in [these] counties."



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The CDC moved to high alert for the ongoing Ebola outbreak on Wednesday, officially known as a "level 1 activation."
cdc, high alert, ebola
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2014-13-07
Thursday, 07 Aug 2014 02:13 PM
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