U.S. Health Officials Move To Calm Fears Over Ebola As Epidemic Becomes Political Issue

News outlets report on U.S. health officials’ efforts to reduce fears of a widespread Ebola outbreak after a Texas hospital isolated the first Ebola patient in the country and how the Ebola epidemic is becoming a U.S. domestic political issue ahead of the November mid-term elections.

Associated Press: Health officials: U.S. well-equipped to stop Ebola
“The Obama administration is seeking to allay fear about the single confirmed case of Ebola in the United States, saying that despite some initial missteps the health care system is doing what needs to be done to prevent an outbreak. … An unusual high-level briefing at the White House on Friday reflected the administration’s urgency in seeking to reassure the public. [NIAID Director Anthony] Fauci was one of five senior administration officials who spoke with reporters, including Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, and Lisa Monaco, President Barack Obama’s top homeland security adviser…” (Baldor/Neergaard, 10/4).

The Hill: NIH official dismisses Paul’s Ebola concerns
“A top official at the National Institutes of Health on Sunday pushed back on comments from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who said authorities were underestimating the transmissibility of Ebola…” (Balluck, 10/5).

The Hill: ‘We won’t have an outbreak,’ NIH infectious disease chief says
“Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, said Sunday that he wouldn’t be surprised if someone who came into close contact with a Dallas Ebola patient comes down with the disease, but stressed the U.S. ‘won’t have an outbreak’…” (Needham, 10/5).

The Hill: Obama aide: Ebola will be stopped ‘at its source’
“Senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer on Sunday defended the Obama administration’s responses to a number of recent crises, arguing it is being proactive to stop Ebola ‘at its source’…” (Joseph, 10/5).

Newsweek: U.S. Public Response to Ebola Could Echo Early Days of AIDS Epidemic
“…Global health experts are concerned that now, in the U.S., stigmatization of people from the three most affected countries in the region — Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia — could follow. … Jennifer Kates, vice president and director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told Newsweek she worries that in the coming weeks public response to Ebola in the U.S. could mirror the fear seen during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, when some health care workers refused to treat AIDS patients…” (Westcott, 10/5).

Politico: CDC ‘confident’ no large Dallas Ebola outbreak
“The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday he’s confident that the man in Dallas infected with Ebola is not going to spark a large-scale outbreak there…” (Herb, 10/5).

Politico: GOP 2016ers on Ebola: Panic
“For once, President Barack Obama and Texas Gov. Rick Perry [R] are on the same page. At separate briefings on the Ebola crisis, Obama administration officials and Perry have delivered the same message: Don’t panic — the health authorities know what they’re doing. But for other Republicans — and conservative media outlets — it’s time for panic…” (Nather, 10/3).

Wall Street Journal: International Ebola Crisis Finds a Place in American Domestic Politics
“The growing international Ebola crisis has entered American domestic politics, with would-be 2016 presidential candidates using fear of the disease to criticize President Barack Obama…” (Epstein, 10/3).

Wall Street Journal: Ebola Case in U.S. Draws Calls for Calm From Officials
“Top federal health officials, seeking to calm a nervous public, ruled out Friday the possibility of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S., as Texas officials moved to contain the first case of the deadly virus diagnosed in America…” (Campoy et al., 10/3).

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Health Officials Continue to Play Down Ebola Fears
“Top U.S. health officials said they remain confident that the U.S. won’t suffer a widespread Ebola outbreak and again rejected calls for a travel ban involving countries hit by the disease, saying it could lead to political instability…” (Portlock/Zibel, 10/5).

Wall Street Journal: Health Official: Ebola Bioterrorism ‘Very Far-Fetched’
“A top U.S. public health official rebuffed the suggestion that Americans could potentially be at risk from Ebola brought into the country by illegal immigrants or as part of a terrorism plot…” (Zibel, 10/5).

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