Washington — - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed their emergency operations center in Atlanta on the highest response level due to the worsening Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the agency reported Wednesday afternoon.
The move comes as more cases of the deadly virus have migrated from rural villages and towns in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to densely populated urban areas in Nigeria where it could spread more quickly.
The CDC is sending 50 additional disease control experts to the four affected African nations to help treat patients and contain the disease. As of Monday, August 4, six CDC officials have already been deployed to Guinea, 12 to Liberia, four to Nigeria and nine to Sierra Leone.
On Tuesday, the CDC issued an Alert Level 2 Travel Notice for Americans visiting Nigeria. Travelers to Nigeria are being asked to practice careful hygiene and avoid contact with blood and body fluids of people ill with Ebola.
A Warning Level 3 Travel Notice is also in effect for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The CDC is advising Americans to avoid nonessential travel to these countries.
Upon request from the World Health Organization, the CDC is taking a more active role in providing technical assistance to the Ebola response effort.
“The bottom line with Ebola is we know how to stop it: traditional public health. Find patients, isolate and care for them; find their contacts; educate people; and strictly follow infection control in hospitals. Do those things with meticulous care and Ebola goes away,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “To keep America safe, health care workers should isolate and evaluate people who have returned from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in the past 21 days and have fever or other symptoms suggestive of Ebola. We will save lives in West Africa and protect ourselves at home by stopping Ebola at the source.”
President Obama will address the growing Ebola crisis at news conference that just began at the State Department.