CDC director: Scale of Ebola crisis unprecedented

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
X
CDC director: Scale of Ebola crisis unprecedented
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, before the House subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing on "Combating the Ebola Threat." (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Tom Frieden testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, before the House subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing on "Combating the Ebola Threat." (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, Liberia Minister of Foreign Affairs, looks out from his seat on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, during a hearing on the Ebola threat before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)
An ambulance transporting a second American missionary stricken with Ebola arrives at Emory University Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Nancy Writebol is expected to be admitted to Emory University Hospital on Tuesday, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
An ambulance transporting Nancy Writebol, an American missionary stricken with Ebola, arrives at Emory University Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Writebol is expected to be admitted to Emory University Hospital on Tuesday, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
An ambulance transporting Nancy Writebol, an American missionary stricken with Ebola, arrives at Emory University Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Writebol is expected to be admitted to Emory University Hospital on Tuesday, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
An ambulance transporting Nancy Writebol, an American missionary stricken with Ebola, arrives at Emory University Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Writebol is expected to be admitted to Emory on Tuesday, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)
An ambulance transporting Nancy Writebol, an American missionary stricken with Ebola, arrives at Emory University Hospital, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, in Atlanta. Writebol is expected to be admitted to Emory on Tuesday, where she will join another U.S. aid worker, Dr. Kent Brantly, in a special isolation unit. (AP Photo/Jason Getz)
A woman in protective clothing drives an ambulance after departing Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta., Ga., en route Emory University Hospital in Atlanta Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014. A specially outfitted plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly from West Africa arrived at a military base in Georgia. Brantly was taken to the Atlanta hospital. Another American with Ebola is expected to join him at the hospital in a few days. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Hospital workers pass police officers guarding an entrance to Emory University Hospital after an ambulance arrived transporting an American that was infected with the Ebola virus, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in Atlanta. A specially outfitted plane carrying Dr. Kent Brantly from West Africa arrived at a military base in Georgia. Brantly was taken to the Atlanta hospital. Another American with Ebola is expected to join him at the hospital in a few days. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Dr. David Mcray, left, listens to a question during a news conference with Dr. Jason Brewington, center, and Dr. Darrin D'Agostino about fellow doctor Kent Brantly Monday, July 28, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Brantly is one of two American aid workers that have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
In this 2014 photo provided by the Samaritan's Purse aid organization, Dr. Kent Brantly, left, treats an Ebola patient at the Samaritan's Purse Ebola Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia. On Saturday, July 26, 2014, the North Carolina-based aid organization said Brantly tested positive for the disease and was being treated at a hospital in Monrovia. (AP Photo/Samaritan's Purse)
Nigerian health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A Nigerian health official wearing a protective mask waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A Nigerian health official wearing a protective suit waits to screen passengers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A Nigerian health official uses a thermometer on a worker at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Passengers are seen at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Passengers queue for their passport document check by immigration officers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the African region battle to stop the spread of the disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A man reads a local newspaper with headline news about a Lagos female doctor contracts Ebola Virus, in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. Lagos State Health Commissioner Jide Idris announced Tuesday that eight people are being kept in quarantine with symptoms of Ebola. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Lagos State Health Commissioner Jide Idris, left, speaks during a news conference in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, as he announces that eight people are being kept in quarantine with symptoms of Ebola and they had primary contact with Patrick Sawyer, who flew into Lagos and died of the disease in July. Idris reported that others may have been infected in Nigeria's commercial capital before doctors isolated Liberian-American Sawyer, about 24 hours after he arrived at the hospital. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Jeremy Writebol holds a photograph of his mother and father before an interview with a reporter in Wichita, Kan., Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014. Jeremy is the son of Nancy Writebol, a missionary stricken with Ebola. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
According to local reports the sale of water buckets has increased dramatically, because they are used by Liberian people to fill with disinfectant and to wash their hands to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Dozens of local doctors and medical staff are among the dead, as foreign aid workers are arriving to help fight the Ebola outbreak and the Liberian government Information Minister Lewis Brown announced that all Ebola victims are to be cremated as fears rise that the disease could spread with bodies being buried in residential areas. (AP Photo / Jonathan Paye-Layleh)
Nigeria health officials wait to screen passengers at the arrival hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the region battle to stop the spread of a disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Passengers queue for their passport document check by immigration officers at the arrivals hall of Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Aug. 4, 2014. Nigerian authorities on Monday confirmed a second case of Ebola in Africa's most populous country, an alarming setback as officials across the African region battle to stop the spread of the disease that has killed more than 700 people. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A woman prays with others from different religious groups against the spread of the Ebola virus, in Monrovia, Liberia, Saturday Aug. 2, 2014. An Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 700 people in West Africa is moving faster than efforts to control the disease, the head of the World Health Organization warned, as presidents from the affected countries met Friday in Guinea's capital. (AP Photo/Abbas Dulleh)
A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows staff of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa's Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Samaritan's Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO (Photo credit should read ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows staff of the Christian charity Samaritan's Purse putting on protective gear in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa's Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Samaritan's Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO (Photo credit should read ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on July 24, 2014 shows protective gear including boots, gloves, masks and suits, drying after being used in a treatment room in the ELWA hospital in the Liberian capital Monrovia. An American doctor battling West Africa's Ebola epidemic has himself fallen sick with the disease in Liberia, Christian charity Samaritan's Purse said on July 27. AFP PHOTO / ZOOM DOSSO (Photo credit should read ZOOM DOSSO/AFP/Getty Images)
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows members of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer. To date, there have been 635 cases of haemorrhagic fever in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, most confirmed as Ebola. A total of 399 people have died, 280 of them in Guinea. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI (Photo credit should read CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)
In this photo taken on Sunday, July 27, 2014, a boy, center, selling soft drinks walk past a clinic taking care of Ebola patients in the Kenema District on the outskirts of Kenema, Sierra Leone. Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has closed some border crossings and ordered strict quarantines of communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. The announcement late Sunday came a day after Sirleaf formed a new taskforce charged with containing the disease, which has killed 129 people in the country and more than 670 across the region.(AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)
In this photo taken on Sunday, July 27, 2014, Medical personnel inside a clinic taking care of Ebola patients in the Kenema District on the outskirts of Kenema, Sierra Leone. Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has closed some border crossings and ordered strict quarantines of communities affected by the Ebola outbreak. The announcement late Sunday came a day after Sirleaf formed a new taskforce charged with containing the disease, which has killed 129 people in the country and more than 670 across the region.(AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)
Health workers wearing protective suits walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry on April 14, 2014. Guinea's Foreign Minister Francois Fall said on April 14 that the west African country had brought the spread of the deadly Ebola virus under control after more than 100 people have died. The outbreak is one of the most deadly, with 168 cases 'clinically compatible' with Ebola virus disease reported, including 108 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update on April 14. CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images
Members of the Guinean Red Cross speak with a resident during an awareness campaign on the Ebola virus on April 11, 2014 in Conakry. Guinea has been hit by the most severe strain of the virus, known as Zaire Ebola, which has had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent in past outbreaks, and for which there is no vaccine, cure or even specific treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) has described west Africa's first outbreak among humans as one of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images
A woman prepares food at a 'maquis,' a small African restaurant, in Kobakro, outside Abidjan, which now serves various types of meat instead of bushmeat, on April 8, 2014. The Ministry of Health has asked Ivorians, 'particularly fond of porcupine and agouti,' a small rodent, to avoid consuming or handling bushmeat, as an unprecedented Ebola epidemic hit West Africa, claiming more than 90 lives. The virus can spread to animal primates and humans who handle infected meat -- a risk given the informal trade in 'bushmeat' in forested central and west Africa. Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
People walk past the sign of a 'maquis,' a small African restaurant which serves bushmeat, in Kobakro, outside Abidjan, on April 8, 2014. The Ministry of Health has asked Ivorians, 'particularly fond of porupine and agouti,' a small rodent, to avoid consuming or handling the meat, as an unprecedented Ebola epidemic hit West Africa, claiming more than 90 lives. The virus can spread to animal primates and humans who handle infected meat -- a risk given the informal trade in 'bushmeat' in forested central and west Africa. ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images
Staff of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') medical aid organisation bury the body of a person killed by viral haemorrhagic fever, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
A nurse of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') medical aid organisation examines a patient in the in-take area at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
Members and supporters of the Parti Democratique Senegalais (PDS, Senegal's Democratic Party) hold poster showing their leader, former Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade and his son Karim, and a placard reading 'Macky Ebola Sall' (referring to the current president and the deadly virus) as they rally in front of the party's headquarters in Dakar on April 23, 2014. Senegal's former president Abdoulaye Wade was due to return home on Wednesday after two years abroad following his election defeat, with his son facing jail for corruption. Wade, who held power from 2000 to 2012, moved to France after suffering a bitter defeat to current President Macky Sall, his former prime minister turned arch-rival, in March 2012. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
Health workers speak to relatives of peolpe infected with Ebola at an isolation center at Donka Hospital in Conakry on April 14, 2014. Guinea's Foreign Minister Francois Fall said on April 14 that the west African country had brought the spread of the deadly Ebola virus under control after more than 100 people have died. The outbreak is one of the most deadly, with 168 cases 'clinically compatible' with Ebola virus disease reported, including 108 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update on April 14. CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images
Health workers walk in an isolation center for people infected with Ebola at Donka Hospital in Conakry on April 14, 2014. Guinea's Foreign Minister Francois Fall said on April 14 that the west African country had brought the spread of the deadly Ebola virus under control after more than 100 people have died. The outbreak is one of the most deadly, with 168 cases 'clinically compatible' with Ebola virus disease reported, including 108 deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its latest update on April 14. CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images
Staff of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') medical aid organisation carry the body of a person killed by viral haemorrhagic fever, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
A worker transports dirt in a wheelbarrow at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral hemmorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
Guinean hospital staff and staff of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') medical aid organisation listen to a nurse from the aid organisation speak on April 1, 2014, in Guekedou, during a talk about viral hemorrhagic fever. The viral hemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
A Senegalese hygienist demonstrates how to protect oneself against the Ebola virus on April 8, 2014 at Dakar airport, during a visit of the Senegalese health minister to check the safety measures put in place to fight against the virus' spread in western Africa. West Africa's Ebola outbreak is among the 'most challenging' ever to strike since the disease emerged four decades ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on April 8, as the suspected death toll from the virus hit 111. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
Senegal's health minister Awa Marie Coll Seck (2nd L) listens to Alioune Fall (R), chief doctor of Dakar airport, as she visits Dakar airport on April 8, 2014 to check the safety measures put in place to fight against the spread of the Ebola virus in western Africa. West Africa's Ebola outbreak is among the 'most challenging' ever to strike since the disease emerged four decades ago, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on April 8, as the suspected death toll from the virus hit 111. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
A view of gloves and boots used by medical staff, drying in the sun, at a center for victims of the Ebola virus in Guekedou, on April 1, 2014. The viral haemorrhagic fever epidemic raging in Guinea is caused by several viruses which have similar symptoms -- the deadliest and most feared of which is Ebola. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
A health specialist prepares filtered water at an isolation ward for patients at the Doctors Without Borders facility in Guékedou, southern Guinea. Guinea's President Alpha Conde warned of a 'health emergency' as authorities raced to contain a spiraling Ebola epidemic which has killed 78 people and prompted neighboring Senegal to close its border. SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images
Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, Monday, March 31, 2014. Health authorities in Guinea are facing an "unprecedented epidemic" of Ebola, the international aid group Doctors Without Borders warned Monday as the death toll from the disease that causes severe bleeding reached 78. The outbreak of Ebola in Guinea poses challenges never seen in previous outbreaks that involved "more remote locations as opposed to urban areas," said Doctors Without Borders. (AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)
In this photo provide by MSF, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), taken on Friday, March 28, 2014, healthcare workers from the organisation, react, as they prepare isolation and treatment areas for their Ebola, hemorrhagic fever operations, in Gueckedou, Guinea. Health officials in the West African nation of Guinea say they're now treating eight cases of Ebola in the capital. Dr. Sakoba Keita, a spokesman for the health ministry, announced on national television the virus had reached the city of 3 million. Keita said Friday, March 28, 2014, at least 70 people have died in the country's south since the Ebola outbreak began last week. (AP Photo/Kjell Gunnar Beraas, MSF)
A man reads a local newspaperson a street with the headline Ebola Virus kills Liberian in Lagos, in Lagos Nigeria, Saturday, July 26, 2014. An Ebola outbreak that has left more than 600 people dead across West Africa has spread to the continent's most populous nation after a Liberian man with a high fever vomited aboard an airplane to Nigeria and then died there, officials said Friday. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba) The 40-year-old man had recently lost his sister to Ebola in Liberia, health officials there said. It was not immediately clear how he managed to board a flight, but he was moved into an isolation ward upon arrival in Nigeria on Tuesday and died on Friday. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
Men read newspapers on a street with headlines about Ebola Virus killing a Liberian in Lagos, Nigeria. Saturday, July 26, 2014. An Ebola outbreak that has left more than 660 people dead across West Africa has spread to the continent's most populous nation after a Liberian man with a high fever vomited aboard an airplane to Nigeria and then died there, officials said Friday. The 40-year-old man had recently lost his sister to Ebola in Liberia, health officials there said. It was not immediately clear how he managed to board a flight, but he was moved into an isolation ward upon arrival in Nigeria on Tuesday and died on Friday. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
In this Monday, July 15, 2014 photo, a woman, center, walks near the Arwa clinic, center rear, that was closed after the clinic doctor got infected by the Ebola virus in the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that can cause its victims to bleed from the ears and nose, had never before been seen in this part of West Africa where medical clinics are few and far between. The disease has turned up in at least two other countries - Liberia and Sierra Leone - and more than 530 deaths have been attributed to the outbreak that is now the largest on record. (AP Photo/Youssouf Bah)
In this July 15, 2014 photo, the Arwa clinic, center, that was closed after the clinic Doctor got infected by the Ebola virus in the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that can cause its victims to bleed from the ears and nose, had never before been seen in this part of West Africa where medical clinics are few and far between. The disease has turned up in at least two other countries - Liberia and Sierra Leone - and more than 530 deaths have been attributed to the outbreak that is now the largest on record.(AP Photo/Youssouf Bah)
In this Monday, July 15, 2014 photo, a man washes his hands with disinfectant to prevent Ebola infection before he enters a hospital in the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that can cause its victims to bleed from the ears and nose, had never before been seen in this part of West Africa where medical clinics are few and far between. The disease has turned up in at least two other countries - Liberia and Sierra Leone - and more than 530 deaths have been attributed to the outbreak that is now the largest on record. (AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)
In this Monday, July 15, 2014 photo, a man washes his hands with disinfectant to prevent Ebola infection before entering a hospital in the capital city of Freetown, Sierra Leone. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that can cause its victims to bleed from the ears and nose, had never before been seen in this part of West Africa where medical clinics are few and far between. The disease has turned up in at least two other countries - Liberia and Sierra Leone - and more than 530 deaths have been attributed to the outbreak that is now the largest on record. (AP Photo/Youssouf Bah)
In this photo taken on July 8, 2014, a woman eat food that was prepared by a Ebola advocacy group Crusaders for Peace, as spokesperson Juli Endee, educates them on the deadly virus in Paynesville, east of the city Monrovia, Liberia. Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that can cause its victims to bleed from the ears and nose, had never before been seen in this part of West Africa where medical clinics are few and far between. The disease has turned up in at least two other countries _ Liberia and Sierra Leone _ and 539 deaths have been attributed to the outbreak that is now the largest on record. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)
Health workers teach people about the Ebola virus and how to prevent infection, in Conakry, Guinea, Monday, March 31, 2014. Health authorities in Guinea are facing an "unprecedented epidemic" of Ebola, the international aid group Doctors Without Borders warned Monday as the death toll from the disease that causes severe bleeding reached 78. The outbreak of Ebola in Guinea poses challenges never seen in previous outbreaks that involved "more remote locations as opposed to urban areas," said Doctors Without Borders. (AP Photo/ Youssouf Bah)
FILE -In this file photo taken on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, people protest outside a hospital as Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visit's the area after Ebola death's in Monrovia, Liberia. A senior official for Doctors Without Borders says the Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa is “totally out of control” and that the medical group is stretched to the limit in its capacity to respond. Bart Janssens, the director of operations for the group in Brussels, said Friday, June 20, 2014, that international organizations and the governments involved need to send in more health experts and to increase the public education messages about how to stop the spread of the disease. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh,File)
Empty hospital beds are seen at Redemption hospital after nurses and patients fled the hospital due to Ebola deaths in Monrovia, Liberia, Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Seven people believed to have the Ebola virus have died in recent days in the first deaths reported in the Liberian capital since the outbreak began, a health official said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jonathan Paye-Layleh)
Employees of the sanitary control of Conakry airport check passengers before they leave the country on April 10, 2014. International aid organisations launched a series of emergency measures across west Africa on Thursday in a bid to contain one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, which is threatening every country in the region. The tropical bug is thought to have killed more than 110 people in Guinea and Liberia since January, with suspected cases reported in Mali and Sierra Leone and aid workers warning that vital hygiene products could run out. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI (Photo credit should read CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Employees of the sanitary control of Conakry airport check passengers before they leave the country on April 10, 2014. International aid organisations launched a series of emergency measures across west Africa on Thursday in a bid to contain one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, which is threatening every country in the region. The tropical bug is thought to have killed more than 110 people in Guinea and Liberia since January, with suspected cases reported in Mali and Sierra Leone and aid workers warning that vital hygiene products could run out. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI (Photo credit should read CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Employees of the sanitary control of Conakry airport check passengers before they leave the country on April 10, 2014. International aid organisations launched a series of emergency measures across west Africa on Thursday in a bid to contain one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, which is threatening every country in the region. The tropical bug is thought to have killed more than 110 people in Guinea and Liberia since January, with suspected cases reported in Mali and Sierra Leone and aid workers warning that vital hygiene products could run out. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI (Photo credit should read CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Employees of the sanitary control of Conakry airport check passengers before they leave the country on April 10, 2014. International aid organisations launched a series of emergency measures across west Africa on Thursday in a bid to contain one of the worst ever outbreaks of the deadly Ebola virus, which is threatening every country in the region. The tropical bug is thought to have killed more than 110 people in Guinea and Liberia since January, with suspected cases reported in Mali and Sierra Leone and aid workers warning that vital hygiene products could run out. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI (Photo credit should read CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)
A member of the Guinean Red Cross uses a megaphone to give information concerning the Ebola virus during an awareness campaign on April 11, 2014 in Conakry. Guinea has been hit by the most severe strain of the virus, known as Zaire Ebola, which has had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent in past outbreaks, and for which there is no vaccine, cure or even specific treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) has described west Africa's first outbreak among humans as one of the most challenging since the virus emerged in 1976 in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFP PHOTO / CELLOU BINANI (Photo credit should read CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Lagos State Health Commissioner Jide Idris, speaks, during a news conference in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday July 28, 2014. No one knows for sure just how many people Patrick Sawyer came into contact with the day he boarded a flight in Liberia, had a stopover in Ghana, changed planes in Togo, and then arrived in Nigeria, where authorities say he died days later from Ebola, one of the deadliest diseases known to man. Now health workers are scrambling to trace those who may have been exposed to Sawyer across West Africa, including flight attendants and fellow passengers. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
A man reads a newspaper featuring a front page story on the death of Liberian diplomat Patrick Sawyer (pictured with his wife Decontee) who died of the Ebloa virus in Lagos on July 30, 2014. Nigeria is on alert against the possible spread of Ebola after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital. The victim, who worked for the Liberian government, collapsed at Lagos international airport after arriving on a flight from Monrovia via the Togolese capital Lome, according to the Nigerian government. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that the crisis gripping Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would only get worse and could not rule out it spreading to other countries. AFP PHOTO/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
A pharmacist searches for drugs in a pharmacy in Lagos on July 26, 2014. Nigeria was on alert against the possible spread of Ebola on July 26, a day after the first confirmed death from the virus in Lagos, Africa's biggest city and the country's financial capital. The health ministry said Friday that a 40-year-old Liberian man died at a private hospital in Lagos from the disease, which has now killed more than 650 people in four west African countries since January. AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
Decontee Sawyer, wife of Liberian government official Patrick Sawyer, a U.S. citizen who died from Ebola after traveling from Liberia to Nigeria, cradles her 1-year-old daughter Bella at her home in Coon Rapids, Minn., Tuesday, July 29, 2014. An outbreak of Ebola in West Africa may seem like a distant threat to many Americans, but it is stirring fear in Minnesota, home to thousands of Liberian immigrants. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Dr. David Mcray speaks about his friend and colleague Dr. Kent Brantly during a news conference Monday, July 28, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. Brantly is one of two American aid workers that have tested positive for the Ebola virus while working to combat an outbreak of the deadly disease at a hospital in Liberia. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

By LAUREN NEERGAARD

WASHINGTON (AP) - The current Ebola crisis in West Africa is on pace to sicken more people than all other previous outbreaks of the disease combined, a U.S. health official said Thursday.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a congressional hearing that the outbreak is unprecedented in part because it's in a region of Africa that never has dealt with Ebola before. He said the outbreak's two main drivers are lax infection control during patient care and risky burial practices.

The outbreak can be stopped with tried-and-true public health measures, Frieden said, but it will be laborious. Any case missed or exposed person lost to follow-up could keep the outbreak going.

"If you leave behind even a single burning ember, it's like a forest fire," he said. "It flares back up."

More than 1,700 people have been sickened in the current outbreak, which began in March. Nearly 1,000 have died, according to the World Health Organization.

On Thursday Frieden said there's no way to know exactly how accurate that count is, or if some cases are going unreported.

"The data coming out is kind of a fog-of-war situation," he said.

The U.S. Agency for International Development is spending $14.5 million to combat the Ebola outbreak and has sent a disaster response team to the area to assist workers, said assistant administrator Dr. Ariel Pablos-Mendez. The work includes sending tens of thousands of protective suits for health care workers.

In addition, CDC is working to open more treatment centers and expand proper Ebola testing, Frieden said.

Frieden didn't rule out the possibility that a traveler could arrive in the U.S. infected with Ebola. But he said he is confident there will not be a large Ebola outbreak here. The CDC has put hospitals on alert for symptoms, and to check whether people are recent travelers so that they can promptly isolate any suspected cases until proper testing can be done.

People are Reading