A Congressional Hearing took place in the United States today. Here are some points of interest from Dr. Frieden’s statement. As well as some points from questioning, up until 2 pm US Eastern Time:

  • Points from Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC’s statement:
    • In his statement, Dr. Frieden acknowledged that “From the time the situation in West Africa escalated from an outbreak to an epidemic, we have anticipated that a traveler could arrive in the United States with the disease… we remain confident that Ebola is not a significant public health threat to the United States… Cultural norms that contribute to the spread of the disease in Africa – such as burial customs and inadequate public-health measures – are not a factor in the Untied States.”
    • “…fluid losses on average 5-7 liters in 24 hours over a five day period.”
    • 114 individuals might possibly have had contact with Thomas Duncan. 10 of those were direct contact, 38 others were potential contact, all are being monitored.”
  • Points from Questioning:
    • Questions surrounding a travel ban were raised by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) about whether it would be appropriate. Dr. Frieden did not agree because he claimed that porous West African borders would mean that people could still enter the US from other countries, and believes that knowledge and information on the patients serves public health interests better. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) agreed and asked for clarification from Dr. Frieden about what he perceived would be a “bureaucratic apparatus” if implemented. Frieden maintained the current policy with increased measures made more sense than a ban.
    • The question raised by Rep. Fred Upton around Presidential power to impose a travel ban was answered by Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Tex.) who cited the Pandemic Influenza Strategic Plan of 2005 which was updated in July 2014 to include hemorrhagic fever. Rep. Burgess asked about supplies of Personal Protection Equipment to which he was told there were no current shortages and suits could be delivered anywhere in the country within 24 hours.
    • After a question about vaccines from Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa.) it was confirmed that both companies working on vaccines planned trials in West Africa if the first rounds were successful.
    • At one point, Chairman, Rep. Tim Murray ( R-PA.) asked for clarification as to when the CDC team was sent to Texas Presbyterian Hospital which was verified as the day the diagnosis was confirmed.
    • Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) at one point blasted Dr. Frieden asking him to accept that the situation in Texas was unacceptable and should not happen again. He agreed.
    • Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) called the situation a “Wake up call for America”.