CDC’s Role in Preventing and Controlling Ebola in the U.S.

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Former President Barack Obama and former CDC Director Tom Frieden during the President’s visit to CDC on September 16, 2014

CDC’s Role in Preventing and Controlling Ebola in the U.S.

As the story unfolded, there were misunderstandings along the way. In any response, CDC can only respond after an official request has been made, and can only serve as a technical advisor to state and local authorities, rather than lead them. CDC does not provide clinical care in any disease response. CDC was criticized for not immediately sending a team to Dallas until Ebola was confirmed in the CDC labs—two days after Thomas Duncan was admitted.

In summer 2014, CDC alerted health providers across the U.S. to consider Ebola if a patient manifested symptoms within 21 days of arriving from an affected country. The agency also issued infection control guidance for hospitals, and strengthened laboratory networks and existing surveillance systems.

The Dallas case revealed gaps in hospital preparedness and response capabilities. Ebola was not considered in the patient’s initial visit to the ER, despite fever and travel history to Liberia. Although neither nurse infected reported an unprotected exposure to infectious blood or body fluids, their exposure may have occurred before his Ebola diagnosis.

7. Ebola Comes to the U.S.
CDC's Role in the U.S.