Congressman Charlie Dent, (PA-15) issued the following statement today regarding the Federal Government’s duty to protect American citizens from the Ebola virus:

"My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have suffered and are impacted by this terrible outbreak.  A special debt of gratitude is owed to the health care professionals on the frontline, both here in the United States and in West Africa, delivering care to the sick. 
 

I am increasingly concerned about the federal response to the Ebola outbreak. Several Americans have been infected with the virus, including two healthcare workers who were exposed while caring for a Liberian citizen carrying the disease. 

Given recent developments, the execution of the containment strategy and protocols must be revisited. Moreover, a single point of contact to coordinate the federal response and communicate with the American public is an immediate imperative.  While the CDC, FDA and other governmental entities have critical roles to play in the unfolding developments and response, the Surgeon General of the United States is the logical choice to fill this much needed role for greater coordination and better communication.

President Obama’s current nominee for Surgeon General has been held up in the Senate – and not solely by Republicans. A number of Democratic Senators have opposed the nomination as well.
 

The President, for the good of the country, should immediately put forward a nominee, preferably someone with an extensive knowledge of epidemiology and infectious disease control, who would engender broad bipartisan support.

Further, I recently met with FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg at OraSure Technologies in Bethlehem where Ebola was discussed.  The FDA must do everything it can to encourage and support the rapid development of life-saving, anti-Ebola drugs, vaccines and early detection methods. 

Finally, with regard to travel restrictions, the President must consider temporary and targeted travel restrictions from impacted countries if leaders from the CDC, DHS, and other officials on the front line of this public health crisis believe that doing so would contain this outbreak and protect American citizens while not impeding efforts to combat Ebola at the source of the crisis.

Although this is a trying situation for our nation and the world, it is not time to panic.

I pledge to work with the Administration and my congressional colleagues to ensure that our health care providers, communities and nation have the tools they need combat the spread of Ebola.”  

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Contact: Shawn Millan (610) 770-3490