President Obama's administration said this week it will send 3,000 troops to West Africa to assist in the task of containing the Ebola virus.
The president said it is critical to contain and manage the spread of the deadly disease, which has ravaged several countries in West Africa.
"Right now, the world has the responsibly to act, to step up, to do more," Obama said after a briefing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. "This is a global threat, and it demands a truly global response."
The president stated that “we have to act fast" and that "if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people affected, with profound economic, political and security implications for all of us."
The Ebola virus, which started to take form in West Africa in March, is close to being on the brink of "spiraling out of control,” Obama said. The president added that the chances of the virus spreading to the United States are "extremely low" and will stay that way if the U.S. acts.
Obama’s decision to send troops comes just days after Liberian president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf made an impassioned request of President Obama to provide at least 1,500 Ebola hospital beds in the West African nation.
The needed 1,500 beds, she said, are “beyond anything we are able to address on our own. Unless we significantly increase our capacity to isolate infected persons — their families and communities remain vulnerable and the transmission chain remains unbroken.”
In announcing the sending of troops, Obama said that he was also calling for more doctors and health care professionals. It also calls for more portable hospitals, laboratories and other medical facilities.
"The world knows how to fight this disease," Obama said. "It's not a mystery. We know the science."
The World Health Organization announced that the death toll from Ebola has risen to nearly 2,300. The cases have been largely confined to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan
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(Photo: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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