“We’re going to have to put the effort into getting rid of this disease and we’re the first ones to have the virus in this country,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security and emergency preparedness.
“If we can’t do that, the disease will spread.”
Carper and other lawmakers on Tuesday were among a handful of lawmakers who called for a moratorium on using U.S. funds to buy equipment for spraying, which has proven controversial.
They also urged the government to stop using funding to buy the virus-controlling aerosol devices that have been used by many health care workers to fight the Ebola outbreak.
The use of these devices has been controversial because they are relatively cheap, can spread the virus more quickly and are more effective than conventional chemical sprays, which often require a patient to take a course of antibiotics.
But they also pose a significant risk of spreading the disease.
Some lawmakers on Wednesday called for Congress to reconsider its funding for the purchase of these aerosol sprays and other equipment, citing the threat of Ebola spreading.
“The people who have to be protected are the people who live in these communities, the people that are already in these areas, and those who have had contact with those contacts,” Carper said.
Carpenters comments come amid growing concern that the outbreak has reached epidemic proportions in several West African countries.
On Wednesday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that Ebola is spreading faster than expected in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, and he said he was “gravely concerned” about the spread in the countries of Guinea and Liberia.
He called on countries to “act swiftly to control the epidemic” and said it was “highly likely” that more than 1,500 people will be infected in Liberia within days.
The World Health Organization said Wednesday that there had been 5,074 confirmed Ebola cases in Guinea, which had registered the highest number of cases at 2,732, with about 600 deaths.
The WHO said that at least 5,200 people have died in Liberia.
On Wednesday, the U.K. announced it would start sending home anyone who had tested positive for Ebola on Thursday.
The country has also banned the import of personal protective equipment from countries that have not taken any measures to stop the spread. ___