A look at some of the day’s Ebola developments from around the world:
Nurse with Ebola arrives in Atlanta for treatment
A second Dallas nurse diagnosed with Ebola was transferred Wednesday from Texas to a specialized hospital isolation unit in Atlanta that has already treated three Americans with the virus.
Helicopter footage from local television stations showed 29-year-old Amber Joy Vinson leaving a jet and being helped into an ambulance Wednesday night. A police motorcade escorted the ambulance as it traveled to Emory University Hospital.
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, which had been treating Vinson, confirmed her arrival in a tweet. Emory later released a statement saying “a patient with Ebola” had arrived at the hospital at 8:30 p.m.
Vinson was one of the nurses who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, who died at the Dallas hospital last week of the Ebola virus.
Obama cancels political trip to focus on Ebola
President Barack Obama has canceled a scheduled trip to Rhode Island and New York Thursday to remain at the White House and monitor the government’s Ebola response.
The change in plans marks the second day in a row that Obama put off travel to attend to heightened concerns about Ebola in West Africa and the emergence of two cases in the United States.
Obama postponed fundraising and political campaign stops Wednesday that had been scheduled in New Jersey and Connecticut. Obama instead called a meeting of his Cabinet secretaries and top White House officials involved in the response to the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and its repercussions in the U.S.
Two Republican lawmakers called Wednesday for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas R. Frieden’s resignation, saying he mishandled the cases of two health-care workers in Texas who contracted Ebola.
Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, a member of the House Republican leadership, told conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham that Frieden had failed to prevent the spread of the virus to two health workers who cared for a man who died of the disease in Dallas. Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania also called for Frieden to quit, saying that the “Ebola situation is beginning to spiral beyond control.”
Sessions, whose district is home to the hospital where the Ebola patients were treated, and Marino commented after the agency said Wednesday that the second Texas health worker who tested positive for Ebola flew from Dallas to Cleveland and back before reporting she had symptoms.
Some congressional lawmakers, especially Republicans, have criticized the response of the Obama administration to the threat of Ebola spreading in the United States, with some calling for a ban on travelers entering the country from West African nations where the disease is rampant.
President Barack Obama vowed Wednesday that his administration would respond in a “much more aggressive way” to cases of Ebola in the United States and warned that in an age of frequent travel the disease could spread globally if the world doesn’t respond to the “raging epidemic in West Africa.”
In his most urgent comments on the spread of the disease, Obama also sought to ease growing anxiety and fears in the U.S. in the aftermath of a second nurse being diagnosed with Ebola after treating a patient in a Dallas hospital. He said he had directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to step up its response to new cases.
“We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step though what needs to be done,” he said.
St Lucia, Colombia bar visitors from Ebola nations
The leader of the small Caribbean island of St. Lucia issued an order Wednesday to immediately bar entry to travelers coming from three West African nations overwhelmed with Ebola epidemics.
The Colombian government in South America later announced it would not allow in anyone who has traveled to five African nations within the preceding four weeks.
St. Lucia Prime Minister Kenny Anthony said all visitors from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were prohibited from entering his country until the Ebola outbreak is brought under control, saying the ban will minimize chances for the deadly disease to be introduced by an infected traveler.
St. Lucia is a poor, small nation that does not have the capacity “to manage any crisis that lands on our doorstep, any crisis of that kind,” Anthony said.
He said an outbreak of the virus would be devastating for the country of 200,000 people, where tourism accounts for more than 60 percent of gross domestic product.
Passengers from a fourth West African nation, Nigeria, will be required to present a “recent medical certificate” clearing them of the virus, Anthony said. Specifics of how this might work were not immediately provided.
Colombia’s Foreign Ministry issued a brief statement saying the country was barring entry by any travelers requiring visas who have been in five African nations with Ebola outbreaks – Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. It said the step was being taken at the recommendation of Colombia’s National Institute of Health.
The UN Security Council says the international community has “failed” to adequately address the growing Ebola crisis.
The press statement released Wednesday comes a day after the head of the United Nations mission for Ebola response warned the council that the world must meet critical goals by Dec. 1. If not, Anthony Banbury said, the world will “face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we don’t have a plan.”
The Security Council statement warns that Ebola is a threat to international peace and security, and it urges all U.N. member states and aid organizations to “accelerate and dramatically expand the provision of resources,” including money.
This is the first time the United Nations has created a mission in response to a public health crisis.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Wednesday the federal government could have performed “much better oversight” of the Dallas hospital where two health care workers caught Ebola after treating the first U.S. patient with the disease.
Burwell said the government is taking more steps to help prevent the spread of infection at the hospital, including more intensive training for workers and a 24-hour site manager to oversee how equipment is being put on and taken off.
She sidestepped questions about whether she had complete confidence in Dallas’ Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and whether the two infected workers should be transferred to one of four specialized hospitals. “We will keep all options and considerations right now,” she said.
Burwell said the protocols now in place “are steps we know have worked over the years.”
Burwell’s remarks Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” echoed comments made Tuesday by Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The U.S. military continues to grow the force it is deploying to western Africa to assist with the Ebola virus crisis, but it will take until late November or early December to complete all 17 treatment units it has planned, a two-star general said.
Army Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa, told reporters in a phone conference from Liberia on Tuesday that the “lion’s share” of the treatment units will be complete by late November, with a few lagging into December. That exceeds an estimate provided by his commanding officer, Gen. David Rodriguez, who said Oct. 7 that the effort would likely take until mid-November.
The Pentagon has said that up to 4,000 U.S. personnel could deploy, primarily from the U.S. Army.
The new Ebola treatment units are a centerpiece of the U.S. assistance effort. U.S. officials have said they will each include 100 beds. The first is close to completion, Williams said. The effort has been hampered by heavy rains, among other obstacles.
Guinea’s president issued a call for retired doctors to return to work to help the impoverished country’s overstretched health system fight the deadly Ebola outbreak.
President Alpha Conde’s appeal, made late Tuesday, has already prompted some doctors to volunteer, however many health workers in the country have fled in fear of the disease, complaining of the lack of equipment to fight it.
“I heard the call of the president, but first he must properly equip the hospitals before asking us to come,” said one retired doctor, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal. “I’ve lost many doctor friends who believed in the miracle of curing without equipment and they paid with their lives.”
Some 76 doctors in Guinea have been infected with Ebola and 37 of them have died, according to the Ministry of Communication.
Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday that 16 of its staff members have been infected with Ebola and that nine have died. The toll highlights the high risk of infection faced by those caring for Ebola patients, even at well-equipped and properly staffed treatment centers.
Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola while caring for an infected Liberian man, remained hospitalized in stable condition Tuesday and said in a statement she was “doing well.” She was the first person to contract the disease within the United States, was among more than 70 staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas involved in the man’s care.
A team of infection experts will be sent to any U.S. hospital with a confirmed Ebola case, according to the nation’s top disease control official, who said such a group could have prevented the infection of a Dallas nurse who cared for a patient with the deadly virus.
“We’ll put a team on the ground within hours, with some of the world’s leading experts in how to take care of and protect health care workers,” said Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I wish we’d put a team like this on the ground the first day the patient was diagnosed,” Frieden said Tuesday in a conference call, speaking about the Dallas case. “That might have prevented this infection.”
The CDC teams will include experts in infection control, lab science, personal protective equipment, and management of Ebola units, Frieden said.
NBC News medical correspondent Nancy Snyderman admitted that some members of her crew violated a voluntary quarantine to protect against Ebola, a misstep that caused New Jersey health officials to make that quarantine mandatory.
NBC said Tuesday that Snyderman and her crew are taking their temperatures regularly and remain healthy. The team was reporting in Liberia alongside cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who tested positive for the deadly disease and is now being treated in Nebraska.
Snyderman confirmed the violation, but neither she nor NBC representatives would give details.
An American doctor undergoing treatment for Ebola says that he had been critically ill but is now recovering and expects to be discharged soon from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
The unidentified patient – a doctor working for the World Health organization at an Ebola treatment center in Sierra Leone – arrived at the hospital on Sept. 9. He said his condition worsened soon after he arrived but he is now much better.