Ebola Is as Serious as ISIS, Senator Says

Health care workers, wearing protective suits, leave a high-risk area at the French NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without borders) Elwa hospital on August 30, 2014 in Monrovia. DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP - Getty Images

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The Ebola epidemic is as serious a threat as Islamic extremists, Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander said Tuesday. "We must take the deadly, dangerous threat of Ebola as seriously as we take ISIS," Alexander, a Republican, told a hearing on the epidemic. "This is an instance where we should be running toward the burning flames with our fireproof suits on." The Senate appropriations and health committees were holding a joint hearing on the epidemic, which has now infected at least 5,000 people and killed half of them, according to the World Health Organization.

"We need to declare war on Ebola," Kansas Republican Senator Jerry Moran told the hearing. As they spoke, President Barack Obama was arriving at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta to announce a military surge to fight the epidemic. The hearing suggests Obama and CDC will get bipartisan support in the Senate for more cash. "This outbreak has spread in ways that are potentially catastrophic to the world. The extent of this outbreak is tragic," Iowa Sen. Tom harkin, a Democrat who leads both committees, said.


— Maggie Fox