The Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies today held a hearing to review the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other emerging health threats. 
 
The DRC Ministry of Health last August declared a new outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu Province, resulting to date in more than 900 cases and more than 580 deaths. 
 
At the hearing, Robert Kadlec, M.D., assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services, noted the need to continue funding for Hospital Preparedness Program Ebola preparedness and response activities. During the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, HHS’ ASPR office developed a tiered approach to prepare U.S. health care facilities to safely and rapidly identify, isolate, evaluate and manage travelers or patients with possible or confirmed Ebola, such as the quarantine unit at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. ASPR also established the National Ebola Training and Education Center, a consortium composed of Emory University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medicine and NYC Health + Hospitals’ Bellevue Hospital Center, that provides training and technical assistance to health care facilities and public health agencies. 
 
Also testifying at the hearing were officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Agency for International Development. 
 
In a communication this month, CDC said the ongoing outbreak in the Congo serves as a reminder for U.S. health care facilities to review their infection prevention and control processes to safely identify and manage patients with communicable infections. 
 

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