Overview: "An ongoing outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), the largest, most persistent ever documented, and the first in West Africa, began in March 2014 in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia (the 'affected countries') and has spread to Nigeria. More people have contracted and died from EVD in this outbreak than in any single prior outbreak. In the current outbreak, the case fatality rate (the estimated percentage of infected persons dying) is about 55%; past outbreak rates have ranged between 41% and 88%." U.S. Policy and Congressional Actions: "In late July, the Peace Corps removed its volunteers from the affected region due to the threat of EVD. Ebola was discussed at the August U.S. Africa Leaders Summit (see CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report R43655, 'U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit: Frequently Asked Questions and Background).' On August 7, a House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee held a hearing on EVD, at which the CDC [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] director said that the most crucial means of containing the outbreak are efforts to identify cases; treat them appropriately; and prevent further transmission. On July 31, Representative Karen Bass, with 57 original co-sponsors, introduced H.Res.701, a resolution acknowledging the historical severity of the West African EVD outbreak. Multiple Members have called for effective U.S. EVD surveillance efforts and contingency planning, should any EVD cases occur in the United States; and for continuing or expanded and effective U.S. collaboration with multilateral agencies and West African governments to counter EVD. Other possible issues for Congress may include whether the U.S. and international response in West Africa is technically appropriate and is adequately funded."
CRS In Focus, IF00044