CDC director says he pushed to keep Ebola experts in Congo's outbreak zone

CDC Director Robert Redfield, MD, on Oct. 23 said he pushed for American experts to stay in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Ebola outbreak zone, but was overruled by federal officials due to safety concerns, according to STAT.

The CDC withdrew Ebola experts from the outbreak zone, currently centered in the city of Beni, a few weeks ago due to security concerns over increased violence in the area.

"Those decisions are security decisions that really are outside the realm of my public health expertise," Dr. Redfield told STAT.

It's unclear whether HHS wanted the experts to stay in the outbreak zone. In early October, sources told STAT the U.S. Department of State prohibited the experts and other federal employees from traveling to the Congo to participate in on-the-ground aid.

"I do think they're at an enormous disadvantage by not having the expertise the CDC has on the ground," Dr. Redfield told STAT during the Milken Institute's Future of Health Summit in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 23-24.

Health officials reported 238 confirmed and probable Ebola cases linked to the outbreak, along with 155 deaths, as of Oct. 22.

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