- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday he’s encouraged by a $5.4 billion spending plan proposed by Congress to fight Ebola.

The spending plan put forward by top lawmakers this week is part of ongoing Congressional budget negotiations. CDC Director Tom Frieden said the funding is necessary to establish early warning systems that identify disease outbreaks, create medical laboratories, train health workers and support emergency command centers in at-risk countries.

“It includes substantial resources to make Americans safer by building the core things we need around the world,” Frieden said.

The spending proposal is just short of the $6.2 billion that President Barack Obama requested for Ebola-related efforts. Under the proposal, $2.5 billion would be earmarked to help African countries combat the outbreak. Another $2.7 billion would go the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including $1.2 billion for the CDC’s efforts in West Africa.

More than 6,000 people have died during the epidemic in West Africa over the last year.

“In the boarder picture, Ebola is a symptom of a disease and… and that disease is a lack preparedness for infectious disease threats in countries all around the world,” Frieden said. “And we are only as safe as the weakest link. We only have the visibility of the blindest spot in the world. This was a blind spot in West Africa.”

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