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US to screen people from Ebola-hit regions for Africa summit

A photo taken on June 25, 2014 shows the isolation ward at the Donka Hospital in Conakry where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated
A photo taken on June 25, 2014 shows the isolation ward at the Donka Hospital in Conakry where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated

The United States will screen delegates from Ebola-hit countries traveling to Washington for an unprecedented Africa summit, President Barack Obama said Friday, voicing confidence that appropriate measures have been taken.

"Folks that are coming from these countries that have even a marginal risk, or an infinitesimal risk of having been exposed in some fashion, we're making sure we're doing screening on that end as they leave the country," Obama told reporters.

He added there would be "additional screening" when they were in the United States for the three-day unprecedented summit gathering some 50 heads of state from around Africa.

So far, Ebola has been blamed for some 729 deaths in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, while one man who traveled from Liberia died in Nigeria.

"We feel confident the procedures we have put in place are appropriate," Obama insisted.

The United States, working through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other health agencies, was also planning to "surge some resources down there and organization to these countries that are pretty poor and don't have a strong public health infrastructure so that we can start containing the problem."

Obama sought to reassure the public that the Ebola virus was not easily transmitted.

"The key is identifying, quarantining, isolating those who contract it and making sure that practices are in place that avoid transmission," Obama said.

"It can be done, but it's got to be done in an organized, systematic way and that means we have ... to help these countries accomplish that."

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