The CDC has raised its response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to the highest-possible level—a sign that this battle could well be a long one, NBC News reports. CDC Director Thomas Frieden announced the "level 1 activation" today at a special congressional hearing, where he said that 200 CDC employees are already on the case in Atlanta and over 50 disease experts are heading to infected nations, Reuters reports. He conceded that some workers may bring home the disease and spread it among family and colleagues, but said he's "confident there will not be a large Ebola outbreak in the United States."
Frieden also divulged little on experimental treatments being given to two US aid workers at Emory University in Georgia: "In terms of the promising drugs, I can assure you that the US government is looking into this very carefully," he said. "But I don't want there to be false hope out there. Right now, we don't know if they work." The CDC has only gone to "level 1" two other times in its 11-year history: for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the H1N1 virus in 2009, Fox News reports. Now it's being activated for Ebola's "potential to affect many lives," the CDC said; the virus has killed at least 932 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Guinea.