UPDATE 2-Obama appoints Ebola 'czar'; Texas health worker isolated on ship
(Adds details on Ebola 'czar' Klain, patients and background)
By Jeff Mason
WASHINGTON Oct 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama appointed a former White House adviser as U.S. Ebola "czar" on Friday and a Texas health worker who may have had contact with specimens from an Ebola patient was quarantined on a cruise ship amid growing concerns about the spread of the virus in the United States.
Obama, facing criticism from some lawmakers over efforts to contain the virus, appointed Ron Klain, a lawyer who previously served as chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, to oversee the U.S. response to the virus.
Klain's appointment and the cruise ship incident highlighted efforts in the United States to contain Ebola even though there have been just three cases, all in Dallas, Texas. They were a Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed in the country, and two nurses who cared for him.
The worst hit countries have been Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where nearly 4,500 people have died. The World Food Program said on Friday that food prices in those countries have risen by an average of 24 percent, forcing some families to reduce their intake to one meal a day.
Klain, the president of Case Holdings and general counsel at Revolution LLC, a technology-oriented venture capital firm based in Washington, has been asked to take on coordination of the entire U.S. government response to Ebola, reporting directly to homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and Susan Rice, Obama's national security adviser.
The Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital worker aboard the cruise ship, who did not have direct contact with the now-deceased Liberian patient, Duncan, but could have processed his bodily fluids, left Sunday on a cruise from Galveston, Texas, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The health worker has been self-monitoring since Oct. 6 and has not developed a fever or other symptoms of Ebola, the State Department said. Continuación...