WRAPUP 4-Obama names Ebola 'czar' as West Africa death toll rises

viernes 17 de octubre de 2014 18:26 GYT

(Adds Ebola ruled out as cause of woman's illness at Pentagon, paragraph 18)

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON Oct 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama appointed a former White House adviser as U.S. Ebola "czar" on Friday as the global death toll from the disease that has ravaged three West African countries rose to more than 4,500.

Amid growing concerns about the spread of the virus in the United States, authorities said a Texas health worker, who was not ill but may have had contact with specimens from an Ebola patient, was quarantined on a cruise ship that departed last Sunday from the port of Galveston, Texas.

The Carnival Magic, operated by Carnival Corp unit Carnival Cruise Lines, skipped a planned stop in Cozumel, Mexico, because of delays getting permission to dock from Mexican authorities, the cruise line said. The ship was scheduled to return to Galveston on Sunday.

A Mexican port authority official said the ship was denied clearance to avoid any possible risk from Ebola. "It is the first time that this has happened, and it was decided the ship should not dock as a preventative measure against Ebola," said Erce Barron, port authority director in Quintana Roo.

Obama, facing criticism from some lawmakers over his administration's handling of 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 anxiety over the threat from Ebola, even though there have been just three cases diagnosed in the country, all in Dallas. They were a Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed in the United States, and two nurses who were on the team of health workers caring for him up to his death last week.

The worst-hit countries have been Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, where Ebola has killed 4,546 since the outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever began there in March, according to a report on Friday from the World Health Organization.   Continuación...