WRAPUP 7-Obama names Ebola 'czar,' bolsters Texas response
(Recasts first two paragraphs)
By Jeff Mason and Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON Oct 17 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama appointed a former White House adviser as Ebola "czar" on Friday and named officials to bolster the response to the disease in Texas, the center of U.S. Ebola cases, as the death toll in three West African nations topped 4,500.
The White House appointments came as Obama faced criticism from some lawmakers over his administration's efforts to contain the hemorrhagic virus and as widening Ebola fears kept a U.S. cruise ship out of a Mexican port.
Obama appointed Ron Klain, a lawyer who had served as chief of staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, to oversee the U.S. Ebola response.
The White House also said it would send senior personnel to Dallas to help federal, state and local officials there trying to identify and monitor people who came in contact with three people who caught the disease.
The three include Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the disease in the United States, and two nurses who were on the team of health workers caring for Duncan until his death last week.
Obama met with health and national security aides and "underscored that the domestic response to Ebola cases must be seamless at all levels," the White House said in a statement.
It was the third consecutive day that Obama had convened officials to discuss what has become a major political issue for his Democratic administration ahead of mid-term elections next month. Continuación...