U.S. Says Diseases Like Ebola Should Be Viewed as Security Threats

The Obama administration urged the international community Friday to view outbreaks of Ebola, MERS and other deadly diseases as global security threats that require broad and rapid responses to protect the safety of populations and economies.

Top U.S. officials from the White House, Pentagon and State Department met with representatives from 44 countries and multilateral agencies, including the United Nations and World Bank, to call for implementation of 7-year-old global standards for dealing with deadly epidemics and other health dangers, including biological attacks.

President Barack Obama, who this week urged members of the United Nations to do more against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, told Friday’s meeting that the current response to disease outbreaks often amounts to an ill-coordinated scramble with tragic consequences.

“With all the knowledge, all the medical talent, all the advanced technologies at our disposal, it is unacceptable if, because of lack of preparedness and planning and global coordination, people are dying when they don’t have to,” the president said.