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The United States is getting ready to step up its battle against Ebola

President Barack Obama said that ‘SWAT-like’ response teams are needed.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA has vowed that his administration would provide “much more aggressive” monitoring of Ebola cases in the United States and warned that in an age of frequent travel the disease could spread globally if the world doesn’t respond to the “raging epidemic in West Africa.”

In his most urgent comments on the spread of the disease, Obama also sought to ease growing anxiety and fears in the U.S. in the aftermath of a second nurse being diagnosed with Ebola after treating a patient in a Dallas hospital. He said he had directed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to step up its response to new cases.

He said:

We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step though what needs to be done.

Obama spoke after cancelling a political campaign trip to convene a session of top Cabinet officials involved in the Ebola response both in the U.S. and in the West African region where the disease has been spreading at alarming rates.

Participants in the meeting were a roster of Cabinet secretaries and top Obama advisers, including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.

Hours before Obama canceled his trip, officials confirmed that a second nurse at a Dallas had tested positive for the virus after treating an Ebola patient who later died. The disclosure raised new fears regarding the exposure by other health care workers. Officials also revealed that the nurse was on a commercial flight the evening before being diagnosed.

Barack Obama President Barack Obama speaks about Ebola after a meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. Source: AP

The Texas developments added a new domestic element to what has developed into an Ebola crisis in the West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Obama has been pressing the international community to step up its assistance in combating the disease.

On Wednesday, Obama spoke by phone with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President François Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The White House said Obama stressed that the world must provide the finances and personnel needed “to bend the curve of the epidemic” and said it amounts to a “human tragedy as well as a threat to international security.”

He made a similar case to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday, the White House said.

Read: World Health Organisation warns the rate of Ebola could reach 10,000 a week >

More: A second health worker in Texas has tested positive for Ebola >

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Associated Press

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