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CDC director invokes AIDS comparison to rally Ebola response




U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden joins finance ministers and representatives from around the world for a meeting on the Ebola crisis during the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group annual meetings October 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Sierra Leone President Bai Koroma and Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joined the conference via video link.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden joins finance ministers and representatives from around the world for a meeting on the Ebola crisis during the International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group annual meetings October 9, 2014 in Washington, DC. Sierra Leone President Bai Koroma and Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf joined the conference via video link.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, commenting on the Ebola outbreak yesterday said, "[I]n the thirty years I've been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS.

And we have to work now so that this is not the world's next AIDS." Today, the U.N. special envoy on Ebola said the number of cases is probably doubling every three-to-four weeks and the response needs to be 20 times greater than it was at the beginning of October to control the rapid advance of the deadly virus. Public health expert Philip Alcabes told AirTalk, "In my view, from an epidemiological standpoint, Ebola looks nothing like AIDS." In Alcabes' analysis, Dr. Frieden's comments were intended to get Americans to pay attention to Africa, in the same way AIDS became a rallying cry in the 1980s.

What's your view of Dr. Frieden's comments? What can we learn from early failures in the response to HIV/AIDS when that disease first emerged?

Guest:

Philip Alcabes, Ph.D, professor of public health at Adelphi University; author of "Dread: How Fear and Fantasy have fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to Avian Flu"