WASHINGTON - One day after a Texas nurse contracted Ebola after treating a Liberian man who died of the disease, President Obama assembled his senior national security aides and top health officials for an assessment on the government's response to the virus.
The president met Monday with national security adviser Susan Rice, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Lisa Monaco, his top aide on homeland security and counterterrorism issues. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), joined the meeting by phone.
Frieden said at a press conference earlier in the day that the United States must "rethink" the way it addresses Ebola. The fact that a well protected health care worker was able to contract the disease has raised concerns about the way it is being handled here.
The White House said Mr. Obama also wants an update on the steps being taken to ensure the U.S. is equipped to prepare with the virus. He has asked CDC to quickly investigate how the nurse -- the first to catch the disease stateside - became infected.
Twenty-six-year-old Nina Pham had treated a Liberian man who started showing symptoms of Ebola after traveling to the U.S. He later died in the hospital.
On CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, Frieden said, "clearly there was a breach in protocol" because medical experts know how to prevent the spread of Ebola while caring for patients.
During his press conference Monday, Frieden also urged hospitals to be on greater alert for patients with fever or other symptoms of Ebola who have recently traveled to the U.S. from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, the three nations hit hardest by the disease.
The CDC is now monitoring all of the hospital workers who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man. Frieden said he wouldn't be surprised if another hospital worker who cared for that patient when he was very sick becomes ill.
The president has worked to keep a high profile on the Ebola crisis in West Africa. On Sunday, the White House gathered reporters and photographers outside a window to the Oval Office so they could observe Mr. Obama speaking with Burwell after the Dallas Ebola diagnosis. On Monday, only photographers were permitted into the Oval Office at the beginning of his meeting.