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De Blasio 'very confident' in city's ability to handle Ebola

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference

Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a press conference on Sept. 25, 2014, in Manhattan. Credit: Getty Images / Andrew Burton

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he is "very confident" in the city's ability to handle a local Ebola outbreak in a "careful and aggressive manner," especially because of ties to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are blessed in New York City to have the strongest public health apparatus in the country," he said at an unrelated news conference on Staten Island. "I feel very bad for what happened in Texas, but I can safely say that we have a much more aggressive and coherent game plan."

The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the country is being treated in Dallas, and dozens of others who may have come in contact with that patient are being monitored. Thomas Eric Duncan, who traveled to Texas from Liberia, is in critical condition in an isolated ward at a Dallas hospital.

The CDC director, Dr. Thomas Frieden, is former commissioner of the city Department of Health, de Blasio noted. Many who worked alongside Frieden -- including the current health commissioner, Dr. Mary Travis Bassett -- are now in city leadership positions, de Blasio said.

"We know that if we have even the possibility that someone may have Ebola that they're going to be handled in a very careful and aggressive manner," the mayor said.

Protocols are in place in the city to handle Ebola cases, from the use of specific equipment and suits to air transport of patients to appropriate care facilities, de Blasio said.

He urged that anyone who suspects they may have come in contact with the Ebola virus call 911 and go to the nearest emergency room.

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