Obama urges Congress over $6 billion Ebola war chest

President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged US lawmakers to release a $6 billion war chest to help the fight against Ebola, warning that the deadly disease could not be beaten without additional funding.

Speaking at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Obama called on Congress to approve the emergency funding to help battle the virus, saying the West African outbreak remained a threat.

"We cannot beat Ebola without more funding," Obama said.

"And if we want other countries to keep stepping up, we have to keep leading the way," added Obama, noting that some 3,000 American civilians and military were now deployed on the ground in West Africa, mostly in Liberia, the worst-affected country.

Obama said while efforts to fight Ebola had broadly united Republicans and Democrats to date, he warned against the funding being caught in the crossfire of a bitter budget battle on Capitol Hill.

"I am calling on Congress to approve our emergency funding request to fight this disease before" they recess later this month, said Obama, who requested the funding in early November.

"We have to extinguish this disease, this is not something that we can just manage with a few cases here and there.

"That is not a partisan issue. That is a basic common sense issue."

According to latest figures from the World Health Organization, the Ebola outbreak has claimed 6,070 lives out of more than 17,000 infections.

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© 2014 AFP

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