Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTrump signs executive order on campus free speech Senators ask CBO to review options for preventing surprise medical bills The next step for justice reform: Ending the ban on federal Pell Grants for eligible students behind bars MORE (R-Tenn.) warned that the United States is at risk of becoming exposed to the deadly Ebola outbreak.

“Unless it is controlled, this will be one of the most explosive, dangerous, deadly epidemics in modern times,” Alexander said on Wednesday. “We need to run toward the burning flames with fireproof suits on.”

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Alexander, who serves as ranking member on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said researchers should ensure that the United States is prepared for a threat “here at home.”

“While it seems quite far away, with today’s global travel West Africa is really just hours away,” Alexander said. “We are only one airplane ride away from a person exposed to Ebola getting on a plane to the U.S. and then becoming sick once they arrive.”

Before Congress adjourned for midterm election campaigning, both chambers passed a spending measure that included more than $80 million for Ebola research and coordination to help West Africa deal with the crisis.

There is no cure for Ebola and nearly 2,000 have died in the past few weeks. On Wednesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said as many as 1.4 million people could become infected by the end of the year.