Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort -- Ebola virus disease has undergone a recent outbreak in several West African countries, sparking a global response and concern. Two American Ebola patients last month and one this month have been flown to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta for treatment.
“I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low,” said President Barack Obama in remarks at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Sept. 16. “We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.”
The United States has pledged to build additional treatment units in West Africa, including new isolation spaces and more than 1,000 beds as scientists seek to create new treatments or vaccines.
All service members traveling to United States Africa Command area of operations should make themselves aware of associated medical threats, preventive and mitigating steps, and should track their health during potential exposure plus 21 days.
“In all our efforts, the safety of our personnel will remain a top priority,” said Obama.
Ebola is not air- or waterborne. According to Marine Administrative Message 465/14, Ebola is transferred through direct contact with blood, bodily fluids, or contaminated objects. However, direct contact with infected wildlife or consuming infected food can also spread the disease.
Troops and aid workers traveling to the area can protect themselves by practicing basic disease prevention measures like hand-washing, keeping wounds clean and covered, and using safe water for drinking and washing, said Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Evans, a corpsman at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Branch Medical Clinic.
Other habits that help prevent disease include keeping vaccinations up-to-date, taking care with food preparation, and using personal protective equipment when necessary.
“These habits can stop the spread of any type of disease,” said Evans.
For more information on Ebola, visit http://www.marines.mil/ebola or http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola