September 2014 – HEALTH – The Center for Disease Control has issued new, strict guidelines for airline crews in an attempt to stop Ebola from spreading outside West Africa. Released Friday, the new guidance stresses that flight crews should ‘treat any body fluid as though it is infectious,’ as the out-of-control outbreak claims thousands of lives in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Senegal. The warning comes as 3000 U.S. troops start to deploy to the developing nations to set up facilities and form training teams to help the Africans treat victims of the gruesome disease. The CDC stressed in its release that, per U.S. law, American airlines and foreign airlines traveling non-stop to or from the country are permitted airlines ‘to deny boarding to air travelers with serious contagious diseases that could spread during flight.’ In July, a sick Nigeria man managed to board a plane in Liberia and took the deadly virus with him to Lagos. Officials moved swiftly to tamp out the spread in Africa’s most populous city after the man passed Ebola to several healthcare workers.
None of his fellow passengers appear to have contracted the disease in-flight. Nonetheless, fears remain that a traveler could potentially facilitate that spread of Ebola beyond the confines of West Africa. Meanwhile, thousands of promised American forces will be moving into Africa over the next 30 days to set up facilities and form training teams to help the Africans treat Ebola victims, the Army’s top officer said Friday. Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said the disease has accelerated faster than initially thought, so the U.S. needs to get people on the ground and ramp up numbers quickly. President Barack Obama has pledged 3,000 troops, and the U.S. military commander and a small team has arrived in Liberia to do initial assessments. Before troops are sent in, Odierno says, the Army needs to make sure they are prepared to operate in that environment, which includes health care safety. The military units expected to deploy have not been identified.
Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, the U.S. Army-Africa commander, arrived in Monrovia on Wednesday with a 12-person assessment team, said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon’s press secretary. They are conducting site surveys and other planning needed to construct treatment facilities there. Kirby added that some equipment has already arrived, including a forklift and generator, and two more aircraft are expected this weekend with 45 more military troops. The Defense Department has requested up to $1 billion for Ebola response efforts. Kirby said U.S. troops will not be involved in the direct treatment of patients. –Daily Mail