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CDC: 'Time to Prepare' for a Possible Ebola Outbreak in America

CDC: 'Time to Prepare' for a Possible Ebola Outbreak in America

Almost 2,500 are dead in West Africa from Ebola and now the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has told American hospitals to prepare for a possible outbreak on American soil. On Monday, the center released an updated checklist for all hospitals for Ebola preparedness. The CDC also wants America to provide more help to combat the disease in Africa.

The CDC said they do not know if there are any Ebola cases in America, but “now is the time to prepare, as it is possible individuals with EVD [Ebola Virus Disease] in West Africa may travel to the United States.” The rules apply to everyone in the healthcare setting, including those unpaid. The people must be trained in everything Ebola: risks, signs, and symptoms.

Ebola is contracted through body fluids. The CDC recommends every hospital is stocked with personal protective equipment (PPE): gowns, gloves, shoe covers, eye protection, facemasks, and respirators. Along with this, someone should check to make sure anyone who enters a room with an Ebola patient is wearing all of the materials. Hospitals should “use a ‘buddy system’ when caring for patients and when putting on and removing” all clothing and medical equipment.

Dr. Steve Monroe with the CDC said more trained personnel are needed in Africa. Some of the most vulnerable to Ebola are the medical workers, but Americans are lining up to offer their services to those in West Africa. From USA Today:

At a CMDA (Christian Medical & Dental Association) training session last week, one female doctor was readying to go to the same hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, where Brantly contracted the virus, said David Stevens, a family practice physician and CMDA’s chief executive. The group has recently seen a steep rise in the number of medical students signing up for missions abroad, he said.

“In no respect has it deterred the general enthusiasm and fervor of people ready to go,” said Faith in Action Director Don Sewell. “People are still making plans to go.”

Monroe said the CDC will hold a training course in Anniston, Alabama for those who want to volunteer.

“It’s gone beyond an Ebola crisis to a humanitarian crisis,” he said. “It does require more of a U.S. government-wide response, more than just CDC.”

President Obama announced the United States will send 3,000 troops to Liberia. These troops “will oversee building new treatment centres [sic] and help train medical staff.” The US hopes to train 500 medical officials and build new healthcare centers with 100 beds. Medical worker Pierre Trbovic worked in Liberia with Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF) and he said the centers turned away patients because there was no more room in the facilities. MSF’s president “called on states with biohazard response capability to urgently send teams to west Africa.” He claimed the patients and medical organizations could not just rely on the United Nations and NGOs for help. He said Monrovia needs more than 1,000 beds.

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