WASHINGTON—DoD announced that it is organizing a 30-member expeditionary medical support team that can provide assistance on short notice to civilian medical personnel in the event of additional Ebola cases in the U.S.
According to DoD, the military team will consist of 20 critical care nurses, 5 doctors trained in infectious disease, and 5 trainers in infectious disease protocols. The team will be sent to Fort Sam Houston in Texas where they will be trained by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. After completing the training, the team will be in a “prepare to deploy” status for 30 days, available to be sent to other domestic locations, according to DoD.
The establishment of the team was “in response to a request by the Department of Health and Human Services and as an added prudent measure to ensure the nation is ready to respond quickly, effectively, and safely in the event of additional Ebola cases in the United States,” Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a written statement.
“They will not be sent to West Africa or elsewhere overseas and will be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals,” he explained.
Support in West Africa
The organization of the 30-member military support team is the latest DoD effort in the Ebola crisis. DoD officials had previously stated the up to 4,000 troops are expected in West Africa to establish Ebola treatment and testing facilities, among other things. U.S. medical personnel have not been directly treating Ebola patients in West Africa.
The Military Health System recently released an Ebola fact sheet for families of deploying personnel that explained that throughout the deployment to West Africa all personnel will be monitored for Ebola two times a day for clinical exposure risks. Upon return from deployment all military personnel will be monitored for 21 days. Returning troops will also have a face-to face interview twice a day and temperature checks twice a day.
“The Military Health System brings deep expertise in infectious disease and how to medically prepare our people for all contingencies. All deploying personnel will receive needed equipment, get the right training, and be closely monitored before, during, and after deployment,” the fact sheet stated.
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