Pentagon enlisted in Ebola fight

The Pentagon will airlift a portable, 25-bed hospital to Ebola-stricken Liberia to help treat first responders who have contracted the deadly disease, the Pentagon announced Monday.

The hospital, contained in a series of tents, will be set up and stocked by U.S. personnel. They will most likely be a mix of uniformed and civilian medical experts, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

The hospital will be given to the government of Liberia and operated by aid organizations and local medical personnel, Warren said.

“We’re making this a top priority,” Warren said.

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is the largest in history with 3,707 confirmed or suspected cases in west African countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those sickened with the virus, 1,848 have died as of Aug. 31.

Liberia has been hardest hit: 1,698 cases of the disease and 871 deaths.

Symptoms include fever of greater than 101.5 degrees, severe headache and unexplained bleeding or bruising. It is spread through direct contact with blood or body fluids of an infected person.

The Pentagon received the request for the hospital from the U.S. Agency for International Development, Warren said. The operation is expected to cost about $22 million.

The mobile hospitals have been set up by the military in disaster areas such as Haiti after the 2010 earthquake and in the early stages of the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Pentagon will provide supplies as needed, Warren said.

There is no vaccine or medicine proven to cure Ebola, according to the CDC. Keeping patients hydrated and treating other infections increases the chances of survival.

Several government agencies are investigating drug treatments and vaccines for the disease.

The following two tabs change content below.
Dan Mullin is an active writer and editor for the Pluto Daily who covered the 2014 Ebola Outbreak. Mullin attended the Wake Forest School of Medicine before leaving to pursue his lifelong science goal of allowing humans to live forever via a computer/brain transfer.