Rodriguez: US Personnel Will Be Safe from Ebola

US personnel deploying to counter the Ebola epidemic in western Africa will have the training and the protective equipment and procedures to ensure their safety, Army Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of US Africa Command said Tuesday. Of the 4,000 Americans involved, only about 30 highly trained specialists testing for possible Ebola infection could have any exposure to the deadly disease, and they will be encased in complete protective ensembles, Rodriguez told Pentagon reporters. “US military personnel working in the labs are not interacting with patients, only samples,” said Rodriguez. “The testing labs are manned by highly skilled and trained personnel from the US Naval Medical Research Center.” The other US personnel providing logistical and infrastructure support will have only masks and rubber gloves “because they won’t be in contact with“ potentially infected individuals, he said. Everyone will be trained before deploying and will be required to follow detailed procedures developed from practices used by experienced professionals, such as Doctors Without Borders, Rodriguez explained. All will be required to wash repeatedly and will be tested to ensure they have not been exposed, he said. The United Assistance task force has all the protective equipment it could need, and anyone who might become infected would be flown in specially equipped aircraft to US facilities prepared to treat them, he said. “We will do everything in our power to mitigate the risk,” said Rodriguez.