As President Obama explained yesterday, "it's different this time" for the military. And sure enough, while non-symptomatic civilians can come and go around the world in the hopes that they do not become symptomatic following potential contact with Ebola patients, Chuch Hagel has ordered a 21-day mandatory quarantine for all US troops returning from West Africa. The use of the 'q' word is clearly against White House protocols and so The Pentagon refers to it as "controlled monitoring" but, as AFP reports, Hagel calls it a "prudent" measure to prevent the spread of the deadly disease - which just this morning the WHO said had topped 13,000 cases worldwide.
- *HAGEL APPROVES 21-DAY ISOLATION FOR TROOPS IN EBOLA ZONES
- *HAGEL'S ORDER APPLIES TO ALL TROOPS RETURNING FROM EBOLA ZONES
- *HAGEL SAYS MILITARY FAMILIES 'WANTED A SAFETY VALVE' ON EBOLA
Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel on Wednesday ordered a 21-day quarantine for all US troops returning from West Africa, calling it a "prudent" measure to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus.
The move means the military is adopting much stricter measures than those in place for civilian health workers sent by the US government to Liberia and Senegal, and the order came amid a debate about how to treat Americans who may have come in contact with those suffering from the deadly disease.
"The secretary believes these initial steps are prudent, given the large number of military personnel transiting from their home base and West Africa, and the unique logistical demands and impact this deployment has on the force," his spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said in a statement.
The quarantine was being introduced even though officials say the soldiers will be focused on building medical clinics and will have no contact with those infected with the virus.
But Hagel said the decision was taken partly because military families urged the quarantine.
"This is also a policy that was discussed in great detail by the communities, by the families of our military men and women, and they very much wanted a safety valve on this," Hagel said at an event in the US capital, the "Washington Ideas Forum."
This morning, Secretary Hagel signed an order that validated a recommendation from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to place all U.S. military service members returning from Ebola response efforts in West Africa into a 21-day controlled monitoring regimen. This order will apply to all military services that are contributing personnel to the fight against Ebola at its source.
The secretary has also directed that the Joint Chiefs develop, for his review within 15 days, a detailed implementation plan for how this controlled monitoring will be applied across the force that takes into account the size and scope of the logistics required for this effort.
In addition, the secretary directed that the Joint Chiefs conduct a review of this new regimen within 45 days from now. This review will offer a recommendation on whether or not such controlled monitoring should continue based on what we learn and observe from the initial waves of personnel returning from Operation United Assistance.
The secretary believes these initial steps are prudent given the large number of military personnel transiting from their home base and West Africa and the unique logistical demands and impact this deployment has on the force. The secretary's highest priority is the safety and security of our men and women in uniform and their families.
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And of course there is this...
Medical experts have sharply criticized recent strict quarantine orders adopted in New York and New Jersey as based on politics rather than science.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to respond to the virus with "facts" rather than "fear."
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Over to you Christie and Cuomo...
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And in an attempt to lightne the mood, The Onion explains an Ebola vaccine is maybe 50 white people away...
CONAKRY, GUINEA - With the death toll in West Africa continuing to rise amid a new outbreak of the Ebola virus, leading medical experts announced Wednesday that a vaccine for the deadly disease is still at least 50 white people from being developed.
“While all measures are being taken to contain the spread of the contagion, an effective, safe, and reliable Ebola inoculation unfortunately remains roughly 50 to 60 white people away, if not more,” said Tulane University pathologist Gregory Wensmann, adding that while progress has been made over the course of the last two or three white people, a potential Ebola vaccination is still many more white people off.
“We are confident, however, that with each passing white person, we’re moving closer to an eventual antigenic that will prevent and possibly even eradicate the disease.”
Wensmann said he remained optimistic that the vaccine would not take considerably longer than his prediction, as waiting more than 50 white people for an effective preventative measure was something the world would simply not allow.