To combat Ebola potentially spreading in the United States, federal response squads are getting prepared to rush to any U.S. city if another Ebola case emerges, the Associated Press reported Thursday. The government has also created a second team to prepare hospitals where subsequent Ebola cases could turn up.
The teams are “ready to go—boom–if we have another case of Ebola,” Dr. Jordan Tappero, one of the leaders of CDC’s Ebola response effort, told the AP. President Barack Obama said there should be more government involvement in any future Ebola cases. “We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step though what needs to be done,” he said.
The two teams will be identified by the acronyms CERT and FAST. The CERTs–or CDC Ebola Response Teams–will be sent to hospitals if an Ebola case is lab-confirmed, or even if health officials think a person is likely infected. A CERT team has not been deployed yet, but about 20 people are on standby.
Three FAST teams, which stands for Facility Assessment and Support Teams, will inspect hospitals that have volunteered. They will make sure the hospital staff is ready to handle a person infected with the virus, which will range from making sure the staff is ready to handle the patient when she or he first arrives to how Ebola-infected medical waste should properly be disposed.
The U.S. government came under fire for the way it handled patient zero Thomas Eric Duncan. The Liberian resident was initially sent home from a Dallas hospital. He was later readmitted in late September and died Oct. 8.
Ebola fear grew in the nation after two of Duncan’s nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, contracted the disease. The CDC admitted more people should have been sent to help Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where the nurses worked, the AP wrote. Vinson, however, is rumored to be free of the fatal infection.
Ron Klain, the “Ebola czar,” started his first day Wednesday. Though he does not have any medical experience, it will be a managerial position.
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