"Now is the time to prepare": White House ramps up efforts to stop Ebola entering the US

Catherine Neilan
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Ebola: The US government is telling health care workers "now is the time to prepare" (Source: Getty)
The US government has told healthcare workers "now is the time to prepare" for the possibility the Ebola virus could enter the country.
The news came as President Obama announced he was sending 3,000 troops into West Africa in an attempt to contain the disease.
An announcement put out by the White House today detailed various measures it was putting into place in countries so far affected, including military personnel, medical resources and training.
It also revealed it was taking "steps to fortify against the introduction of Ebola cases into the United States" - though it insisted the threat of contagion was still lower than that of flu.

So what is the government doing to ensure Ebola doesn't travel to the US?

Customs and border patrol personnel have been given training to spot any travellers who show signs of the disease. Sick travellers are also being put on lockdown from West Africa, with CDC issuing guidance around the infection to airline flight crews, cleaning personnel, and cargo personnel. Students coming back from countries where an outbreak has taken place are also being watched, with advice being issued for both educational institutions and the students themselves. Humanitarian aid workers have already been issued advice.
“If a sick traveller is identified during or after a flight, the traveller will be immediately isolated, and CDC will conduct an investigation of exposed travelers and work with the airline, federal partners, and state and local health departments to notify them and take any necessary public health action,” the statement said.
If an infected person does manage to enter the US though, the government has "enhanced surveillance and lab testing" so it can better spot cases.
Guidance documents are being readied for hospitals and healthcare workers to prepare for a possible Ebola case. Special healthcare facilities and emergency medical service systems are being deployed to enable the US to “safely manage a patient with suspected Ebola virus disease”.
A warning has also been issued to those looking to make a quick buck out of the crisis, which has claimed the lives of around 2,300 people in West Africa since the spring.
The Food and Drug Administration is looking out for fraudulent products and false claims around the Ebola virus “and is prepared to take enforcement actions, as warranted, to protect the public health”.
“Despite the tragic epidemic in West Africa, US. health professionals agree it is highly unlikely that we would experience an Ebola outbreak here in the United States, given our robust health care infrastructure and rapid response capabilities. Nevertheless, we have taken extra measures to prevent the unintentional importation of cases into the United States, and if a patient does make it here, our national health system has the capacity and expertise to quickly detect and contain this disease.”

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