DOD Preparing for Domestic Ebola Fight

A group of Defense Department medical personnel is training to respond to domestic Ebola cases. The 30-member support team—which includes 10 critical care nurses; 10 noncritical care in-patient nurses; five physicians with experience in infectious disease, internal medicine, and critical care; and five infection control specialists—began training at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston on Oct. 26. “Because there’s this need … we’re going to make sure that we can respond effectively to it, but only after people are trained fully and [are] proficient,” said Col. John DeGoes, command surgeon for US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. “It’s absolutely critical that we train to standard and not to a pre-conceived time.” With an increase in the number of cases reported in the US, President Obama last week outlined a strategy to enhance the nation’s domestic preparedness in a fight against the disease. The strategy included a number of measures officials would take, such as the establishment of the DOD Medical Support Team. However, Obama said it’s “important for the American people to remind themselves that only two people so far have contracted Ebola on American soil” and “today both of them are disease free.” A total of seven Americans have been treated for Ebola and “all have survived,” added Obama on Oct. 28. (See also Battling Ebola.)