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Assistance in Ebola control gains progress in Liberia: Pentagon

Xinhua, October 17, 2014 Adjust font size:

The U.S. military response to the outbreak of Ebola in Liberia continues to progress, with facilities expected to be fully operational next week, a Pentagon spokesman said on Thursday.

"Our forces on the ground in Liberia continue to make progress in setting up infrastructure and facilities to support the international response," Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told reporters in an update on Operation United Assistance.

"Setup has been complete on the 25-bed hospital, and we expect it to be fully operational with U.S. Public Health Service medical workers taking responsibility for that unit next week," Kirby said. "Construction continues on the Ebola treatment facilities, with the first expected to be completed by the end of the month."

Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, are the three West African countries most heavily stricken by the world's worst Ebola outbreak on record, which has killed a total of 4,493 people so far this year.

With nearly half of all deaths having happened in the country, Liberia became the focus of American efforts to fight the epidemic at its source.

The Pentagon announced early this month that the U.S. military expected to increase the number of troops deployed to Liberia to fight the Ebola outbreak to nearly 4,000, up from a planned 3,000- strong force.

In the interim, Kirby said, personnel from the U.S. Naval Medical Research Center continue to operate three mobile medical labs, which provide 24-hour turnaround results on samples, with more than 1,200 total samples having been processed to date.

The admiral emphasized that no U.S. military personnel will be providing direct patient care to the local population.

"We focused on four lines of effort, and only four lines effort: command and control, logistics support, training and engineering," he said.

Additionally, Kirby said, an air bridge has been set up in Senegal to help logistics flow, because some areas have no roads, and many roads that do exist are inundated with mud. "We now have Ospreys that are helping speed the delivery of resources, supplies and troops to some of these very remote areas where these labs are being set up," he said.

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