The 4,000 service members being deployed to “combat Ebola” in West Africa will be “kept safe” from the virus, the Defense Department claimed, despite the fact that health officials have failed to contain Ebola which is now spreading on multiple continents.
During a Pentagon news conference today, U.S. Army Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), said the military is using “strict protocols” to protect the troops and will implement “careful reintegration” once they return to the U.S.
“I am confident we can ensure our service members’ safety and the safety of the American people,” he said, adding that any soldier who contracts Ebola will be flown back into the U.S. for treatment.
Considering that efforts to contain Ebola have so far failed, with the disease now spreading in Europe and America, the Pentagon’s reassurances carry little weight.
On Monday, a nurse’s assistant in Spain contracted Ebola from a source outside of Africa in what is now the first confirmed case of Ebola transmission in Europe.
“Meanwhile, Ebola continues to rage out of control in West Africa,” journalist Michael Snyder wrote. “It is being reported that Sierra Leone just added 121 new Ebola deaths to the overall death toll in a single day.”
“If Ebola continues to spread at an exponential rate, it is inevitable that more people will leave West Africa with the virus and take it to other parts of the globe.”
Researchers have concluded there is a 50% chance Ebola could reach the UK later this month and a 75% chance it could spread into France in a study released Monday.
“France is among countries most likely to be hit next because the worst affected countries – Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia – are French-speaking and have busy travel routes back, while Britain’s Heathrow is one of the world’s biggest travel hubs,” reported Sarah Westcott with Express News.
The study also suggested that many more can bring Ebola into Europe without knowing because the symptoms for the disease can take weeks to develop.
“If this thing continues to rage on in West Africa and indeed gets worse, as some people have predicted, then it’s only a matter of time before one of these cases ends up on a plane to Europe,” Dr. Derek Gatherer, a virus expert with Lancaster University, said.
This study is particularly alarming considering the UK and France took precautions against the spread of Ebola, including limiting air travel to West Africa back in August, which the Obama administration has failed to do.
And yet the Pentagon now believes it can somehow protect U.S. troops from Ebola in West Africa.
“We want to believe the troops will not be exposed but how do you guarantee that?” Asked Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-NC). “I don’t know, there are just so many questions about Ebola, and everyday we learn something new.”