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US Military to Join the Fight Against Ebola

Update Date: Sep 09, 2014 09:01 AM EDT
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After a desperate call for help from agencies fighting the Ebola outbreak in Africa asking world leaders to do more, US President Barack Obama responded on Monday saying that the US military would pitch in.

Obama said the virus does not threaten US now, if uncontained it could get out of Africa and mutate, to reach American shores. Terming the outbreak a national security issue, he said the military's role would be restricted to healthcare facilitation and security of healthcare workers.

"If we do that, then it's still going to be months before this problem is controllable in Africa. But it shouldn't reach our shores. So now what we have is what should be a containable problem breaking loose because people aren't being quarantined properly. People aren't being trained properly. There aren't enough public health workers," Obama said on NBC's meet the press, according to USA Today.

World leaders came under criticism from healthcare professionals fighting the outbreak. Fox News counted noted experts including Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tim Frieden who expressed displeasure over the international community's response to the Ebola outbreak.

Following the president's announcement on Sunday, the Pentagon announced it would set up a mobile hospital facility in Liberia and later hand it over to the country's government. Liberia has been the worst hit by the outbreak and is facing an acute shortage of healthcare facilities including personnel, to treat the infected.

"The intent of this piece of equipment is to provide a facility that healthcare workers in the affected region can use for themselves if they become ill or injured. No US personnel will be providing care" Yahoo News quoted Pentagon spokesperson Army Colonel Steve Warren.

The Ebola outbreak has infected more than 3,000 people and killed at least 1,900 including 240 healthcare workers. While there is no cure, an experimental drug Zmapp has shown it can cure monkeys. 

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