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U.S. soldiers to receive just four hours of training on Ebola virus

Ebola outbreak

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(NaturalNews) Most Americans think that their military is very well-trained, and in most cases, that assumption is correct. However, troops who have been ordered by President Obama to assist with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa got a bare minimum of training before being sent into an area where an incurable Biosafety Level 4 disease is epidemic.

As reported by The Daily Beast (DB), the limited training comes as "American military operations" in Africa "are unfolding quickly," which has, in turn, forced "the military to come up with some procedures and protocols on the fly."

The DB further reported that troops preparing to deploy to the hot zones in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are only getting bare minimum Ebola training -- just a few hours' worth -- before departing. Also, the site reported, the first 500 American military personnel have been forced to hole up in Liberian hotels and other government facilities while building longer-term accommodations on the ground. The DB further reported:

'I'm kind of scared'

A two-person team can train as many as 50 troops over a four-hour time frame, USAMRIID told The Daily Beast. Training includes hands-on instruction regarding how to put on, take off and decontaminate protective gear and equipment. The hands-on is followed by a practical test to make sure that troops understand the procedures.

"All training is tiered to the level of risk each person may encounter," said USAMRIID spokeswoman Caree Vander Linden.

According to a report by USA Today, troops are given uber-realistic scenarios; no punches are pulled when it comes to being informed about just what they will be facing:

Soldiers were briefed on how Ebola is spread and what symptoms to look for. They were told to seek medical care at the first sign of trouble and not to shake hands or touch residents. They were told not to eat or drink anything that wasn't provided by the U.S. government.

And they were told that using protective gear was critical, particularly when handling blood specimens in a lab or standing guard near public areas. They were shown how to use layers of gloves, chemical suits, masks and special boots.

"The environment we're going into is drastically different (from Afghanistan)... the stuff that can kill you is much worse," Capt. Tyler Mark told the paper. He said troops understand that Ebola "basically causes your body to eat itself from the inside out."

"I'll be honest with you," one soldier told the newspaper, "I'm kind of scared."

Unclear if troops will receive additional or remedial training once on the ground in Africa

Like the government has told Americans -- even though the United States is now dealing with its own small outbreak -- the military maintains that personnel assigned to this mission have a minimal chance of contracting Ebola. Officials say the virus is not airborne, and apparently there are no plans to move troops into West Africa to have contact with sick patients. Their mission, the Pentagon says, will be limited to constructing 17 medical clinics (which will, eventually, house patients sick with Ebola).

"I'm not an epidemiologist, but it's been shown that this disease is most manifest when handling bodily fluid--blood, other sorts of fluids, and there is no plan right now for U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to do that," Maj. Gen. Darryl Williams, the officer in charge of the U.S. operations center in Liberia, told reporters. "As long as you exercise basic sanitation and cleanliness sort of protocols... I think the risk is relatively low."

It's unclear if troops will receive additional training in handling Ebola patients and infected materials, or refresher training if they are to be sent into actual hot zones.

Learn all these details and more at the FREE online Pandemic Preparedness course at www.BioDefense.com






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