It seems that the light has finally come on for epidemiologists and other medical responders. Not too long ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent teams to West Africa to try to get control over the outbreak in progress.
News reports now say that the State Department has contracted an order for 5000 body bags to be delivered to Liberia and is seeking bids for 160,000 hazmat suits. The body bags were reportedly ordered around August 19th as the death toll was climbing into the four digit range.
Source: Daily Mail Online
The U.S. Agency for International Development ordered 5,000 body bags from a Florida company last month as part of its planned response to an outbreak of the Ebola virus in western Africa.
And as President Obama prepares to enlarge America’s aid to affected countries, a company that makes protective clothing says the State Department, which oversees USAID, has invited bids for 160,000 hazmat suits.
The body-bag purchase came on August 19, just after the World Health Organization said the epidemic had killed 1,000 people. That death toll is now greater than 2,400.
The size of the contracts indicates how seriously governments are taking the threat, especially considering that all 5,000 body bags were destined only for Liberia – one of three countries whose citizens have been hammered with new disease cases and paralyzed with fear.
The bid seeking for the hazmat suits has sparked all kinds of concern from people all over. When writing this post, the application that I use to highlight related articles keyed on the hazmat suits, and the websites listed runs the table of prepper and survivalist postings. I think it’s something to be concerned with to an extent, but I’m not ready to suggest people head to the bunkers and go into lockdown just yet.
Understanding the differences in conditions gives me reason to have concern without any feelings of panic. For example, Nancy Writebol was transported to the airport in Liberia in a pickup truck with a tarp as a cover. In the US, she was transported in a specially equipped ambulance wearing a completely enclosed hazmat suit. Medical supplies that we take for granted here like gloves and masks are not commonplace in West Africa, and the medical staff has to be trained on how to properly use them to protect themselves.
The numbers of people infected and dying are still increasing and will likely do so for a while. The CDC has also sent out warnings and preparation lists to medical providers to prepare them for the possibility of having to deal with Ebola here in America. In addition, President Obama is traveling here to Atlanta in a visit to the CDC checking on preparations and actions being taken to combat the outbreak.
Lost in all the reporting about the West Africa outbreak is the climbing number of cases in the unrelated outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Stay tuned for updates as things continue to progress…