Did you also know that Ebola is a lot more contagious on dead bodies than on living ones? A Department of Defense memo confirms that DoD personnel – which include troops and civilians will have direct contact with “exposed remains” of Ebola victims.
Washington Post There is a second group of people especially at risk for infection: those who treat and bury the bodies of the dead, which are even more contagious than living Ebola patients. combination of inadequate infrastructure, logistical issues, conflicts with Western health care workers and burial traditions has contributed to widespread difficulties in containing the spread of the disease among mourners and those caring for the dead.
Among the traditional practices the WHO says cannot be followed with Ebola victims: family-led body preparation and religious rituals that require direct contact with the corpse. Muslim tradition, for instance, requires that family members of the same gender should wash the body themselves before burial.
There are religiously driven Islamic rules about who can handle a dead body, and how. But those rules are often in direct conflict with the procedures health officials must follow to minimize the risk that the disease will spread, because after death is a particularly dangerous time for Ebola infection. “When the person has just died, that is when the body is most contagious,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told The Post on Thursday. “It’s when the virus is overtaking the whole body.”
WND While the DoD has issued new guidance on how military personnel and civilians will undergo pre- and post-deployment training while in the Ebola-affected areas of West Africa, buried in the 19-page memorandum in an attachment is an indication that the personnel will have direct exposure to the affected population.
The statement is in a memorandum from Jessica L. Write, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Broken down into three levels, Level II training will be for personnel who “interact with the local populace,” and Level III training for personnel “assigned to supporting medical units or expected to handle exposed remains.”
If military members must complete the training, it appears to be contrary to previous statements from DoD that the 4,000 deployed U.S. troops will not be exposed to Ebola patients but will undertake only a “supportive role.”
For such exposure, there is a more intense level of training for U.S. military and civilian personnel than the minimally required training for all deployed service members.
Civilian personnel returning from the Ebola-affected areas won’t be required to undergo the 21-day mandatory quarantine described as “controlled monitoring for military members.” Instead, civilian personnel will have the option either of undergoing the 21-day required “controlled monitoring regimen” for military personnel or undergo an “active monitoring” regimen while being allowed to go about their daily business. Monitoring will include checking the individual’s temperature.
At a news conference, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said civilians cannot be forced to undergo the post-deployment “controlled monitoring regimen.” “Because they’re civilian employees and not uniformed service members, we legally can’t force them to undergo a controlled monitoring regimen the way we can with uniformed troops,” Kirby said.
WND recently reported that the estimated 4,000 U.S. troops being deployed in response to the Ebola crisis would undertake a “supportive” role to the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. Public Health Service in a mission officially dubbed Operation United Assistance. In that capacity, the troops would construct a command center and treatment and training centers along with housing for U.S. military and civilian personnel.
In exclusive interviews recently with WND, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin and retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely condemned Obama’s decision to deploy troops to West Africa, arguing they could bring the virus to the United States or to other units. The generals said the mission of U.S. troops is to fight wars, not disease.
“There are plenty of other assets that America has if it wants to go over there and build hospitals and clearing centers and things like that,” Vallely said. “So, I think it is a very bad misuse especially when [U.S. troops] now are being asked to step up to the plate again in Iraq. So, I think it is a very bad decision on Obama’s part.”
Eating of bush meat in Africa is thought to be the way Ebola first started infecting humans.