Nurses around the globe have their eyes trained on West Africa as the Ebola virus outbreak continues to grow exponentially.
In the latest news, President Obama announced that the United States will lead the world response by sending up to 3,000 troops to the region. In addition to troops, the U.S. also will send more healthcare workers, medical supplies and materials to build field hospitals, according to CNN coverage.
Obama spoke on Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, saying that the outbreak has now become unlike anything in recent history.
“Here’s the hard truth. In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It’s spiraling out of control,” he said.
This comes after the latest numbers from the World Health Organization predict that the number of Ebola cases could reach 20,000 before the outbreak is contained. Some sources predict the number could be much higher than that–which will mean more nurses needed to help care for patients and try to stop the outbreak’s exponential growth.
Obama said that the CDC has already provided the largest response in the organization’s history, and that the field hospitals could provide up to 1,700 additional beds for Ebola patients in Africa. Nurses and doctors are particularly vulnerable to contracting the virus, as it’s spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of sick patients.
Washington has already pledged $100 million to the effort, and the Pentagon said it is working to allocate $500 million more. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has pledged 400,000 treatment kits to the area with protective gear designed to protect families of victims. USAID also will spend $75 million to build treatment centers and provide them with equipment.
The president also called for a larger global response, and next week the U.S. will chair an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. This will be designed to encourage other nations to step up involvement in the crisis as well.
For additional news, see Scrubs‘ previous roundup of Ebola coverage, as well as the Emory chief nurse explaining why her hospital had a duty to bring Ebola patients to the U.S. Plus, don’t miss our “Germ Warfare” coverage with tips to help you and your colleagues battle hospital-acquired infections and prevent the spread of germs on the job.