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British Army medics pack their bags to deploy to West Africa

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 01:25

A British Army medical team prepares to travel to Sierra Leone to work in Ebola virus treatment unit. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) A team of British Army medics prepared to travel to West Africa on Wednesday night (October 15) night to help combat the spread of the deadly Ebola virus. The 91 doctors and nurses from 22 Field Hospital in Aldershot will run an Ebola virus treatment center in Sierra Leone, joining up with 40 medical personnel already in the country. Nearly 4,500 people have died from the worst Ebola outbreak on record, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday, with confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola reported in seven countries, including the United States. The team's commanding officer said they were well equipped to deal with the risks that would be presented to them in Sierra Leone. "Effectively we've been held at readiness for 20 months to go anywhere on contingency operations so all we've needed is top up training really for this specific operation," said Lieutenant Commander Alison McCourt. Global health authorities are struggling to contain the world's worst Ebola epidemic since the disease was identified in 1976. Britain began screening passengers arriving at London's busiest airport from West Africa for signs of the virus on Tuesday (October 14). Health Minister Jeremy Hunt said on Monday (October 13) Britain could expect to see "a handful" of Ebola cases over the next three months, partly due to its status as a popular travel destination. On Thursday (October 16) Hunt said Britain had strict procedures in place and praised the bravery of health care workers in both the U.S. and Britain for volunteering to treat Ebola suffers. "I think we will see someone with Ebola arriving in the UK and the chief medical officer think it will be a handful of cases in the next three months. We have to be prepared, we have very strict procedures. We have to make sure that everyone knows about the right procedures. But I think what strikes me about what's happened in America is first of all the bravery of health care workers and nurse and doctors who are treating people with Ebola. It can never be entirely risk free and yet in our NHS we've got nearly 700 people who've volunteered to go out to West Africa." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that the number of infections could rise to up to 1.4 million people by early next year without a massive global intervention to contain the virus. The United States, Britain, France, China, Cuba and international organizations are pouring funds, supplies and personnel into the affected parts of West Africa.

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British Army medics pack their bags to deploy to West Africa

Thursday, October 16, 2014 - 01:25

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