Two additional mobile testing labs from the U.S. Government, which were flown into Liberia last weekend, have already been installed and are up and running at the Ebola Treatment Units at Island Clinic and in Bong County.
The U.S. Navy laboratories, part of the ongoing Joint Forces Command-United Assistance, reduce the time needed to determine if a sick person has Ebola from several days to just a few hours, and are capable of processing about 80 samples a day. Members of a U.S. Navy Medical Research Unit will operate both laboratories.
“Having a laboratory on site will dramatically improve our ability to provide appropriate care to all of our patients,” Dr. Pranav Shetty, Emergency Medical Coordinator for International Medical Corps (IMC), said. “The sooner we can confirm patients who are positive (for Ebola), the sooner they can receive specialized care.” IMC is the organization running the Bong County site.
“And the sooner we can identify patients as negative,” Dr. Shetty said, “the sooner they can be discharged from the ETU and return safely to their communities. We welcome the U.S. Navy to our unit in Bong County and thank them for their dedication.”
The mobile testing labs are part of the U.S. effort to help the government of Liberia and other Ebola-affected countries contain the Ebola virus, save lives and alleviate human suffering. Other U.S. activities include setting up a logistics base to facilitate the flow of U.S. military personnel, supplies, and equipment into the affected region, helping to build 17 Ebola treatment units, and training hundreds of health care workers.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. government agency overseeing the overall U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The U.S. military response, led by Major General Darryl Williams, Commanding General of U.S. Army Africa, is acting in support of the USAID-led Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) by providing expertise in command and control, engineering and logistics.