ATLANTA (CT&P) – Director of the Centers For Disease Control in Atlanta Thomas Frieden announced today that 84 more personnel will be sent to West Africa to help combat the Ebola outbreak that is devastating parts of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The 84 scientists will join a team of five CDC personnel already on the ground in the area.
The outbreak has already claimed over 300 lives and is considered by many to be completely out of control.
“The reality is clear that the epidemic is now in a second wave,” Bart Janssens, a Doctors Without Borders official, told the Associated Press. “And, for me, it is totally out of control.
Ebola causes high fevers, vomiting, diarrhea and often death. The latest epidemic has left more than 330 dead in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. The outbreak started in heavily populated areas of Guinea and Liberia.
“I’m absolutely convinced that this epidemic is far from over and will continue to kill a considerable number of people, particularly health workers” Janssens told AP, “so this will definitely end up the biggest ever.”
The CDC has not released the names of the employees destined for the hot zone, and Dr. Frieden insisted that the move has nothing to do with the 84 federal employees recently exposed to deadly anthrax bacteria.
“We had planned to send these folks into the field for quite some time, and introducing them into a filthy environment loaded with Ebola, malaria and Dengue fever is the perfect way to get their feet wet in the exciting world of hands on disease prevention,” said Frieden. “It has absolutely nothing to do with trying to get rid of bumbling scientists that did not follow proper protocol, or trying to avoid the costly medical expenses of treating anthrax infections.”
The potentially disastrous anthrax exposure occurred after researchers working in a high-level biosecurity laboratory at the agency’s Atlanta campus failed to follow proper procedures to inactivate the bacteria. They then transferred the samples, which may have contained live bacteria, to lower-security CDC labs not equipped to handle live anthrax, as well as the campus cafeteria.
More researchers were exposed to the deadly substance during an office party when the powder was mistaken for table sugar and used to sweeten iced tea.
Dr. Frieden told The Atlanta Journal Constitution that he has full faith in the team, and those who beat the odds and survive will no doubt be in line for some important bonuses and promotions.