US sends 700 soldiers to Liberia to fight Ebola

Updated: 2014-10-01 22:56


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US sends 700 soldiers to Liberia to fight Ebola

A general view of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia September 30, 2014. US health officials said on Tuesday the first patient infected with the deadly Ebola virus had been diagnosed in the country after flying from Liberia to Texas, in a new sign of how the outbreak ravaging West Africa can spread globally. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has authorized the deployment of 700 soldiers to Liberia to help with the fight against the Ebola epidemic there, the Defense Department said in a statement Wednesday.

The troops will be deployed in late October to supervise the construction of Ebola treatment units, conduct site surveys and provide engineering expertise in an area with a range of infrastructure repair needs, said the department.

Last week, 15 construction-specialty sailors from the US Army arrived in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to offer engineering support to the Operation United Assistance, conducting site surveys for future hospitals, and supply storage and training facilities for health care workers.

The deployments are part of a whole-of-government response to the Ebola outbreak, according to the statement.

About 195 Defense Department personnel are now in west Africa, and over the last weekend the equipment for a 25-bed hospital and two mobile labs arrived in Monrovia.

The hospital will be in operation around mid-October, the statement said, adding that US military personnel are not and will not be providing direct care to Ebola patients.