Ebola bio kits have been deployed to National Guard units in all 50 states, according to a Committee on Armed Services report. According to the government document was created in April to address mounting concerns that the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus could spread outside of Africa.
The portable Ebola kits are reportedly designed for “low probability, high consequence” scenarios. Department of Defense Chemical and Biological Defense Executive Officer Carmen J. Spencer said the bio systems are “rapid, reliable, and provide simultaneous identification of specific biological agents and pathogens.” Approximately 340 Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) units have reportedly been given to emergency response personnel.
BioFire Diagnostics, the manufacturer of JBAIDS, said the Ebola kits are able to detect a host of infectious disease targets including Ricin, the plague, Anthrax, and several forms of influenza. The Ebola bio kits given to National Guard units reportedly also include hemorrhagic fever detection capabilities which give the military the ability to identify possible infection in as little as 30 minutes.
The Ebola report was not available for publication until the document was officially released by the Committee on Armed Services.
“The Department of Health and Human Services emphasized responding to attacks and threats to the U.S. population after exposure. Homeland Security Presidential Directive -18 affirmed the unique nature of DoD requirements stating, ‘The Secretary of Defense shall retain exclusive responsibility for research development, acquisition, and deployment of medical countermeasures to prevent or mitigate the health effects of WMD threats and naturally occurring threats to the Armed Forces and shall continue to direct strategic planning for oversight programs to support medical countermeasures development and acquisition for our Armed Forces personnel.”
The government report went on to state that in an effort to fulfill the committee’s “unique requirements” the Chemical and Biological Defense Program was instructed to create Department of Defense Medical Countermeasures Advanced Development and Manufacturing Capability. Part of this project involved a dedicated use state-of-the-art “center of excellence” to focus on modular, disposable, single-use, and flexible manufacturing techniques.
One of the primary purposes of the endeavor was to reportedly increase Department of Defense needed quantities of needed chemical and biological items. The number of disposable single-use and flexible units have been “historically less than the quantities required by the Department of Health and Human Services,” according to the Ebola related report.
Ebola is both infectious and typically fatal. Those stricken with the virus commonly suffer from fever and internal bleeding. Ebola is transferred via contact with infected bodily fluids.
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