Will Ebola Spread To America? US State Department Orders 160,000 Ebola Hazmat Suits

A US manufacturer announced via press release that the federal government has ordered 160,000 hazardous materials suits in response to the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Lakeland Industries, a leading global manufacturer of industrial protective clothing used by first responders on the federal, state and local levels, announced via press release on September 12 that there is global availability of its protective apparel for use in handling the Ebola virus. The company notes that manufacturing has been ramped up due to demand.

“In response to the increasing demand for specialty protective suits to be worn by healthcare workers and others being exposed to Ebola, Lakeland is increasing its manufacturing capacity for these garments and includes proprietary processes for specialized seam sealing, a far superior technology for protecting against viral hazards than non-sealed products.”

The press release also notes that a large order has already been placed by the United States government.

“With the US State Department alone putting out a bid for 160,000 suits, we encourage all protective apparel companies to increase their manufacturing capacity for sealed seam garments so that our industry can do its part in addressing this threat to global health.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon laid out plans to set up an Ebola crisis center. The crisis center’s mission is to halt the spread of the virus in West African countries in six to nine months. However, the virus is increasing at such a rapid rate that governments across the globe are taking notice — and drastic measures. Ban notes that the disease is increasing faster than response.

“The number of cases is rising exponentially. The disease is spreading far faster than the response. People are increasingly frustrated that it is not being controlled.”

Sierra Leone went so far as to enforce a three-day curfew for all citizens. Citizens were forced to stay in their homes for a three-day period until health officials could provide Ebola information to the families and check for victims not currently seeking treatment. The government officials also searched for Ebola victim’s bodies that had yet to be disposed of properly.

It appears from the purchase order of 160,000 hazmat suits specifically designed for Ebola, the US government isn’t taking any chances either. What currently isn’t known is where the hazmat suits will be stored or why such large quantities were purchased. Bloomberg reports that the US government is planning a “surge” of federal workers into West African countries hit by Ebola, and has hired the air-ambulance company that evacuated two infected US citizens in July to support them.

What is yet to be known is if the hazmat suits are for preparation in case Ebola breeches into the US or if the suits will be sent overseas.