Ebola: Army Troops Returning From West Africa Quarantined In Italy

U.S. Army troops are under an Ebola quarantine in Italy. Army Major General Darryl A. Williams, commander of U.S. Army Africa forces, along with 10 other personnel, are now under “controlled monitoring” after returning from West Africa over the weekend.

Although the Army troops are essentially under and Ebola quarantine, officials at the Pentagon have opted against using that exact terminology. CNN is reporting that Army Major General Williams plan was met by Italian officials upon landing. The Italian authorities were reportedly decked out in “full CDC gear.”

Although none of the Army troops have reportedly shown any Ebola virus symptoms, they will be quarantined for 21 days in a “separate location” at the American military installation in Vicenza. Although Pentagon officials currently prefer the term “controlled monitoring,” the Army troops are reportedly being housed in an “access controlled” space on the base and will not be permitted to return home for the full 21-day period. The troops will have their temperatures monitored twice daily.

It remains unclear if the U.S. Army troops that just returned from West Africa will be allowed to receive visits from friends and family. Pentagon officials “could not explain” why the major general and his group were being placed in a “controlled monitoring” situation when such protocols differ from current department policy, according to CNN. The Department of Defense Ebola virus policy says “as long as individuals remain asymptomatic, they may return to work and routine daily activities with family members.”

Fox News is reporting that on its own, the Department of the Army issued the guidelines ordering the troops into a 21-day isolation. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is reportedly considering to accept the Joint Chiefs recommendation to impose the Ebola quarantine policy across the military.

Army Major General Darryl Williams and his team were in the Ebola outbreak zone in West Africa for 30 days. The group was tasked with establishing the initial round of United States military assistance in the region. Major General Williams’ team reportedly traveled “extensively” around Liberia and spent time in both Ebola treatment and testing areas during their time on the ground.

The Army official had this to say several weeks ago while still in the Ebola virus outbreak zone, “We measure, while we’re here, twice a day, are monitoring as required by the recent guidance that was put out while we’re in Liberia. Yesterday I had my temperature taken, I think, eight times, before I got on and off an aircraft, before I went in and out of the embassy, before I went out of my place where I’m staying.”

Major General Williams added, “As long as you exercise basic sanitation and cleanliness sort of protocols using the chlorine wash on your hands and your feet, get your temperature taken, limiting the exposure, no handshaking, those sorts of protocols, I think the risk is relatively low.”

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[Image via: New York Daily News]