— -- A government-owned jet equipped with a plastic isolation tent could evacuate Ebola-stricken Americans from the West African hot zone, health officials say.
The portable tent, designed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense and the Phoenix Air Group, transforms an airplane into a portable isolation ward.
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It’s called an Aeromedical Biological Containment System, and it can house a sick patient along with medical personnel. It can be loaded on a Gulfstream jet, which has a flight range of seven hours or 3,500 miles.
“CDC sends personnel all over the globe to respond to some of the most dangerous infectious agents,” said ABC News’ chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser, who served as the CDC’s director of emergency preparedness and response when the tent was constructed. “It was essential that if the agency was going to send people out to help others, it had a way to bring them back if they got sick. That was the impetus behind this project.”
At least two Americans have contracted Ebola while working to contain the outbreak – Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol. Both are currently receiving treatment in Liberia, according to their organization, Samaritan’s Purse.
Another 12 American CDC workers are in the area, according to the agency, but none of them have been reported sick.