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CDC Commits More Than 400 Staffers to Fight Ebola

55 are deployed in West Africa now, others are working from the U.S.
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"Ebola virus can remain in the body for weeks before making a person sick," the CDC noted. "If any of the people who were in contact with a person sick with Ebola develops a fever or other Ebola symptoms, that person is isolated and treated and the cycle starts again -- and all of that person's contacts must be traced and followed for 21 days."

CDC personnel will be active in training and coordinating health-care workers in Africa and collecting and analyzing data on the outbreak. Staffers will also help educate residents of affected areas on how best to avoid getting infected with Ebola and the importance of seeking out care as soon as symptoms appear.

Other staffers will help boost infection-control measures at airports and border crossings, the CDC said.

The agency's efforts are being coordinated with U.S. government and international partners "as part of this worldwide emergency response to the Ebola outbreak," Dr. Inger Damon, incident manager for the CDC Ebola response, added in the news release. "Our primary goal is to bring to an end to the suffering of so many as well as develop the public health infrastructure there to help prevent future outbreaks."

The CDC stressed that Ebola "poses very little or no threat to the U.S. community at large." However, agency officials said they're working to boost surveillance efforts in the United States, while providing accurate, up-to-date dissemination of information about Ebola to the general public.

The CDC is also working to ensure that more laboratories across the United States are equipped to diagnose Ebola infection quickly and accurately.

As for U.S. health-care workers, "our health care professionals can safely manage an Ebola patient," CDC infection control expert Dr. David Kuhar said in the agency statement.

"What we recommend to prevent transmission of Ebola in hospital settings is similar to what we recommend for other infectious diseases spread by direct contact and possibly droplets."

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