Odierno: Ebola largest medical emergency since plague

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno answers a question in a virtual town hall at the Google Headquarters in Washington, D.C., Sept 22, 2014. His wife Linda Odierno listens as several installations from across the United States and Afghanistan participate in the event. Photo Credit: Staff Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 22, 2014) — The Ebola outbreak is the largest medical emergency since the plague, and the Army is assessing how to respond to this “dire situation,” said the Army’s top general.

“It is a very bad situation,” Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno said today, at Google’s office in Washington, D.C., during his first Google hangout, a virtual town hall that lasted more than an hour.

“We just got a team on the ground over there doing an assessment of what is needed,” he said. “It is a medical emergency of proportions we haven’t seen since the plague centuries ago.”

More than 2,800 people are known to have died since late March in the outbreak, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

Odierno said the Army is looking at sending logistics personnel and hospitals, with perhaps hospital staff and aviation support later.

“I think the majority, initially, of people going over will be logistics personnel that will be separated from where the disease is, in order to assist in providing support,” he said.

By Lisa Ferdinando

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