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US military will mobilize to fight Ebola

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CDC / Frederick Murphy

The US plans to send around 3,000 military personnel to West Africa as part of a ramped up effort to fight the largest Ebola outbreak in history, responsible for killing at least 2,400 since breaking out earlier this year, according to The Wall Street Journal. President Obama will reportedly announce the plan later today, which will call for the military to build 17 treatment centers capable of holding 100 patients each, a facility for distributing supplies, and a facility for training upward of 500 healthcare workers each week for six months. The US will reportedly be leading an international initiative called Operation United Assistance, and the US will begin establishing a headquarters in Liberia later this week.

The US expects it to take a couple of weeks before the military has enough staff on the ground to begin training healthcare workers. The goal isn't to immediately stop the spread of Ebola, but rather to first halt its growth and prevent it from potentially spreading to hundreds of thousands of others, the Washington Post reports. The US expects that it will take months to begin reducing the number of deaths and illnesses — there is currently no medicine or vaccine that's effective against Ebola. The Post reports that the US will send response kits to 400,000 households in Liberia, allowing for treatment even when local centers are overfilled.