More U.S. hospitals need personnel prepared to handle and treat Ebola patients, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told NBC News. In an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Dr. Anthony Fauci said that pre-training is vital - and the four major biocontainment units in the U.S. are not enough.
“We need to have more than just the four [units] in which you have people who are pre-trained, so that you don't come in, and then that's the first time you start thinking about it,” Fauci said. “It can't just be four. We may not even need any more, and we hope we don't.”
“But in case there are more cases, we want to make sure we have people who are pre-trained, pre-drilled over and over, and have the right protocol going.”
The four locations with biocontainment units specially equipped to handle infectious diseases are Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland, St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana and the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. With current staffing capabilities, the four units can handle a combined total of 11 patients.
When asked by NBC’s Chuck Todd about missteps by agencies in handling the crisis, Fauci admitted there were lessons to be learned. “I mean, we're taking this extremely seriously,” said Fauci. “But when you talk about getting the initial experience, that certainly is always important to how you fine-tune.”
“And I think people need to understand that although there seem to have been some missteps in the beginning, those things are experiences that [you] put on your radar screen and make you improve,” he added.
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