177th FW participates in outbreak exercise

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Amber Powell
  • 177th Fighter Wing Public
The 177th Fighter Wing has taken action against the threat of disease by conducting an Ebola Virus Exercise here today.

The Air Force instructs each Wing to conduct a Public Health Emergency exercise each year and this year's emergency was exposure to the Ebola virus while deployed.

As Airmen entered the gates of the wing, those participating in the exercise were given cards identifying them as infected or exposed to Ebola. The exercise was of dual use. Those infected would be receiving their Hepatitis B shot and those who were exposed, a flu shot. They were to report to the on base clinic immediately.

"In the real world this could happen," said Capt. Lisa Robinson with the 177th Fighter Wing Medical Group. "There are diseases we could see and it's necessary we're prepared for it, especially the Medical Group."

Those who were exposed were briefed on the signs and symptoms of the disease. This prepares the Airmen in case symptoms appear later.  Infected Airmen were quarantined.

"The Disease Containment Plan is put into place to mitigate the effects of the disease while enabling mission recovery and sustainment," said Lt. Col. Jamie Ruffing, the 177th's Fighter Wing's Public Health Officer. "It is intended to provide a generalized assessment of the wing-wide understanding of the importance of disease containment and mitigation of disease impact while ensuring the wing retains a high level of readiness."

Wing inspections officers were on hand to monitor virus control procedures.

"The results of this exercise will influence changes in the Wing's response to both naturally occurring and man-made disease threats to the base and increase our readiness posture should a real world event occur," said Ruffing.

According to the World Health Organization, the incubation period, that is, the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is 2 to 21 days.