iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon has ordered that a 30-person military medical team be prepared to be put on standby to quickly assist the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with its Ebola response in the United States if needed.

The move followed a request to the Defense Department made Saturday by the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the CDC.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, said the move was “an added prudent measure to ensure our nation is ready to respond quickly, effectively, and safely in the event of additional Ebola cases in the United States.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered U.S. Northern Command Command “to prepare and train a 30-person expeditionary medical support team that could, if required, provide short-notice assistance to civilian medical professionals in the United States,” Kirby said.

The team will be made up of personnel from various military services and include “20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease, and five trainers in infectious disease protocols.”

They will be sent to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, for up to seven days of specialized training in infection control and personal protective equipment.

An official says the majority of the team will come from military bases in the San Antonio area, though Navy members of the team will come from other parts of the U.S.

The military is preparing to send as many as 4,000 personnel to Liberia to assist with that country’s response to the Ebola outbreak, but those military personnel will not be involved in the care or treatment of Ebola infected patients.

That will not be the case with this new 30-person team of military health professionals, who will be directly involved in the care of Ebola patients if their services are requested.

The training of team members is expected to start as early as this week and will be provided by the Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

After their training is complete they will return to their home units and remain in a “prepare to deploy” status for 30 days, where they could be sent anywhere in the United States if their services are required.

“They will not be sent to West Africa or elsewhere overseas and will be called upon domestically only if deemed prudent by our public health professionals,” Kirby said.

The U.S. official familiar with the request said that on Thursday an initial contact had been made to the Pentagon by the Centers for Disease Control about the possibility of military medical personnel helping out their efforts if needed.

HHS Secretary Sulvia Burwell made a formal written request of Hagel on Saturday. In the request, Burwell asked that the team be ready no later than Oct. 25 and that when ready it be prepared to augment HHS/CDC operations within 72 hours of notification.

According to the official, Burwell said that if needed the military personnel will not be requested to enforce quarantine measures in the United States.

Kirby said the preparation of the team is similar to how the Defense Department prepares for natural disasters.

“Secretary Hagel is committed to ensuring DoD is prepared to provide appropriate capabilities, as required, to support our government’s response to this deadly disease” Kirby said. “He is extraordinarily proud of the skill and professionalism of our servicemen and women and of the unique capabilities they bring to bear in this important effort. As always, their safety and security will remain foremost on his mind.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — All of the 48 people who had contact with the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States will no longer have to be monitored for the virus at the end of the day Sunday, the Dallas official spearheading the county response said.

Thomas Eric Duncan’s fiancee Louise Troh and her family will have their active control order lifted at the end of the day, according to the Texas State Health Department.

“They will no longer need to stay home starting Monday,” the statement said. “Someone will formally bring the release to them on Monday.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins called this weekend a critical period in the response to Ebola after two nurses who were involved in the treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan contracted the disease.

He said it is “right in the middle of the hot zone” now for the health care workers who had contact with Duncan prior to his death on Oct. 8. Symptoms are most likely to begin to manifest within 8 to 10 days of exposure to Ebola.

One of the original 48 contacts with Duncan came off the list two days ago, and Jenkins said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will release numbers of others who have come off the list in the last two days.

Of the 75 health care workers who are also being monitored, none are seeing patients at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the judge said.

Jenkins said it is a nervous time for so many of the people stuck in a very difficult situation.

“They frequently will have headaches and upset stomachs and other symptoms, and I would too if I were on that list,” he said, adding that their symptoms forced officials to make sure they don’t have Ebola.

They are free to come to the hospital to work in their offices and to visit the command center, but they are all furloughed and most of them are staying at home, Jenkins said.

Although as of Saturday morning 10 or 12 of the health care workers had not yet signed the agreement with the state to avoid public places and to not travel, Jenkins said all of them are complying with the state’s requirements.

Texas Health Presbyterian became the first hospital in the nation to be faced with diagnosing Ebola on American soil when Duncan, a Liberian man visiting family in Dallas, went to the emergency room on Sept. 26. He was initially sent home with antibiotics, but returned two days later in an ambulance when his symptoms worsened. The hospital put Duncan in isolation. He died on Oct. 8.

Two nurses contracted Ebola from Duncan, though how exactly they were exposed hasn’t been released. Nina Pham, 26, was diagnosed on Oct. 11, and Amber Vinson, 29, was diagnosed on Oct. 15, health officials said.

Texas Health Presbyterian cared for Pham in isolation for five days before requesting that she be moved to another facility. She was flown to an NIH facility in Bethesda, Maryland, on Oct. 16, and Vinson was flown to Emory University Hospital the day before.

Pham’s boyfriend has been isolated and is being monitored, Jenkins said Saturday, though he offered no more details.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — News that two nurses contracted Ebola in the United States has Americans on edge, but here are a few Ebola facts to calm your nerves.

“There are fundamental things we do know about Ebola and it’s those things that can make most people in America rest very well at night that they don’t have a risk of contracting this disease,” said ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser during ABC News’ Ebola town hall event on Friday.

When Does Ebola Become Contagious?

Ebola is contagious when someone is symptomatic, Besser said. A fever is the first symptom of Ebola, which means the virus is beginning to multiply in the patient’s blood when a fever sets in.

As an Ebola patient gets sicker and sicker, the amount of virus in his or her blood multiplies, making them even more contagious.

How Is Ebola Spread?

Ebola is spread through close contact with an infected person, and it’s not airborne, Besser said.

“We also know from the studies in Africa that it’s a hard disease to get,” Besser said. “If this disease was spread through the air or was spread easily — that you could get it from someone you’re standing next to in the market or sitting next to on a plane — this outbreak would be far larger than it is today.”

People who contract Ebola usually do so because they’ve cared for someone who was infected in a hospital setting or at home, Besser noted, or they’ve touched the body of a person who died of Ebola.

Can It Become Airborne?

“The majority of scientists say that while it’s possible, it’s highly unlikely,” Besser said, explaining that the virus would have to mutate significantly.

What If Someone With Ebola Sneezes on Me?

Sneezing is not a symptom of Ebola, Besser said. Neither is coughing until the very late stages of the disease, when the person is clearly sick and near death. On top of that, the disease is not airborne.

Can I Get Ebola From Someone’s Sweat?

There’s very little data on how much of the virus is in a sick person’s sweat, Besser said.

He added that carrying a person who is sick with Ebola can be a “risky situation.” He said one man who had Ebola on a plane didn’t spread it to fellow passengers but inadvertently gave it to the people who helped carry him once he got off the plane.

“Touching the skin — whether he had other body fluids or sweat on his skin at that point — was a risk,” Besser said.

What If I Stand Next to Someone With Ebola on a Subway?

You probably won’t catch it in that situation, said Dr. Jay Varma, New York City’s deputy commissioner for disease control.

“Casual contact like you would have somebody pass you on the bus or on the subway, I’m not worried about it for myself and I’m not worried about it for my wife and kids,” Varma said.

How Long Can the Virus Survive on Surfaces Like Tabletops and Doorknobs?

“This is one of these areas where we don’t really know enough,” Varma said. “We do know that these viruses can survive on surfaces for a few hours.”

He said how long it can survive depends on the surface and the environment.

Should You Take Precautions Before Taking Public Transportation?

“We think this is not a disease that you can get from simply being next to somebody,” Varma said. “Absolutely if somebody vomits on you or you get their body fluids on it, of course you can be at risk, but we think that airplane travel, traveling on subways — all of that — is the type of contact where this is not a disease that’s transmitted.”

He said he’s more worried about getting the flu on public transportation than Ebola.

Is There a Vaccine Coming?

There are two vaccines being tested in clinical trials now, Besser said.

“There’s a lot of efforts underway to try and move a vaccine forward but vaccine development takes a long time,” he said, adding that one of the companies working on one has said it won’t know whether it works until 2015.

Even if it does work, it will take more time to manufacture.

What About Other Drugs?

Ebola patients in the United States are receiving experimental drugs, but it’s not yet clear whether they’ve helped, hurt or made no difference in those patients’ outcomes, Besser said.

Why Don’t We Just Close Our Borders to West Africa?

Keeping people from leaving the Ebola-affected countries would be a “major mistake,” Besser said, noting that he saw aid workers, journalists and family members aboard his plane on his two trips to Liberia in the last few months, and that letting them in and out is important.

“You want to make sure that people who leave that area are being monitored and doing it safely,” he said. “You want to encourage people to go there who have expertise and can help these governments, these health workers, control this disease. That will save lives there and will also improve the health and protection of Americans right here.”

Varma said the biggest concern in America should be containing the outbreak in Africa. Until that happens, he said “we will always be at risk.”

“You can’t just wrap a wall around these countries and not expect people to get out,” he said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — A San Diego State University student is on life support after suffering from meningitis.

Sara Stelzer, 18, was hospitalized Tuesday, thinking she had the flu. She is not expected to recover.

Just before she felt sick, Stelzer returned home to Moorpark, Calif. for her high school’s homecoming.

Health officials believe those at most risk of contracting the bacterial infection are people Stelzer came in close contact with in San Diego, where she became deathly ill.

Dr. Gregg Lichtenstein of San Diego State University student health services says symptoms include fever, intense headache, neck stiffness, and lethargy. “Also when it gets into your bloodstream, it can result in a rash that kind of looks like little bruises that get bigger and bigger,” Lichtenstein said.

Parent Cindy Lilly is concerned her own daughter may be at risk.

“My daughter knew her, and we have talked about meningitis and kind of how you can contract it, so it is a big concern for us,” Lilly said.

Miranda Lipson, a friend of Stelzer, is in disbelief.

“Friends I know, if one of us got it, we would all get it, but I think people are here are smart enough not to let it spread around,” Lipson said. “I hope she’s in a good place right now and I hope that she rests in peace.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — A San Diego State University student is on life support after suffering from meningitis.

Sara Stelzer, 18, was hospitalized Tuesday, thinking she had the flu. She is not expected to recover.

Just before she felt sick, Stelzer returned home to Moorpark, Calif. for her high school’s homecoming.

Health officials believe those at most risk of contracting the bacterial infection are people Stelzer came in close contact with in San Diego, where she became deathly ill.

Dr. Gregg Lichtenstein of San Diego State University student health services says symptoms include fever, intense headache, neck stiffness, and lethargy. “Also when it gets into your bloodstream, it can result in a rash that kind of looks like little bruises that get bigger and bigger,” Lichtenstein said.

Parent Cindy Lilly is concerned her own daughter may be at risk.

“My daughter knew her, and we have talked about meningitis and kind of how you can contract it, so it is a big concern for us,” Lilly said.

Miranda Lipson, a friend of Stelzer, is in disbelief.

“Friends I know, if one of us got it, we would all get it, but I think people are here are smart enough not to let it spread around,” Lipson said. “I hope she’s in a good place right now and I hope that she rests in peace.”

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Purestock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers in Denmark conducted a study that indicated an ingredient in wine may play a role in helping men build healthier bones.

The study, conducted by researchers at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, looked at data from 74 men between the ages of 30 and 60. Each man was given resveratrol, a compound present in nuts and grapes — and thereby, wine — in a range of dosages.

After 16 weeks of receiving those doses, the researchers found that those men who had received the highest dose of resveratrol also had significantly higher blood levels of bone alkaline phosphatase, which can be used as a marker for healthy bone turnover. The men with the highest doses of resveratrol also had higher bone mineral density measurements.

Additional studies will need to be done to determine whether the findings are universal, or unique to the population that researchers looked at in this study.

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iStock/Thinkstock(DALLAS) — Hospital workers who treated the Ebola patient who died at a Texas hospital are being asked to stay away from any public space for 21 days.

The Texas Department of State Health Services has asked the approximately 70 health care workers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who entered the room of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan to stay home while they are being monitored during the 21-day Ebola incubation period.

Currently, health care workers are being asked to sign a written acknowledgement that they will not enter a public place. However, if they violate that agreement or refuse to sign it, the state could pursue a court order, which would force them to stay in their home in isolation during the allotted time.

The three-week time frame is due to the approximate incubation period of the Ebola virus, which is 2 to 21 days.

The agreement states that the health care worker will not use public transportation, including planes, buses or trains, and will also not enter any kind of public space, including grocery stores and restaurants.

Two nurses from the Texas Health Presbyterian were infected after treating Duncan earlier this month. One nurse, Amber Vinson, traveled by plane to Cleveland for a trip to plan her wedding. Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that she might have started feeling ill before her first flight and authorities are now working to identify hundreds of passengers who were on the flights with her and could possibly be exposed to the virus.

Duncan’s family members were ordered to remain in quarantine by court order, after they temporarily left their home before it had been sanitized.

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iStock/Thinkstock(DAKAR, Senegal) — The World Health Organization declared the Ebola outbreak over for the nation of Senegal, praising the country for its diligence and handling of the disease.

The first case of the disease in Senegal was confirmed on Aug. 29 in a young man who traveled from Guinea, where he had come in contact with an Ebola patient, the WHO said in a statement. That patient tested negative for the disease on Sept. 5, indicating that he had recovered. He was later allowed to return to Guinea on Sept. 18.

Senegal has, since then, “maintained a high level of active ‘case finding’ for 42 days — two times as long as the maximum incubation period of the disease with no further cases reported.

The WHO notes that Senegal government “under laedership of President Macky Sall and the Minister of Health Dr. Awa Coll-Seck, reacted quickly to stop the disease from spreading.”

“The government’s response plan included identifiying and monitoring 74 close contacts of the patient, prompt testing of all suspected cases, stepped-up surveillance at the country’s many entry points and nationwide public awareness campaigns,” the WHO statement read.

While the outbreak has been declared over, the WHO notes that Senegal’s “geographical position makes the country vulnerable to additional imported cases of Ebola.”

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WBRZ/ABC News(NEW YORK) — When Lily Raffray completed her final round of chemotherapy this month she had one not-so-simple request, she wanted “a ride on a unicorn.”

Lily’s mom, Juliet Raffray, said her reaction was basically shock, but that Lily’s nurses didn’t blink.

“Her nurses put together the whole unicorn experience,” said Raffray.

The special request was part of planning Lily’s “No Chemo” party to celebrate the end of her eight weeks of chemotherapy treatment.

Lily, 5, was diagnosed with stage one Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August and had been getting treatment at the St. Jude clinic at the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“We noticed it just as an enlarged lymph node. We were pretty shocked that it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Raffray.

Raffray, of St. Amant, Louisiana, said Lily managed to avoid some of the worst symptoms associated with chemotherapy, but she did end up losing all her hair.

“It formed into a mohawk and now it’s just straggles of hair,” said Raffray.

But Raffray said her daughter isn’t too bothered by her lack of hair and for her “No More Chemo” party, the 5-year-old got to wear a special headdress to complete her princess look. After getting a party with cake and decorations, Lily got to go to Wildwood farm and meet her very first “unicorn.”

While Lily was shy around some of the adults, Raffray said her daughter was just excited to meet the unicorn and get a ride.

“She walked up to that thing and was just entranced,” Raffray said of Lily.

However, on the ride home, Raffray said her daughter had a few questions.

“Afterwards she said ‘Hey mommy, that unicorn was kind of wobbly,’” Raffray recalled Lily talking about the “unicorn’s” horn.

“[I told her] ‘a unicorn is so special that their horn is not the same as a bone. …It’s magical,’” Raffray said with a laugh.

Raffray said Lily will go for a final round of testing later this month to determine if she is cancer-free.

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WBRZ/ABC News(NEW YORK) — When Lily Raffray completed her final round of chemotherapy this month she had one not-so-simple request, she wanted “a ride on a unicorn.”

Lily’s mom, Juliet Raffray, said her reaction was basically shock, but that Lily’s nurses didn’t blink.

“Her nurses put together the whole unicorn experience,” said Raffray.

The special request was part of planning Lily’s “No Chemo” party to celebrate the end of her eight weeks of chemotherapy treatment.

Lily, 5, was diagnosed with stage one Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August and had been getting treatment at the St. Jude clinic at the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

“We noticed it just as an enlarged lymph node. We were pretty shocked that it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Raffray.

Raffray, of St. Amant, Louisiana, said Lily managed to avoid some of the worst symptoms associated with chemotherapy, but she did end up losing all her hair.

“It formed into a mohawk and now it’s just straggles of hair,” said Raffray.

But Raffray said her daughter isn’t too bothered by her lack of hair and for her “No More Chemo” party, the 5-year-old got to wear a special headdress to complete her princess look. After getting a party with cake and decorations, Lily got to go to Wildwood farm and meet her very first “unicorn.”

While Lily was shy around some of the adults, Raffray said her daughter was just excited to meet the unicorn and get a ride.

“She walked up to that thing and was just entranced,” Raffray said of Lily.

However, on the ride home, Raffray said her daughter had a few questions.

“Afterwards she said ‘Hey mommy, that unicorn was kind of wobbly,’” Raffray recalled Lily talking about the “unicorn’s” horn.

“[I told her] ‘a unicorn is so special that their horn is not the same as a bone. …It’s magical,’” Raffray said with a laugh.

Raffray said Lily will go for a final round of testing later this month to determine if she is cancer-free.

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