CDC details new Ebola response and prep teams

Ebola: Spinning the Unspinnable

ATLANTA (AP) - New federal Ebola response squads - likened to public health SWAT teams - are being readied to rush to any U.S. city where a new Ebola case might be identified, officials say.

Meanwhile, the government has formed a second set of teams to prepare hospitals in cities deemed most likely to see a new Ebola case, should one turn up. Three of those teams have already been sent out.

Health officials this week first shared details about the two sets of health squads.

The teams are "ready to go - boom - if we have another case of Ebola," said Dr. Jordan Tappero, one of the leaders of CDC's Ebola response effort.

The government has been criticized for its handling of the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, came down with Ebola symptoms last month, a few days after arriving in Dallas from West Africa. He was admitted to a Dallas hospital in late September and died Oct. 8.

Duncan's illness and death created public fear as health officials had to track down and monitor scores of people he came in contact with. No one in the community has been infected, but two nurses who cared for him were. Since then, CDC officials have said they should have sent more people to Dallas when Duncan's case first surfaced - particularly infection control specialists, who could have provided better guidance to the hospital.

Last week, President Barack Obama announced a push for a faster federal reaction. "We want a rapid response team, a SWAT team essentially, from the CDC to be on the ground as quickly as possible, hopefully within 24 hours, so that they are taking the local hospital step by step though what needs to be done," he said.

More information:

CERT TEAMS

The CDC has developed two sets of teams, identified by the acronyms CERT and FAST. The CERTs - for CDC Ebola Response Teams - are the squads Obama was talking about. They are to be made up of 10 to 20 people each, who can be sent to a hospital right after a new case of Ebola is lab-confirmed, or even before confirmation, if health officials believe a person is very likely to be infected. They are drawn from a list of roughly 100 CDC workers and others, scattered across the country. No CERT team has been deployed yet but the 20 or so people at the top of the list are on standby, with bags packed.

FAST TEAMS

Three FAST teams were assembled last week. These are smaller, preparatory teams: FAST stands for Facility Assessment and Support Teams. They're involved in checking out hospitals that have volunteered to handle Ebola cases, making sure they are ready to handle everything from the first encounter with a patient to the disposal of Ebola-infected medical waste.

HOSPITALS

The government is trying to identify up to 20 hospitals around the country that are designated Ebola referral centers. An emphasis has been on reviewing hospitals in the five cities with airports where all travelers from West Africa are now being funneled. The FAST teams have already been sent to three of them - New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The other two cities are Atlanta and Newark. The government hopes to release a list of primary Ebola hospitals in those five cities this week, CDC officials said.

Meanwhile, federal, state or local officials have already named some hospitals. CDC officials confirmed that one is Emory University Hospital in Atlanta - which already has been treating Ebola patients. In Chicago, local health officials this week said four leading hospitals have agreed to handle Ebola patients - Rush University Medical Center, the University of Chicago Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. New York state officials have said they have designated eight hospitals to handle patients diagnosed with Ebola: New York City's Bellevue Hospital Center, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, Montefiore Hospital Center; North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System; Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse; University of Rochester Medical Center, and Stony Brook University Hospital on Long Island.

OTHER TEAMS

On Sunday, the Pentagon said it's building a 30-person medical support team that could go to help civilian hospitals deal with a future appearance of Ebola. The team is to include 20 critical care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease, and five trainers in infectious disease protocols. The military team has a different orientation - they'll be there to provide medical care if a hospital needs more hands. The CERT teams are not there to care for patients. They would be involved in testing, coordinating communications with the public, ensuring that hospital workers are properly protected, and helping to track down people an infected person was in contact with, explained Dr. John T. Brooks, a CDC official who oversees the teams.

The CDC also has teams in Ohio and Texas working on Ebola, Brooks said. They are not FAST or CERT teams. They were sent to help officials in those states to help track and prepare for potential cases related to Duncan or to a nurse who treated him and traveled to the Cleveland area.

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CDC details new Ebola response and prep teams
Dr. Craig Spencer, of Columbia University Medical Center, has been identified by the New York Daily News as a doctor who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea. CUMC is near to the West 147th Street apartment the 33-year-old doctor was taken from this afternoon. (Facebook)
A sign on the gate for the entrance to Bellevue Hospital is viewed on October 24, 2014 in New York, the morning after it was confirmed that Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola. New York confirmed the first case of Ebola in the largest city in the United States as the EU dramatically ramped up aid Friday to contain the killer epidemic ravaging west Africa.The EU announcement of one billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the worst-hit countries comes as fears of a spread of the virus grew, with the first confirmed case in Mali, where a two-year-old girl has tested positive. Craig Spencer was placed in isolation at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
A newspaper vendor holds up a copy of the NY Post in front of the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 24, 2014 in New York, the morning after it was confirmed that Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola. New York confirmed the first case of Ebola in the largest city in the United States as the EU dramatically ramped up aid Friday to contain the killer epidemic ravaging west Africa.The EU announcement of one billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the worst-hit countries comes as fears of a spread of the virus grew, with the first confirmed case in Mali, where a two-year-old girl has tested positive. Craig Spencer was placed in isolation at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Residents pass the apartment building of Doctor Craig Spencer on October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: In this image handout provided by the Office of Mayor of New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks with U.S. President Barack Obama following an ebola-related press conference at Bellevue Hospital in in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. According to reports, test results have confirmed that Spencer has been diagnosed witht the Ebola virus. (Photo by Rob Bennett/Office of Mayor of New York/Getty Images)
New York Police Department officers guard TV news trucks on 1st Avenue in front of Bellevue Hospital on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Police keep members of the media and others back from the closed Brooklyn bowling alley that New York City's first Ebola patient visited before showing symptoms of the virus on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to the US from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on Thursday and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, recently visited the Williamsburg bowling alley The Gutter. The Gutter has closed temporarily as an extra precaution and to be cleaned. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: An employee from Bio Recovery Corporation carries equipment into 546 West 147th Street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, the doctor recently diagnosed with Ebola, on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Bio Recovery Corporation was handling the clean-up of Dr. Spencer's apartment after he was diagnosed with Ebola on Thursday night. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24, 2014: United States Postal Service mailman Keven Ngo makes a delivery to West 147th Street, while wearing a protective mask, on October 24, 2014 in New York, NY. Ngo said that he didn't typically wear a mask but, since Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola, he had begun wearing the mask for his protection. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
Demonstrators with the United African Congress (UAC) hold a rally for the 'Stop Ebola' movement in New York on October 24, 2014 the morning after it was confirmed that Doctor Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola, making him New York City's first Ebola patient. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police stand in front of the gate of The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, New York, on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer visited the bowling alley before being Quarantined at the Bellevue Hospital after testing positive for Ebola. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading, after a doctor tested positive for the disease. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Hazmat crews arrive outside the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, who has been diagnosed with Ebola is being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading after a doctor tested positive for the disease. Craig Spencer, 33, was in a stable condition in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center on Friday after testing positive for the illness, which has killed nearly 4,900 people in West Africa. He was rushed to the hospital with fever and gastrointestinal symptoms on Thursday, a week after returning from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with charity Doctors Without Borders. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Hazmat crews arrive outside the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, who has been diagnosed with Ebola is being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading after a doctor tested positive for the disease. Craig Spencer, 33, was in a stable condition in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center on Friday after testing positive for the illness, which has killed nearly 4,900 people in West Africa. He was rushed to the hospital with fever and gastrointestinal symptoms on Thursday, a week after returning from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with charity Doctors Without Borders. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: Police officers stand outside 546 W. 147th street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23, 2014: A health alert is displayed at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: A New York City Police officer stands at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Bellevue Hospital is viewed following a news conference on how the facility would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Ebola Virus at 108,000 Magnification
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: A member of Bellevue's Hospital staff wears protective clothing during a demonstration on how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Bellevue Hospital is viewed following a news conference on how the facility would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
EBOLA VIRUSES,DISPLAYING TYPICAL SHAPES, INCLUDING RECURVING ENDS
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Bellevue Hospital is viewed following a news conference on how the facility would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Members of Bellevue Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they demonstrate how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Members of Bellevue Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they demonstrate how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Ebola Zaire virus
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: A member of Bellevue's Hospital staff wears protective clothing during a demonstration on how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 08: Members of Bellevue Hospital staff wear protective clothing as they demonstrate how they would receive a suspected Ebola patient on October 8, 2014 in New York City. If the patient was confirmed to be carrying the deadly virus the person would be sent to an isolation unit for treatment. The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, Liberian Thomas Duncan, has died at a Dallas hospital, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: A police car sits in front of 546 W. 147th street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a doctor recently diagnosed with ebola, on October 24, 2014 in New York, NY. The doctor, who recently returned from Guinea after working with Doctors Without Borders, was diagnosed with ebola on Thursday evening after developing a fever earlier in the day. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: A health alert is displayed at the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 23: A man mops the lobby of 546 W. 147th street, the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, October 23, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing. According to reports, test results have confirmed that Spencer has been diagnosed witht the Ebola virus. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: United States Postal Service mailman Keven Ngo makes a delivery to West 147th Street, while wearing a protective mask, on October 24, 2014 in New York, NY. Ngo said that he didn't typically wear a mask but, since Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola, he had begun wearing the mask for his protection. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
Demonstrators with the United African Congress (UAC) hold a rally for the 'Stop Ebola' movement in New York on October 24, 2014 the morning after it was confirmed that Doctor Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola, making him New York City's first Ebola patient. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Police stand in front of the gate of The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, New York, on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer visited the bowling alley before being Quarantined at the Bellevue Hospital after testing positive for Ebola. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading, after a doctor tested positive for the disease. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
Hazmat crews arrive outside the apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, October 24, 2014 in New York. Spencer, who has been diagnosed with Ebola is being treated in an isolation ward at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading after a doctor tested positive for the disease. Craig Spencer, 33, was in a stable condition in isolation at Bellevue Hospital Center on Friday after testing positive for the illness, which has killed nearly 4,900 people in West Africa. He was rushed to the hospital with fever and gastrointestinal symptoms on Thursday, a week after returning from treating Ebola patients in Guinea with charity Doctors Without Borders. AFP PHOTO/Don Emmert (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
A newspaper vendor holds up a copy of the NY Post in front of the entrance to Bellevue Hospital October 24, 2014 in New York, the morning after it was confirmed that Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned to New York from West Africa tested positive for Ebola. New York confirmed the first case of Ebola in the largest city in the United States as the EU dramatically ramped up aid Friday to contain the killer epidemic ravaging west Africa.The EU announcement of one billion euros ($1.3 billion) for the worst-hit countries comes as fears of a spread of the virus grew, with the first confirmed case in Mali, where a two-year-old girl has tested positive. Craig Spencer was placed in isolation at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital Center, officials said. AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: A man shows the front page of a local newspaper while reading in the subway on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to New York from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on October 23 and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, rode the subway after returning home. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24, 2014: A couple read news about Ebola on a screen in Times Square on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to New York from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on October 23 and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, travelled around the city after returning home. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Bio Recovery Corporation employees carry equipment into 546 West 147th Street October 24, 2014 in New York City. After returning to New York City from Guinea, where he was working with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients, Dr. Craig Spencer was quarantined after showing symptoms consistent with the virus. Spencer was taken to Bellevue hospital to undergo testing where he was officially diagnosed with the Ebola virus on October 23rd. (Photo by Bryan Thomas/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 24: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks in front of The Gutter bowling alley where New York City's first Ebola patient visited before showing symptoms of the virus on October 24, 2014 in New York City. Dr. Craig Spencer, who returned to the US from Guinea 10 days ago, tested positive for Ebola on Thursday and is now being cared for at Bellevue Hospital. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, recently visited the Williamsburg bowling alley The Gutter. The Gutter has closed temporarily as an extra precaution and to be cleaned. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Police set up a barrier in front of The Gutter bowling alley in Brooklyn, New York, on October 24, 2014. Doctor Craig Spencer visited the bowling alley before being Quarantined at the Bellevue Hospital after testing positive for Ebola. Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea, the epicenter of the world's worst outbreak of the disease, tested positive for Ebola on October 23, making him the city's first Ebola patient. New York's mayor said America's largest city was fully equipped to handle Ebola as authorities sought to calm fears Friday about the virus spreading, after a doctor tested positive for the disease. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
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