Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
1 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Monrovia Medical Unit, an Ebola treatment unit built specifically for the care of medical workers who become infected with the virus, sits about 30 miles outside the capital city of Liberia, Nov. 4, 2014. The 25-bed facility was constructed from ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
2 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A U.S. Public Health Service officer helps put the final touches on the administrative area of the Monrovia Medical Unit Nov. 4, 2014, located 30 miles outside of Monrovia, Liberia. The Monrovia Medical Unit is divided into two zones: the low-risk zo... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
3 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Public Health Service officers prepare for the opening of the Monrovia Medical Unit, Nov. 4, 2014. Located about 30 miles outside Liberia's capital, the Monrovia Medical Unit was built as a place where medical workers who become infected can be ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
4 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A fully stocked medical supply room stands ready Nov. 4, 2014, for the opening of the Monrovia Medical Unit located about 30 miles outside Monrovia, Liberia. The Monrovia Medical Unit is scheduled to open Nov. 8, 2014, for medical workers who have be... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
5 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A cabinet full of medicine sits idle, Nov. 4, 2014, in the Monrovia Medical Unit, an Ebola treatment unit specifically dedicated to treating medical workers who have become infected or are suspected of being infected with Ebola, which is scheduled to... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
6 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service conduct a meeting, Nov. 4, 2014, in the staff reporting tent of the Monrovia Medical Unit, and Ebola treatment unit specifically for treating medical workers who've fallen ill with the virus. The USPHS te... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
7 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Simple red lines on the floor are what mark the boundary between the low-risk zone and the high-risk zone Nov. 4, 2014, in the Monrovia Medical Unit, a facility designed for health care workers who become infected with the virus. The Monrovia Medical... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
8 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Footprint outlines mark the floor in the doffing station Nov. 4, 2014, where medical workers at the Monrovia Medical Unit will decontaminate and take off their personal protective equipment after working in the high-risk zone where suspected and infe... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
9 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Footprint outlines mark the floor in the doffing station Nov. 4, 2014, where medical workers at the Monrovia Medical Unit will decontaminate and take off their personal protective equipment after working in the high-risk zone where suspected and infe... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
10 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The suspected ward of the Monrovia Medical Unit, which is an Ebola treatment facility specifically built for medical workers who become infected while caring for patients, stands silent Nov. 4, 2014, before the opening scheduled for Nov. 8, 2014. Onc... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Ebola treatment unit for medical workers to open
11 / 11 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Monrovia Medical Unit, an Ebola treatment unit built specifically for the care of medical workers who become infected with the virus, sits about 30 miles outside the capital city of Liberia, Nov. 4, 2014. The Monrovia Medical Unit is scheduled to... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

MONROVIA, Liberia (Nov. 6, 2014) -- The Monrovia Medical Unit, an Ebola treatment unit constructed specifically for the treatment of medical workers who were infected while caring for Ebola patients, is scheduled to open Saturday, located about 30 miles outside Monrovia.

"The Monrovia Medical Unit, otherwise known as an MMU, is different than an Ebola treatment unit -- ETU -- because our main purpose is to give hope to doctors and nurses as we will be treating any suspected or infected cases that happen around West Africa," said Lt. Shane Deckert, the MMU facility engineer, with the U.S. Public Health Service.

No other facility like this exists, said Lt. Col. Lee Hicks, the Joint Forces Command-United Assistance command engineer.

"If an aide worker gets sick, they bring them to the MMU to get taken care of by the U.S. Public Health Service," said Hicks. "It's an incentive for health care workers to go work in an ETU, knowing that if they get sick, they'll be taken care of."

The 25-bed facility was constructed from the ground up by a team of Navy Seabees, Soldiers and Airmen from Joint Forces Command-United Assistance, and will be operated by personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service, said Hicks.

Before arriving to Liberia to help construct and run the MMU, medical personnel from the U.S. Public Health Service contacted other treatment facilities to compile and absorb as much information on best practices for ETUs, said Cmdr. Tom Janisko, a physician's assistant with U.S. Public Health Service who will be working in preventative medicine there.

Once on the ground in Liberia, the U.S. Public Health Service team trained extensively before doing rounds at an active ETU, he said.

The MMU compound is separated into two -- one side is the low-risk zone for medical workers and support staff; the other side is the high-risk zone for suspected and infected patients, he said.

The structure consists of 12 tents, four that make up an administrative area for staff members and eight that make up three wards for patients and other necessary services, said Deckert.

The administrative tents are where all the behind-the-scenes work happens -- the ordering of personal protective gear, scheduling, processing of paperwork, eating meals.

The high-risk zone is where the patients reside and receive treatment. Because of the contagious nature of the disease, the two halves do not connect in any way.

"The most acute ward would be for the patients who have Ebola," said Janisko. This is the confirmed ward.

The other two wards are: one for patients suspected of having Ebola and a flex ward that will be used as needed, said Janisko. Patients will be cared for in the suspected ward while they wait for their blood tests to come back from the on-site laboratory.

"There's nothing else like the MMU in Liberia," said Hicks. "It has everything to take care of folks who may have Ebola or do have Ebola and help them recover from that deadly virus. It's the first time it's ever been built like this and used in this type of fashion."

Along with the laboratory, there is a pharmacy, behavioral health section, and a patient reception area on the grounds as well, said Janisko. Restrooms and showers are located behind the wards.

The reception area is unlike most in that it is outdoors. The patients speak to their friends and family members through a windowless structure that is six feet away from a similar structure on the other side of the compound's fence.

Studies have shown that when Ebola is emitted from a patient due to a sneeze or spittle from a cough, it dies before traveling approximately a meter, said Janisko.

The entire fenced-in compound is nearly self-contained, needing only resupply of water, fuel and food, said Deckert. Fuel supplies two large generators that power the electricity and one small generator that powers the perimeter lighting. The water is for cleaning and decontaminating personnel and equipment.

Every detail was thought out, said Deckert. The complex is built on a slope so that any infectious materials or fluids would drain away from the safe zone in case of heavy rainfall.

There's also an incinerator on site to dispose of used personal protective equipment so that no

trace of the virus leaves the compound, said Deckert.

Related Links:

Army News Service

U.S. Army news, information about Army's response to Ebola threat

<b>Army.mil: Humanitarian Relief -- Medical</b>

Army.mil: Current Operations News

STAND-TO!: Ebola epidemic response efforts