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Lab teams being prepared for Ebola

Erasmus MC’s department of Viroscience has started training special teams of laboratory staff as of mid December. The teams will go to Sierra Leone and Liberia to help combat the Ebola epidemic.

To this end, a mobile laboratory has been set up. It is an exact copy of laboratories in the affected areas. These laboratories were commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and have been equipped according to the recommendations of Erasmus Mc experts. They were shipped to the affected areas in October.

The teams will be deployed to test patients’ blood samples for the Ebola virus. The department of Viroscience serves as a reference laboratory for the Netherlands and the behandeling ebolaWorld Health Organization (WHO) for viral hemorrhagic fevers and has experience with this type of work.

As the blood samples are highly contagious, the laboratory tests must be carried out with utmost security. This is why the situations are simulated as realistically as possible to train the laboratory staff.

The theoretical as well as the practical training sessions are carried out under the auspices of Marion Koopmans, the head of Viroscience, and are given by experts from the department. Koopmans: "Many people have been busy organizing this, which is fantastic. I hope that in this way we can make a small contribution in the fight against Ebola.” 

The volunteers being sent to the affected areas are from research institutes and hospitals throughout the Netherlands.By sending these volunteers the Netherlands is responding to an important need, according to Lilianne Ploumen, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation: "The UN reported that there is a dire shortage of laboratories and specialized personnel.”  

 

Date published: 29 December 2014.

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