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Ebola Isolation Is ‘Pretty Much Vacation’ for U.S. Service Members Back From West Africa

2 minute read

Ebola quarantine for health care workers has been likened to prison, but isolation for military personnel appears to be a much more relaxed experience.

American service members returning from missions in West Africa are required by the Department of Defense to undergo precautionary, 21-day quarantines in one of five designated U.S. bases, with at least one center providing everything from cafeterias to entertainment centers, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

At Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, there are 21 small buildings housing about 90 service members, the first batch to return from the roughly 1,800 troops deployed to the region. There, service members described having access to video games and a library, in addition to being able to select what they want to eat for each meal.

“All I can say about this camp, Langley, it’s pretty much vacation. It’s Wi-Fi everywhere, flat screens everywhere, big gym to either lift or run. There’s an asphalt road kind of running around the perimeter that you can work out on,” said Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Knifley. “This isn’t bad at all.”

Returning service members undergo the twice daily temperature measurements, and there have been no reported infections yet. Despite the perks, the service members believe it’s also their experiences in handling tough circumstances that help them stay positive.

“Most of us have been in far worse conditions than this, and it’s only 21 days,” said Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Chaperon, who is among those isolated on the base. “You can stand on your head for three weeks if you’ve got to.”


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