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U of M Medical Center will serve six states as Ebola treatment center

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The University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC) has been named one of nine regional Ebola treatment centers in the U.S.

The specialized units are part of a U.S. Health and Human Services program to "further strengthen the nation’s infectious disease response capability" to combat Ebola and other highly infectious diseases, according to a release.

This comes amid concerns possible Ebola outbreaks in America, following the infection of two nurses in Texas last fall, which were the first cases of the disease on U.S. soil.

But thanks to a $3.25 million, five-year federal grant, the UMMC will become one of the most advanced Ebola treatment units in the Midwest.

According to a release from the Minnesota Health Department, the center will serve "Region Five," which covers a big chunk of the Midwest.

This means that any Ebola patients from Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana would be flown to UMMC if local facilities "are unable to provide sufficient care."

Official say the grant money will equip the center to receive patients within eight hours of notification and give it the capacity to treat at least two (and eventually up to four) people at a time.

The grant money will retrofit and expand UMMC's containment unit to include a new "negative air flow" ventilation system, a fully functional on-site satellite laboratory, and continued readiness training for staff.

Meanwhile, what has been described as the deadliest outbreak of the Ebola virus in history continues in West Africa, especially in the countries of Sierra Leone and Guinea, the Star Tribune notes.

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