New Air Force transport unit for contagious patients

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The U-S Air Force has a new unit for transporting patients with Ebola or other highly contagious diseases.

The 'transport isolation system' fits into a C-17 transport plane.

It can handle multiple patients.

During last year's Ebola outbreak, patients were flown back to the U-S one at a time, in a cramped charter jet.

This will also boost the quality of care.

"We can provide critical care in the air...inside the TIS that other units really aren't capable of doing," says Brigadier General Dr. Kory Cornum, a surgeon with the U.S. Air Force Mobility Command.

"We now have this capability for worldwide movement that the world didn't have a year ago," he continued.

A group from the University of Nebraska Medical Center was on hand for the unveiling at Offutt Air Force Base.

Its Biocontainment Unit in Omaha is the largest isolation center in the nation.

"Our unit can handle up to 10 patients, and we've only had one so far, but you never know when the call will come and you'll get a great number," said Dr. Philip Smith.

Air Force officials hope there are no outbreaks like Ebola, but say they'll be ready just in case.

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