Two portable Ebola testing labs have arrived in Liberia from the U.S. and should be operational this week, according to a statement from the U.S. embassy in Monrovia, the country’s capital. Health officials say that the modular labs will allow health workers to identify cases of Ebola more quickly, something that has proved challenging in the effort to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed more than 3,000 people across five countries in West Africa, mainly in Liberia.
The labs, which arrived over the weekend, will be staffed by U.S. Naval researchers. The U.S. plans to build an additional 17 clinics in Liberia. The U.S. military has also broken ground on a 25-bed field hospital originally meant for troops in combat zones. The clinic will be staffed by health workers from the U.S. and will treat nurses and doctors who have become infected, according to the Associated Press. The hospital will cost roughly $22 million to construct.
The Ebola outbreak has infected an estimated 6,500 people in West Africa, although health experts say the official number is probably higher because of underreporting in rural areas. The virus causes fever, bleeding and vomiting and has a death rate over 50 percent.
Health workers in West Africa have had to contend with shortages of supplies and space to treat the growing number of people infected by Ebola. The World Health Organization said the region lacks about 2,100 beds to adequately treat Ebola patients.