Atlanta: US health authorities have announced that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have designated a total of 35 hospitals to be ready to treat Ebola patients.
The CDC worked together with state health authorities to determine which hospitals could be designated "Ebola treatment centres".
"As long as Ebola is spreading in West Africa, we must prepare for the possibility of additional cases in the United States," said CDC Director Tom Frieden in a written statement Tuesday after the announcement of the move.
The medical centres in question have the trained personal and resources to provide the "full treatment" required by Ebola patients, while at the same time minimising the risk of infecting healthcare workers.
"We are implementing and constantly strengthening multiple levels of protection, including increasing the number of hospitals that have the training and capabilities to manage the complex care of an Ebola patient," Frieden added.
"These hospitals have worked hard to rigorously assess their capabilities and train their staff," he said.
The 35 hospitals that have been outfitted to treat Ebola patients will complement the three specialised medical centres in the US that already treat patients with highly contagious diseases, including Emory University Hospital, the Nebraska Medical Centre and the National Institutes of Health, where all the Ebola patients on US territory have been treated so far.
The network of hospitals, which are in areas near the five main cities that serve as entry points for passengers coming from the part of Africa most seriously affected by the disease, will also obtain crucial information about the active observation programme currently under way to monitor such travelers.
According to US health authorities, more than 80 percent of the passengers coming from the region affected by the virus live less than 200 miles from one of the Ebola treatment centres.