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Health protection during the Ebola crisis: the Defence Medical Services approach
  1. Martin Bricknell1,
  2. A Terrell2,
  3. D Ross3 and
  4. D White4
  1. 1Ministry of Defence, Head Medical Operations and Capability, HQ Surgeon General, London, UK
  2. 2Head Defence Public Health Unit, HQ Surgeon General, Lichfield, UK
  3. 3Health Unit AMD, Camberley, UK
  4. 4Ministry of Defence, Assistant Head Future Medical Plans, HQ Surgeon General, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Brig Martin Bricknell, Head Medical Operations and Capability, HQ Surgeon General, Ministry of Defence, 6.E.08, Main Building, Whitehall, London SW1A 2HB, UK; martin{at}


This paper is a narrative of the policies, procedures, mitigations and observations of the application of Force Health Protection measures applied by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the deployment of military personnel to West Africa as part of the UK contribution to the international response to the Ebola crisis from July 2014 to July 2015. The MOD divided the threat into three risk categories: risk from disease and non-battle injury, Ebola risk for non-clinical duties and Ebola risk for healthcare workers. Overall risk management was directed and monitored by the OP GRITROCK Force Health Protection Board. There were six cases of malaria, four outbreaks of gastrointestinal disease, two needlestick injuries in Ebola-facing healthcare workers, one MOD Ebola case and five non-needlestick, high-risk exposures. This experience reinforces the requirement for the Defence Medical Services to have a high level of organisational competence to advise on Force Health Protection for the MOD.


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