Pentagon reacts to sick woman, claimed Africa trip
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon police have shut down a building entrance and a portion of the south parking lot because a woman was sick and told emergency personnel that she had recently been to West Africa, officials said.
Arlington County, Virginia responded with a HazMat team and was treating it as a possible Ebola case. She was taken to a local hospital, county officials said. Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Tom Crosson said that out of an abundance of caution, all pedestrian and vehicle traffic was stopped across 17 lanes of the huge parking lot. A building entrance and parking lanes are temporarily closed, he said.
The Pentagon force protection officers initiated infectious disease protocols.
A military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the woman, who has not been named, works for Total Spectrum, whose website says it is a lobbying and public relations firm. Managing Director Steve Gordon told The Associated Press the Pentagon had contacted him, and he said the woman has not been out of the Washington area.
The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case, says the woman was on a Metro bus, and transferred to a shuttle bus taking guests to a change of responsibility ceremony for Gen. Joe Dunford, who is taking over as commandant of the Marine Corps. She got off the shuttle before it left the Pentagon parking lot and then vomited. The official said it did not immediately appear that she was invited to the ceremony.
Officials notified the FBI and were checking the woman’s background and possible travel to West Africa.
What caused the woman to become sick is unclear. Ebola is only transmitted through direct contact with a victim’s bodily fluids. There has been only one case of a person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States after travel to West Africa. Hundreds of suspicious cases have turned out to be false alarms.