U.S. State Department Orders 160,000 Ebola Hazmat Suits

The U.S. State Department has ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits for Ebola, prompting concerns that the federal government is anticipating the rapid spread of a virus that has already claimed an unprecedented number of lives.

In a press release posted by Market Watch, Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of industrial protective clothing for first responders, announced that it had signaled its intention “to join the fight against the spread of Ebola” by encouraging other suppliers to meet the huge demand created by the U.S. State Department’s order of 160,000 hazmat suits.

“With the U.S. State Department alone putting out a bid for 160,000 suits, we encourage all protective apparel companies to increase their manufacturing capacity for sealed seam garments so that our industry can do its part in addressing this threat to global health,” states the press release.

The huge bulk order of hazmat suits for Ebola has stoked concerns that the U.S. government expects the virus to continue to ravage countries in west Africa and may also be concerned about an outbreak inside the United States.

Although the State Department has announced that it is planning a “surge” of emergency medical personnel into western Africa, only 1400 federal workers are currently in the region, suggesting that the 160,000 figure is far higher than what would be required merely for sending medical workers abroad.