As measures to stop Ebola from spreading in the U.S. and abroad intensify, one Chicago-area company is offering a possible solution to protect health care workers from catching the deadly illness.
ISOVAC Products LLC developed a secure medical transportation device called the Patient Isolation Unit, or PIU -- a nearly 7-foot-long containment unit. It resembles a transparent sleeping bag with a build-in air filtration system, attached medical gloves, IV pouches, and an oxygen unit to treat contagious patients en route to hospitals, CBS Chicago reports.
Transporting and treating patients with the Ebola virus disease poses a risk to medical workers if they come into contact with a patient's bodily fluids.
"Isolation, quarantine and containment -- that's what you have with this unit," ISOVAC CEO Pete Jenkner told CBS 2's Jim Williams.
Jenker presented PIU unit to members of Congress, Homeland Security and the CDC last week and is waiting for approval to manufacture the device at a larger scale. If given the go-ahead, he says his company can quickly produce many PIUs for global use.
Ilinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger thinks it could be a big help to medical staff on the front lines of the outbreak.
"I think in a very large scale rollout of this in western Africa would be beneficial to the people there and beneficial to our military's goal of helping to stop this terrible virus from growing," he said.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has killed more than 3,000 people and infected over 6,500, the World Health Organization reports, as the spread of the illness outpaces resources.
The first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States is currently being treated at a Dallas hospital after arriving Sept. 20 on a flight from Liberia.