The Pentagon is sending as many as 1,000 more troops to Africa to help fight the Ebola virus.
The troops are being sent on top of the 3,000 President Obama has already ordered to help efforts in West Africa.
“We project that there could be nearly 4,000 troops deployed in support of this mission,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday.
“I’m not going to put a floor or ceiling on this,” he added.More than 230 U.S. troops are currently in Africa helping to contain the disease.
The troops are deploying to West Africa to help build hospitals and other treatment centers, as well as testing labs. They will not have direct contact with Ebola patients.
Nonetheless, Kirby said all returning troops would be screened, and those suspected of exposure to the virus would be monitored for 21 days.
The additional deployments come as fears grow that the disease could spread after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first Ebola case in the U.S. on Tuesday.
Officials warned that the outbreak could widen. As many as 100 people in Texas were questioned, and 50 of those are being monitored for signs of the disease after coming into contact with the patient. Ten are considered at high risk for contracting the virus.