Local Epidemiologist Heads Into Thick Of West Africa Ebola Outbreak
Health workers in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia are battling what’s been called the largest, most complex outbreak of the Ebola virus ever.
The outbreak has killed more than 700 people in western Africa, including at least 50 health care workers. Some Ebola patients are being flown to the U.S. for treatment, while American health workers continue to travel to western Africa to help suppress the outbreak and treat the sick, despite the danger.
Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, director of infection control at the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory (NEIDL) at Boston University. She’s slated to travel to Sierra Leone later this month to share her expertise on infection control and care directly for Ebola patients. She’s also hospital epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center.
- “Yes, I have fears for my safety, I think it’d be cavalier not to have a healthy amount of fear, but it’s that fear that drives us to be careful and to follow the protocols. I have extensive training and I have a background in infectious disease and particularly with these pathogens.”
- “Ebola has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of about 60 percent in this particular outbreak. But experts say the risk of travelers contracting it is considered low because it requires direct contact with bodily fluids or secretions such as urine, blood, sweat or saliva. Ebola can’t be spread like flu through casual contact or breathing in the same air.”
- “In response to the West African outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus, some Boston hospitals are instructing clinical staff to ask patients as soon as they arrive about their travel histories, and reminding doctors and nurses of the symptoms.”
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