Local doctor talks working amid the Ebola outbreak

Dr. John Nwangwu, Ebola adviser.
Dr. John Nwangwu, Ebola adviser.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a close up perspective of the Ebola outbreak from a well known expert, now back home in Connecticut.

Dr. John Nwangwu returned last weekend after being on the front lines since June. He was in Africa, as an adviser to the World Health Organization.

The Epidemiologist and Southern Connecticut State University Professor described the spread as no longer an epidemic but a pandemic. And chaos is rampant there.

“People are looking for places to run and go to secure themselves because they are afraid, not knowing when they can get it and how they can get it,” he said.

Despite the high rate of deaths, he pointed out that people are surviving.

“We still don’t understand, there is nowhere in the literature, nobody has done any work that can explain why.”

Dr. Nwangwu said the experimental drug, given to three Americans and others, has been highly effective but only when given early on, “because in contrast, to those who had the full blown disease, they don’t make it when you give them the experimental drug.”

While Ebola is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, Dr. Nwangwu said that also includes sweat as well as, “you can find it in people’s skin. It can be right there on the skin, you can find it in tears.”

Isolating the sick is key to slowing down the spread of Ebola — but that has been challenging in the countries affected.

“It’s very difficult in that kind of situation to be able to do that because you can go for miles before you find a hospital.”

Dr. Nwangwu is convinced Ebola can be contained but two things have to happen, developed countries must provide more effective support and the leaders of the African countries impacted must welcome it.

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