Infectious disease specialist and associate professor of tropical medicine Dan Bausch was among the researchers who first noted a new appearance of Ebola in Guinea in March 2014. As a member of the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Consortium and Tulane’s point person for the WHO’s Global Outbreak and Response Network (GOARN), as well as head of the Virology and Emerging Infections Department for the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No.6 in Lima, Peru, Bausch was in Sierra Leone during June and July. At one point he was one of two doctors caring for a ward populated with 60 Ebola patients.
He has since spent much of the time traveling the world, advocating for international bodies to close the gaps in Ebola response and speed up the development of Ebola treatments. In late September and October he worked with the CDC to train clinicians who would be working on the Ebola response.
He’s become a reluctant media star in addition to an international advocate, often highlighting the importance of funding, protocol, international collaboration, and resources, including the provision of supplies to make home-based care safer and pharmaceutical investment in drug development.
“The vaccines and treatments that we have for this are experimental, but we want to try to push those through and get the testing that they need to have real world products to help people in West Africa,” he says, emphasizing that safety is important but so is the principle of compassionate care. Addressing the outbreak will take a global effort on multiple fronts, he often emphasizes. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” he says.
Like all dedicated marathoners, these Tulanians and others on the front lines occasionally take stock, rest a moment, and then get back into the race, bringing the full force of public health and medical training to bear.
“If it was an Ebola outbreak someplace else, I would put in my time, of course, but this is Ebola coming to us, it’s our home,” says Moses speaking of Sierra Leone. “So I want to head back.”
EBOLA BY THE NUMBERS
13,268 Ebola cases worldwide
4,960 deaths attributed to Ebola
8 countries have reported cases since the outbreak began
Data secured from the Ebola Response Roadmap Situation Response from the World Health Organization, dated November 7, 2014.
Continued: The Airport Screener: Wes McDermott