Local doctor worked in Liberian hospital

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.  (WWLP) Three West Africa nations are struggling to control an outbreak of Ebola. A Baystate Medical Center doctor who worked in Africa told 22News how safe he thinks we are from the deadly virus here in western Massachusetts.

“I’m very worried about my coworkers in Liberia,” said Dr. Jackson Williams, Baystate Medical Center.

As West Africa deals with the largest Ebola outbreak in the country’s history, Baystate Medical Center’s Dr. Jackson Williams has been communicating with his colleagues in Africa.

Dr. Williams has made several trips to Liberia to help them deal with disease outbreaks. “Several of my coworkers have fallen ill and have indeed died, so I’m very worried about their health and safety.”

He said they had a team of Baystate doctors planning to make another trip in April but they canceled it. “I was worried I wouldn’t be able to guarantee the team’s safety.”

Now, American doctor and Ebola patient Kent Brantley is recovering at an isolation unit in an Atlanta hospital.

Dr. Williams says one thing that makes our country better equipped to handle outbreaks is the number of doctors here. He says in Liberia there’s 1 doctor per 100,000 people. Compare that to Massachusetts where there’s about 450 doctors per 100,000 people.

The Ebola virus is not airborne and only be spread through close contact. While it’s not likely to come here, the outbreak in Africa some people very worried.

“Absolutely, the virus is so deadly, if that were to get away we’d have some pretty serious issues in this country,” said Granby’s Aaron Fishkin.

Some people have survived Ebola but as many as 90% of infected people die from the virus.

Ebola can look like other diseases with symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches and sore throat.

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