Hawaii doctor to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii doctor to help fight Ebola in Sierra Leone

FIle photo of a strain of the Ebola virus FIle photo of a strain of the Ebola virus
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Doctor Richard Brostrom found out two weeks ago the Centers for Disease Control needed his help to battle Ebola.

"It's really important to go to the source, particularly in West Africa where the medical infrastructure is really hurting," he said.

In West Africa, the disease has killed more than 5,000 people, including health care workers. On Saturday Brostrom starts a 29-day deployment in Sierra Leone, where more than 5,500 Ebola cases have been confirmed. He's thought about the risk.

"The CDC is sending people back and forth all the time. It's been very safe," he said. "There's been no reported transmission of the disease to the officers who are serving now, who have already come back."

Brostrom won't be treating Ebola patients directly. He will oversee isolation and quarantine procedures, and work to shorten the time between diagnosis and treatment. He said estimates on the number of patients with Ebola in West Africa are under reported.

"And that has to do with a really crumbling medical system in Western Africa. And this Ebola is the straw that has broken this camel's back."

Brostrom is a CDC medical officer. He has worked throughout the Pacific. He's been Hawaii's TB Control Branch chief for four years. His wife and three children are okay with his Ebola assignment.

"I didn't want to entertain this idea without making sure that my wife was on board," he said.

Brostrom will replace a doctor who is in Sierra Leone. When he returns he'll be quarantined for 21 days only if was his work put him in an Ebola hot zone with direct contact with Ebola patients. He said being asked to help is an honor and a big responsibility. And if he is needed he will go back.

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