Eyke: Ebola Survivor To Return To West Africa
16 October 2014, 07:05
Suffolk Ebola survivor Will Pooley has said he is preparing to go back to west Africa to help deal with the epidemic because it is "something I need to do''.
The volunteer nurse, from Eyke, said he knows that his family and friends will be worried but stressed that there was a urgent need for strong medical support as the virus has claimed almost 4,500 lives, mainly in west Africa.
It has also been revealed that a second US health care worker has tested positive for the illness.
Mr Pooley, 29, made a special appearance at a training and discussion session in Whitehall for NHS workers who have volunteered to help on the ground with the international effort.
Mr Pooley said: "There is still a lot of work to do out there and I am in the same or better position than when I chose to go out before.''
He said he is not particularly worried that he will be struck down by the illness again. He said: "It does not seem likely that I will contract it again but it will still be the same question in my mind as it was the first times. It was an easy decision at that time and it is the same now.''
Of his friends and family who have already seen the trauma he went through after contracting the illness, he said: ``They are always going to be worried. They are very supportive.
"I know my mum and dad are worried but they support me because they know this is something I have to do.
"My potential immunity is very reassuring for them, or at least it should be, and I will be returning in a more organised fashion than when I was out there originally.''
Mr Pooley was flown back to the UK by the RAF on August 24 having contracted the virus while treating patients in Sierra Leone.
He was treated in a special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital, where he was given the experimental drug ZMapp.
Mr Pooley, who said he has made a "100%'' recovery, added: "I have some experience now of working with Ebola patients so I can apply that.
"My exposure, as with everyone's exposure, was an accident. It is something that everyone will be thinking about - all the volunteers who are here tonight but it is about vigilance really and being cautious. You must never let any complacency creep in.''
Other British volunteers have been asking him what it is like to have Ebola and about his experience treating it.
He said: "That is the reason I am here - tonight is about giving them a bit of insight in to what work and life is like out there at the moment.
"I have just told them very candidly about my experience. I have perhaps talked about the symptoms I have experienced and my disease course. People are interested and people have a right to know about it if they are considering going out there.''
Mr Pooley spoke to around 30 NHS workers who are thinking of going abroad to help with the Ebola crisis. They are among more than 600 NHS staff who have signed up since Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies issued a call to arms on September 19.
An urgent call was made for medical practitioners, nursing staff, paramedics, pharmacists, psychologists, health information managers, logisticians and outreach managers to sign up.
The health department is not confirming exact numbers of volunteers being deployed to Sierra Leone, when they will be deployed or where they will go.
They will be working with the guidance of UK Med, an international organisation based at Manchester University which is responsible for assessing and looking after NHS volunteers to help tackle the Ebola epidemic.
The Whitehall briefing came as Prime Minister David Cameron pledged the Government "will do everything we can to keep this country safe'' from the Ebola outbreak.