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Dr. Joseph Woodring Returns from Battling Ebola in Liberia

Posted on by NCHS

NCHS Senior Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Woodring (LCDR, USPHS) deployed to Liberia from October 15 to November 14, 2014, as part of CDC’s Ebola Response. Serving on two county health teams (Nimba and Sinoe), he worked alongside health care workers from Liberia’s Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, United Nations Children’s Fund, Africare, Global Communities, and other nongovernmental organizations to battle the spread of the virus.

Dr. Woodring investigated an Ebola outbreak, in which exposures to a single index patient resulted in 65 confirmed or suspected Ebola infections among residents of three neighboring villages. Over 70% of these patients died from the disease.

As a technical expert in surveillance and epidemiology, Dr. Woodring assisted with active case findings, contact investigations to identify known and suspected exposures to Ebola patients, and data management. During his month-long assignment, he helped train more than 100 health care workers in remote clinics on Ebola transmission, infection prevention and control, and how to perform contact investigations and triage patients suspected of having Ebola.

Dr. Woodring describes his experience in Liberia as the culmination of his public health training. He said it taught him the importance of working alongside national organizations to effect social change—such as safe burials and key health messages—that are crucial in preventing the spread of this deadly and formidable disease.

Dr. Joseph Woodring (LCDR, USPHS) in Liberia
Dr. Joseph Woodring (LCDR, USPHS) in Liberia
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