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MIAMI – A doctor from Florida International University is ready to go on a medical mission across the globe to help those affected by the Ebola outbreak.
With the spread of the virus outpacing the help that is being sent to Africa, the World Health Organization is calling on more doctors from the U.S. to travel to Western Africa.
FIU professor Dr. Aileen Marty, who arrived in Miami from Cuba with her parents when she was 4, according to The Miami Herald, may be one of the many doctors to receive the call. "I need to get a pre-deployment physical, I need to go ahead and do my beneficiary forms and all those sorts of things one needs to do in order to get ready to go," she said.
Dr. Marty is a professor in the Department of Molecular Microbiology & Infectious Diseases and said she has been preparing in case the WHO sends her to work with the Ebola virus patients in Africa. "What they want from FIU, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, isn't just someone to go out there as a clinician, but also the data analysis a powerful university like ours can provide," said Marty.
More than 700 people have died in West Africa since the first case was reported in March, though Marty said there are signs that the virus started spreading as far back as December 2013.
More than 1,300 have been infected, including American aid workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol. Both are in the process of being flown to the States for treatment.
Marty, whose 30-year medical career includes working as an infectious disease and disaster medicine specialist in the Navy said she will not only work with patients but also study the effectiveness of experimental treatments being used.
"If we are able, from humanitarian purposes, to go ahead and use some of these experimental drugs to try and treat these patients on a humanitarian basis, then we're gonna need to determine whether they in fact worked," said Marty. "To do that, you need a tremendous amount of data analysis."
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called it the biggest and most complex Ebola outbreak in history. It is transmitted through bodily fluid. A surge in the spread has occurred in the past few weeks in Sierra Leone and Liberia. "This is one of the most horrible ways a person can die," said Marty. "Bloody fluids coming out of every orifice? That's definitely incredibly unpleasant. Not to mention just the miserable disease. It has to be cured, but it also has to be stopped."
Marty expects to receive the call in the next few days, and if she is sent to West Africa, she said she would most likely be headed to Sierra Leone.