Deadly Ebola outbreak changes local doctor's plans

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News 12 at 6 o' clock/ August 5, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Two American health care workers infected with Ebola are now at Emory in Atlanta. Meanwhile, in Africa, the deadly virus rages on.

Officials are calling it the worst Ebola outbreak in history. The deadly outbreak is changing local doctors plans.

Dr.Ted Kuhn is a professor at MCG. He also sees patients in the pediatric emergency unit. But, when he's not tending to sick kids in Augusta, you can find him in Africa.

"We have been traveling up there to work and do some mosquito control for malaria and to support the local infrastructure, the healthcare system in Guinea," Dr. Kuhn said.

Every November, he takes a team from MCG to West Africa. They provide medical care to three or four very remote tribes there, but this year, he had to change plans.

"Decided not to travel to Guinea because of the CDC travel warning against travel in Ebola areas," he explains.

But, even with the outbreak, the decision to reroute wasn't an easy one. "We're the only medical team to those tribal areas, and we only go once a year, so when we cancel, it means potentially, those folks won't have access to medical care for two years," Dr. Kuhn explains.

The latest numbers show more than 1,600 people have been infected by Ebola, and nearly 900 have died.

Dr. Kuhn's wife, also a doctor at MCG, has actually been teaching in Ghana, a country wedged between areas with Ebola cases.

"My wife is in West Africa now. She's actually flying home today. She's in the London airport as far as I know," he said.

He's thankful she's in good health, and he's hoping some good will come from this disaster.

"Maybe perhaps, the good thing will come from this is we will have a renewed interest in studying the virus and having new ways to treat it," he said.

Dr. Kuhn and his team still plan to go to West Africa in November, but they'll be heading to an area that has not been hit with Ebola.

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