Galveston doctor heads to West Africa to assist in containing Ebola virus

Dr. Thomas Ksiazek to spend 30 days working with CDC

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

GALVESTON, Texas - Help will soon leave Galveston to assist in the control the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

The director of the High Containment Laboratory Operations at the Galveston National Laboratory, who is also a professor at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, will leave for Sierra Leone Aug. 11. Dr. Thomas Ksiazek will spend 30 days there working for the Centers for Disease Control.

"What the assistance is about is bringing more rigor to the control efforts," said Ksiazek.

He has worked with infectious diseases around the world and co-discovered SARS.

He told Local 2, "I've got some experience and one of the difficulties that they run into is that this outbreak has now been ongoing for quite some time."

He said he will help track those who have Ebola and those who have had contact with the infected.

"If they have already gotten sick out in the community, you want to identify who they've already come into contact with and keep a close eye on those people," Dr. Ksiazek said.

Researchers at UTMB are working on a possible vaccine for Ebola. They said it has proven successful in lab tests, but is difficult to get produced. Dr. Jim Le Duc, the director of the Galveston National Laboratory said, "The biggest challenge that we face with Ebola is there's no commercial market. So no big pharma is really pushing this along in a main track. So, the government has filled in and is pushing, just like we would any vaccine for a use in the general population."

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