A MEDICAL volunteer is taking part in a mission to prevent the deadly Ebola virus from spreading further.
Jason Humphries, from Newbroke Road, Gosport, is a volunteer for St John Ambulance and will be flying out to west Africa this month with 14 others.
The team will be heading to Guinea and will be tasked with training people in new cleaning and safety regimes to tackle the outbreak.
Jason, who is a security officer by trade, said: ‘It’s scary to think something you can only see under a microscope has the power to bring down adults, but that’s what’s happening.
‘I want to help in any way I can so I am looking forward to going out there.
‘Of course I’m also nervous as well, but I want to help educate and train people to make sure the outbreak does not go further.
‘The idea is we train the locals on how to correctly put on their personal protective equipment and how to use it.
‘And sterilising their medical equipment – the stuff you find in a hospital theatre.
‘They then go back to their people and show them how to do it and form a chain which will eventually break the virus.’
The trip is being lead by Crime Scene Cleaning UK Ltd, a biological and forensic cleaning company.
The firm has been contracted to go to the country, which has seen widespread cases of the virus, to carry out the cleaning and decontamination of an airport, a football stadium and other medical equipment, plus they will be providing training for local healthcare professionals in the use of personal protective equipment and cleaning techniques.
Jason, 40, will be taking part in the 35-day operation and will also be acting as the group’s qualified first-aider.
The Ebola outbreak in west Africa was first reported in March 2014, and has rapidly become the deadliest occurrence of the infectious disease since its discovery in 1976.
In fact, the current epidemic sweeping across the region has now killed more than all other known Ebola outbreaks combined.
Up to 31 December, 8,004 people had been reported as having died from the disease in six countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, the US and Mali.
The total number of reported cases is more than 20,300.
Jason says his interest in challenges began when he was diagnosed with epilepsy at 17.
He said: ‘I was on the verge of joining the Royal Marines. I was into extreme mountain biking and martial arts. But my medical team said, “you can’t do this now, you can’t do that”.
‘I went home and thought, “I’m not going to let epilepsy rule my life. I’m going to rule epilepsy”.
‘I will be taking my medication with me along with a note from my doctor about why I’ve got my pills.
‘This will be an immense challenge.’
Jason joined the voluntary ambulance service after he had a life-changing experience 10 years ago.
He said: ‘I was walking along Commercial Road in Portsmouth, where I used to live, and I had a seizure and stopped breathing.
‘A passer-by happened to be a SJA volunteer and gave me CPR, saving my life.
‘During my recovery I promised myself I would volunteer with SJA one day.
‘I know it was 10 years ago, but I would like to get in touch with the volunteer, who did not leave his name.
‘I would like to say thank you because he saved my life and gave me the motivation to become a SJA volunteer, and hopefully help others in their time of need.’
If you were the volunteer who helped Jason please call (023) 9262 2130.
UK diagnosis of nurse who worked in Africa ‘was not a surprise’
JASON Humphries said he was shocked, but not surprised, by the UK’s first Ebola case.
Nurse Pauline Cafferkey, (pictured above), who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone, is receiving specialist treatment via a quarantine tent at the Royal Free Hospital in north London after initially flying home from Heathrow to Glasgow.
She is being treated with an experimental anti-viral drug and blood from a survivor of the virus. Her doctor said the next few days will be critical.
Mr Humphries is set to fly to Guinea as soon as the African authorities give him the green light.
He said: ‘When the Ebola outbreak was first announced on the news I turned to my partner and said that in a few months’ time Ebola will be over here. She just smiled at me as if to say, “Yeah, alright”.
Then when we heard about Pauline we said: “It’s here”.
‘To be honest with you, I was a bit shocked but not at all surprised.’
Ms Cafferkey was part of a 30-strong team of medical volunteers deployed to Africa and had been working with Save the Children.
She was initially placed in isolation at a Glasgow hospital early on Monday after feeling feverish, before being transferred south on an RAF C-130 Hercules plane.
The healthcare worker had flown from Sierra Leone via Morocco to Heathrow, where she was considered a high risk because of the nature of her work but showed no symptoms during screening and a temperature check. While waiting for a connecting flight to Glasgow she raised fears about her temperature and was tested a further six times in the space of 30 minutes.
Despite her concerns, she was given the all-clear and flew on to Scotland where, after taking a taxi home, she later developed a fever and raised the alarm.
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