Belfast Telegraph

Derry scientist in mission to Africa's Ebola danger zone

By Donna Deeney

A top scientist from Northern Ireland is on his way to Guinea in west Africa as part of a rapid response team fighting the deadly Ebola virus.

Almost 1,000 people have already lost their lives after contracting Ebola in the parts of Africa where it continues to rage.

As thousands flee the affected areas, Co Londonderry man Dr Christopher Logue is heading towards the danger.

Dr Logue is a virologist for Public Health England at Porton Down. He will be one of three senior scientists who will staff a mobile laboratory which will help with the rapid diagnosis of patients who either have or think they have the virus.

Dr Logue, who has previously worked on vaccinations for deadly strains of influenza, said he was aware of how dangerous a situation he was entering.

He said: "I'm not so much worried, because we've worked with Ebola for over 30 years and any time there's a suspect case coming into the UK it would be sent to us to test.

"With respect to being on the ground, it is slightly worrying but now we're quite far into the outbreak.

"Local teams have done a great job of informing local communities, and community leaders are going out to rural areas and informing people about the disease so they can be treated and looked after.

"When you think about the sheer number of people that these doctors have to deal with, even with the best protection in the world, accidents can happen.

"It's a bit more stable now, which helps alleviate any fears we might have had."

While Dr Logue, who is from the village of Park near Claudy, is undaunted by the task ahead, his parents Hugh and Anne admit they are anxious.

Hugh said: "We are obviously so proud of Christopher and the incredibly important work he does, but we are also extremely anxious. We will count the days until he is home safe and well."

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