NAMRU-6 Head of Virology Bausch plays major role in response to Ebola outbreak

Daniel Bausch, the head of the Virology and Emerging Infections Department for U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 6 (NAMRU-6), has played a significant role in responding to the West African Ebola outbreak.

Bausch visited the region twice since the outbreak began as part of the World Health Organization Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. He assisted the Guinea Ministry of Health and other partners with multiple elements of the response efforts. In the outbreak epicenter in Guéckédou, Guinea, Bausch helped to establish systems for patient care, case identification and contact tracing.

During his time in West Africa, Bausch also worked as a clinician treating patients with Ebola virus disease in the isolation ward of Guinea's capital Conakry.

When the number of cases seemed to be waning, Bausch rejoined his team at NAMRU-6.

"There comes a time in these outbreaks when you hope things are under control," Bausch said. "However, you can't have surveillance in every remote village. You watch and wait. Sometimes it's indeed over, and sometimes there's a sudden knock on the door telling you that numerous people just died in some village you've never heard of."

Remote villages continued to incubate the disease on the borders of Liberia and Sierra Leone. As the number of cases continued to rise, the WHO asked Bausch to go to Sierra Leone.

"It's great to be back in Sierra Leone, but I wish it could be for a different reason," Bausch said.

According to the WHO, the West African outbreak has caused more than 1,100 confirmed cases and more than 600 deaths.