Eyke/Africa: Volunteer nurse William Pooley, who survived Ebola, is returning to west Africa
- Credit: PA
Ebola survivor William Pooley has said he is preparing to go back to west Africa to help deal with the epidemic because it is “something I need to do”.
The volunteer nurse, from Eyke in Suffolk, said he knows that his family and friends will be worried but stressed that there was a urgent need for strong medical support as the virus has claimed almost 4,500 lives, mainly in west Africa.
It has also been revealed that a second US health care worker has tested positive for the illness.
Mr Pooley, 29, made a special appearance at a training and discussion session in Whitehall for NHS workers who have volunteered to help on the ground with the international effort.
Mr Pooley said: “There is still a lot of work to do out there and I am in the same or better position than when I chose to go out before.”
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He said he is not particularly worried that he will be struck down by the illness again. He said: “It does not seem likely that I will contract it again but it will still be the same question in my mind as it was the first times. It was an easy decision at that time and it is the same now.”
Of his friends and family who have already seen the trauma he went through after contracting the illness, he said: “They are always going to be worried. They are very supportive.
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“I know my mum and dad are worried but they support me because they know this is something I have to do.
“My potential immunity is very reassuring for them, or at least it should be, and I will be returning in a more organised fashion than when I was out there originally.”
Mr Pooley was flown back to the UK by the RAF on August 24 having contracted the virus while treating patients in Sierra Leone.
He was treated in a special isolation unit at the Royal Free Hospital, where he was given the experimental drug ZMapp.
Mr Pooley, who said he has made a “100%” recovery, added: “I have some experience now of working with Ebola patients so I can apply that.
“My exposure, as with everyone’s exposure, was an accident. It is something that everyone will be thinking about - all the volunteers who are here tonight but it is about vigilance really and being cautious. You must never let any complacency creep in.”
Other British volunteers have been asking him what it is like to have Ebola and about his experience treating it.
He said: “That is the reason I am here - tonight is about giving them a bit of insight in to what work and life is like out there at the moment.
“I have just told them very candidly about my experience. I have perhaps talked about the symptoms I have experienced and my disease course. People are interested and people have a right to know about it if they are considering going out there.”