Tulane med students hold benefit to help Ebola fight in West Africa

Tulane med students hold benefit to help Ebola fight in West Africa

A rock n' roll concert at House of Blues was the backdrop for an effort to raise money for the intense fight against Ebola in West Africa. Tulane Medical School students organized the event to directly support the university's relief and research work in Sierra Leone.

"They need all the help they can get. You know, a dollar goes a really long way over there," said med student and co-organizer Courtney Garry.

Garry has heard the stories first-hand.

Tulane professors frequently travel to the hard-hit region, and report back with unsettling accounts of suffering and the challenges to stop it.

One of those professors is her father, Robert Garry, M.D., who says the money raised will make a difference.

"(This will) help out the families, to rebuild the community there and to really put the Kenema District in Sierra Leone back together," said Garry, a Tulane microbiology and immunology professor, who is working to develop a rapid Ebola test.

"Most of the money will go to providing PPE, personal protective equipment, supplies, community outreach programs," Courtney said. "A lot of people in Sierra Leone don't know how it spreads, so to reach out to them, tell them how it spreads and try to stop the outbreak from further happening."

But the virus is now in the U.S., and officials in New York are scrambling to contain their first confirmed case -- a doctor who returned from West Africa last week, and tested positive Thursday.

The governors of New Jersey and New York have ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine of anyone returning from the affected countries, and had contact with Ebola victims.

"We will establish an interview and screening process to determine and individual's risk level, by considering the geographic area of origin and the level of exposure to the virus," said NY Governor Andrew Cuomo.

That response goes far beyond CDC recommendations, after officials learned the Ebola-infected doctor went out on the town before testing positive.

Meanwhile, as the fight ramps up in this country, Tulane researchers say it's still critical to keep attacking the root of the problem overseas.

"This outbreak is not over. It's going to continue to spread. What we need to do is pitch together as an international community and shut this outbreak down," Robert Garry said.

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