Federal health officials have been critical of quarantines of medical workers returning from West Africa, saying it could discourage volunteers from traveling to the danger zone. But that's not discouraging one doctor in New Hampshire. The Deputy State Epidemiologist Dr. Elizabeth Talbot is leaving this weekend to join the fight against Ebola.
Dr. Elizabeth Talbot says she loves her job because it's challenging, but says her biggest challenge might be just ahead.
In four days, she is leaving her three kids and her husband to go to Liberia.
"I am concerned for my family," Dr. Talbot said.
She's says she's not concerned about what will happen in West Africa, but about how her decision will impact her family.
"I want people to understand that this is a community effort and I am looking for them to support our family and not be afraid," Dr. Talbot said.
Dr. Talbot will be supervising what she calls an "Ebola control university" where humanitarian workers will get a ten-day training on how to effectively and safely treat Ebola patients and protect themselves.
"There will be classes of 30 going through consecutively until this is over," she explained.
The trainings will be held at an abandoned university in Bang, Liberia. She says the former students, faculty, and staff of the university have either died from Ebola or fled the area to avoid contact with infected people.
"The catastrophe of West Africa is immeasurable right now," Dr. Talbot said.
She will be the second Granite Stater on the front lines of the battle with this deadly disease. Brigadier General Peter Corey with the New Hampshire National Guard left for Liberia at the end of September.
"I am incredibly proud of their commitment and the way they look at things and put everything on the line," said the Director of the NH Division of Public Health Services Dr. Jose Montero.
For decades, Dr. Talbot has traveled overseas for similar work, but she says joining the fight against Ebola has proven different than the rest.
"I have never had to explain myself for responding to an outbreak, but in this case, people want to know why," she said.
It's because, Dr. Talbot says, the only way to protect the world from the spread of Ebola, is to go directly to the source.
"The time is now, every day and week that goes by with this unabated is a disaster for the globe," she said. "I would love to be a small part of turning this around."
After her four weeks in Liberia, Dr. Talbot will go into isolation for 21 days. She hopes to be healthy and able to hug her family by Christmas.