Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Fighting Fear, Fatigue on the Front Lines of Ebola

'Just Like Battle' continued...

“They’re wearing the protective gear, but most people have never worn it before.”

And the working conditions are unpredictable.

“You can’t control when someone is going to vomit on you. You can’t control working a 90-hour week,” he says.

It’s this “perfect storm” of conditions, Fair says, that’s made the outbreak so hazardous for health care workers.

In Sierra Leone, the disease has claimed 50 hospital workers, or roughly 11% of the confirmed cases in that country. In Liberia, 15% of those who've died from the virus were doctors or nurses who caught the infection on the job, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The CDC says we may never know how the two American aid workers became infected.

“For every facility caring for people in that area, there needs to be meticulous infection control to protect not just the health care workers, but also patients’ families, other patients,” CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, said in a press briefing last week. “Hospitals become amplification points if there isn't meticulous infection control.”

Fair agrees, but he points out that infection control practices are only as good as a person’s ability to stick to them. And things can slip when people are tired.

He knows this all too well. In recent weeks, he’s lost two close personal friends, a nurse and a doctor, to the unforgiving virus. They were infectious disease veterans, having cared for sick patients through an outbreak of Lassa fever, a close cousin of Ebola.

“They had experience,” he says, but this time they were dealing with “10 to 20 times more patients than we’ve ever had before.”

For a time, Fair, an expert in Ebola diagnostics, was even testing his own blood for the virus.

When he arrived in Kenema, he gave a hug and a kiss to Mbalu Sankoh, the chief nurse at the hospital. He describes her as a mother figure to him.

Two days later, she developed a fever. Eight days later she was dead.

“I’m trying to stay emotionally objective,” he says. “But it’s never happened before with close personal friends.”

1 | 2

WebMD Video: Now Playing

Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing