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“You do worry:” UW-Milwaukee professor eyes Ebola outbreak with great interest

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- More than 4,000 people have died as a result of the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. One of those monitoring the story with great interest is a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor.

Dr. Aaron Buseh is an associate professor of nursing at UWM who has studied global health disparities. He also grew up in Liberia -- and has several brothers who still live there. Being in healthcare, Buseh understood the seriousness of the initial Ebola cases long before his brothers.

"Yeah, you know, it's Ebola. But you know what people are dying for diarrhea. They're dying from whooping cough. Their babies are dying. You know, they are dying from auto immune diseases. So there is a lot of what I call competing health priorities," said Buseh.

Buseh says fighting and containing the deadly disease is doable but complicated. He's excited to see U.S. troops arriving in Liberia to build treatment units. But Buseh says trust is crucial in a country still feeling the wounds of civil war.

"Do not negate the cultural values, the cultural mores. Do not neglect getting the local people involved as much as possible," said Buseh.

Buseh is hopeful for the leveling off of the Ebola outbreak. But even he admits getting phone calls from Liberia is worrisome.

"Yes, you do worry and you do wonder now, you do wonder are they calling me to tell me that somebody is infected or somebody died," said Buseh.

Buseh also says this is an opportunity for the global community to come together in fighting this disease -- and hopefully fighting other diseases that plague poorer countries.