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Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
Email: mfarris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @megfarriswwl

It's the deadliest recorded Ebola outbreak. There are 700 dead now across West Africa. But as the Peace Corps removes more than 300 volunteers from the area, some local volunteers and doctors plan to stay.

Mary Lou McCall keeps an eye on the news about the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. The oldest of her five sons, 29-year-old Johnny Young III, is a missionary at a children's orphanage in Liberia. They recently got to talk by phone.

'How are you? Do you want to leave because of the Ebola outbreak? And he said, 'No, I'm not leaving.' And I said, 'Well are you safe?' And he said, 'We've taken out precautions,'' she recalls the conversation.

A team of Tulane researchers and doctors are also in West Africa. They are working with the World Health Organization on vaccines and medications to treat Ebola at a government hospital in Sierra Leone. They brought 28 cases of equipment, such as suits and face masks to protect themselves against this highly contagious virus.

'Ebola is very scary because we hear very scary stories about it, but in real life, you don't get it from walking next to somebody, from walking into a room with them, from sitting next to them, unless they are ill and you have contact with bodily fluids and really probably it has to be on mucus membranes or broken skin,' explained Dr. Susan McLellan, Tulane Associate Professor of Clinical Tropical Medicine in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is also an infectious disease specialist and Director of Tulane University Travel Clinic

There have been no cases reported in the U.S. Doctors say keeping the public health infrastructure and research strong is crucial.

'The disasters that don't happen in this country are due to the fact that we have, in the past, put money, put the tax payers money towards keeping them safe,' said Dr. McLellan.

As a mother, Mary Lou is concerned, but proud of her son who, after his recovery from addiction illness, wanted to help others. Her faith gets her through the fear.

'Johnny's a miracle child and so, I'm a daily communicant and I go to adoration every day, and I pray for his safety. I'm well aware that he could get sick and something could happen but you know, he's giving back. He's in gratitude for getting well,' said McCall with tears in her eyes.

One of the Tulane doctors in West Africa reports that with their research, he says 'the solutions are coming.'

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