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New Brunswick's top public health doctor going to Africa to fight Ebola outbreak

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FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health is preparing to leave for Nigeria where she will be among those trying to stop the spread of Ebola.

Dr. Eilish Cleary said she does not believe she will be directly exposed to patients infected with the disease during her eight- to 10-week stint.

Cleary, who previously worked as a doctor in Sierra Leone, will instead take on a public health role as part of a team organized by the World Health Organization in a bid to contain the unprecedented outbreak and reduce the chances of it evolving.

"Now that I'm working more as a public health doctor, I have much more experience in communicable disease control and in emergency response," she said in an interview Thursday. "It felt like it was a good fit between what they needed and what I could offer."

Cleary will leave Sept. 15 for Lagos and could be deployed to other countries depending on the need.

She said accepting a degree of personal risk is part of being a health professional.

"We need to remember that showing compassion and helping others is actually a good thing and contributes in a large way to having a healthier world to live in," she said.

"I felt it was important to walk the talk. Even with the personal inconvenience, it's important to step up and do these things."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Dr. Eilish Cleary will be overseas for eight to 10 months.

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