Cornell grad talks to students about work with Ebola virus

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MOUNT VERNON, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- There are still major concerns with Ebola, despite the fact that the initial scare is over.

That's what a Cornell College graduate says he learned working on the virus in Africa.

"The water would be up this high from our own sweat,” Dr. Craig Vickstrom said.

Vickstrom didn't shy away from sharing the details of his work in Sierra Leone. He was there in 2015, during the height of the Ebola pandemic.

"It wasn't fun."

Vickstrom says there is still no scientific way to treat patients infected with the Ebola Virus. Most of his work included setting up IV's and dispensing morphine.

A message that struck some students.

"It's just a matter of making people feel comfortable and hope their bodies can overcome it,” senior Gabie Campbell said.

There is an Ebola vaccine now, but it's not widely dispersed.

Vickstrom says there's always a slight chance of another outbreak.

"What if an infected person came over here and the virus came, passed into the rat population in a major city, and now we have a continuous well of Ebola, or whatever infectious disease."

That's why he believes more research is needed, which some of these students are seriously considering doing for their careers.

"I want to help and learn how to prevent that transmission and work to cut off that mechanics so we don't get infected and at the same time help animals in a more humane way,” senior Libby Anderson said.

Vickstom says more scientists will be needed in the near future. He expects more infectious diseases, like Ebola, to develop because of overpopulation.

"As more wild country are torn down for resources, more and more infectious diseases are going to be spread around the planet."

Vickstom is now a doctor for a public hospital in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

He also received Cornell College's Public Service Award at homecoming this year.