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Squirrel Hill Man Home For Christmas After Running Ebola Clinic In West Africa

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Andy Pugh is back in Squirrel Hill after spending the past two-and-a-half months in the West African nation of Sierra Leone.

He was helping to run a clinic for those stricken with Ebola.

For Pugh, it's been an emotional roller coaster when every day, some would make it and other would not.

"There were patients who were discharged, men and women," he said. "And then you'd see a hearse, ambulance take away a deceased. There were moments of joy and moments of sorrow five minutes apart."

There have been no new cases in the US recently, so Ebola is no longer in the headlines here.

But Pugh warns against complacency. While the virus has somewhat stabilized in Liberia, he's seen first-hand how the virus is still out of control in Sierra Leone and remains a threat to the rest of the world.

"Epidemics are now global and can spread to Europe and Asia," Pugh said. "So better to stop it there."

At the Sierra Leone clinic, Pugh was an administrator and had no direct contact with Ebola patients. Still, like all Americans returning from West Africa, he has been given a cellphone to be monitored by health officials and a thermometer for him to take his own temperature twice a day.

"If I ever have a fever, I need to go into isolation and quarantine," he said. "Otherwise, under the federal guidelines, there are no restrictions, I'm considered very low-risk."

Now back with his family, Pugh deflects his own contribution and praises those doctors and nurses who have put themselves directly in harm's way.

"Tremendous bravery and dedication to their fellow man," said Pugh. "It's something I can't put words to. It's really special."

Andy Pugh is happy to be home this Christmas, but if in the next few months the Ebola epidemic is not contained in West Africa, he'll consider going back – though he hopes that will not be necessary.

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