Doctor quarantines himself at home in Tennessee after treating Ebola patients in Liberia

Posted at 6:51 AM, Aug 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-02 14:41:10-04

(CNN) – A retired American doctor who was working with Ebola patients in West Africa returned to the United States this week – and put himself in quarantine.

Dr. Alan Jamison volunteered in the Liberian capital of Monrovia this month as part of an international medical group.

Jamison, 69, said he’s had no symptoms of the deadly disease, but has been in seclusion since Monday, when he returned to his hometown of Morristown, Tennessee.

He plans to be in isolation for 21 days, which is the incubation period for the disease or the time between infection and onset of symptoms.

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“My last encounter with a patient who had Ebola was on July 19,” he said. “I contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on my arrival … and informed them I had been in West Africa and my history.”

The father of three said his daughter picked him up from the airport and dropped him at home, where he’s quarantined himself and has had no contact with anyone since.

“I’m feeling normal and doing the typical things a person would do in their home,” he said. ” I have my family who can bring me food if I need anything, and they would not enter the house. They can leave items outside the home.”

Liberia is one of three nations battling an outbreak of Ebola, which the World Health Organization says is confirmed or suspected to have infected more than 1,300 people, with more than 700 deaths in West Africa in recent weeks.

So far, the disease has been confined to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. One man died in quarantine in Nigeria after leaving Liberia.

Ebola spreads through contact with organs and bodily fluids such as blood, saliva, urine and other secretions of infected people.

Patients are only contagious when they show symptoms, not during the incubation period, according to the World Health Organization.

“I was not concerned that I was contagious when I left Africa, and not concerned at this time because I have no symptoms of the disease,” Jamison said.

The retired pediatrician said he was volunteering with Medical Teams International. CNN contacted the aid group, which said it’s compiling information on his case and will provide details later. However, the group noted on its website that its U.S. volunteer doctor is back home.

“It was very stressful and emotional to see these things in Liberia,” Jamison said.

There’s no treatment for Ebola. The most common approach is to support organ functions and keep up bodily fluids such as blood and water long enough for the body to fight off the infection.

Despite the risks, Jamison said he’d return to West Africa to help combat Ebola.