NESHKORO, Wis. (WFRV)-- Traveling to Africa has been a dream of Karli John’s since she was 12.
When she had the opportunity to visit Liberia and stay with a family she knew through her church back home, she jumped at the chance. "
"It was an experience I'll remember for the rest of my life," she said.
Liberia is one of four countries in Western Africa where the Ebola virus has killed nearly 1,000 people since the latest outbreak.
During her month long stay that never stopped her from embracing their cultural traditions.
“The cultural thing is to give someone a warm handshake and that’s just what you do when you first meet the person, she said.
But her return home wasn’t meet with the same warm embrace.
“People would message me on Facebook and say, hey I just want to make sure you’re okay. Did you come in contact with anybody who had this disease is there any risk we can get it? Can I catch this from you? I don’t think I want to come over today because I’m afraid of this.”
Karli never came in contact with anyone infected with Ebola and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ebola can only be contracted by coming in direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person; such as blood, saliva, or other secretions. It is not an airborne illness.
Infection Prevention RN at Bellin Hospital, Ellen Roy, said “Unless she’s symptomatic they can’t give it to someone else.”
Local 5's Jenn Sullivan asked: "Were you paranoid about getting Ebola at all?”
“Walking around Monrovia and Liberia, I wasn’t paranoid at all," she responded.
But paranoia was setting in with friends and family back home she says while they watched images of doctors treating patients in western Africa in full body suits.
“One of the reasons that they wear those big giants suits that you see in those pictures in Africa is that they don’t have the hand hygiene the hospitals. They’re dealing with these people in very rustic conditions," said Roy.
Returning to her small town—Karli says she was surprised to see how the outbreak was being reported back home and hopes more people become educated on the virus.