Ebola outbreak delays nonprofit tour to Africa

by: Eric Philips Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - It's as if nursing has always been in Julianna Clair's blood.

“I always knew that I wanted to do something in healthcare and medicine so nursing was an easy fit,” Clair said.

That's why she's excited to take a three-month tour with Mercy Ships -- a nonprofit floating hospital that provides needed surgeries and provides medical training in poverty-stricken countries.

“They would do pretty amazing things like take off tumors the size of grapefruits or softballs,” Clair said.

Clair has served before when she spent 1 year aboard a Mercy Ship in the Congo. Her next tour was supposed to head to Guinea this month, but that changed because of the spread of Ebola.

Instead the crew was going to head to the country of Benin.

“And now with the presence of Ebola in Nigeria, which neighbors Benin, we've decided to delay the ship for two weeks, which allows us to more closely monitor the situation because the safety of our crew is paramount for us,” said Mercy Ships spokesperson Michelle Bullington.

Officials with Mercy Ships are monitoring reports and staying in contact with local African governments and consulting with the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

They want to make sure they don’t put the crew in any hazardous situation.

Clair said the Ebola outbreak has not deterred her desire to serve.

“No I still want to go serve and love on people,” Clair said.

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