Ebola death toll keeps rising

2014-06-10 18:34
Tough job. MSF staff at work in a temporary Ebola clinic. (AP)

Tough job. MSF staff at work in a temporary Ebola clinic. (AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Conakry - One preacher advocated fasting and prayer to spare people from a virus that usually leads to a horrible death. Some people pray that the Ebola outbreaks, which are hitting three countries in West Africa, stay away from their home areas. Others seem unruffled and say it will blow over.

But more than a month after Guinea President Alpha Conde told reporters the Ebola outbreak that originated in his country was under control, the death toll continues to climb in his country as well as in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

At least 231 people have died since the outbreak of the fearsome disease, which causes bleeding internally and externally and for which there is no known cure. Guinea has recorded just over 200 deaths, along with about a dozen each in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Experts say the outbreak may have begun as far back as January in southeast Guinea. Ebola typically begins in remote places and it can take several infections before the disease is identified, making a precise start date virtually impossible to pin down.

It's one of the worst outbreaks since the disease was first recorded in 1976 in simultaneous outbreaks in Sudan and Congo, said Dr Armand Sprecher of Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The West Africa Ebola situation is especially challenging because of the number of "satellite outbreaks" that have cropped up, said Sprecher, who has worked on the emergency responses in Guinea as well as in Uganda in 2000 and in Congo in 2007.

There have been at least six satellite outbreaks elsewhere in Guinea - including the sprawling seaside capital of Conakry - and in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Sprecher said.

In each outbreak, health workers must identify patients, trace and monitor everyone they've been in contact with and teach people how to avoid the disease.

"Family members and traditional leaders are strongly advised to work with health teams to avoid dead bodies and their body fluids and prevent spreading of Ebola and deaths of member of communities. The public is also urged to wash their hands with soap and water or use sanitizer, ashes, avoid eating bush meat [monkeys, fruit bats], and to chlorinate their water before drinking," Bernice Dahn, Deputy Minister for Health Services in Liberia, said in a 7 June news release.

One preacher in Sierra Leone called for divine intervention.

"Even though the virus is said to have originated from birds and other animals, I believe the virus could be contained through God's miracle," said pastor Balogun Macauley, chair of the Coalition of Religious Youths in Sierra Leone, which has called for a 21-day period of fasting and prayer.

Clinic attacked

In Sierra Leone, some people take the threat seriously and heed advice put out on radio and TV stations and in newspapers by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation. There is fear that Ebola might get to Freetown, the capital.

Some note nervously that while the outbreak has been restricted to eastern Kailahun District next to the border with Liberia, that is the same district where on 23 March 1992 war spread to Sierra Leone from Liberia. That war wound up engulfing the whole country of Sierra Leone for more than ten years.

Fear of the first outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has even bred violence.

Doctors Without Borders was forced to suspend activities at one treatment centre in Guinea after it came under attack by protesters in April. The mob accused Doctors Without Borders health workers of bringing Ebola to Guinea, where there had never previously been any cases.

Doctors Without Borders cycles health workers out after three or four weeks because of concerns about fatigue, Sprecher said.

"Given that there are only so many people experienced with Ebola in the world, you get stretched thin," he said, noting that some have undertaken multiple tours.

The number of Ebola cases in the three countries has risen above 400, according to the World Health Organization. The most devastating outbreak on record came in Uganda's Gulu district 14 years ago, with 425 cases and 224 deaths.

"By the time this thing is done it will probably be one of the longer outbreaks, if not the longest," Sprecher said.

- AP
Read more on:    msf  |  guinea  |  sierra leone  |  west africa  |  ebola
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an emphasis on work. There may be some restrictions, or delays or extra responsibilities. It is all about rhythm and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.