While health officials say they are making headway against the Ebola epidemic in neighboring Liberia, the disease is still raging in Sierra Leone, despite the big international push. In November alone, the World Health Organization has reported more than 1,800 new cases in this country, about three times as many as in Liberia, which until recently had been the center of the outbreak…
Discouraged, scared and furious, Sierra Leoneans are taking matters into their own hands. Laid-off teachers (all schools in this country are closed) race around on motorbikes, monitoring the sick. In some villages, informal isolation centers are popping up, with citizens quarantining one another, an incredibly dangerous ad hoc solution being performed without appropriate protection. (United Nations officials say this country is still short hundreds of thousands of protective suits.)…
The Ebola virus was imported into Nigeria via an infected air traveller, who entered Lagos on 20 July and died 5 days later. One close contact of the Lagos case fled the city, where he was under quarantine, to seek treatment in Port Harcourt.
This close contact was treated, from 1 to 3 August, at a Port Harcourt hotel by a male physician who developed symptoms of weakness and fever on 11 August and died of Ebola on 22 August.
The case history of this physician, the index case for Port Harcourt, is important, as it reveals multiple high-risk opportunities for transmission of the virus to others.
This PSA coming out of Sierra Leone is crafted as the story of how when Ebola first struck a village deep in a West African forest region, residents did what they had always done for any mysterious illness—they consulted the traditional healer. But the herbalist soon caught one of the world’s most contagious diseases, and then became a source for spreading it as visitors streamed in.
The spread of Ebola has shown that we must respect that local people have their traditional beliefs and their traditional cures and they look up to their traditional leaders. To stop the spread of this outbreak we must involve and educate all stakeholders.