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'Above the control of the national government' - Liberia overwhelmed with Ebola outbreak

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/31/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Deadly virus now beyond the control of the government, minister of health says

The Ebola outbreak in the West African nation of Liberia has officially reached its tipping point. "Our government has declared this now as a humanitarian crisis that is above the control of the national government," Tolbert Nyenswah, Liberia's assistant minister of health, told reporters. There are very real concerns now that the outbreak will shortly overwhelm the region's delicate infrastructure.

Fear and denial is playing a large part in the spread of the deadly virus. Some residents in affected villages have accused health personnel of bringing the disease into the country and have barricaded their towns, or blocked access to Ebola hemorrhagic fever victims.

Fear and denial is playing a large part in the spread of the deadly virus. Some residents in affected villages have accused health personnel of bringing the disease into the country and have barricaded their towns, or blocked access to Ebola hemorrhagic fever victims.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
7/31/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Liberia, outbreak, Guinea, epidemic, American patients


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The death toll from the 90 percent fatal virus is now more than 700 people. Health official say that the outbreak is the widest and deadliest in human history, with over 320 known cases in Liberia alone. One American died while contracting the virus in Liberia and two other American medical missionary workers have since contracted the disease.

In the meantime, two North Carolina-based missionary groups have ordered the evacuation of their non-essential personnel from Liberia after a doctor - 33-year-old Dr. Kent Brantly, who last lived in Fort Worth, Texas and a missionary -- Nancy Writebol, of Charlotte, North Carolina contracted Ebola.

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SIM USA President Bruce Johnson announced that his group, along with Samaritan's Purse decided on the evacuation following an upsurge in the number of Ebola cases in Liberia. Johnson said the logistics of the evacuation are being determined.

Spokesman Palmer Holt said approximately 60 employees will be evacuated. A statement from SIM says none of the evacuees is displaying any symptoms of Ebola, but all are being monitored continually.

The swelling numbers of those infected have prompted heads of state to cancel travel plans in order to direct their full attention toward fighting the outbreak of the virus that has crippled parts of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Sierra Leone's President Ernest Koroma both canceled trips to the United States, and Koroma declared a state of emergency.

Fear and denial is playing a large part in the spread of the deadly virus. Some residents in affected villages have accused health personnel of bringing the disease into the country and have barricaded their towns, or blocked access to Ebola hemorrhagic fever victims.

A nurse with Doctors Without Borders, Monia Sayah, says that "the most challenging" aspect of trying to help people is that "we go into communities where we are not necessarily welcome," because people don't want to believe they or their loved ones have Ebola -- in part because "they understand now that the survival rate is not very high."

There are very real fears that the situation will quickly spiral out of control - worldwide. "This virus, if it is not taken care of, will be a global pandemic," Nyenswah says. He's called for more international aid to help treat the sick and stop the spreading of the disease.

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