With a second Ebola outbreak in the Congo, how will African health officials stop the rising death toll?
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/26/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on August 26 that it had shut down a laboratory in Sierra Leone after a health worker became infected with Ebola, a move that some believe will hamper efforts to boost the global response to the worst outbreak of the disease.
Aid workers in Sierra Leone distribute food to patients infected with Ebola.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Since the outbreak began in March of 2014, 1,427 people have died, and 2,615 have become infected. A separate outbreak of the disease was confirmed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on August 24.
The WHO has deployed nearly 400 health workers from its own staff and partner organizations to fight the epidemic that is ravaging Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.
On August 26, Nigeria's health minister said that Nigeria had "thus far contained" the Ebola outbreak, with only one of 13 cases being treated out of isolation.
The WHO said it withdrew staff from the laboratory at Kailahun-one of two such facilities in Sierra Leone-after a Senegalese epidemiologist was infected with the deadly disease.
"It's a temporary measure to take care of the welfare of our remaining workers," said WHO spokesperson Christy Feig, without specifying how long the measure would last. "After our assessment, they will return."
With resources already stretched thin trying to contain the West African outbreak, many health groups are unable to provide-or can only provide limited-help to combat the Ebola outbreak in the Congo.
A United Nation's mission in the Congo reported that 13 people had already died from the Sudanese strain of Ebola, five health workers among them.
"Usually, we would be able to mobilize specialist hemorrhagic fever teams, but we are currently responding to a massive epidemic in West Africa," said Jeroen Beijnberger, an aid group medical coordinator in Congo. "This is limiting our capacity to respond to the epidemic in Equateur Province."
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is visiting several of the West African nations who are dealing with the Ebola outbreak.
"Lots of hard work is happening, lots of good things are happening," Frieden said during a meeting with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. "But the virus still has the upper hand."
Frieden did express optimism that the outbreak could be contained.
"Ebola doesn't spread by mysterious means, we know how it spreads," he said. "So we have the means to stop it from spreading, but it requires tremendous attention to every detail."
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