By Kaitlyn Schaeffer
This week, a nurse who volunteered with the charity International Medical Corps succumbed to Ebola yesterday in Sierra Leone. She worked at a treatment facility in Kambia, a coastal district that boarders Guinea. In this location, flare-ups of Ebola are still common, and experts warn that the virus is no longer contained in other areas of Africa as well.
Last week, thirty cases of the virus were reported in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Liberia was thought to be free of the disease, following months of no Ebola-related deaths and no reports of new infections, until a teenage by succumbed to the tricky virus last week. Further investigation revealed that at least six people have become infected, proof that the virus has not yet been eradicated.
With these infections and deaths coming into the spotlight once again, there is a need for renewed aid and assistance services in the affected countries, as well as more general education about how the disease is spread and how it can best be prevented. Additionally, in response to recent events, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a statement that treated Ebola survivors might be putting others at risk. “Preliminary evidence from genomic sequencing strongly suggests that the most likely origin of transmission is a re-emergence of the virus from a survivor within Liberia,” explained a spokesperson for WHO.
People who have had Ebola can continue to be no-symptom carriers for months, and doctors believe that the virus can be transferred via bodily fluids. Typically, the new Ebola cases are people who are close to Ebola survivors. “All nine of the cases reported from Conakry (Guinea’s capital) and all 10 of the cases reported from Freetown (Sierra Leone’s capital) were either registered contacts of a previous case or have an established epidemiological link to a known chain of transmission,” WHO reported.
The UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, which was active in providing aid to West African countries at the height of the Ebola outbreak, is redeploying its resources to Guinea and Sierra Leone in hopes of completely eradicating the disease. Since the Ebola outbreak began over a year ago, 27,600 people have been infected, and 11,000 of those have died. As long as the virus continues to linger anywhere, experts can’t rule out that it won’t continue to spread to other areas of the world.
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