Ebola Outbreak Spreads To Liberia And Sierra LeoneBy: Tina Volpe - March 24, 2014
The outbreak that had medical officials scrambling in an effort to contain the Ebola virus which struck Guinea last week, is suspected to be spreading to outlaying areas.
There are no known treatments or vaccines for the Ebola (hemorrhagic fever,) virus which kills up to 90 percent of those who become infected. Once humans are infected with Ebola, they become highly contagious and pass the virus on to others who come in close contact with them either by exposure to contaminated objects that carry bodily fluids or blood of the infected persons, or the infected persons themselves.
Considered the biggest Ebola outbreak in seven years, which has claimed nearly 60 lives, and sickened hundreds, might have spread to Liberia and threatens Sierra Leone.
Five people are suspected to have died from the disease in Lofa county in northern Liberia, Bernice Dahn, Liberia’s chief medical officer, said at a briefing today.
“The forest region where Unicef delivered the emergency assistance on Saturday is located along the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia with many people doing business and moving between the three countries,” said Laurent Duvillier, a Unicef spokesman, in an e-mail today. “Risk of international spread should be taken seriously.”
Unicef plans to dispatch 5 metric tons of aid, including medical supplies, to the worst-affected areas. Suspected cases of the lethal hemorrhagic disease were being investigated in Guinea’s southeast border areas, the World Health Organization said yesterday.
“The three cases, which were registered in Conakry, have no link with Ebola,” Government spokesman Damantang Albert Camara said. “The analyses were made abroad. The outbreak of the disease may be heavier than 59 but the health ministry will release a statement on the disease soon.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring the situation and said that similar cases demonstrating symptoms have also been reported in nearby area of Sierra Leone.
Dr. Brima Kargbo, the chief medical officer in Sierra Leone is currently investigating the case of a 14-year-old boy who died in the town of Buedu after returning from Guinea. In addition, Kargbo has dispatched a medical team to the town of Buedu to test anyone who came in contact with the 14-year-old boy prior to his death from Ebola viral hemorrhagic fever.
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