Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sierra Leone’s worrying ebola trend

IRIN: In the week ending 30 November, Sierra Leone reported 537 confirmed Ebola cases, 152 more than the previous week and over four times the combined number of cases in Guinea and Liberia during the same period, according to World Health Organization’s (WHO) latest updates.

For more than a month, the outbreak has been slowing in Liberia, which reported 43 cases from 24-28 November. In Guinea, where the virus was first reported in March, there has been a slight increase in cases since October. Seventy-seven cases were reported in the last week of November, says WHO.

Health authorities in Sierra Leone say the continued denial of the existence of Ebola and unsafe burials are driving up infections. Seventy percent of infections are due to unsafe burials of Ebola victims, Brima Kargbo, chief medical officer at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, told reporters on 3 December.

“The issue of denial is still [widespread] in our communities despite the fact that there is increased awareness and sensitization. People continue to hide the sick; people continue to wash bodies,” Kargbo said.

“What we have done is continue to engage the community leaders - for them to fully understand the risk factors of Ebola and for them to see the need to be involved in the fight [against Ebola] by reporting early when their loved ones are sick; at the same time for people not to bury without the support of the medical teams.”...

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