Ebola control has major setback in Sierra Leone

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Thursday, 24 July, 2014

The horrific Ebola outbreak in West Africa has just suffered a major setback to control. The chief doctor managing the outbreak in Sierra Leone has himself just become infected with Ebola. Dr Sheik Umar Khan, a 39-year-old virologist who is personally credited with treating more than 100 Ebola victims, has now been admitted to a treatment ward at the heart of the outbreak in Kailahun. See report at The Independent.

Sierra Leone at the 19 July has had 442 cases and 206 deaths. Two other countries, Guinea and Liberia, are involved in this outbreak which is caused by the Zaire Ebolavirus. WHO has reported a total of 1048 cases with a case fatality rate of 51%.

Ebola is putting an immense strain on health personnel in these countries. Nurses at the government hospital in Kenema in Sierra Leone went on strike after colleagues died. Previously, an 11 nation emergency meeting had identified shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) as a major problem and called for immediate provision of adequate PPE supplies from overseas donors.

Unfortunately, this outbreak is showing no signs of being controlled. Medicins sans Frontieres is one NGO playing a major role in control in West Africa, but staff are also feeling overwhelmed. See video.

Image: Dr Umah Khan, the virologist and head doctor leading the control effort against Ebola in Sierra Leone. Picture from The Independent.

Posted by Rick Speare
24 July 2014