More than 660 dead from Ebola in West Africa as virus continues to spread
Sierra Leone has become the new epicentre for the Ebola virus outbreak which is continuing to grow
As of August 4th, there had been over 1,300 deaths in West Africa, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO.) It’s the worst outbreak of the disease ever recorded. And it seems uncontrollable.
Medical staff prepare to bring food to patients kept in an isolation area at the MSF Ebola treatment centre
Until now, the capital Freetown had been free of Ebola. But recently it had its first victim — a female patient who died after her family took her forcibly from the hospital to a traditional healer.
Health workers have been amongst the victims of Ebola, particularly at Sierra Leone’s main Ebola hospital in Kenema. Several nurses have died from the virus and eight have been infected as well as the chief doctor Omar Khan.
In neighbouring Liberia two Americans, one of whom is a doctor, are also infected and a prominent Liberian doctor has died.
WHO Epidemiologist Chris Lane says they lack the basic resources needed to fight the virus.
“The resources we desperately need are personnel, logistics in terms of the standards, PPE, medication, general hospital equipment. So this is an emergency, and we are already in trouble, we are already fighting something that is very, very large, it is going to get a lot larger if we do not get a lot more resources.”
The virus began in Guinea on March 22nd, 2014. It then spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Now Nigeria has confirmed its first Ebola death.
A Liberian man, who had travelled to the Nigerian capital Lagos began showing symptoms and died.
Lagos is the biggest city in the country with some 20 million inhabitants but has an extremely basic healthcare system.
In Nigeria it is a race against time to contain the deadly Ebola virus.
The first and so far only victim in the country sparked a worldwide outbreak panic after he flew from Liberia to Lagos.
Now the authorities are seeking to trace anyone who may have been in contact with him.
The virus which leads to death in 90 percent of cases and is spread by contact was first reported in Guinea in February, quickly moving to neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia. Many airlines have now suspended flights to the region.
The top doctor treating Ebola victims in Sierra Leone died in quarantine. Dr. Sheikh Umar Khan was hailed as a national hero by colleagues.
The World Health Organisation says the virus is the most deadly in history, and has so far claimed 672 lives in West Africa.