Ebola epidemic in West Africa unchecked

Each country that has been affected by the Ebola outbreak is facing unique cultural and public information challenges for controlling the spread of this disease in the local populations.

In Guinea, where there have been 495 reported cases, including 363 deaths, cases continue to appear in new areas. Managing these cases is difficult due to cultural traditions for caring for the sick and dying and limitations in the number of health care workers and contact management capacity.

In Liberia, where there have been 516 reported cases, including 282 deaths, security issues continue to be of concern and community resistance remains high.

In Sierra Leone, where there have been 691 reported cases, including 286 deaths, more treatment centres and laboratories are needed in strategic locations.

In Nigeria, where there have been 5 new cases diagnosed, a nurse who cared for the infected traveller from Liberia has died. Monitoring all the contacts in the populous city of Lagos is a major challenge.

In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, a traveller returning from West Africa has died from suspected Ebola. If confirmed, this case will be the first to die from this disease outside the affected West African countries.

Nevertheless, the risk of exposure for the general traveller remains very low due to the unique ways this infection is transmitted, i.e., through close personal contact with the bodily secretions of an infected person.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Ebola Viral Disease.

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