Ebola in West Africa is proving to be difficult to control

With a total of 467 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leon, this major outbreak of Ebola is proving difficult to control for a variety of reasons. Due to fear and lack of understanding, some infected patients flee the hospital, hide, and become spreaders of the disease. Rumours that foreigner health workers brought the disease to local communities generate resistance and occasionally lead to potential violence agains health workers. Many people seek care from traditional healers who have no knowledge of this disease and who can become spreaders themselves. The fact that the disease spread to more concentrated populations, such as the city of Conarky, contributes to spreading the disease.

There is no treatment or vaccine for Ebola haemorrhagic fever. For tourists, visitors or residents in affected areas, the risk of infection is still considered very low if elementary precautions are followed. Any person in the affected area should avoid any direct contact with anyone suspected to have this infection since it is highly contagious and lethal. Transmission often occurs during burial rituals (such as washing the body), during close physical contact with infected persons and their body fluids, during sexual contact or during contact with blood and body fluids of infected persons in hospital settings.

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

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