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article imageSierra Leone district on 'lockdown' as Ebola continues to spread

By Karen Graham     Dec 10, 2014 in Health
Ebola has taken a backseat to other news stories lately, but the deadly virus is still spreading like a brush fire in western Sierra Leone and some parts of the forested interior of Guinea, according to David Nabarro, the UN's special envoy for Ebola.
The current Ebola outbreak has infected more than 17,800 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. And while 622 health care workers have been infected with the virus, and 342 have died of the disease, special attention have been given to the number of health care workers in Sierra Leone who have come down with the Ebola virus.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a study that shows the rate of laboratory-confirmed Ebola infections among medical workers in Sierra Leone is 100 times higher than in other adults. This report points out a wide range of breaches in infection control practices as well as prevention protocols.
Sierra Leone lost three more doctors this past week to Ebola, prompting junior doctors to continue for a second day what they are calling a "tactical retreat," demanding better care for health care workers who contract the disease. The striking doctors issued a statement Tuesday saying the deaths of doctors "might have been as a result of the absence of a specialized unit."
Sierra Leone is a country with 6.0 million people and only 2,400 health care workers. This includes doctors, nurses, and aides. And with the increase in transmission of the Ebola virus in the western part of the country, if shows how communities are not fully understanding the actions needed to prevent the spread of the disease. Added to this is the lack of enough trained medical staff.
In the diamond-rich Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone, local authorities initiated a two-week lockdown starting on Wednesday and lasting until December 23. The action was taken after the district confirmed six deaths from Ebola on Tuesday. People will be free to move around within the district, but no one will be allowed to enter or leave.
Earlier this year, authorities held a lockdown in the capital that lasted for several days in an attempt to slow the spread of the Ebola virus. Sierra Leone's chief medical officer, Dr. Brima Kargbo, toured the main government hospitals in Freetown, saying he found "no disruption in the medical service. Although junior doctors are not working, senior doctors have reported for duty."
More about Sierra leone, Lockdown, Ebola virus, Health care workers, Guinea
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