Ebola on the rise in Sierra Leone with over 20 deaths a day

Posted Oct 21, 2014 by Karen Graham
Sierra Leone government officials said on Tuesday that Ebola cases are rising in the western section of the country. Over 20 deaths a day have been recorded since the start of the week, and authorities are having problems collecting the corpses.
The Ebola virus has now moved into western Sierra Leone  with an average of 20 new deaths a day.
The Ebola virus has now moved into western Sierra Leone, with an average of 20 new deaths a day.
Ebola Virus
After emerging in the Eastern part of the country several months ago, Ebola has now hit the Western regions of Sierra Leone close to the capital, Freetown. On Monday, 49 deaths were confirmed in two areas around the capital, the National Ebola Response Center (NERC) reported.
According to the Associated Press, Lawmaker Claude Kamanda, a representative of one of the western areas said the death roll for the Ebola virus has risen to 20 deaths a day. He also said that authorities were experiencing challenges in collecting the corpses.
Authorities are blaming the uncontrolled movement of people from the interior of the country through Waterloo, a gateway to Freetown, as the reason for the sudden sharp rise in the number of Ebola cases. There is strong indication that people are not observing quarantine laws. As a response to the flood of people coming through Waterloo to get to Freetown, the government has quarantined Waterloo.
There is a total of 851 confirmed cases in what is called the Western Area Urban and Western Area Rural, the NERC said. As the number of cases rises, the two new zones may end up surpassing the earlier epicenter of the outbreak, the districts of Kenema and Kailahun, where 1,012 Ebola cases have been confirmed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported there had not been any new cases of Ebola in Kenema and Kailahun on Monday. But it is too early to say the disease had burned itself out in the Eastern part of the country.
"There was a drop in new cases in Kenema and Kailahun and fingers were crossed but there has been a bit of a flare up thanks to a couple of unsafe burials," said Margaret Harris, WHO's spokeswoman in Sierra Leone. "So it's too early to say we have a real decline ... definitely too early to say it's been beaten there."
People are fearful of the way the Ebola virus is spreading because the route of the disease is reminiscent of the way country rebels crossed the nation in 1991, starting a bloody war in the Kailahun district. The battle ended 10 years later in Freetown. This time, the enemy is a terrible disease, and the government is fighting it using a military response.
Last week, President Ernest Bai Koroma appointed his Defense minister, Alfred Palo Conteh, as CEO in charge of the National Ebola Response Center. The response center is now located in the former War Crimes Tribunal building in Freetown along with the U.N. Mission for Ebola Emergency Response.
On Tuesday evening, authorities imposed a curfew on the eastern Sierra Leone city of Koidu after a disagreement between police and youth armed with shotguns erupted into violence. The incident centered around a suspected case of Ebola. A local civic leader says he saw at least two bodies with gunshot wounds, but the local police spokesman said no one had been killed.
Also on Tuesday, the Rwanda Ministry of Health gave notice that passengers from all five countries affected by the Ebola virus will have their temperatures taken on arrival in the country. Countries affected by the order include Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, the U.S. and Spain. The ministry document says that if passengers have a fever, they will not be admitted into the country.